Saturday, May 11, 2013

México: Grandson of Malcolm X Dies from Injuries Sustained in Mexico City Bar Altercation

Malcolm Shabazz, 28, the grandson of the late US political activist Malcolm X, has died from injuries sustained during a dispute in a local bar in the capital on Thursday (May 9). 

México's attorney general's office said an investigation into the incident was already under way. Additionally, the US State Department said that it was in contact with the family and offering appropriate assistance.

The incident occurred in the capital's Plaza Garibaldi, a popular tourist area packed with bars and restaurants. Miguel Suárez, a Mexican union activist who was traveling with Shabazz, said the two men were advocating for more rights for Mexican construction workers in the US.
 
Suárez, who had recently been deported from the US, said he and Shabazz were invited to a bar by a Mexican woman that Shabazz had been talking with, but that later the two men were asked to pay US$1,200 for drinks and female companionship, at which point a violent altercation occurred between the proprietors and Suárez and Shabazz ensued, leaving Shabazz with serious blunt-force injuries.

COMMENT: Shabazz was the son of one of Malcolm X's six daughters, Qubilah Shabazz. When he was 12, he was involved in a fire that killed his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X. He was later convicted of manslaughter and arson and sentenced to time in a juvenile detention center. 

Malcolm X, a black power activist and prominent figure in the militant Nation of Islam movement, was shot and killed dead at a political rally in New York on February 21, 1965. 

City prosecutors are investigating the attack that sent Shabazz to a nearby hospital where he died Thursday of blunt-force trauma injuries. 

At 12, Shabazz set a fire in his grandmother's apartment, a blaze that resulted in the death of Malcolm X's widow. After four years in juvenile detention, Shabazz was later sent back to prison on attempted robbery and assault charges. 

Malcolm X, who inspired books and the 1992 Hollywood movie named after him, was shot to death as he delivered a speech in a Harlem ballroom in 1965. Shabazz's mother was only 4 at the time. 

Plaza Garibaldi is popular with tourists, but the two men were at a bar across the street from the plaza in an area known to be seedy bars that take advantage of tourists. 

Plaza Garibaldi is best known as the Mexico City home of mariachi music. At all hours of the day and night, mariachi bands can be found here playing or soliciting donations from visitors to the Plaza. The plaza and the neighborhoods around it are undergoing extensive rehabilitation to halt the decades-long degeneration of the area. 

As in many Latin American cities, there are bars that take advantage of tourists and those that don't. Generally speaking, it is always best to ask reputable locals for a suggestion of a bar by name, than to walk into a bar not knowing whether it is a "clip joint" or not. 

It is unknown as to whether the police have interviewed the bar owner and determined exactly what happened. Then again, rarely do allegations against bar owners result in arrests, even where foreign visitors are involved.

Bars that provide "hostesses" for companionship almost invariably have one goal and one goal only: To relieve customers of all of their money. Thus, luxury hotel bars and lounges are a much safer choice for visitors.