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2024 update: lots of new stories!

Nathaniel Janowitz : January 12, 2024 6:17 pm : Blog/News/Updates/Whatever, Uncategorized

I just updated my website with lots of new work from the past 3+ years with VICE. It’s been a wild time, meeting Bloods and Crips in Belize, hunting for UFOs in the Chilean Andes, and smoking the worst weed in the world in Paraguay. Click on the image to check out some new work:

Photos:

TL: El Marcianito walks along Miramar beach in Mexico, where locals believe aliens live in a secret underwater base called Amupac a few miles off the Gulf Coast and protect the region from hurricanes.

TR: A member of an elite anti-gang unit patrols Belize City’s dangerous Southside neighborhood.

BR: From his wheelchair, Daniel Rivera tries to keep kids from being recruited into cartels by teaching them survival skills outside of one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities: Fresnillo, Zacatecas.

BM: The vast marijuana fields of the Paraguayan countryside.

MR: A local demonstrates the infamous “chinga tu madre” whistle in Mexico City.

BR: A tour guide in Chile stands on the Enladrillado peak, which locals believe is actually a UFO landing strip.

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Bubble on a Budget: Mexican Basketball in the Time of Coronavirus

Nathaniel Janowitz : September 25, 2020 3:12 pm : Blog/News/Updates/Whatever

A new feature with The New York Times about Mexico’s return to basketball during the pandemic.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The day before Antonio Álvarez’s home debut for the Astros de Jalisco, his hometown basketball team, the power forward waited in a hotel room in Guadalajara under strict isolation protocols, listening to occasional fireworks. Outside, Mexican Independence Day celebrations raged for those ignoring the government’s social distancing guidelines. Álvarez said his family was at home, electing not to partake in the festivities because of the surging coronavirus outbreak.

His family often watched him compete on the court while he was growing up in Guadalajara, the Jalisco state capital. But now, even though he was playing in Mexico’s highest professional basketball league and representing Jalisco, the coronavirus pandemic meant that his family couldn’t watch him in person, instead having to follow along from their home on the other side of Guadalajara.

“It’s a bit weird to be so close to my house, but I can’t go there,” Álvarez, 21, said in Spanish. He added, “To have my family close, but they can’t be there in the arena — it’s a difficult situation, but it’s the best that we can do at this time to keep our families and the team safe.” READ MORE.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/sports/basketball/mexico-basketball.html

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My new investigation with BuzzFeed News about the strange relationship between the Mexican government and BP

Nathaniel Janowitz : September 28, 2018 7:55 pm : Blog/News/Updates/Whatever

A two-year-long investigation by BuzzFeed News and the corporate transparency initiative PODER can reveal for the first time that:

  • The Mexican government quietly settled a five-year-long lawsuit against BP in return for a $25.5 million payment; over $15 million has already been paid even though they’ve never made a public announcement about the dismissal of the lawsuit or payment.
  • This agreement released BP from responsibility for any damages caused by the spill in Mexican waters.
  • Mexico said it could find no evidence of pollution caused by BP — potentially ignoring research submitted at least twice by some of Mexico’s most respected scientists.
  • The government spent millions funding 22 scientific studies that it did not introduce as evidence in its lawsuit. It also withheld them from the public.
  • The Mexican government simultaneously handed numerous lucrative energy contracts to BP, including five oil-drilling sites, two natural gas pipeline contracts, and a plan to build 1,500 BP-branded gas stations.

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My latest for ESPN about Mexican wrestling’s ‘Microestrellas’

Nathaniel Janowitz : July 19, 2018 5:36 pm : Blog/News/Updates/Whatever

Little People in the Lucha Libre are the main event.

The man in a red mask with a silver M on the side of his head claimed he’s the smallest lucha libre wrestler in Mexico. The 19-year-old measures in at one meter (a little over 3 feet) and he chose a name to honor his size: Microman.

Microman grew up in the lucha libre, Mexico’s colorful brand of professional wrestling. His father, KeMonito, is one of the sport’s biggest stars, although he isn’t considered a wrestler. KeMonito dons a blue, full-body monkey suit reminiscent of an Ewok and has worked since the 1980s as a sidekick, known as a mascota, which translates to English as both mascot and pet.

Microman is following in his father’s footsteps, sort of.

He is one of eight microestrellas, or microstars, taking part in a new program in Mexico’s most prominent wrestling federation, the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). Under the microestrellas program, founded by a popular lucha libre star, the wrestlers train to compete at the highest level, deploying turnbuckle maneuvers and aerial techniques; this is characteristic of larger-sized wrestlers rather than mascotas, who are often tossed around in the ring.

“There’s people that support us, there’s people that like our matches,” Microman said as he prepared for that night’s 3-on-3 tag-team battle in one of the featured lucha libre cards. “There’s people that don’t like it, people who simply insult us, that don’t like this concept. They say that we shouldn’t be here.”

READ MORE

Photos by Jonathan Levinson

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My investigation for The Intercept about “the Loyal Ones”, a secret police disappearance unit in Mexico.

Nathaniel Janowitz : May 20, 2018 3:29 pm : Blog/News/Updates/Whatever

“The officers took Murrieta behind a gas station where Trujillo interrogated him as two of his men beat him. Trujillo made a phone call, then instructed his men to take Murrieta to Xalapa’s Lencero Police Academy and transfer him to a secret special unit named Los Fieles, or “the Loyal Ones.” Murrieta’s mother never saw him again.

In Mexico, at least 33,000 people are believed to have disappeared at the hands of cartels or corrupt state forces since the war on drugs was declared in 2006. Impunity is the norm, and Bermúdez is possibly the highest ranking Mexican official to be charged with the human rights crime. The entire country is watching the case to see if the charges will reach even higher up the chain of command to Javier Duarte, Veracruz’s ex-governor, who is currently awaiting trial for corruption charges. Last week, the current state governor said that his predecessor Duarte had personally known of at least 19 disappearances that took place during his term.” READ MORE.

Maria del Carmen’s son Hugo was disappeared by the Loyal Ones

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