News starting May 18, 2009
The News is still all about the infamous H1N1, but it is slowly growing more positive. Some cruise ships will be back in 3 weeks. Airlines are back now; the Masks are off and Smiles are back in style. We invite everyone who can to come on down and have a wonderful vacation in Yucatan!
CDC Tap Dances Around Role in Novel H1N1 Tragedy
Catchy name, isn’t it? They’re calling it novel H1N1 because H1N1 has been around for years and never gave anybody cause to declare a "pandemic." But the news coming from the CDC this week is somewhat better. Travel warning to Mexico downgraded from Travel Health Warning to Travel Health Precaution. H1N1 decreasing in Mexico, increasing in U.S. and not associated with travel to Mexico. …and the risk of developing severe disease from novel H1N1 is less than originally thought. It is so hard not to be angry at a time like this. Weeks of “in our faces, 24/7″ all out attacks on Mexico and now a "whoops" in one 6 line paragraph. It pains us to see our friends, colleagues and clients suffering from the slump in tourism through no fault of their own… we encourage all our readers to come back and enjoy the Yucatan!
Only Carnival Cruises Return to Mexico This Summer
The CDC has lifted its recommendation that travelers avoid Mexico, so some cruise lines have begun to make new plans for stopping in the area. Carnival will return to Cozumel on May 30 and, from there, will pick up its regular schedule. Unfortunately, no other cruise line has made plans to return to Mexico this summer. Norwegian says it won’t be back until at least September because other trips have already been booked. Holland America says they won’t be back until October. Carnival admits that a majority of their passengers wanted to return to Mexico. Passengers from all lines are complaining. One lady complained that, when they were diverted from Mexico to San Francisco, ship’s personnel refused to answer questions and seemed not to care that passengers had brought only clothes suitable for the tropics. It seems that it was cold and raining in San Francisco when they arrived. This tragedy will be debated for a very long time and there will be plenty of blame to go around. Unfortunately, the Mexican people and the workers in the cruise ship industry, in all areas of the travel industry, and the local artisans, will still have lost a significant portion of their annual income.
Update: Progreso Cruise Ships Returning Early
The regular Carnival Cruise from Alabama to Progreso will depart Alabama on June 6 and arrive in Progreso on June 8. On June 13, two Carnival Cruises will depart from the U.S. (Galveston and New Orleans). Both will arrive in Progreso on June 15. In addition, both Britain and Spain have lifted their sanctions concerning air travel to Mexico. Ticket agents say they are busy and customers are excited to be able to finally be able to book their trips. Only 3 more weeks until the worst will be over. Now is absolutely the time for expats to step up to the plate and help fill in the gaps. In addition, once this is over, maybe there will be a place for philosophical (and business) discussions about the wisdom of an entire economy becoming so dependent on one industry.
A Surprising H1N1 Update for Yucatan
The State of Yucatan regularly sends samples to D.F. for testing whenever someone is sick, especially when the patient has some type of respiratory illness. Part of the reason for this is that there are some bacterial pneumonias running around the world these days that kill quickly if not caught in time. Prior to the beginning of the "pandemic," it seems that there were a number of folks in Yucatan who got sick, went to the doctor, got tested, took whatever was prescribed by their doctors, got well, and thought no more of the entire experience. Then the "pandemic" came and everybody got too busy to pay attention to old tests. Now the old tests have all been processed and it turns out that, in total, Yucatan actually did have 41 cases of H1N1, most of which were before the "pandemic" and none of which resulted in serious illnesses – i.e. everybody got well just fine. Its all over now. With as much bleach as has been used to clean Mexico, there’s probably not a bug left alive within the boundaries of the entire country. Keep in mind they did not clean and disinfect the U.S., so you might want to think twice about traveling there! (OK, we’re kidding…)
Aeronautical Industry Expands in Chihuahua.
Cessna Aircraft’s Factories 2 and 3 are currently under construction in Chihuahua. They are expected to create 520 direct jobs and 1,500 indirect jobs in the state. President Calderon spoke at the groundbreaking and reminded the world that Mexico can, and has, overcome major problems because, working together, the Mexican people and their government have the strength and institutional viability to do so. Later that day, the group moved on to the Textron International Mexico site, where a facility is being built to assemble Bell commercial helicopters. That facility will provide 375 direct jobs. Mexico is now perfectly positioned to be a world class player in the automobile, electronics, computer and aeronautical industries. We are pleased for Chihuahua and look forward to the future and new jobs in Yucatan as well.
Mexico Re-elected to Human Rights Council
On May 13, Mexico was re-elected to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with their tenure lasting through 2012. The reason Mexico was re-elected was not only because of their advances in respect for human rights in their own country to date, but also their pledge to continue to work hard for human rights both at home and abroad. The U.N. Human Rights Council began in 2006. Mexico was not only one of its main promoters, but also watched over its development for the first year of its work and then was elected for its first 3-year term. Now, Mexico is heading toward its second 3-year term as one of the eight Latin American and Caribbean members of the Council. Congratulations to Mexico on this honor. We have seen the fruits of their labors in the faces of the Mexican people. Everyone has a right to be proud of the part they have played in the human rights transformation in Mexico. All is not perfect yet but, given just a little time, the Mexican people are headed in the right direction!
June 5: World Environment Day
This year, Mexico will host the formal celebration for the U.N.’s World Environment Day. Mexico has demonstrated that it is one of the most active and concerned nations in the world, with respect to the environment. Mexico is a leading partner in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign. The country, with the support of its President and people, has spearheaded the pledging and planting of some 25 per cent of the trees under the campaign. Accounting for around 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Mexico is demonstrating its commitment to climate change on several fronts.
PEMEX Opens New Sites in Campeche
This past week, the President of Mexico came to Campeche to oversee the inauguration of work on what will be 18 new PEMEX sites in the Bay of Campeche. As we have reported throughout this past year, PEMEX has made some major finds, both off shore and inland, that will ensure their continuing to be a major player in the oil industry for many years to come. In fact, at the G-20 Summit, President Calderon made the statement that, with these new finds, PEMEX now has access to more oil than British Petroleum. This buys Mexico time to "go green," and it is one of the leaders in that area as well. Congratulations to PEMEX and to Mexico for placing an equal emphasis on getting as free of carbon-based energy as possible as quickly as possible.
Hurricane Season is Almost Here
June 1 begins Hurricane Season in the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes, Mother Nature goes easy on us, but sometimes there are difficulties that must be overcome. Now is the time to prepare for hurricanes, not when one is rolling toward us. Please be especially careful to plan for pets and the elderly, and look out for local neighbors who do not drive or could otherwise be trapped and alone if a bad hurricane comes. Also, be sure to remove anything from your yards that could become a deadly flying object. Plan for money, food, and clothes for at least a week and be tickled pink that you will probably never have occasion to carry out your hurricane plans. The Civil Defense pages have changed and do not seem to be as comprehensive as they once were. We are also recommending Get a Game Plan, where you will find links to comprehensive pdf lists of what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. (Note: we do not endorse the blatant political advertising on Get a Game Plan, but the information is excellent.)
Jan. 2 – 9, 2010: U.S. Poets in Mexico: 2nd Annual Event in Merida
This is a wonderful event that brings the best poets of the U.S. and Mexico together in Merida for a week of workshops, readings, Spanish lessons and day trips. Whether or not a culture takes time to develop and hear their poets speaks directly to the condition of its soul. This makes Merida, we think, the best place on Earth to hold such an event. We will bring you more about this group in the near future but, in the meantime, visit the U.S. Poets in Mexico website and send that link along to every poet and lover of poetry you know. Poets must apply for acceptance to the event, so be sure to get that link to every poet you know.