"That was no lady ..."

Ladies 1

In an earlier post I wrote about Avenida Masaryk, and Polanco, the neighborhood where the boulevard is located. A little over a week ago, on the corner of Masaryk and La Fontaine -- an intersection about which I have also previously posted -- police attempted to detain two women. The aborted arrest was filmed on someone's telephone, posted on Twitter and You Tube, and went viral, under the heading of "Las ladies de Polanco".

I confess to being a little overwhelmed by this piece of film, which lasts less than a minute and a half. Where to begin? Let's start with the language of the "ladies." Among other things they say to the police, certain phrases stick out, such as -- these are rough translations of very specific Mexican slang -- "fucking shithead faggot" and "fuck your mother, you fucking shithead wage slave." (My apologies to any readers who have never heard such language before. I learned most of my Spanish on the streets of Mexico City, from some very foul-mouthed friends, but these gals raised my eyebrows.)


One of the beauties exhorts those filming to send the footage to Joaquín López Dóriga, the most well known Mexican newscaster. It should come as no surprise that these instructions were followed to the letter. The newsman didn't have much to add to the story, but his broadcasts have made the señoritas more famous than ever.

This was no mean feat as, days after the story surfaced, the girls were identified as Azalia Ojeda (above), who was part of the cast of a reality show a few years back, and María Vanessa Polo Cajica (below), who won a beauty contest in Puebla in 2004. Ojeda was taken to the station house a few days after the altercation was filmed, to make a statement before the police.

Maria Vanessa

Last Friday, Ojeda paid a fine of about $150 for hitting the policeman, and afterwards, she offered a public apology, beside her lawyer. Further charges have not been pressed. Yet. The plot thickened on Saturday, with the announcement that, in 2009, she had worked for 62 days in Mexico State as a "policía bancaria". These are armed guards outside banks. It appears that even though she stopped working two years ago, she is still earning 3000 pesos a month.

I couldn't have expressed this when I began to write about Mexico, but looking over the books I have published, I realize I have always felt that this is a misunderstood country. I wanted to write about the Mexico I saw, and illustrate how it differed from the standard misconceptions. Implicitly I have hoped that some of my work might stir readers to question their received ideas.

But, like I said, I am flummoxed by this story. What does it say about the supposedly frightening and feared police? About the, um, sensitive flower of Mexican womanhood? About the conduct of the clientele in swanky Polanco? Believe it or not this, has been a huge story here in the last week, appearing all over TV, radio and the newspapers. For example, Manuel Mondragón, the police chief of Mexico City, has appeared in any media that would invite him, denouncing the behavior of the ladies, and commending his troops for showing such remarkable restraint.

What I really wonder about is why this story caught fire. In the same week, an actual blaze set by thugs in a casino in Monterrey caused the deaths of 53 people, and it surfaced that, so far this year, 46 taxi drivers have been murdered in Acapulco. Is this kind of a story a (no pun intended) smokescreen for what is really happening in Mexico?

I would be most grateful to anyone -- lady or otherwise -- who thinks she can parse this for me.