On my very first trip to Latin America, I spent the night in a city called Villahermosa in Mexico as I wrote here.
It was late at night and we stayed in some hotel at some neighborhood that didn’t look the greatest back then or in hindsight.
No real lighting outside on the street.
Soldiers armed with some machine guns or shit rolling down.
But, despite the uglier appearance of this specific street, it was interesting to see.
The contrast between this and home.
In fact, there were many things that contrasted sharply with life back home that I wrote about in that article mentioned.
How loud the people were yelling about their combi service to drive them somewhere.
The amount of trash outside.
The rougher and uglier looking buildings.
The amount of people selling things in the street such as tamales and whatever else under the sun.
And, on that specific night before I got to see more of the above, I was standing on the balcony of this hotel.
This balcony that had a certain design to it that you wouldn’t see in Iowa.
And a hotel room that fit accordingly with some seemingly Spanish style design.
Going back into that hotel room, I picked up a newspaper that was just laying around.
And again the contrast between life back home and life down here hit me again.
On the front page was the image of someone dead with blood all over the floor.
What happened to him?
Honestly, I don’t remember.
He died somehow and the news is showing the image of his dead body with all the blood.
What did the other photos on the newspaper show?
Well, it’s been almost a decade, so I can only guess on some of them outside those that stood out.
If I had to guess, maybe there were some photos of some soccer players and maybe a few pictures of big tittied Latinas to catch the eyes of passbyers that might buy this newspaper.
All mixed in with more images that I do remember of more dead people.
How did they die?
Your guess is as good mine.
And those 3 types of images are typical in a newspaper down here.
- Soccer players doing a Oscar winning performance where they pretend to be dying on the field.
- Big tittied Latinas in bikinis to catch the attention of people who might buy the newspaper in the street.
- Someone dead with maybe some blood.
Now, to be fair, not all of the above is entirely new to the US.
You got our news coverage of sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.
Well, back in my day, we had hot women like this in our commercials.
And, while you might not see that as much on the TV these days I think, we aren’t shy as a society to seeing women dressing up more provocatively anyhow.
It's the old concept every culture knows about -- "sex sells."
And, to be fair, we got plenty of news coverage about more violent things like school shootings, terrorist attacks, etc.
The difference though, for me at that time, was to see something in the newspaper where you would see less censored images of violence.
With the blood and all.
Maybe someone hung from a bridge.
An individual who died in a vehicle accident.
So on and so on.
If I can, maybe I’ll find a newspaper outside that shows what I mean also and post it here.
When getting lunch, I did see some lady selling some but the copy didn’t have any gory images.
Which is to say also that obviously not every newspaper is going to show you the worst of the worst.
In my experience down here, it kinda feels like only certain newspapers go that far in showing images that eye catching.
And while seeing a newspaper like that for the first time wasn’t shocking, it was eye opening as, similar to the other details mentioned, it simply showed another stark contrast between life home and life down here.
Over the years though, it’s not really as noticeable anymore.
I think I got used to seeing newspapers with images like that because it’s not really a big deal and just a minor observation you’ll have about life down here quite possibly.
Though, to be fair, I don’t think I have seen as many bloody images of folks in the newspapers in a while and actually, as I write this, have wondered why that is the case.
Then I found this video here about the mayor of CDMX discussing penalties for those who share images of victims of violence.
Still, that’s just Mexico City and that seems to be only about censoring images of victims of violence and not victims of car accidents or whatever.
Outside of CDMX anyhow, you also had Oaxaca recently take action against the distribution of images of victims of violence as you can see here where those guilty of this can go to jail for 7 years.
“Oaxaca, Oax. La difusión de imágenes de violencia se ha trivializado tanto que se ha perdido de vista la apología al crimen que se comete contra las víctimas. Por ello, el Congreso de Oaxaca aprobó castigar con hasta siete años de prisión a todo aquel que difunda, filtre o distribuya imágenes de víctimas de violencia en la entidad.
Particularmente, la Diputada Magaly López presentó esta iniciativa a raíz del caso de Ingrid Escamilla, asesinada de manera brutal por su pareja y de quien fueron filtradas imágenes terribles que exponían los actos criminales a los que fue sometido su cuerpo.”
And I say quite possibly because, truth be told, I don’t know if this is something you’ll see all across Latin America.
While I’ve been to most countries down here, I haven’t been running around comparing the newspapers in every single country to each other down here.
I know it’s something that you might see in Mexico and, if I remember right, I think it’s something you could find in Guatemala.
What about Peru or Uruguay?
I’ll leave that to others to tell me because I don’t know remember.
Anyhow, as I said, I don’t mind seeing more violent images in the newspapers but, after reading arguments against it like in that last article cited about Oaxaca, I can understand why they’d begin censoring that stuff.
Give respect to the victims and the families of victims obviously.
And protect the children and all who might casually see that stuff on newspapers in public.
I always enjoyed having newspapers with images of dead bodies and such anyhow.
That way whenever anyone back home asks me “is Mexico safe?”
I can just casually send back a photo of myself with the newspaper open showing someone’s dead body and be like “of course!”
At any rate, that’s all I got to say.
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