Have you noticed anything missing from all of the world jubilation slideshows that just about every major news organization is running? The L.A. Times, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times were among those who ran some really great photos of reactions from just about everywhere in the world – except Mexico.
This isn’t because there was no interest here; there were heavily-attended election parties at the U.S. Embassy, at a fancy Polanco hotel and at an expat bar in Condesa. My guess is that all of the correspondents were otherwise occupied.
Right around the time the first returns started rolling in, a small Learjet crashed near Reforma, one of the busiest streets in Mexico City. Among the nine passengers killed in the crash were several high-ranking government officials including 37-year-old interior minister Juan Camilo Mouriño. He was President Calderon’s right-hand man and many believed he was being groomed to run for office in the next presidential election. In addition to the passengers, five civilians were killed, and at least 40 were injured.
So, unlike the election parties in most of the rest of the world, elation here was interspersed with shock. During commercial breaks revelers switched over to Televisa for images of scorched automobiles and sound bites from officials attempting to douse the flames of the rumors that immediately began swirling in the wreckage.
Fantasies of running through the streets draped in an American flag while shouting “Obamanos” evaporated, as parts of those streets were strewn with carnage. However, Americans who had recently celebrated Dia de los Muertos with our Mexican compatriots, seemed to keep in mind the lessons learned on that holiday as we witnessed one of our country’s most joyful moments. In a place where death can come raining down from the sky in the middle of rush hour and even five-year-old children die violent deaths at the hands of kidnappers, you learn very quickly that there’s a time to mourn, and a time to bask in the utter joy of life’s miracles, even if those times inexplicably overlap.
When CNN officially called it for Obama, Americans and their Mexican friends around DF jumped up from their chairs and from the last eight years to dance, hug, and shout for victory. At the Black Horse bar in Condesa, the DJ played James Brown and 20-somethings drunk on palomas shouted “The Star Spangled Banner” after Obama’s acceptance speech. Then it was back into the dark night to dream of what was next for both countries.