Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Today's Mexico City Headlines: Welcome to our capital, Mr. Bond. Try to make us look good, okay? Oh, and by the way, here's a little something for your trouble.

Daniel Craig, tuxed and looking tough, gets a third of Reforma’s above-the-fold news hole, behind the superimposed headline “Mexico bribes James Bond.” Excelsior also gives 007 some prime front-page real estate, in the form of a photo-reefer with a head that sounds like a book to be written: “Waiting for Bond in Xicoténcatl.” Maybe a sequel to “Reading Lolita in Tehran.”
    Both heads need explaining, but the news hook is simple: Filming of the Mexico City segment of the 24th James Bond movie, aka “Spectre,” starts in the heart of the Historic Center in a few days. “Xicoténcatl” — the initial “X” has an “sh” sound — is shorthand for the abandoned Senate venue, the one with the expensive buckets and coffee machines we discussed here on Monday.
    Most of the shooting will take place near that edifice, in an especially beautiful area of the old city that includes turn-of-the-(20th)-century government buildings converted to museums.
    The papers are exploiting the inevitable buzz of a new Bond, and maybe a little civic pride from the local setting. We’ll see how folks feel when the reality of closed streets and inaccessible public buildings sinks in.
    The “bribe” of the Reforma head is about money changing hands as a result of the Mexican filming location, which we know about thanks to the North Korean hack job on Sony several months ago. It’s not that Mexico City charged the producers for the right to shoot in its streets. Quite the opposite. The Mexican federal government handed over millions in exchange for imposing some script stipulations. Everybody wants to be a screenwriter.
    You see, the rest of us may watch a Bond film to see how he eludes his villain captor, who never seems to think of just shooting him in the brain right away. But to the Mexican government, it’s a promotional video. Which is why it was willing to pay to make sure the metropolis is shown in a positive light.
    According to Reforma (and other reports over the last few months), the money buys, among other things, the inclusion of  establishing shots featuring the modern skyscrapers that have gone up in recent years. How that fits with shooting in the oldest part of the city remains to be seen. Guess we’ll have to watch the movie, due out in the fall.
Federal forces nabbed another drug lord yesterday, the third in two weeks. This one, known affectionately as El Gordo, is relative small fry, No. 91 on the most-wanted list. That may be why only two papers front the news — Milenio in its No. 2 slot with “The man who held Acapulco in suspense is caught” and La Jornada with “El Gordo apprehended, capo of Acapulco cartel.”
    The feds tracked him down in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, five states away from his operations in Acapulco, Guerrero. In that once-attractive resort city, his organization — with the prosaic name of the Independent Cartel of Acapulco — vied for dominance with the long-established Beltrán Leyva gang, the Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos.
    La Jornada reports that El Gordo, whose real name is Víctor Aguirre Garzón, is a “presumed cousin” of disgraced former Guerrero Governor Ángel Heladio Aguirre Rivero. Presumably, we’ll learn more about that soon.

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