The Mex Files Blog, 1/14/10
While three Mexican military planes are on their way to Haiti with 15 tons of relief supplies, and two naval ships — the Huasteco and the Papaloapan — are steaming towards the disaster-struck nation, a special shout-out should be given to an unexpected good Samaritan, PRI Federal Deputy Francisco Rojas. Rojas has convinced his fellow PRI Deputies to chip in to pay the airfare for probably the best — and most needed — resource Mexico can offer it’s sister Republic: la Brigada Internacional de Rescate Tlaltelolco-Azteca, the Mole Men of Tlaltelolco.
A spontaneous response to Mexico City’s own tragic earthquake of 18 September 1985, the Brigada’s nucleus were residents of Tlatelolco who — when several apartment buildings collapsed — and the PRI controlled government was either too paralyzed or inept to act — took it upon themselves to rescue their trapped neighbors. While the original crew included some, like sewer workers, who had the special skills useful for the dangerous work of digging though unstable rubble, many relying on a very tough on-the-job training program.
In the years since, the Mole Men — all volunteers who are willing to walk off their jobs and risk their lives for complete strangers anywhere in the world where natural disasters strike have become one of, if the THE, most respected search and rescue teams in the world.