Waiting for a man to die
At 4:43 pm, there was nobody there. And I mean nobody, save a few tourists taking pictures of Reforma â€“ the traffic artery on which the U.S Embassy sits. Other than them, the only thing outside the Embassy was the ten-foot high blue metal barriers that have been there as long as I can remember, to dissuade the odd Molotov cocktail and other expressions of anti-U.S sentiment that international events can sometimes drum up.
That, and the usual bored-looking policemen, standing around chatting or playing on their mobile phones.
Where is everyone? I thought. Heâ€™s only got an hour to live.
I did another swing around the block and watched as a security guard checked the underneath of a truck waiting to enter the Embassy compound. He was using a tool that looked like a giant dentistâ€™s mirror â€“ the kind they use to look into peopleâ€™s mouths â€“ to look at the undercarriage of the car.
Back around the front. Still no one. I approached a rosy-cheeked policeman at the side of the front entrance to the Embassy.
â€œWasnâ€™t there supposed to be a protest today? About Jose Medellin?â€
â€œToday? No,â€ he said, shaking his head.
â€œBut heâ€™s going to die today, at six,â€ I said.
â€œMaybe people will come tomorrow,â€ he answered.
I decided to ring my colleague back in the office.
â€œThis is Reed,â€ he said when he picked up the phone.
â€œUnless thereâ€™s some other U.S Embassy in Mexico City, thereâ€™s no one protesting,â€ I said.
â€œReally? No one?â€
â€œThey couldnâ€™t be bothered?â€ he said in a fake British accent he sometimes put on to amuse us.
5:33pm. Just more tourists, passing by, looking at the fence.
6pm came and went. I sat on a bench outside the Embassy, watching the minutes tick by on my phone, wondering what the scene in Texas was like right then. Well, I could kind of imagine it actually. I was sitting pensively when I noticed that the back of my bench had two backrests shaped like giant crucifixes. Weird. And a little creepy.
As it turned out, Medellin didnâ€™t die at 6pm after all â€“ as I discovered when I walked back into the office half an hour later. His case had been put off whilst the U.S Supreme Court considered his appeal. They rejected it, and Medellin was executed a few hours later, declared dead at 9:57pm.
â€œIâ€™m sorry my actions caused you pain. I hope this brings you the closure that you seek. Never harbor hate,â€ Medellin, 33, told those gathered to watch him die.
There were no protests in Mexico City yesterday or today about Medellinâ€™s execution. Perhaps Chilangos were too shocked over the discovery of the bullet-ridden body of a 14-year-old boy earlier in the week, who had been kidnapped and held hostage for $6 million from his rich, sports-chain owning father. His father paid the ransom, but they killed him anyway.
Perhaps people so saddened by that they couldnâ€™t care too much about a convicted murderer and rapist confronting his fate north of the border. Who knows. What I DO know is that there was no candlelit vigil here in Mexico City for the man on Tuesday night.
*day edited. â€˜Yesterdayâ€™ changed to â€˜tuesdayâ€™. 0926, August 7th