News starting February 02, 2009.
Illustrious Guests at Chili Cook Off
It was a star studded group of guests who attended the Merida English Language Chili Cook Off last week. Guests included Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, Karen Martin (U.S. Consul in Merida), Angel Prieto Mendez (Titular del Poder Judicial del Estado – Chief State Judge), and Juan Jose Martin Pacheco (Secretary of Tourism). Also attending were: Procurador de Justicia del Estado (Deputy State Judge), José Alonso Guzmán Pacheco, el oficial mayor (his next in charge), Luis Antonio Hevia Jiménez, as well as the Secretaries of Fomento Económico (Economic Growth), Jaime Zetina González de Hacienda (Mexico’s IRS), Juan Ricalde Ramírez de Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiente (Urban and Environmental Development), Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, and de la Juventud, Javier Osante Solís (the one in charge of the Youth Department), and other authorities. La gobernadora actually sampled all 21 of the entries and gave them all her blessing.
French Expats in the Yucatan
An organization called Quoi de Neuf (What’s New) has been started in the Yucatan, and is open to all French expats. The group has been formed to give franceses (French people) who live in Merida and the surrounding Peninsula a place to get to know each other, exchange information and a group to receive and welcome new French expats coming to live in the area. The meetings officially began in January 2008, but now the group also has a website and has been written up in the local press. If you are interested in knowing more, check them out at their website. We are excited to see more and more Europeans and others moving to this part of Mexico, allowing all of us from countries around the world to get to know each other better.
Building Tomorrow’s Yucatecos
There is a new pilot program underway for a lucky dozen children at LA68 Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska. The pilot program will introduce children, between the ages of 8 and 12, to mental, spiritual, and physical opportunities to expand their horizons, 6 days a week, 3 hours per day, for 3 weeks. Their first activity is seeing the Picasso exhibit, with a coffee shop discussion afterward. The students will also be exposed to a variety of other experiences, such as yoga, art, and even cooking. These activities are designed both to teach the participants to value themselves and to understand that they create the world in which we all must live. Ultimately, a six semester program will be developed and the quality of citizens produced by the State of Yucatan will soar to even greater heights than before. In Yucatan, the notion that “the children are our future” has wings and literally soars. If you know a child that might want to participate in this program, you or the child or the parents should call Consuelo Forero (cel: 9992610561) or Karla Hernando (cel: 9991622213) and be prepared to pay $350 pesos.
Publicity and Public Relations Pays Off Big
Yucatan’s travel catalogs have been named as the best of the best at the World Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain. We are thrilled and can hardly wait to see all of our friends from Europe as they come on over and discover that the real thing is even more beautiful than the pictures. Congratulations to everyone in our Tourism Secretariat for a job done better than anyone else in the world!
U.S. and Mexico: Its All About Jobs
The governments of both the U.S. Mexico have finally come to an amazing conclusion – “Its the economy!” Leaders of both nations are finally listening to their experts when they say that both economic systems will continue to face one crisis after another as long as they fail to take notice of and find remedies for the employment needs of their people. Mexico is currently hosting the forum “Mexico in Crisis, What Needs to Be Done?” While some predict a negative economic growth rate in Mexico for 2009, the President is still insisting that, with the new policies now in place, the economic growth rate will be more than 1.5%. Mexico, to its credit, is moving now to address these issues so they will be ready when oil revenues begin to drop in 2011.
Yucalpeten: Please Be Careful on the New Bridge
If you drive on the new bridge at Yucalpeten, you will notice that there are many who walk across, as well as those who ride bicycles and motorcycles. It is important to watch carefully for this type of traffic, especially after dark. For anyone who does walk the bridge – or bike across it – or ride a motorcycle over it, please be careful to wear reflective clothing and make certain that your bicycle or motorcycle can also be seen. This is a big bridge that has long been awaited but, after it opened, everyone realized that other-than-automobile-vehicle-traffic is an accident waiting to happen. So be extra careful at all times on the new bridge at Yucalpeten.
Equinotherapy Comes to Rancho Tierra Bonita
Yucatan’s Equinotherapy Associstion, Una Esperanza a Galope (Hoping to Gallop) is now a formal association and is in the process of developing new programs at Rancho Tierra Bonita. Soon, all of Yucatan will be served by this important addition to the health and well being of our state. For more information, feel free to call (999) 239-7731, 278-3631, or 141-1215; or e-mail: unaesperanzaagalope[at]hotmail[dot]com
Remittances Slow but Steady
Amid all of the media’s excessive rhetoric about the demise of Mexico being caused by the drying up of remittances, it has now come to light that (a) Mexico is doing quite well, considering the slowdown in the global economy; and (b) remittances are actually down only 3.9%. While, on a national scale, this is quite a large sum of money, it is still good news for our state because many community projects in outlying villages, such as baseball fields and public parks, have recently been completed with matching funds between migrants and the state and local governments. This even includes the restoration of some of Yucatan’s oldest churches. Many thanks are due the migrants and their organizations north of the border.
Mexico Pushes Back Against Failing Nation Headlines
Initially, Mexico and those who know her well dismissed the headlines that Mexico is a failing nation and a security risk for the U.S. However, without a response, irresponsible stories proliferated and the situation needed to be addressed. The President of Mexico, along with responsible journalists and analysts around the world, and even responsible U.S. officials, have begun to fight back against these unfounded rumors. We will be more than happy to see this issue go the way of “don’t drink the water” and “bandidos on the highways.” Mexico is as secure, if not more so than the U.S. and filing unfounded rumors as news stories constitutes nothing short of poor journalism skills on the part of those who file such reports.
Mexico Policy Rescinded
For the last eight years or so, women and children in 154 nations have not been beneficiaris of HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, and family planning assistance because of the abortion gag rule associated with U.S. aid, and unfortunately named after Mexico. President Obama last week rescinded that rule. Hopefully, this will lead to new conversations on this topic and to fewer poor women taking matters into their own hands.
Mysterious, Unconquered Maya Cling to Old Ways
We had to laugh a bit at a headline we saw this week: “Unconquered Maya Hold Tight to Old Ways”. The article went on to speak about the mysterious Maya and the fact that they are now being studied in Guatemala. The part about the Maya being unconquered is quite true, but is hardly limited to Guatemala and certainly does not mean that the Maya are separated, in any way, from the social fabric of the State of Yucatan. In fact, we know of no Mayan area in which the Mayan people, or their language, has ceased to exist. In Yucatan, the Mayan language is taught in public school, right along with Spanish and English, and the State is supporting and encouraging the redevelopment of Mayan traditional medicine and folklore. Today, in Yucatan, the Maya are neither extinct nor mysterious. They are our friends and neighbors and, in many places, comprise more than half of our population.
Good News for Fishermen!
After transportation and fishing unions lobbied D.F., it has been announced that 75% of the increase in diesel prices will be rolled back. This is the best news we have heard in a very long time. This move is especially important to our fishermen who had already determined that it would be too costly to operate their fishing boats through 2009. In Campeche, the situation was so dire that fishermen there had already developed a Zero Fishing 2009 slogan. Now, we can expect a better year and a thriving economy for Yucatan’s roughly 15,000 fishermen and their families.
Big Fish Caught in Progreso
A cherna, also known as a Mero Guasa or Goliath Grouper, was caught in Progreso this past week. This fish will certainly not win, place or show in any beauty contest, but they are quite a sight when someone finally lands one. This one was living around the wharves near Progreso.The cherna was 2 meters in length and weighed in at 123 kilos (about 271 pounds). Check out the big chernas caught in Venezuela.
U.S. Navy to Resume Sonar Training
The U.S. Navy has been given broad permissions to resume training in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with specific rules in place to protect fish and mammals that live in the sea. Perhaps, under the current administration, these regulations will be both sufficient and workable. Environmentalists will certainly be monitoring the situation to make sure of it.