Guinness World Records book turns 60, and Latin America dominates its pages

The Guinness Book of World Records has released its 60th edition for 2015 and leafing through the pages one is struck by two things: first, the number of weird things people do to get in the book, and second, how many records people in Latin America hold.

From the largest enchilada to the world’s highest suspension bridge to the most likes on Facebook, the region is ripe with record setters who go above and beyond the normal to have their names in the famed book.

If one country in the region – and the world, for that matter – can claim to be the epicenter of record-setters it would be Mexico. The country has for years had a national obsession for breaking obscure records, from the most people kissing simultaneously (39,897 on Valentine’s Day 2009) to the most mariachi musicians ever gathered in one place (about 549 in August 2009), it's a country infatuated with getting into the book.

Mexico, however, doesn’t always hold records that are admirable, as the case of Manuel Uribe attests to. For some  the World’s Heaviest Man, peaking at 1,230 pounds, before his death at 867 pounds back in May 2014. (What do you expect however from the country that made the largest pork taco, at about 240 feet long and weighing 330,000 pounds in November 2011?)

Ambiguous records, too. Such as the country being the home of the person with the most Harry Potter memorabilia.

But other countries in the region are writing their names in the records as well, with such feats as a 664-yard long pound cake made in Colombia, the largest group of people taking part in a "full body" aerobics workout routine in a Peruvian prison yard, and the highest number of lightning strikes per square kilometer per year at Venezuela’s Catatumbo River mount, which notched an impressive 3,600 flashes per hour (or 1.2 million a year).

Colombian singer Shakira hit the record book when she became the most ‘liked’ person on Facebook in April. She also broke records when she became the first person to reach 100 million likes on Facebook.

Brazil has the record of the most murders in absolute terms and Honduras holds the record of the most murders per capita, while the Dominican Republic is known as  the deadliest place to travel by road.

If as an American, you are feeling left out by failing to hold the record for the longest fruitcake in the world (Nicaragua, at 1,640 feet) or the most telescopes pointed simultaneously at the moon (2,753 telescopes in Mexico), we can rest assured that we still have the highest score on Donkey Kong (Hank Chien with 1,138,600 points), the greatest distance travelled with a pool cue balanced on your chin (5,472 feet, 9 inches by Ashrita Furman in Jamaica, New York) and the greatest recorded weight of apples collected in eight hours (15,830 pounds picked by George Adrian of Indianapolis, Indiana).

How do you like them apples, Mexico?

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