Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Small Mexican city adopts law banning nudity in residences


Alarmed by glimpses of sweaty citizens in the buff, the city council in the southeastern city of Villahermosa has adopted a law banning citizens from allowing themselves to be seen nude by the public, even while in their own homes, officials confirmed Wednesday.

The regulation, which takes effect on Jan. 1, calls for as much as 36 hours in jail or a fine of 1,356 pesos (US$121) for offenders in the Tabasco state capital, 655km east of Mexico City.

"We are talking about zero tolerance ... for a lack of morality," said city councilwoman Blanca Estela Pulido of the Revolutionary Institutional Party, which governs the state and city.

Opposition party councilman Rodrigo Sanchez said in an interview that the measure, part of a larger series of prohibitions, "tramples on the rights of the citizens by taking laughable measures such as contemplating penalties for citizens who walk around nude inside their houses."

"I have no idea how you detect the naked. You'd have to have a big operation to try to bring it under control," he added.

The law does not actually ban citizens from being nude in their homes, but from "displaying themselves nude intentionally in public and private areas or inside the home, in the latter instances when it is in a way that is obvious to the public or to adjacent homes."

Pulido said she was confident that citizens who catch a glimpse of offenders would report them to police -- though the law also threatens jail for Peeping Toms.

The city on the southern Gulf of Mexico is noted for its swelteringly hot, humid climate.

"The majority of houses have a lot of ventilation and we give ourselves the luxury of going naked," Pulido said. "Because we walk past the windows, you see a lot of things."

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