Yucatan News: Bicentennial!
News Starting September 13, 2010
The Call Now Heard Around the World
On the night of September 15, as midnight nears, no matter where you are, you are likely to hear a call that can now be heard around the world. That call, Viva Mexico! will come from every center plaza in Mexico and from parks and homes wherever there is a Mexican citizen, a Mexican descendant, and even from foreigners who love Mexico. That was the call of a priest, Miguel Hidalgo, in 1810 and it marked the beginning of Mexico's 11 year struggle for independence from Spain. Today, 80 foreign dignitaries and politicians, including 5 presidents of Latin American nations, joined by dignitaries from Spain, the U.S., and France, will be in Mexico to help celebrate Mexico's Bicentennial. There will be tributes to the heroes, and a grand celebration that will last through the weekend. We would just like to add our own Viva Mexico! We are very proud to be living here during this special period in Mexico's history.
An Eternal Refrain: "Do We Have to Go to Class?"
We had to laugh at one of the headlines we saw in el Diario de Yucatan this weekend. It read "Yes There Will Be Classes on Wednesday." But this is not necessarily bad news for the children because it means they now get a four-day Bicentennial holiday instead of having to come back to classes on Friday. For our friends north of the border, if you are planning on becoming an expat while you have school age children, you should know that, in Mexico, children are required to attend classes 200 days per year; and they will either attend morning or afternoon classes. For now, congratulations to all of the teachers and students in Yucatan on getting your Bicentennial vacation days all in a row. We hope you enjoy the festivities!
Yucatan and Cuba Resuming Trade Relations
We are so pleased to see that Yucatan and Cuba are resuming trade relations and that the Chambers of Commerce in Merida and Havana have agreed to a "Feria de la Habana." They don't have a date yet, but we can guarantee that it will be a rousing success. As we learned during the year that Cuba was the invited cultural guest in Merida, Yucatan and Cuba share significant portions of their histories and respective cultures. Yet, each has their own unique style. We look forward to the beginning of this new relationship and many successful years ahead.
Yucatan Sends Flood Support to Tabasco
We all realize that, during a flood, the people need things such as emergency food and diapers, but that isn't all they need. Hospitals, health centers and shelters need potable water in huge quantities. This requires portable water treatment plants and tanker trucks. Huge pumps are needed to bring flood waters down as quickly as possible and basic sanitation begins to develop in monumental proportions. Monday morning, Yucatan will send 12 water treatment plants, 10 water pumps, 2 pumping equipment setups, a tractor trailer and a flatbed truck. The trucks will be loaded with 345,000 liters of purified water for the people and, when the equipment is set up, they will have the capacity to pump 756,000 liters of water per hour. That sounds like a lot of water but those who have traveled through Villahermosa in the past few years know that it will take the assistance of many more cities and states in Mexico to rescue this area once again. Hopefully, the dredging of the rivers will soon put an end to this now annual tragedy. Look for food collection points in grocery stores around the state and help the people of Tabasco one more time.
Antibiotic Prescription Confusion
Since the new laws went into effect, there has been a great deal of confusion concerning the filling of prescriptions for antibiotics. Pharmacists are getting the worst of it because they are the ones who can end up with fines of up to $800,000 pesos. Problems seem to begin with the prescriptions themselves. They are often not filled out completely or correctly because the doctor didn't put his professional certifications on the prescription or because he or she didn't list the active ingredient, or because his office staff may not have put his stamp on it. With that level of multos (fines) riding on following the law, pharmacists cannot risk filling the prescription. Should you need to have a prescription filled, we suggest that you make certain that all of the requirements have been met before leaving the doctor's office. Your pharmacist will be deeply appreciative and you won't have to run back to the doctor's office to have these issues corrected. Be patient. This is a huge move and it takes time to adjust.
Campeche Beach Manatee Returns
Everybody knows that manatees are timid and harmless animals that are completely herbivorous. They must eat almost constantly in order to maintain their weight, so they spend most of their lives grazing underwater, surfacing to breathe only every 3 to 5 minutes. Manatees can grow to weigh 500 pounds and have been known to live as long as 70 years. Harmless, agreed... but timid? Not in Campeche, where there is a manatee who has found what amounts to a manatee spa and has been taking full advantage of it for the last decade. This manatee seems to stay in between Playa Bonita, near Lerma, Campeche, and the thermoelectric power plant. The manatee shows up during holidays, when it knows there will be lots of people around to play in the water with it. The manatee is 5 ft. long and weighs, they're guessing, 200 kilos. Its almost time for the Snowbirds to drive down for the winter. As you get close to Lerma and the City of Campeche, keep an eye out and see if you can spot this gregarious manatee.
Tzucacab: Home Gardening Contest
The municipal DIF and the third semester students working on a Technical Agriculture Specialty degree are working with children and parents in Tzucacab to develop home gardens. This is an interesting project because everyone involved is searching for ways to create the best garden possible, given the soil and growing conditions in the different backyards. Some are opting for container gardening. They will be growing radishes, cilantro, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, chile, scallions and epazote. The best part is that the Municipal DIF will award a cash prize of $1,000 pesos for the best garden and $500 pesos for the garden in second place. Encouraging backyard gardens is a national program now in Mexico, but nowhere is it any more welcomed than in Yucatan, where everyone is looking for ways to improve their green living skills.
Education: What Benefit to Students and to Society?
At the Second Congress of Professionals last week, the theme was based on the need for education to mesh with the needs of society, and to show how the curriculum at each of the 25 associations in attendance meets the needs of today's professional labor market. Members noted that many of the problems begin in the classroom, where students are not shown how what they are learning actually leads to their ability to someday create their own careers in the labor field. Students need to be prepared not just to be professionals, but to be professionals in a world that is rapidly changing. They depend on their educational institutions to have a vision of what lies ahead and to help direct them toward not only professions, but professions in which they can make a living and be of service to society as a whole. All of this places a degree of responsibility on both educational institutions and on students themselves, but we know that Yucatan's young people and educational institutions are meeting and exceeding their goals. Congratulations to the Congress of Professionals for staying on top of this issue and for guiding Yucatan toward a brighter future.
Placido Domingo Leads Bicentennial Parade in Los Angeles
What a wonderful event! 200 years after Mexico won its independence from Spain, a Spanish tenor - who began his career in Yucatan - is the leader of a huge Mexican independence parade in Los Angeles, California! Although we would have loved to have had Placido Domingo here in Yucatan to lead our parade, the significance of a Spaniard leading a Mexican celebration in the United States to celebrate Mexico's independence from Spain is not lost on us. This is a testament to the strength of culture and to the will of the Mexican people to survive and thrive no matter where they are in the world. Yucatan is proud to claim him as an adopted son and thrilled to see him lead the parade in Los Angeles. Placido Domingo continues to be a real blessing to all of us as an ambassador of peace and good will the world over.
Foreign Investment Opportunities in Yucatan
Over the past 18 months, foreign investment in Yucatan has not only fallen, but has actually reached the point of being called "divestiture." Basically, it looks as if the worldwide economic slowdown has finally reached Yucatan. Those of us who know the Yucatan can see that this glass isn't half empty, it's half full. For years, foreign investment was growing in Yucatan at a nifty clip of between $30 and over $50 million dollars a year, causing real estate prices to rise quickly. Last year and so far this year, there has been a negative growth in foreign investment of less than $2 million dollars, not a huge percentage but enough to create a bit of a scare. We can assure you, however, that nothing has changed in Yucatan that would make it an undesirable place to invest. This situation is simply a reflection of the waxing and waning of investment money worldwide. In the Yucatan, the situation is perfect for investors with a long view. In other words, with the kind of historical growth rate Yucatan has enjoyed in the last ten or twenty years, and that small of a setback, now is the time to get the best investment deals of a lifetime in Yucatan. The sky is not falling, the glass is half full, and, from talking to our contacts in the real estate business, we can tell you that they are seeing investors beginning to take full advantage of this excellent opportunity.