This week, yet another artist has spoken out passionately about the precarious state of Mexican society. Film director and Geek Emperor, Guillermo del Toro had some strong words for Mexican politicians during a recent press conference at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, which he helped found back in 1986. Railing against the country’s endemic corruption and the lack of political will among its leaders, del Toro sounded off more than a few spicy sound bites that local media have been eating up like a plate of mole poblano.
“I would love to sit down with the political class and light a fire under them so they might have a sense of history, rather than just a desire to steal,” was one rather piquant quote he concluded by saying: “Many of us will be forgotten, but the bullshit they do will be remembered by history.”
Referencing the litany of corruption scandals that have left Enrique Peña Nieto’s government virtually unscathed in the wake of the Ayotzinapa massacre, del Toro suggested Mexico was living a historical moment of social decomposition, and that the country’s politicians don’t realize their careless acts have the potential of bringing down the entire nation.
Indeed, though the Ayotzinapa protests have subsided, concern about the state of the country is growing to alarming levels, mostly due to what many perceive as the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) arrogance and flagrant abuses of power, as well as corrupt politician’s virtual impunity in the eyes of government institutions.
“If we had the percentage of failures that the Mexican government has, we would be unemployed. It’s a banquet of shit that’s only edible when you cut it up into little chunks,” he continued, making an unfortunate food analogy that likely caused for more than a few empty plates at the Festival’s buffet lunch.
Del Toro famously left Mexico for Toronto in the late 90s when his father was kidnapped and held for an undisclosed ransom that put exceptional economic pressure on him and his family. He has previously referred to himself as living in a self-imposed “involuntary exile” from his country, and at the press conference referenced a shelved feature entitled Plata that he has been unable to shoot in Mexico due to safety concerns.
On Thursday, after receiving an Honorary Texan Award from the Austin Film Society, del Toro was more lighthearted about the affair. He joked about the kidnapping, equating it to working for the Weinstein brothers (who ran Miramax at the time.)