The American Consulate celebrated its parent country’s independence from the U.K. inside the massive convention hall of a technical school on the northwest outskirts of Guadalajara, Friday, June 30.
Tecnologia Monterrey Campus GDL, which dangles from the southern edge of a large air base, was heavily fortified for the event, with multiple checkpoints manned by grave-faced officials with clipboards and several security details bristling with high-tech weaponry - all hired to protecting a hangar-sized chicken coup whose roosts were occupied mainly by Mexican businessmen and dignitaries, a smattering of their American counterparts, a few Mexican tequila companies, and the bevvy of corporate gastronomy exemplars who fueled the attendees’ mainly by-proxy patriotism with ribs, hamburgers and French fries. The dress code was business formal.
At 1:15 p.m., after a 45-minute session of cocktails and flesh-pressing, the event kicked off with a recorded message from Roberta S. Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, followed by the Mexican and U.S. national anthems. Then, Consul General Tanya C. Anderson gave an address in which she drew parallels both historic and economic between Philadelphia, birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and historically an industrial powerhouse, and Guadalajara, a thrumming engine of commerce in the Mexico of today which also played an important role in its country’s fight for independence from Spain.
Helping keep the assorted dignitaries in agave spirits was Fernando Peretz, a veteran bartender manning a table crowded with glassware and bottles of Casa Noble tequila. He’s worked the event for the last few years and has noticed a consistency in its tenor, remarking that, unlike a raucous May 5 celebration he once attended in Laredo, Texas - populated mainly by Americans and thusly a kind of mirror-image of the July 4 consular event - the attendees tend to be buttoned-up and reserved, keeping to tight cliques while sipping the most expensive vintages of tequila available.
Offering glimpses into the American way of life were various large food companies, including Chili’s, whose faux-Mexican gustatory wares were complimented by a trio of young women sporting sashes emblazoned with the company’s name and logo; Johnny Rockets, an exercise in mid-century nostalgia scented with charred bovine; Outback Steak House; Applebee’s, whose display came complete with a stack of waxy red apples (a little on the nose, perhaps); and Domino’s Pizza, manned by a comely young woman dressed in Domino-themed spandex and a person (gender unknown) occupying a giant domino mascot suit.
No food was provided by Mexican chains. Instead, tequila firms Fortaleza, Casa Noble and Patron were on hand to represent the country. However, the Casa Noble and Patron labels are both owned by American entities, Constellation Brands and billionaire entrepreneur John Paul Dejoria, respectively. Fortaleza is a Mexican-owned company with a good reputation among tequila-fanciers; they use the old, traditional methods to produce their spirits, the bulk of which, however, are sold to urban markets in the United States.
The celebration came to a gradual close in the late afternoon, workers breaking down stalls in stages, the crowd slowly thinning out to a few charros (men in traditional cowboy garb) and suited functionaries sipping tequila at high tables.
As the GDL Reporter staff quit the building, the Domino mascot could still be seen shifting from leg to leg at the far end of the massive convention space, waving its white-gloved hand in the dusty golden sunlight.
To view the article on the newspaper's website (edited so as not to alienate the U.S. consulate), click here.