Where did this thing come from?

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Mexicans are raised on conspiracy theories. To a skeptical outsider, people can sound pretty crazy. But this changes after living a few months in a country where dudes mount heat seeking missiles under the front bumper of their Hummer’s and the older citizens can still recall how President Polk prodded Mexico into war by convincing America that the country was being invaded by Mexicans when in reality the US was building forts in disputed Mexican land. (Another interesting Polk related conspiracy theory is that he was  a triplet. He used his siblings to cover for him during boring meetings and while he had affairs with his mistresses.)

Here is an evolving list of theories I have come across. I would appreciate any comments on proving or disproving these ideas. If you have any theories of your own please post. Personally I’m starting to think it’s like the X-Man movie, the world economy is shattered, war loom everywhere, and there is nothing like unleashing a pandemic to bring the world together.

1] Obama gave Mexico the swine flu.

Taxi driver 1: “When Obama came to Mexico he shook the hand of the director of the Anthropology museum. The director died days later. Within a week this swine flu arrived here in Mexico.” Update: this has been picked up by the mainstream Mexican media and is close to being a fact. Update 2: This may be losing some currency, it has not come up in a couple days.

2] The government started the Swine Flu way to distract the people from poor governance.

Taxi Driver 2: “It’s the right wing politicians currently controlling the country. (Note: the current president Calderon stole the last election in a striking similar way to the Bush/Gore fiasco. The loser of the election Lopez Obrador started his own government even going so far as to give out ID cards.) The government wants to distract us from the huge economic and violence problems we have. The peso has gone so high!” Update: This is the clear winner right now, another taxi driver told me that the distrust of the government came from a 1988 scare in which some kind of animal came out of people’s necks. It was a way to distract the people from inflation problems. (note: I was tired so my Spanish was lacking during this conversation and even the taxi driver wasn’t sure it was 1988. It could have been 86.)

3] The Narcos threatened to bomb the schools. Flu is political cover.

Taxi Driver 3: “One of my friends told me the narcos threatened to bomb all the schools, in retalitation against Calderon’s drug war. The government was afraid of the political reaction to this, and that’s why we have the school closure. This is the first time Mexico has ever closed all the schools in the country.”

4]Sanofi Aventis started the Flu

According to an email being passed around like a hot potato the Swine Flu was started by Sanofi Aventis to make money for their new “100 million dollar” vaccine plant in Mexico. This somehow involves the G7 (and Obama).

5] American pork lots started the virus in La Gloria, Vera Cruz

Andres Morales of La Jornada, Tom Phillpott of Grist, and David Kirby for the Huffington Post.

People on both sides of the border are starting to think this virus must have formed in one of the massive confined animal feeding operations around Mexico. The main suspect is a US owned Smithfield Foods feedlot on Veracruz. It is thought by some that flies alighting on massive pools of pig shit were the vectors. El Dragon at FairFoodFight.com has some interesting thoughts on this matter. Update: My girlfriend visited one of the of the feed lots today, and come back totally traumatized. Check out her photographs below and you will see why. Still no clear connection between pig contact and people getting the disease, but regardless this town has some seriously messed up health issues due to these feed lots.

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(Left) Dead pigs in a mysterious holding tank. There are dozens of these in the area. Nobody is sure what they are for. Imagine the smell. Photo: Benedicte Desrus (Right) A lake of pig “waste” Photo: Benedicte Desrus

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6 responses to “Where did this thing come from?

  1. All four of these theories (except #3) are about as believable as your claim that ‘ and the older citizens can still recall how President Polk prodded Mexico into war……’. Given that these older folk would be over 150 years old, and they can still recall events from way back then, seems like you’ve got a great story on your hands! Love to read more and see some direct quotes from those folks.
    #3 has some substantiated possibility. The rest don’t even merit comment on a page that purports to be ‘reporting’.

    • Keith,

      Thanks for the reply. What I am trying to get at in this post, is the fact that nobody here really knows, the government is telling us nothing, and in this vacum of reliable information the truth becomes extremely relative. In this article I am only reporting what I am hearing on the streets. What the people think. Sometimes this is as important as the real facts. In a city in which all public spaces have been closed, the government has lost all legitimacy, the people can’t touch each other, the hospitals are overworked, and THERE IS NO RELIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON, in a short time people could start acting on these rumors that have “become fact” In this post I am looking to hear what people think, not what is merely “true”

      Check back here later on today for some well researched reporting about some of the conditions here.

  2. Pingback: Pig Flu Mexico City Day 6: in which we decide to eat Bacon anyway – Midwesterner in Mexico

  3. I definitely blame “President” Hussein NObama for the swine flu. Being a secret Muslin, no one would suspect that he would be using forbidden pigs in his plot to put all the white people in FEMA concentration camps and turn over our sovereignty to Mexico.

    Interesting blog, though! Following popular conspiracy theories seems like a good way to gauge public opinion. I guess Mexicans are kind of like the average right-wing nut American, except the Mexicans don’t hate the Mexicans. But the desperation and sense of powerlessness, apparently, drives the paranoia.

    • Hey Brandan,
      I think a lot of the rumors and theories come from a long history of profoundly corrupt governance. But a lot of people I meet here are able to both “believe” in conspiracy theories, while also prescribing to more realistic theories or causes. This is dangerous territory probably better left to trains professionals.
      Elections are coming up here on the 5th of May, and a lot of people thinks it’s the Swine Flu is connected to that. (Though it’s not clear who it benefits). In one way this is a government conspiracy in the sense that a lot of the decesions being made are probably based on political factors rather than what’s best for the people. And that makes people angry. The government is now saying 7 people are confirmed dead, and a lot of people here are like, ok so 25 people a week die from Narco Violence, over 10,000 from lung diseases, so why are we shutting down the schools, and taking work away from the poor if it’s just 7 dead people. Just some thoughts.

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