San Miguel History Through the Pages of Atención, Part Two
By Jesús Aguado
Below are excerpts of some important and curious news items that have been published in Atención in the last 40 years. In this issue, we highlight the years from 1984 to 1987.
Mayor’s store plundered and set afire
The foundation of the Fire Department was in 1984. Also, that year, we had mail theft by the mailmen from the post office. But the news that really marked the year was the fire at the then mayor’s furniture store.
On April 27 that year, Atención reported that “according to eyewitnesses” the trouble began after a meeting of the PDM party in the Jardín at 10pm on a Saturday. People from the meeting went to the city hall building and began throwing rocks, breaking most of the windows. Unable to get inside, they turned and walked to mayor Luis Ferro de la Sota’s store. The perpetrators broke down the doors and rushed in. For about 40 minutes they carried out washing machines, television sets, and furniture, most of which were destroyed on the street. Then both floors of the building were set on fire.
The fire department was called but did not arrive. The fire was put out by neighbors with pails of water. Two men were arrested and charged with the crime: Juan Gabriel Torres Landa (son of a former Guanajuato governor) and José Guadalupe Pérez, an active member of the PDM.
The bolillo almost disappeared
The bread for making the popular tortas increased its price from two to five pesos in Mexico. In San Miguel, La Colmena bakery—that of the blue doors on Reloj street—offered the bolillo for two pesos, but in other cities it was discontinued by the bakery owners because they were losing money despite the government subsidies for the flour. “We lose about five cents on each bolilillo,” said Antonio Rayas, owner of La Colmena, “and some customers even expect a free bag.” At that time the bakery sold up to 26,000 bolillos a day.
The bank of Mexico, in its effort to remove the paper money in circulation, mainly the 500 and 100 bill, issued the 100 peso coin with a bearded Venustiano Carranza.
Ignacio Allende rode and rode
In 1969, an equestrian statue was placed at the current Plaza Cívica after the destruction of the market to adorn the plaza and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Ignacio Allende’s birth, inaugurated by president of Mexico, Díaz Ordaz. In January 1985, it was relocated in el Mirador. Years later, it ended up at the traffic circle in front of the Plaza Real del Conde.
In April, the municipality needed at least 50 police officers for watching the population of almost 100,000 inhabitants. The local government worked on an aggressive call for hiring more policemen, nevertheless they only had the response of eight men who were hired and the number of police officers went from 22 to 30.
Like in one of Gabriel García Márquez’s stories—A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings; The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother; or One Hundred Years of Solitude—the Atayde Hermanos Circus arrived in town and it did not only perform under its canvas at the current Cardo parking lot, but held a parade through the main streets of the city with unchained elephants, camels, and other animals. Atención reported the event as “a real old-time circus parade.” The baseball stadium was inaugurated.