Mike Madriaga 11:30 a.m., Oct. 17
- Community Blog
- Tijuana 2.0
Old man draped in filthy rags blinks in the unrelenting Mexican sun. His face creased with the color of a brown paper bag sporting dingy yellow cowboy hat. He watches out of tired rheumy eyes three white Ford trucks - Tijuana paddy wagons - hurtling down a broad street kicking up dust. The dust stings his eyes yet he stands immobile. Several police cling to the sides as it races by - dark eyes filled with fear hatred faces covered in black masks - one stares at the old man back, fingering his shiny black AK-47. The old man stands glaring in apathy...seconds later and blocks away are gunfire and rumbling explosion. Five more trucks careen past followed by monstrous paramilitary vehicles - street teeming with pedestrians casually go about their affairs. I stand in the coolness of an awning sucking on a cigarette backdrop of dusty greenery of park Tiente Guerrero - three squad cars roar by - sirens squealing scaring the mother clutching baby in breast five kids race behind crossing the street of kamakazi taxis and rickety buses belching black smoke. Several shifty and dubious characters turn and hide their faces from the barreling convoy. The police always travel by car in threes, now - ever since the local cartel executed 46 of them the week prior. Their faces cold and featureless masks of fear and suspicion... I remember two nights ago in my room and hearing the ratatat of machine gun fire in the distance - last night the symphony repeated itself down on the corner. Seven bodies lay akimbo in the darkened lamppost splashed streets blood oozing onto black concrete and vecinos didn't care. Thirty minutes later fat cop chews cigar stump surveying the scene... In the rural hills of Independencia where you can score for meth, H, coke, crack - anything your junky heart desires - fires run rampant in the shanty adobes across from the school were the five year old boy timidly scuttles home clutching his textbook past roving gangs of cholos faces vicious in hate prowl brandishing pistols to deter the inquiring placas... Yet, down on Revo - the arrogant tourist still lurks, still drinks, still dances, still buys that one-tequila, two-tequila, three-tequila...floor! t-shirt that they must have for the folks back home unaware of the slaughter occurring a few blocks from their reverie. This is Tijuana - my Tijuana - a place that I call home...