News Starting February 8, 2011
Mexicans in Egypt
While the news seems to be all about American tourists and journalists in Egypt, it is important to remember that there are quite a few Mexicans in Egypt as well. The Mexican Embassy is in constant contact with the more than 200 embassy support personnel. At the time of the outbreak of the current difficulties, there were just under 100 Mexican tourists in Egypt, some of whom had driven there by car from Israel. The tourists have all left Egypt safely. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how many Mexican citizens actually live in Egypt because they are not required to register with the Embassy. Cooler heads seem to be returning in Egypt and we hope that expats in Egypt, from all countries, remain safe.
The Governor has a New Blog
Gov. Yvonne Ortega Pacheco has just begun her own blog. She says that the purpose of the blog is not only to showcase the successes of her administration, but to connect her to the people of Yucatan and to their concerns. We hope that this line of communication between the Gov. and the people will help all of the people of Yucatan. You may visit the Blog of the Governor of Yucatan and find her on Twitter.
Statistics: Housing for the Poor
Sometimes, statistics can break your heart. What should be good news now has a backlash that is the direct result of reporting numbers in absolute terms. This week, we learned that Yucatan is now one of the 8 wealthiest states in Mexico. That should be great news… but what this did was reduce the amount of Federal funding for housing for the poor. Unfortunately, in spite of being one of the wealthiest states in Mexico, Yucatan is also one of the eight states with the greatest absolute numbers of poor people. To make matters worse, the drop in Federal housing funds is expected to do away with up to 30% of the construction jobs in the state, which will add to unemployment and increase the numbers of families needing subsidized housing. Yucatan is a resilient state and we are certain a way will be found to remedy this situation. Breaking News Update: The State of Yucatan is in talks with the Federal Government to restore funding for subsidized housing. This is wonderful news and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
Yucatan Migrants Increase Remittances
The remittance numbers are in for 2010 and the news is more than welcome. INDEMAYA reports remittances received in 2009 of $87 million dollars and $89 million dollars in 2010. Newspaper stories and organized groups of Yucatecos in Los Angeles and San Francisco report that some migrants from Yucatan hold up to three jobs. We believe that the education of young Yucatecos, as well as stable Yucateco-American communities in the U.S. have a great deal to do with the demand for workers from our state, both in the U.S. and in Canada. Never count Yucatan as being anywhere near to the “economic ropes” as long as young Yucatecos are willing and able to support their home towns and their state.
Perspective on Pollution Threatening Mayan Riviera?
A new study shows that the underground rivers in the vicinity of Tulum are positive for illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals, highway chemicals and more. To add insult to injury, 50% of the coral reefs have been lost since 1990. Is the sky falling yet? Not hardly. There are water treatment centers all over the Tulum area and Quintana Roo has an up and running coral farm in full production. They have already raised and relocated 4,000 coral colonies and the new farm comes complete with an on-land nursery. The young scientists of Mexico are some of the best in the world so, whenever there are headlines of doom and gloom, always look for the rest of the story! You can be assured we will be watching this one.
Investing in Mexican Real Estate
Something new is afoot in the expat real estate industry in Mexico that speaks directly to faith that the Mexican Government is well on the way to putting an end to the so-called “war on drugs.” There are an increasing number of blogs saying that potential expats are heading for places like Puerto Vallarta to take advantage of lower prices. As we all know, even the cities with the worst reputations for violence are much like their counterparts in the rest of the world. One cannot condemn an entire city because one or two neighborhoods have a problem. And we all know that most of the reporting about Mexico does not accurately reflect the safety of most Mexican communities. But – rumors tend to depress real estate prices and the potential retirees who know that are snapping up bargains like never before. Congratulations to the progress made by the government and to the potential new expat homeowners who are the clear winners.
Dangerous Freezing in Northern Mexico
The headlines are blazing about the deaths from the cold in Northern Mexican states. Both people and zoo animals have been affected. Now, we learn that the ability of the power plants to generate electricity has also been compromised by the below zero temperatures. Mexico had promised to provide electricity to Texas, a U.S. state that was hit even harder than any state in Mexico, but the offer had to be withdrawn when it was learned that, now, Mexico is having trouble producing enough electricity for its own citizens along the northern border. This weather event has brought both the U.S. and Northern Mexico almost to a complete standstill. Only time will tell the actual cost in terms of human and animal life, as well as in dollars and pesos.
Robo-Toys in Merida
There seems to be a never-ending supply of surprises in the City of Merida. This week, we received a notice that El Instituto de Robótica de Yucatán is holding its second month-long set of classes for those interested in designing and building robotic toys. El Instituto de Robótica de Yucatán began its life as a museum and is now so successful that it offers a Masters in Robotics, complete with some of the best instructors in the world. Do keep an eye out for shows of their work and, if you’re interested in robotic toys, put your name on their list to be notified of upcoming classes.
Septic Tanks: A New Environmental Issue
Homes in Yucatan all have septic tanks, rather than a central sewage system. This is due to the fact that we live on a big limestone shelf. It would be next to impossible and unbelievably costly to put in a sewage system. Unfortunately, it seems to have been more than 20 years since most of the septic tanks in the state have been cleaned, which poses a significant threat to the environment – especially to mangroves and coastal waters. In order to address this issue, JAPAY is going to create an Environmental Fund that will pay for the cleaning of septic tanks that pose a threat to the environment. This is wonderful news. A state full of old septic tanks that are set in porous limestone can be an environmental bomb just waiting to go off. This is one more feather in the cap of State Government and we certainly appreciate JAPAY’s forward looking efforts in this area.
Dogs To Be Euthanized in Tzucacab
It is always with a heavy heart that we report an incident in which stray dogs must be rounded up and euthanized. We know that their uncontrolled numbers can lead to significant health problems and even danger for the people who live in the area. In the past, we would cringe when we heard that one of these dog control incidents was going to take place because we knew the dogs would probably be poisoned or electrocuted. Although we are terribly sad that Tzucacab is going to have to use euthanasia to get their stray dog population back under control, we were pleased to see that the Mayor is asking for professional help to euthanize the dogs humanely. In her words, they are “not killing dogs just to be killing dogs.” The plan is to sedate the dogs and only then to deliver a lethal dose of sedatives. The people are being asked to keep their dogs from wandering and to try to keep unwanted dogs from ever being born. It is a new day in Yucatan and we are thankful to be able to have a small part in supporting animal welfare and animal rights education in the State of Yucatan.
Bon Voyage Inginiero Emmanuel Fernández Rodríguez
Young Valladolid engineer Emmanuel Fernandez Rodriguez is winging his way to Manchester, England, where he will be working on his PhD. This is a great honor for his family, who held a farewell reception for him in Valladolid on Sunday. His major area of study and research will be Renewable Energies and he will be in England for 3 to 4 years. Emmanuel Fernandez Rodriguez is not the only one of Yucatan’s young scholars to earn scholarships abroad. There are many – in all disciplines and in many nations – just as there are many young scholars who come to Yucatan for their post-graduate studies. We wish this young Valladolid engineer all the best and can’t wait to hear his accent when he comes home with his brand new PhD.