Mexican Bicentenary III: The Military Parade

It was said that sixty per cent of the military was there, marching and looking stern and occasionally smiling and waving when their superior officers weren’t looking. At least four-and-a-half thousand troops were missing, however, stationed thousands of kilometres away on the US-Mexico border, the frontline of Felipe Calderón’s war on the drug cartels and one of the most dangerous places in the world. It may seem a large number, four-and-a-half thousand, but apparently not even that many troops were enough to prevent the shooting murder at a quarter-past-two of a twenty-one-year-old photojournalist named Luis Carlos Santiago Orozco. Santiago had only been working at his paper, El Diario de Juárez, for two weeks, and many now believe he may have been the victim of a case of mistaken identity. By a quarter-past-two in Ciudad de México, the military parade was more or less over, and a far less interesting procession of caballeros had started making its way up el Paseo de la Reforma. The hundreds of children sitting along the curb, so excited earlier at the site of face-painted commandos and shiny-shoed cadets, were, like the rest of us, fast losing interest. Santiago died a short time later.

Words by Matthew Clayfield / Photos by Austin Andrews

Diamond squadron.

Diamond squadron.

Marching cries.

Marching cries.



Marching heels.

Marching heels.


The face in the line.

Sand and asphalt.

Sand tank / asphalt lane.


Battle striped.



Descending sombreros.

Barrels through the sombreros.

Symbols of construction and destruction.

Symbols of construction and destruction.


Austin Andrews and Matthew Clayfield are the co-editors of Disposable Words. They have collaborated on a number of film and journalism projects.

One comment

  • Wow. These are epic shots. The absolute perfection of the diamond formation, Camo man, Rodeo boy and the last shot make me melt a little. Those need to be published.

    As i look at these photos, I am in the middle of downtown NYC during UN Week. I am steps away from the Waldorf Hotel where President Obama is staying.

    Rows upon rows of NYPD cops, bomb squads, concrete barricades, firetrucks and solemn men inside black Escalades hug the hotel. The amount of militaristic force surrounding these few blocks feels astonishingly heavy.

    Reading this post and taking in the symbolism of your photos makes this moment even more surreal. Will humanity’s battle cry ever be silenced? Or will we continue to march on oblivious to past mistakes?


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