TIJUANA, Mexico-Fuel shortages, unchecked holiday violence, and an explosive fireworks disaster have blighted these last weeks in Mexico, capping off a year plagued by political corruption scandals, cartel bloodletting, and a plummeting currency value.
The violence-afflicted country, which two weeks ago solemnly marked one decade in its unending drug war, obsessed about a rural 15-year-old’s birthday party in what may have been the strangest quinceañera in Mexico’s history, and what certainly was the most talked about fiesta of the year.
Last Monday, as many as 60,000 people-including journalists from dozens of news outlets-travelled to the state of San Luis Potosí north of Mexico’s capital to celebrate Rubí Ibarra’s birthday, which was among the top trending stories on Mexican Twitter and YouTube, and dominated the national media’s news coverage.
What started as a country cruelly mocking the rural birthday girl’s party, soon did a 180 as Mexico became the butt of its own joke.
While the attention it got obscured dozens of more important news stories, in another sense the country saw nearly everything that is wrong with Mexico unfold in the story of Rubí’s bubbling, bumbling birthday celebration.
Rubí’s uncle explained that the now-deceased man had been drinking-likely some of the copiously dispensed tequila provided by sponsors, or the free beer sent by Heineken-brand Tecate, or jello shots courtesy of a Mexico City company, or indeed all of the above.
In days leading up to the party, a video made the rounds showing Rubí’s fraught mother as she explained the jesting cruelty was beginning to affect her.