President Felipe Calderon is in Washington and New York this week and on his agenda is the bestowing of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest award to foreigners, on several individuals.
It’s still not clear to me if U2 singer Bono will be one of them.
The backstory dates to an incident at a U2 concert in 1997, and touches on the sons of a former president and the sense of entitlement that Mexican VIPs wield.
Last Friday, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa said she’d spoken with Bono and told him of the decision to give him the award.
"He said that he feels very honoured and very pleased with this decision, and that Mexico is a country that he loves and admires," Espinosa said according to this article.
But when Los Pinos emailed information about Calderon’s trip over the weekend, Bono’s name wasn’t on the list of those who will receive the award. Instead, it is going to Klaus Schwab (founder of the World Economic Forum), Susan Segal (president of the Council of the Americas), and Magdy Martinez-Soliman, the former U.N. resident coordinator in Mexico.
Just a mix-up? Maybe not. El Universal’s political gossip column says this morning that Bono declined to attend the ceremony, which I believe is to be Tuesday.
Seems that hard feelings still linger from what happened at a U2 concert at the Foro Sol in Mexico City. It was then that the sons of then-President Ernesto Zedillo scored complementary tickets to the concert, then tried to leave through a restricted area.
After a dust-up, one of the bodyguards of the Zedillo sons hit U2 security guy Jerry Meltzer in the head with a gun barrel. A car in their convoy then ran over security chief Jerry Mele, nearly killing him. Mele never worked again.
Bono demanded an apology from Zedillo, who invited him to Los Pinos for what was reportedly a tense meeting. Zedillo blamed U2’s security crew for putting his sons’ lives in danger. Bono demanded a public apology, which was not forthcoming.
U2 stayed away from Mexico until 2006, and returned last year. It seems, though, that he has little taste for rubbing elbows with Mexican authorities.