News Starting January 24, 2011
Mark Your Calendar: Free Tax & Money Seminar on February 5 (Saturday)
Yucatan Expatriate Services is hosting a free seminar called Taxes, Money & The Law for expatriates living in Yucatan. This is a wonderful opportunity to come and meet the entire Y.E.S. team, as well as get answers to any pressing questions about how to make money legally here in Mexico.
Location: Centro Cultural Olimpo (next to the Ayuntamiento de Merida); Calle 62 x 61
Time: 10:00 AM
Admission: FREE – but please RSVP to: info[at]yucatanyes[dot]com or Call: 999-927-2437
Trade With Cuba Still Healthy
As the first month of 2011 draws to a close, statistics from 2010 are beginning to roll in. One of the most interesting is trade between Yucatan and Cuba. The greatest export numbers from Yucatan to Cuba came in 2008, when Yucatan exported goods valued at $24 million dollars to the island nation. The global economic slowdown has reduced that amount to only $11 million dollars, but trade between the two is healthy and improving along with the economy. There was a time when one Mexican administration forbade trade between Mexico and Cuba. Yucatan does tend to march to its own drummer and trade continued despite the ban. Today, Yucatan sends plastic products, soft drinks and clothing to Cuba, while importing shrimp, cigarettes, and papaya seeds. As the economy of Cuba recovers, Yucatan expects to have a growing and continuously positive balance of trade with our island neighbor.
Call for Volunteers: Progreso Nursing Home
Albergue del Anciano en Progreso, A.C., commonly known as Albergue de Ancianos San Joaquin, has 55 residents and needs additional volunteers, especially on weekend afternoons. The nursing home is located between Progreso and Chicxulub, 2 blocks from Prepa Progreso. The telephone number is (969) 935-1209. Albergue de Ancianos San Joaquin has a long list of needs, including the need for volunteers who can read the newspaper to residents in Spanish and/or Mayan. For more information, contact Sharon Helgason by e-mail at shelgason[at]hotmail[dot]com
No More Puppy Vendors on Merida’s Streets
Its official! The City of Merida now has an ordinance forbidding the sale of puppies by street vendors. When someone is caught selling puppies this way, they are sent away with a warning – but only the first time. All of their identifying information, as well as the identifying information on their vehicle, is taken and, if they are caught a second time, the appropriate fines will be applied. The fine for selling puppies on the street is from 5 to 18 minimum wages. Since the daily minimum wage is $56.75 pesos, the fine is between $283.75 pesos and $1,021.5 pesos. The City of Merida is recommending that anyone who would like to have a puppy or dog adopt one from one of the local shelters (see information in our Adopt a Pet section). This is a huge leap forward and Yucatan Living would like to convey our heart-felt thanks to everyone who was involved in the creation and implementation of this ordinance.
Chess: A Star Comes Home to Teach
We have long been impressed with Yucatan’s response to even a hint of a drug or alcohol problem developing in its teen population. This time, the Instituto del Deporte de Yucatán is not only purchasing new chess equipment for teens. Many people have recognized that the self-discipline taught in chess is believed to be important in helping young people resist the lure of drugs and alcohol. With that in mind, the State is also bringing home one of its greats to teach chess in the various youth centers in the Coraza Juvenil system in Merida.
The man who has come home to teach is Didier Fernando Iñiguez. Iñiguez was a local rising chess star in his youth, but got involved with drugs and paid his debt to society with 20 years in prison. When he was released, Didier Fernando Iñiguez was hired by his high school classmate, Jose Novelo Flores, now the director of the Instituto del Deporte de Yucatan. Everyone is happy to welcome Didier Fernando Iñiguez home and has faith that he will be able to use his own experiences as an example to Yucatan’s youth of what can happen if self-disciplinebreaks down. Yucatan Living has every confidence in Didier Fernando Iñiguez and offers a sincere thank you to Jose Novelo Flores.
Valladolid: 2,000 Dancers!
Every week, we list the municipal festivals and fiestas that begin that week on our Events page. Some of those events, like the Expo Fair in Valladolid, fall into the “must see” column. This year the fair runs from this past weekend until February 6. Beginning the festivities was a dance contest. The call for dancers went out to all of the municipalities and 2,000 dancers showed up. They began with jaranas in three–quarter time and continued until everyone was eliminated except one couple from Valladolid. Since they were all dressed in their finest vaqueria costumes, we can only imagine how spectacular this event was. The Fair continues until February 6.
UADY Expands Business Advice Program
One of the best things about having an internationally well respected university in town is all of the perks it generates for the people of the area. UADY has certainly paid its dues in this area. Every Saturday, students in every discipline from nutrition to law can be found in rural villages giving free expert care and advice to Yucatecos who might not be able to afford such services otherwise.
Now, through the Center for Strategic Development of Manufacturing, students and faculty in the Economics Department of UADY are giving business advice to over 200 small businesses in deprived sections of the state. All of these businesses have no more than five employees and are the backbone of the economy in Yucatan. If they remain healthy and stable, that will go a long way toward ensuring the economic stability of the state. Where else could these businesses get expert instruction on everything from economic analysis and decision making to project management, market research, forecasting, and negotiation skills? These are all skills that will not only be passed to the next generation in family businesses, but that also will inspire an increasing number of young people to study business when they are old enough to attend the university themselves. This is one free program that will continue giving long after these students have graduated and gone on to successful business careers of their own.
Preservation of Traditional Mayan Farming
All of us hear of cultures, across the globe, that have lost major components of their culture when their people leap forward into the modern world. Often, traditional farming methods are abandoned to make way for more profitable mechanical methods. The environment begins to suffer. The next thing that happens is that crops change, again in an ever changing search for immediate gain, with little thought to the value many of the traditional crops may have held for the culture as a whole. Somewhere in that process, traditional religions are left behind too, their gods are no longer relevant, and the cultures themselves become rudderless.
None of the above will be happening in Yucatan and there are now sixty newly trained young people to make certain of that. In support of their interest and hard work, even ICY has stepped up and provided them with a book containing the farming advice of the elder Mayans so that as much as possible of their farming methods and viewpoints will be preserved. This is the sort of news that bodes well for the future of not only traditional farming, but for the preservation of traditional plants and traditional medicine as well.
Buzz Phrase: Sustainable Tourism
Many ancient cultures no longer exist in the world. Some were lost before modern man came on the scene. Some have been destroyed by a Disney World type of tourism that changed the culture into little more than a side-show and the people into little more than carnival workers. When tourism irrevocably damages the landscape and the monuments, it moves on and the people are left with nothing. Their old culture is gone and was never replaced with anything that could sustain them into the future.
Yucatan is determined that will not happen here and is holding a series of workshops to make certain that it doesn’t. The first of these workshops are concerned with tourism and the environment, especially in view of the global changes in weather. There is also some concern associated with foreign investment in eco-tourism on traditional Mayan land. In these cases, tourism gradually pushes out traditional farmers and entire villages find themselves in an alien landscape with little they can do about it. The goal is to manage tourism so that it conserves, rather than destroys, the wonders of this state for the enjoyment of tourists and for the security of the people who live here. We suspect that, by beginning to put tourism in perspective early in the game, Yucatan and her people will continue to successfully preserve their way of life, as well as being able to develop a successful and sustainable tourism industry.
Reforestation in Yucatan Pays Huge Profits
Suppose there was an industry that would pay 15 times the original investment in 18 years, with opportunity to have a continuing income along the way, would you be interested? Of course you would! Anybody would be interested in that kind of a deal! That’s the happy place that Yucatan’s foresters find themselves just five years into the major push to increase the number of trees in the state.
Foresters are learning that they can take advantage of the thinning process to sell to furniture builders and turn the forests into picnic parks for everyone to enjoy. They can also plant fast growing teak on part of the land for quicker harvests. All of these activities generate continuing income while waiting for the big payoff at the end. Unfortunately, the rate of forest destruction is still greater than the rate of reforestation and Professor Raul Monforte Peniche is asking for investment from Yucatan’s community to help expand reforestation. We took a look at some of the farms that are for sale throughout our state and believe that reforesting projects would be a great industry for expat investment as well. Every tree that is planted in Yucatan, whether on public or private land, contributes to saving the environment and the future of the entire state.