Turkeys were on the menu in Mexico 1,500 years ago

A boy and his mother with domestic turkeys in Oaxaca, near the location where the ancient turkey remains were discovered. (Linda Nicholas/ The Field Museum)
A boy and his mother with domestic turkeys in Oaxaca, near the location where the ancient turkey remains were discovered. (Linda Nicholas/ The Field Museum)

By Mindy Weisberger / Live Science

On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans will sit down to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. Although the U.S. holiday is only a few centuries old, archaeological evidence suggests that in Mexico’s central valleys of Oaxaca, turkey was on the menu much earlier — starting at least 1,500 years ago.

In fact, the amount of turkey remains found at a site inhabited by the Zapotec people suggests that turkey meals back then were “second only to dog” in popularity, the researchers wrote in a new study.

The archaeologists described excavating the remains of adult and juvenile turkeys; whole, unhatched eggs; and eggshell fragments from two residential structures dated between A.D. 300 and 1200.

The locations and context of the bones and eggshells suggested both domestic and ritual use of the animals, and “multiple lines of evidence” hinted that the breeding and raising of turkeys were commonplace in the region by A.D. 400 to 600, providing the earliest known evidence of turkey domestication, the study authors wrote.


Mariachis parade in Mexico City to honor patron saint

Reuters – Hundreds of mariachi folk musicians filled the streets of Mexico City on Tuesday to celebrate and serenade the feast day of Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Clad in their traditional cropped jackets and wide sombreros, the mariachi guitarists, trumpeters and violinists played songs and marched in procession to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


IMF cuts Mexico growth forecast on trade worries

Reuters – Mexico is facing risks to its growth from trade protectionism, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, as it cut its growth forecast for the coming years for Latin America’s No. 2 economy. The IMF revised its forecast for Mexican gross domestic product growth for 2016 to 2.1 percent from a 2.5 percent rate seen in July, according to its annual Article IV report on the country. It cut its 2017 growth forecast to 2.2 percent from 2.6 percent.


Haitians at border face harsh reality

NPR – Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year. But the U.S. welcome mat is gone, and the new wave of Haitians is in for a harsh reception.


Program helps Central Americans travel in Mexico

El Paso Times – Mexico is expecting a surge of Central Americans traveling from the U.S. to their home countries for the holidays. To help the Central Americans travel safely to their home countries and get cleared faster by Mexican customs, the Mexican government for the first time has implemented a pilot program, “Amigo Centroamericano,” or Central American Friend.


Pena Nieto’s rating falls to new low after Trump victory

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City, November 9, 2016. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City, November 9, 2016. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

By David Graham / Reuters

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s approval rating has slumped to a new low since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency last week, in part due to his invitation of the real estate tycoon to Mexico during the campaign, a poll showed.

The survey by polling firm Buendia & Laredo for newspaper El Universal said approval of Pena Nieto’s performance had fallen to 25 percent from 29 percent in July, hurt by discontent about the economy, rising violence and failure to battle corruption.

Pena Nieto’s six-year term concludes at the end of November 2018, and opinion polls show his centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) faces an uphill battle to retain power after the next presidential election, scheduled for July 2018.

Mexican law bars the president from seeking re-election.

When asked what was the “worst thing” Pena Nieto had done, seven percent of respondents cited the meeting with Trump, the third most common answer. Only his reforms (12 percent), and failing to battle crime (nine percent) were cited more often.


Canada, Mexico have own Nafta demands

Global News – President-elect Donald Trump‘s plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to make it “a lot better” for U.S. workers would not be a one-way street for his administration, as Canada and Mexico prepare their own list of demands that could require difficult U.S. concessions.


Mexico’s options in a Trump trade war

WSJ – It won’t be so easy for Trump to bully the neighbors. National pride will play a role in stiffening the Mexican spine, and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government is signaling that it intends to face any crisis by deepening structural reforms, getting its fiscal house in order and looking more aggressively for new trading partners. The unspoken message to Trump is that if he plays the protectionist game, Mexico is ready to raise the stakes.


Carstens hopes Tump won’t be a “hurricane”

Last week, Mexico’s central bank pulled the trigger on a “contingency plan” to weather a Trump presidency. Agustin Carstens, head of the Bank of Mexico, is on high alert. It’s his job to protect his country if Trump acts on what he calls “hurricane” level anti-Mexico campaign promises. For now, he hopes that’s not going to happen.


The Trump effect on U.S.-Mexico water talks

Politico – Negotiators who’ve worked for years are pressing to finish a new water-sharing deal over the dwindling supplies from the Colorado River before president-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20 — or put at risk years of fruitful collaboration on the sharing of cross-border water supplies that are vital to both countries,


Aerial photos show difficulty of building a wall

borderHuff Post – Mexican photographer Pablo López Luz started taking aerial photographs of the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 ― long before President-elect Donald Trump made the construction of a border wall the central promise of his campaign. One key discovery, he said, was that “most of this territory can’t even be crossed.”


The case of Mexico’s disappearing governors

Javier Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz state, went underground last month after being accused of looting billions in taxpayer money. (Marco Ugarte/AP Photo)
Javier Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz state, went underground last month after being accused of looting billions in taxpayer money. (Marco Ugarte/AP Photo)

By Nacha Cattan / Bloomberg

Before Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte went on the lam, there was Eugenio Hernandez, and Tomas Yarrington, and Jorge Torres Lopez, and Mario Villanueva, and, until last week, Guillermo Padres. (There are still others.) All governors at one time, all who took it on the run, trailing corruption charges like clanging cans that fell on deaf ears.

Crooked governors have evaded the law for decades in Mexico, either through agreements struck with presidential administrations or an inability of law enforcement to seize them or their assets, says Mike Vigil, the former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Many governors in Mexico are corrupt,” said Vigil, whose territory included Mexico until his retirement in 2004. ”It’s rare that we can get to these governors because many times they’re protected” by the administration in power. Marko Cortes, lower-house leader of the opposition National Action Party, or PAN, concurred, saying Duarte’s escape “appears as if it was something agreed upon.”

It was supposed to be different this time. Enrique Pena Nieto returned the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to the presidency in 2012 partly on an anti-corruption platform, yet the scandals continue (including his own).


Mexico prepares for wave of deportations from U.S.

AP – Mexico is starting to seriously contemplate the possibility that millions of its migrants could be deported, and the picture is not pretty. Under proposals put forward by President-elect Donald Trump, Mexico could see millions of people streaming back with no jobs available; the country might lose some of the billions of dollars in remittances sent home annually; and some jobless deportees could swell the ranks of drug cartels, sparking more violence.


Ford going ahead with moving production to Mexico

Reuters – Ford Motor Co is moving ahead with plans to shift production of small cars to Mexico from Michigan, while “two very important products” will be built in its U.S. factories, Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields says. President-elect Donald Trump has criticized Ford for the decision to shift production of Focus small cars to Mexico in 2018, and said he would consider levying tariffs on Mexican-made Fords.