The United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) may be reeling from a congressionally mandated cut off of more than $80 million in U.S. contributions.
But it demonstrated this week that it can still get things done.
It was one of 29 entries, including Chinese shadow puppetry and Cyrpiot poetry dueling, that were recognized this year by the international organization.
The good news is that Mariachi is not included in the list's subcategory of 11 intangibles that are in need of safeguarding, like the Mongolian art of "circular breathing" and the secret society of Koredugaw in Mali.
Indeed, anyone who has been to a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles or on the New York subway system would know that it's alive and well.
But let's look at it another way.
Why has it taken such a vibrant music form so long to get into the club, which has long included other cultural practices like Turkish oil wrestling, Croatian gingerbread crafts, French needle lacing, and Spanish human towers?
Follow me on Twitter @columlynch
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently sat down with some of his senior advisors to watch The Whistleblower, a controversial new film that depicts U.N. peacekeepers as participants in the illicit sex trade in Bosnia.
Ban said he was "saddened" by the role of U.N. blue helmets in abuses linked to sex trafficking, the illicit trade which continues to be "ablight on humanity and our conscience," according to a copy of the confidential letter Ban sent to the film's director, and obtained by Turtle Bay.
The new movie, starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave, is inspired by the real-life story of Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Weisz), a Nebraska cop who served as a U.N. police officer in Bosnia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Bolkovac claimed she was forced out of the United Nations after uncovering evidence of U.N. participation in prostitution with trafficked women, a claim the U.N. disputed at the time.
The movie documents Bolkovac's struggle to save the live of two Ukrainian girls who get sold into sexual slavery in Bosnia. Her efforts are thwarted by compromised colleagues who themselves purchase the services of trafficked women and in some cases actually participate in trafficking.
She faces up against heartless U.N. bureaucrats who come across in the film as more interested in complying with the U.N.'s byzantine rules and preserving the organization's good name than protecting the lives of these women.
For weeks, top U.N. officials have debated how to respond to the film, which opened on August 5 in theaters in New York and Los Angeles. As Turtle Bay previously reported, the cases of sexual misconduct in Bosnia occurred under former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's watch.
But one of the film's heroines, Madeleine K. Rees (played by Redgrave) claims she was forced out of her job as a rights defender at the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights under Ban's watch.
The film's Canadian director, Larysa Kondracki, recommended the U.N. hold a viewing for top U.N. brass. But some top officials advised against a viewing, saying it would be better to ignore the film, while others argued in favor of confronting the U.N.'s sordid past, and using the viewing as an opportunity to draw attention to sex trafficking.
Last week, Ban took Kondracki up on her offer, issuing her an invitation to show the film next month at U.N. headquarters to top U.N. officials and representatives of governments that supply peacekeepers to U.N. missions. He also invited her to participate in a panel discussion on sex trafficking. The U.N. General Assembly president, Ban wrote, has thrown his support behind the event.
Longtime Washington Post correspondent Colum Lynch reports on all things United Nations for Turtle Bay.