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Yucatan News: Cuba and Chetumal

Merida’s Cemeteries Will be ReadyCemeteries in Merida Get Ready for Day of the Death
Merida’s cemeteries have been in the middle of a remodeling program since the first of July. It seems that everyone (including tourists) love our Dia de Los Muertos festivities, so all of the cemeteries are getting new streets, paths, and a good cleaning before they receive their annual visitors. The Municipality is adding lighting and remodeling green areas, including planting trees and flowers. The mayor reminds us that this is something well deserved for the loved ones who are buried there, but we’re still glad we are able to share the spirit of Yucatan with our tourists on Dia de Los Muertos.

An Open Letter To The Friends of AFAD,

For the past year, AFAD has received the majority of its support from the Consejo Consultivo de Protección a la Fauna del Ayuntamiento de Mérida. During this time, we have been working hard to develop a consciousness, in the population and among the authorities, of the importance of having respect for animals and all manifestations of life. We have been making progress little by little, but now our funding is in jeopardy.  

We are requesting that all of the friends of AFAD circulate this plea for immediate help among all of their friends and family members. What we need is increased support for and greater participation in the AFAD project. That translates to donations and volunteers, both of which are extremely important because they will show the authorities that the population is interested in animal rights. The animals may not be able to vote, but those who love them do, and we are the only voice they have.

We thank you more than we could ever say for your continued support and ask again that you forward this plea to everyone in your e-mail address books, and mention it to everyone you meet. I will keep you informed of events as they happen in the Consejo Consultivo de Protección a la Fauna.

To find out how to get to AFAD or to contact them, please go to their website www.afad.org.mx. If you wish to donate money via Paypal, you can send it to our Paypal account (Paypal ID: efields [at] eclectech [dot] com) and we will be sure that it gets to them!

Yucatan Sends Aid to Cuba
The people of Yucatan are some of the most generous on the planet. Last year, they sent aid to the victims of flooding in Tabasco for months on end. This year, it is Cuba that has been hard hit and in need of assistance to make it comfortably through the winter. So far, Yucatecos in 18 municipalities (counties) sent 4.5 tons of food the first week of the call (last week) and 3 tons in the first 3 days of this week. We suspect that the big Dayron y el Boom concert in Liverpool’s parking lot had a little something to do with jump-starting this food drive. We are very proud of our young people and of all the Yucatecos who can be depended on to rise up and support those in need, wherever they might be.

Life is Art in Chetumal Prison


What would you say if we told you that you can shop for high-end, handmade furniture, purchase paintings and sculpture, and even get a Swedish massage in a Mexican prison that not only has prisoners wearing street clothes, but has had no violence in over 10 years? We are as surprised as anyone else that this is the case in Chetumal Prison. Some believe that creativity goes hand in hand with criminality in many cases and the administration of Chetumal Prison has hit on just the right combination of opportunities for the population they incarcerate. We can hardly wait to get an opportunity to get over that way and see what?s going on in Chetumal Prison. In the meantime, read the story in the LA Times.

Success for the Image of Yucatan
More and more, we see either the word Yucatan or some variation, such as Yuca, in the title of hip restaurants and music venues north-of-the-border. This week, we found the Yucatan Taco Stand, complete with Yuca Lounge music and dancing two nights a week. If you are in the Fort Worth area, the Yucatan Taco Stand is on West Magnolia. Stop by and tell them you heard about them on Yucatan Living!

Former UADY Dancer a Success in San Antonio Uady Dancer in the USA
We often look at all of the state and university schools of folkloric dance and wonder what all of those students are going to do with those degrees. After all, there are only so many spots open in the professional folkloric dance companies here in the state. Where do the rest go? How do they use their degrees and diplomas? Take a look at Nina Pimentel, the owner of México Típico Costumes and More, along with her husband Jorge, a dance teacher. The couple both have full time jobs and operate a thriving dance costume business from home. They are soon to expand and even open a dance studio. It seems that sewing one’s own costume is part of the curriculum at UADY and this skill has made Nina the go-to lady for folkloric costumes at cultural centers throughout the United States. Our congratulations to Nina, and special recognition for UADY’s folkloric dance curriculum for teaching not only dance, but the entire range of dance as a business and career.

Mexico Elected to U.N. Security Council
There are 5 permanent members on the U.N. Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China. There are 10 non-permanent members, each with 2 year terms that are not to run consecutively. The non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly. This past week, Japan, Austria, Mexico, Turkey, and Uganda were elected as the five new non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. They will replace Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa at the end of this year. Congratulations to Mexico as it shares in the awesome power to impose economic sanctions and deploy peacekeeping forces. This is a huge responsibility, but one we know that Mexico can easily shoulder. 

Should Have Taken the Bus!

Sometimes, people send us the most charming links. This one, Blown Off Course to Real Mexico,” is a little travel article written by an accidental tourist to our fair city. He seems quite cost conscious, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw how much he spent on round-trip taxi between Progreso and Merida. Should we tell him that he would have spent under $50 USD on meals and transportation for the day if he and his friend had taken the bus?

UADY Grad is Employee of the Year in Fort Myers
In 2003, Maria Isabel Marrufo Lopez moved, with husband Juan and son Rodrigo, to Fort Myers, Florida. She brought with her a degree in Architecture from UADY and is a licensed architect in Mexico. Now, she can add another honor to her resume. The Lee County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board has named her Employee of the Year. It looks to us as if the young ladies of Yucatan are taking the world by storm and we are extremely proud of all of their accomplishments. Congratulations not only to Maria Isabel Marrufo Lopez, but to her employer as well.

Braceros Will be Compensated
From 1942 to 1946, the U.S. imported Mexican labor. Ten percent of their wages were withheld and was supposed to be paid to the Mexican Government so the workers would have money when they got back home. The 10% was never paid. After a long court battle – and 60 years of waiting – the Braceros or one of their descendants will receive $3,500 USD. To read more about the Braceros Program, as well as the current conditions for Border Agricultural Workers Project, visit their website.

Cemex Feels U.S.’s PainCEMEX
Cemex, the world’s 3rd largest cement maker, will cut 10% of its worldwide workforce, raise prices 8%, and restructure $9 billion USD in loans in 2009. They say that much of the price increase is based on rising energy costs. Although their stock prices have fallen by 11%, they still have cash in hand and are able to sell some assets as they wait for the housing market to turn around in the U.S.

Happy Birthday Centro Medico de las Americas
We would like to congratulate Centro Medico de las Americas on their 24th anniversary of providing quality care to Yucatecos and visitors alike. CMA is affiliated with Mercy Hospital in Miami, Florida, and provides care in a complete range of specialties. We are lucky to have the quality of health care we enjoy here in Yucatan and wish CMA many more years of continued success.

Traditional Medicine Concerns in YucatanTraditional Medicine in Yucatan
Over the past few months, we have heard much about the fact that traditional medicine is now encouraged in Yucatan and even that it is being taught in several outlying villages. The medical community is now asking for more reasonable heads to prevail. Their concern is that people who see a traditional medicine practitioner may not be properly diagnosed, that neither the individual nor the traditional medicine practitioner will know the correct treatment for the problem, and that appropriate treatment may be dangerously delayed. The medical community supports the concept of bringing back traditional medicine so long as it is used responsibly and by trained practitioners. We can see the logic in that line of reasoning and hope that there is some standardized education designed for the practitioners of traditional medicine, and that people will use common sense when taking advantage of such services.

If You Can Boil Water, You Can Make Pickled Red OnionsYucatecan Style Onions
Wandering through blogs, one can often find some quite good tips, tricks, recipes and gossip. A blog entry titled “Pickled Onions from Yucatan” caught our eye and the recipe is just the easiest thing ever! The article’s author, Michel Edelman, gave credit for the recipe to Rick Bayliss, so we looked him up online and were astounded by the exceptional quality of Rick Bayliss.com. We remembered Rick as one of the world famous chefs who have visited David Sterling at Los Dos Cooking School. He made several episodes of his television show right here in Yucatan and posted his notes on one of his websites. After reading the suggestion that Rick Bayliss just may be nabbed by one of his most loyal Chicago customers as the next White House Chef, we thought we would invite the Senator and his family to come on down and experience the source of their favorite chef’s recipes for themselves.


Enough! Please!
This week’s answers to some bloggers and far too many negative FWDing e-mailers.
1 – Mexico has not erupted into full scale civil war.
2 – The State Department has not issued a Travel Warning for Mexico. (I looked)
3 – The U.S. has not been invaded by 38 million illegal Mexicans.
4 – All Mexicans are not trying to get into the U.S.
5 – All undocumented migrants are not trying to go home.
6 – All migrants are not Mexicans.
7 – We are not in “danger” in Yucatan and, should you decide to visit, you will not be in “danger” here either.
So do come down. Who knows? You might just decide that Yucatan, when all is said and done, actually is the best place on Earth to live!

The Exchange Rate and You
With an exchange rate hovering around 13:1 and ominous warnings of a weakened peso, we have received several e-mails from potential expats asking if this situation worries us. We have addressed this issue before, but thought we should again, so that our readers north of the border will see that, if you understand how it works, the exchange rate may actually be one of the reasons you decide to move here. Consider the following:  
Sample Home
Priced in Mexico in MXP
$1,000,000 MXP = You pay: $100,000 USD @ 10:1, $90,909 USD @ 11:1, $83,333 USD @ 12:1 and $76,923 USD @ 13:1.
Priced in Mexico in USD
$100,000 USD = Seller received: $1,000,000 MXP @ 10:1, $1,100,000 MXP @ 11:1, $1,200,000 @ 12:1, and $1,300,000 @ 13:1
Sample Rent
Priced in Mexico in MXP
$5,000 MXP/month = You pay: $500 USD @ 10:1, $454.54 USD @ 11:1, $416.67 USD @ 12:1, and $384.62 USD @ 13:1
Priced in Mexico in USD
$500 USD/month = $5,000 MXP @ 10:1, $5,500 MXP @ 11:1, $6,000 MXP @ 12:1, and
$6,500 MXP @ 13:1.

Expand that to include food and other costs of living and it soon becomes quite clear that those who live in Mexico (expats, landlords and sellers) and who make their household purchases with pesos - but whose income is in dollars  - are the far-and-away winners over those who live in either country and have access only to their own currency. While the scenario above keeps the concept in the daily experience of the average expat, we are quite aware that the problem between nations becomes far more complex as they buy and sell resources and products to each other in different currencies.


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3 Responses to “Yucatan News: Cuba and Chetumal”

  1. Thanks for posting the news from Yucatan. Que vivan los zatacos. Cuba needs all the help it can get.

    My father and his parents lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1942. They were German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, and not political left-wingers. That family history is where my own interest in Cuba comes from.

    Cuban society today represents an effort to build an alternative to the way life was under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, who ran Cuba before Fidel Castro led a revolution there. No one complained about a lack of human rights and democracy in those days, but U.S. businesses were protected.

    Some things work, some don’t. Like any society, Cuba its flaws and contradictions, as well as having some solid achievements. No society is perfect. But we can certainly learn a few things from Cuba’s experience.

    Please check out the CubaNews group which I’ve directed for over eight years and where you can follow the Cuban story.

    Thanks,

    Walter Lippmann
    Los Angeles, California

  2. The medical community is now asking for more reasonable heads to prevail.

    Translation: The medical community does not believe in traditional medicine. They have more confidence perscribing medication that has been pushed on them by pharmacitical companies. The majority of these drugs only treat symptoms and have side effects that are worse than the condition they have been prescribed for.

    There are groups, like the Maya, that have not been associated with some diseases. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  3. Ah, Yuc, coincidence, no! Genetics, usually!

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