Mexico is a beautiful country: diverse, superstitious, contradictory. A wildly popular weekly television program features viewers' UFO videos, and a pointy boots craze is sweeping the northeastern part of the country. Doofy Anglos are freaking about the impending baktun kiss goodbye of Dec. 21, 2012 — while failing to realize that the Mayans utilized no less than three calendrical systems, none of which has survived intact. Enough of the fun stuff, though: The schizo mezcla of poverty, abundant natural resources, political corruption and narcoviolence overshadow the fact that at the Chiapas Zoo, the jaguars are penned in with cyclone fencing. On the streets of Juarez, folks complain about Chinese-made goods for sale, while thousands of innocents are killed each year due to drug violence. (Tijuana border patrol agents now make sure children heading north are not corpses stuffed with narcotics.) Zocalo Public Square — a floating intellectual fiesta that seeks out neutral spaces “for conversation and deliberation” — will be Telling Mexico's Stories, moderated by Mexico City-based news producer Susana Seijas. The panel — which includes the Dallas Morning News' Alfredo Corchado, Belo TV's Angela Kocherga, Mexico's Imagen News' Ana Maria Salazar and Gatopardo editor Guillermo Osorno — will discuss democratization and drug violence, among other things, attempting to fashion “a coherent story for a country with so many divergent plot lines.”

Wed., June 1, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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