Thursday, January 17, 2008

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

With 2008 starting off with a record number of drug murders - record, in comparison to last year's record, which broke the record of the previous year - the Mexican authorities have got a bit of a p.r. situation on their hands, since the public is starting to think that, y'know, there may be a problem here.

So the Public Security Secretariat has set out to restore calm and reassure the populace, by making a list of Things More Likely to Kill You Than Nacro-Assassins, including the happy fact, carried on the front page of El Universal yesterday, that a Mexican is more likely to die of AIDS than turn up bound, gagged and riddled with bullets in a roadside ditch.

And it's true! With 5,000 AIDS deaths a year here, versus approx. 2600 narco-murders, you're almost twice as likely to die of AIDS! So cheer up, Mexico!


Patrick said...

I can't decide which possibility is less appalling: 1) that there are in fact 50,000 AIDS deaths a year in Mexico rather than 5,000 2) you believe that 50,000 is only twice divisible by 2,600, or 3) the local death squad, having read your blog and seeing how much catching up they have to do, will now ramp up their efforts by a power of 10. Way to go, Koughan.

Burro Hall said...

Well, 5,000 is actually only 1.923 times as much as 2,600, but I was rounding. The way the gunmen are putting numbers on the board so far this year, though, they might be giving AIDS a run for its money. What t hat will mean is that next year we'll see a pr blitz by the Health Ministry, saying that AIDS is so well under control that you have a better of chance of being killed by drug cartels. Everybody wins.

Patrick said...

You sly bastard. You went and changed the original number you'd written from "5,0000" to 5,000 after my post, then acted like that's what you'd written all along. I call foul! Maybe you can get away with that sort of thing in the third-world country, but not on my watch, friend, not on my watch.

Anonymous said...

I always screw up using "Blogger's" Identity thingy...

I've been known to fuck up statistical analysis in the past, but every health organization (and even the CIA) accepts 5000 deaths from AIDS per year as the correct number for Mexico. The figure for the U.S. (with three times the population) is 17,011 (how they got the exact number I don't know).

AIDS cases did skyrocket in the late 1980s, but at least when Julio Frenk Mora was Sec. de Salud, the issue began to be taken seriously. Despite financial problems, Mexico does have a pretty decent record in dealing with the disease (

The biggest problem right now is that dirt-poor countries get some breaks on their purchases of medication, but Mexico is still locked into buying foreign-made medication through one company. If they did like Brazil or Thailand and broke the patents, they'd probably see a further drop in mortality.

And, there's another reason Mexicans don't contract AIDS as often as one would expect.

In the U.S. just mentioning condoms freaks out the right wing. In Mexico, I had to get some condoms for my neighbor's 12-year old kid, for a "show and tell" at his CATHOLIC SCHOOL health class presentation. MUch better public health than "abstinence only" -- which is laughingly called "education" in the country that also thinks "intelligent design" is science.

The mortality rate -- and HIV infection rate -- is still too high. The most likely to be infected are Mexicans who contracted the virus in the U.S., followed by English-speaking prostitutes in bordertown "Boy's Towns."

I worry a hell of a lot more about HIV than getting offed by the Aurellano-Felix gang. "Make love, not narcotics deals" ... but ¡uso un condon!

The cranky Mexfiles guy (

Burro Hall said...

Rich - Correct as always, and I certainly didn't mean to impugn a sex-ed policy that frankly, the US would do well to emulate. I just thought there was something amusingly...Mexican about a public official bringing up 5,000 preventable deaths a year as a way of reassuring the populace.

(By the way, the mortality rate for jokes that have been deconstructed and explained in public: 100%, on both sides of the border.)

Patrick - You've heard of the "self-correcting blogosphere," no?

Patrick said...

Sweet Christ almighty ... I'm sure there's a blogging lesson in all of this, if only I could figure out what it is. Maybe later. Right now, I've got to go write a post cracking wise about abortion, global warming, and intelligent design.

Burro Hall said...

Indeed there is, my gaijin amigo, and here it is: None of the so-called rules of our former profession apply here! Here, watch this.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who has been in a long-term lesbian relationship with a curator at the Smithsonian Institute, is said to be pregnant. The sperm donor is said to be folk-rock musician David Crosby.

See that? No research, no time-consuming quest for on the record comment or even off the record confirmation, just whoot! there it is! Published on the internets for the world to see. (And if anyone reading this happens to be, say, a member of Dr. Rice's legal team, I suggest you re-read the above item slowly, sounding out the words "is said to be" a couple of times before pouring yourself a nice gibson during billable hours. We cool here?)