Published October 27, 2012
MEXICO CITY – The photo shows a girl with a high half-ponytail begging for coins at an intersection. There is dirt beneath her fingernails and her pink shirt looks unwashed. The image could fit many Mexican children who beg in the streets, but for one thing: The girl in this picture is blond.
The attention to the Facebook photo and the way officials rushed to find her and detain her mother have renewed a debate about racism in Mexico, where millions of indigenous people live in poverty and passers-by often barely notice the dark-skinned children begging in the street.
Jalisco state prosecutors' spokesman Lino Gonzalez says officials "had to respond because there was suspicion a crime had been committed."
Relatives produced the girl's birth certificate, but she's still being kept in an orphanage.