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Pepe Arciga

July 1, 2007 |  4:05 pm

July 1, 1957

1957_arciga_3In the midst of clapping castanets, kicking heels and flying Spanish skirts during a whirlwind visit to La Golondrina one night last week, I asked a question of Mexico's attorney general, Lic. Jose Aguilar y Maya.

"Senor Procurador, in view of Mexico's aggressive road-building program, do you think there's a possibility of your government enacting legislation which would exclude visiting Americans from landing in jail if involved in automobile collisions?"

The attorney general, native of the romantic city of Guanajuato and certainly one of Mexico's ablest men of law, did not answer that one right away.

He adjusted his glasses and, in the semi-darkness, I could see that here was a man whose face indicated kindness and understanding. Also, it seemed, here was a man who could walk out of a spot, smilingly, and with no effort at all.

"Don Pepe Arciga," he said after one swallow of his drink, "as you know, Mexico is undergoing right now the greatest expansion program of its history.

"Many things are happening today to the country. Progress is outdistancing everything, everything, including many facets of federal and state legislations.

"In some areas of Mexico, traffic laws receive from authorities certain interpretations. In other areas, traffic laws also differ."

And just as I began to relate an incident in which two Angelenos and personal friends of mine--Arturo and Juanita Castro--were forced to pay exorbitant fines plus damages, plus medical fees after  HAVING BEEN HIT broadside at an intersection in Guadalajara by a man driving a military jeep, Senor Jose Aguilar y Maya broke in:

"Indeed, these are unfortunate incidents. I will make every personal effort, upon my return, to explain to the proper authorities the need for corrective measures."

Within minutes, the distinguished visitor and his party of friends got up and left.

I'm sending this column, of course, to Licenciado Jose Aguilar y Maya, Procurador General de la Republica Mexicana.

If it serves to remind him of our conversation, I'll be content.

If it serves to help in establishing the "corrective measures" he spoke about, who could ask for more?"

Mientras tanto, Senor Licenciado, fue para mi un gran placer haber conversado con vosotros!