Some Mexican workers – gardeners, handymen, maids and cooks – employed by foreigners say circumstances change their jobs too often.
For more than a few, their previous U.S. dueños have returned north. For others, foreign retirees are elderly, and the actuarial table tolls too often. Many patrones have died of what their employees sometimes find incomprehensible illnesses brought from the north. Workers, suspecting contagious illnesses, confer with doctors and brujas, and in local iglesias they ask for saintly protection. Yet other patrones have been roughed up or killed by thieves, or criminals who prey on those who seem wealthy in local terms. Exiting a bank, stepping away from an ATM machine while counting money fairly universally invites bad news.
An eight-year drug war featuring seemingly an endless supply of out-of-control torturers and butcherers, emphasizes to Mexicans that a knock on the door by a stranger may mean heavy trouble. Danger also exists in situations such as riñas, feuds which may linger quietly for years, then explode with no warning. Riñas are most traditionally caused by land disputes, rustled livestock, and some personal slight judged unforgivable, or by insults hurled at family members.
There are inter-familial feuds, often caused by the way possessions, usually land – again – are dispersed upon the death of a family patriarch. I have a good friend whose father was killed by an uncle over such a “disagreement.” The uncle was in prison for some time. But due to the absence of logical law and its application, he has been free, living near the rest of the family, and in possession of an automatic pistol.