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Yucatan News: Driving and Biking in Merida

Ana Maria Perez GonzalezMexico’s Oldest Resident Passes Away
Ana Maria Perez Gonzalez has passed away in Colima at the ripe old age of 119. She was born on June 22, 1890. This lovely lady had 4 children, 2 of whom are still living. She also had 30 grandchildren, 122 great-grandchildren, 105 great-great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-great grandchildren. Our deepest sympathy goes to her family.

New Day Tours from Iluminado Tours
If you are a visitor to our area, or if you are an expat who has already wasted a day or more searching for the location of a particular cenote or other attraction without finding what you were looking for, help has arrived. Iluminado Tours has a whole page of new day tour designed with you in mind. No more wasted time or money. Whether you are looking for a local market, a particular hacienda, a cenote, unique and talented artisans, or small towns and villages, you get these tours your way. Take a look at Iluminado Tours’ Day Tours page.

Electronic Civil Disobedience and Bang LabsGPS Tool to Cross the Border
This week, Working Gringa ran across quite an interesting concept. It seems that there is now something called a Transborder Immigrant Tool that is supposed to help migrants cross the border safely. This group of artists have already created Border Disturbance Art projects and are now providing migrants with a simple, inexpensive GPS hiker tool that will guide them safely through the desert. Since people have been losing their lives attempting to cross the deserts at the border for 500 years, this is an idea whose time has come. With militia membership up and Obama set to reduce the numbers of Border Patrol agents next year, migrants are going to need all the help they can get to survive their perilous attempt to cross the border. This is not a time to discuss the right or wrong of their crossing. It is the time to save as many lives as possible. Congratulations and many thanks to the Border Artists who came up with this idea.

Yucatan By Bicycle is On The Road Again!
The weather is cooler now and Yucatan By Bicycle has begun their trips by bike and bus again. This week, they have posted a wonderful video of the cenote in the quiet village of Tixhualahtún. Yes – those are bats you see flying out of the cenote. It isn’t a long video, but will give you some insight into the wonders that are tucked away in rural villages all over our state. While you’re on their site, be sure and look for past trips to places that might be of interest to you.

The International Women’s Club of Merida
There’s a new and improved website online for the IWC in Merida and we just love it! Please take a few minutes to visit the IWC website  to see what they are all about and why you should consider becoming a member. All meetings are held in English, but members are of many different nationalities. Their common goal is to do their part to help with education and health programs in Yucatan.

Driving in Merida: How Dangerous Is It?Car Accidents in Merida Yucatan
In 2005, there were over 1,700 traffic accidents in the Municipality of Merida. Today, the municipality averages about one traffic accident every day and a half. From over 1,700 to approximately 243 accidents per year – not bad for a municipality with approximately 1.2 million people in its immediate vicinity. We know it is often scary and confusing to drive in Merida but, just be careful, drive defensively, take a little longer to get where you are going – and all will be well. Congratulations to the Municipality of Merida for cutting its traffic accident rate so dramatically! We’ll bet that no one else lives in a city this size with so few accidents!

4th Graders in Valladolid Learn About Ecology
The 4th grade students in Valladolid went on a field trip to “U Yit’s Ka’an” (Rocío del Cielo – Dew of Heaven) at the School of Agriculture. They learned all about earthworms and how they help in farming, as well as how some insects damage crops. They were particularly excited about learning how 2 liter cold drink bottles can be turned into bug traps and placed in the fields to protect crops. What they liked the best was the pond cultivation site, where they learned all about pond plants and the different organisms that produce either carbon dioxide or methane gas. Look for great things from this 4th grade group. They are fired up and ready to become the ecologists of tomorrow!

News At the Beach

Say It Isn’t So! Dayron y el Boom Breaking Up!
Dayron y el Boom is Breaking UpAfter 3 years together, it looks as if Dayron y el Boom will be no more, beginning in January 2010. The group is made up of Cubans and Mexicans and they are a particular favorite at the beach. We especially like them because of their community service activities and the fact that they inspire so many young people to become engaged in not only improving the quality of life in Yucatan, but helping others in other states and nations during times of emergency. We won’t worry though because we know that Dayron loves Yucatan and will always be with us in his adopted home. Rock or pop, whatever is his ultimate choice, look for Dayron Núñez Nodal to be a permanent part of the music scene in Yucatan.

Quinceañeras Debutante Ball to be Held in Progreso
The Mexican Catholic Action of Progreso has invited the young ladies from the beach towns to begin preparing for a Quinceañeras Debutante Ball. No word yet on the date of this event, but proceeds will go to help support the parochial dining hall, where many of the poor (nearing 200 per day now) receive their only hot meal of the day. For more information, especially if you know of a young lady who would like to participate in this event, please contact the President of Progreso’s Catholic Action organization, Ms. Mary Cen Piste. Phone: 935-0070 or 999 175-2269.

Fire and Rescue Personnel Drill in YucalpetenFire and Rescue Personnel Drill in Yucalpeten
We often wonder what firemen in Yucatan actually do. After all, the houses are made of concrete or stone. Not much chance for fire there. But we forget that Progreso is a major port and trucking hub. Firefighters and other rescue personnel must be ready to fight fires, carry out water rescues, handle gas leaks, and manage equipment safely while they do. For the first time, members of the Secretariat of Public Security, the Red Cross, Civil Protection, and the Municipal Police all came together for a fire and rescue drill in Yucalpeten. It is good to know that our fire and rescue personnel are on the job and up to date in their skills.

Progreso’s Young Entrepreneurs
We have watched as the students of Progreso’s technical college made their way through first one entrepreneurial contest and then another. Each of these young people took many hours of classes on how to begin and operate a small business and now, at the 15th National Entrepreneurial Competition, held in Veracruz, the small business called Caresu has won second place with an artisan sandal called Sandart. Congratulations to Emilia Borges Peña, Desireé Serrano Castellanos and Pedro León Canul for their vision and tenacity. These are the young business owners of the Yucatan of tomorrow and we are very proud of them all!

 


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14 Responses to “Yucatan News: Driving and Biking in Merida”

  1. 243 accidents per YEAR? That is impossible! Driving from Centro to the North on Montejo each day you’ll see at least three accidents along the way. Not counting the colonias, not counting periférico. 243 accidents a DAY would be closer to the truth. Merideños are the worsed drivers! Maybe they just count deadly accidents. Check your sources!

  2. OK, you’re right. We checked our sources more carefully and read the article more carefully.

    Here are the correct stats from the Municipal Police of Merida for the year-to-date (Oct. 31, 2009 (304 days) in Centro and in the Municipality of Merida as well.
    In 2009, Centro, Merida has been registering an average of 1 accident every other day.
    In 2009, Merida (the municipality) has registered 1,112 fewer accidents than in 2005. This means a total of 615 accidents in the Municipality – which is an average of 2 accidents per day in the Municipality of Merida. Not bad for a city that serves a state with 450,000 cars on the road. Obviously, these are only the accidents in which the police are called and have made a report.

    The source is El Diario, 11/23/09: http://www.yucatan.com.mx/noticia.asp?cx=11$4103080000$4195834&f=20091123

  3. OK, you say people have been dying trying to cross the “border” and the northern deserts for 500 years. Don’t you mean 50,000 years? But now you have discovered, and are recommending, using a GPS system to guide migrants “safely” across the desert? I suppose you already know that this technique is so ‘busted’. It’s like broadscasting, “Here I am!” Seriously, instead of suggesting putting more nationals in danger of risking everything, why not recommend putting more pressure on the government on both sides to change? or to establish a skill to get you there? or how about all the ideas you write about, strong local families, how to better you situation, how to become an advocate for important ideas in your community? Or better yet cross like you did. By dialing down the drama a little you might save a family from wasting their time, money and possibily their freedom when you print such dangerous ideas. With over 6000 confirmed deaths since 1994 and 12,000 dead in the “border drug wars” since 2006, I will pass on this new marvel. Can we hear from people that tried this, or if their experiences would have been different point-point by going with these dangerous suggestions? I know there are slow news days around and if wanted I can provide links to 100′s of web-sites that offer this type of misguided message.

  4. Estaban… thank you so for caring so much.

    Please understand that we did not recommend this device. We merely mentioned it in the news as an interesting way of using technology in support of a poorly served population. We venture to guess that the people who cross the border or dream of doing so, are probably not reading this website. Even if they were, we are merely reporting an interesting development.

    Frankly, we also liked this story because it demonstrated a way that people are using their skills to help others, without regard to the reward to themselves. Always a good thing, don’t you think?

  5. Your reply is certainly noted and in principle agreeded with but by thanking and congratulating these efforts seems to dilute your message. I am sure there may be other comments and I hope that they are measured and thought-full as ours have been.

  6. Actually, if more people do cross the border safely, that alone puts more pressure on both governments to change.

    I do not recommend crossing the border through a long desert walk to anyone. So much better to get a visa and cross legally. But I am nobody. And there are people who want to be reunited with their families, people desperate for work, people who have many sorts of reasons for needing to cross.

    And do you know how many residency visas the US grants to Mexican citizens each year? After you subtract out the familial-connection visas, the number is the low 100s!

    I say bravo for the Border Disturbance Project and any others who wish to disrupt the intentions of that horrible, ugly, and insulting border wall. The United States should never become a garrison state, although that’s what a lot of other people do want.

    The United States should be a free society. And costs come along with that. One of the costs is that a free society is less “secured” than a police state. Said another way: Yes, with enough police, we can solve crime and make everyone afraid of government, but do we want to live in a place like that. Me? No.

    The Border Disturbance Project is expressing their objection to an unjust law and in a way that will also save lives. People will cross whether we want them to or not. The question remaining is whether we should do what we can to see that they live or should we turn our backs and let them die without a care?

    I recently read that a group which places water jugs in the desert was prosecuted successfully for “littering.” That shows how low the Border Patrol will go. And that is the sort of thing that I oppose. I expressed that to my representatives, but the BDP is going another route. Good for them.

  7. Well said, Esteban. It´s ironic that the Americans in this thread support the illegal invasion of their own country while the Mexicans are asking for the rule of law to be observed. How things change!

  8. Your number of 615 accidents just apply to Centro (“primer cuadro”), not to Mérida as a whole. Nowhere does the Diario-text mention the “Municipality of Mérida”. The area of jurisdiction of the Policia Municipal is limited by calle 47 in the north (Santa Ana), calle 72 in the west (Reforma), calle 73 in the south, and calle 50 (Mejorada) in the East. In this limited section there have been 615 accidents, with 60 persons hit (“atropellados”), of which three died. I don’t think that’s great at all, but it makes much more sense. Of course that’s about two accidents a day and not one every day and a half. Those guys at the Diaro are just not good at math.

  9. “Illegal invasion?” Oh, piffle.

    That phrase isn’t used by many Mexicans. It’s usually used by deportation advocates in the USA.

    There is a long history of the United States using Mexico and Mexicans for our own benefit then throwing them out when it suited the US. It is historical fact. I have always believed that right and wrong wasn’t decided by who was more powerful, but rather, by what actions were and were not just.

    In the early years of the 1900s, country property records throughout “The Valley” region of Texas suddenly showed thousands, then tens of thousands, of small farms and ranches losing Hispanic names and assuming Anglo names. Those people were not selling out. In fact, their fathers and grandfathers had fought alongside Anglos against their own Mexican government. (Yucatan, likewise, did not care much for Santa Ana’s policies.)

    No, they were not selling their land. Anglos were taking it. Headed by tough Texas Rangers, thugs were killing the men and running off the women and children, in order to consolidate the land into large ranches. They were as American as their white persecutors, but they only found refuge once inside Mexico.

    In the 1930s, gangs of thugs in California worked to deport Mexican laborers there. Except once again, they ended up deporting as many US Citizens as Mexicans.

    During World War II, the US pleaded for help from Mexico. We were drafting and enlisting every able-bodied man in the USA for war. Who would plant the crops, tend the fields, harvest the food? We turned to Mexico, who provided hundreds of thousands of “braceros” to help feed the nation.

    Then, in 1954, President Eisenhower endorsed “Operation Wet Back.” (Yes, that was the actual name.) He appointed a military general as head of the INS and they set about deporting Mexicans. Except once again, they got as many American citizens as Mexicans. Tens of thousands were rounded up, roughed up, denied their belongings and their property, loaded in boxcars and shipped south. Hundreds of thousands were estimated to have fled in fear.

    To discourage return, the trains went deep into Mexico. Many US citizens, stranded deep in Mexico without money, property, or connections to home, had no way to return.

    Those are a few examples of how the US has treated Mexicans and Mexican American US Citizens. Use them when needed; discard them when done. To me, that entire history of conduct is immoral. A large number of people in Mexico today are descendants of US Citizen-deportees. With the passage of time, there’s no way to sort one from another.

    There are many more reasons that I do not support US policies regarding immigration, including the environmental catastrophe that walling the border will cause. Wildlife doesn’t recognize borders. No nation has ever “sealed its borders” and no nation ever will. Show me a 10′ wall and I’ll show you a 20′ ladder. Show me an impenetrable fence and I’ll show you inflatable boats in the sea. etc, etc, etc.

    But, “illegal invasion”? wow…

  10. CasiYucateca,

    In the above comment you briefly scoff at the term íllegal invasion´, then spend the next nine paragraphs waffling about long forgotten and largely irrelevant history before scoffing at it once again. Just which part of the term do you object to exactly – the ´illegal´ bit or the ´invasion´ bit?

  11. We are trying to remember the last time that a Mexicano was worried about immigration issues in the United States.

    History is exactly the point: The United States has a nearly two hundred year history of exploiting certain people when they are needed and quite literally throwing them away when they are not. Is that a moral way to behave? An ethical action?

    The fervor for forcible expulsions have been so high that many times — documented as many as 40-50% of the people in some cases — American citizens with Hispanic surnames were deported. Where is their rightful home?

    At any rate, being a Mexicano, we thought perhaps you would let us know what states of Mexico are being invaded by gringos? Man, I feel your pain. Gringos. ugh. ;-) In the meantime, my fingers are crossed for the reconquista.

    After much discussion, we decided you must be talking about Guanajuato, right? San Miguel de Allende is there. It’s “been said” that there are too many gringos there. Or maybe you meant Ajijic? Lake Chapala near Guadalajara?

    Anyway, Yucatan Living is an educational, newsy, visually-beautiful (in our judgment) website about Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and the sorts of wondrous experiences possible there. Chief among those are the gracious, warm and accepting attitudes of Yucatecan Mexicans.

    Visiting a website like this with anti-Mexican-isms is sorta anti-social to say the least and maybe a little odd. There are many other websites where that sort of talk is cheered, enjoyed, welcomed. Enjoy. :-)

  12. Casi… your lips to God’s ears… its called Retroculturation.
    While adults argue about all of this, the future does not belong to us. It belongs to the youth of today and they have their own view of the world. They may not be able to fix it all, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that their children WILL.
    Its in the last few paragraphs here: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2007/07/30/quinceanera/print.html

  13. I am a new reader of Yucatan Living. I love this website. I wish you would bi-locate and create a site this info-rich for a couple of other locations that interest me. Whoever takes the photos on this site totally rocks !!!!

    I have been interested in Merida for years and expect to visit this summer. As an American, I really like Mexicans. I’ve lived in AZ and FL and have found Mexican people to be kind, generous, happy people and loving, gentle parents. However, in the real world beyond my opinion and where there are laws; the US and Mexico are 2 separate countries and as such, border laws should be enforced. It’s estimated that there are 10-25 millions illegal immigrants in the US who can’t work legally and who end up working for peanuts under the table and being treated like slaves. In Tucson, the best construction is built by Mexican crews working daily for spare change. This is wrong. In addition, undocumented individuals burden the healthcare system which actually currently encourages illegal immigration by providing unpaid care for anyone who shows up at a hospital.

    I agree that the border fence is stupid and does no good except to further upset those on both sides. I do believe that there should be a military presence along the border to escort those who try to cross illegally, back to Mexico. Eventually, the word will get out that illegal immigration doesn’t work and Mexican people will stop risking their lives to cross the border.

    The Mexican people aside, the US is fast becoming a welfare state which only works if a considerable percentage of tax-paying US citizens don’t emigrate to MX, Central and South America and other locations, as is happening now. The silent emigration is staggering in size and will continue until the current administration realizes how many tax dollars are leaving the country. When there are far fewer US citizens left who pay taxes, the system will collapse.

    To the “free country” comment. Have you been here lately? There are diminishing freedoms here in the US for citizens. “Free” never meant that the borders were open. When my ancestors came through Ellis Island, there were requirements for entry into this country and that was the closest to open borders the US has had since colonial days.

    The illegal immigration issue between our countries is terrible and yet ironic. Mexico is populated by hundreds of thousands of Americans who don’t want to live in the US and yet so many Mexicans can’t wait to get there. Oy, Chichuahua.

  14. Joan,
    You’re obviously a kind and thinking person, but you’ve absorbed some propaganda and/or missing some history. Going in order:

    Yes, it is true that many contractors and employers mistreat and underpay their undocumented workers. And many pay them the going wage. Many use fake social security numbers or a TIN (Tax Identification Number) which the IRS provides to anyone without a SSN so that they can report and pay their income taxes legally – even undocumented laborers. Information about the TIN can be found on the IRS website or just ‘google’ it. All workers of every stripe pay property taxes and sales taxes. Those are the primary funding mechanisms for state, county and local governments. In fact the PEW center and other studies have found a net benefit to the USA, economically, from the undocumented workers, including the fact that they consume up to 5-10% of purchases for food, clothing, transportation, etc. Cut the US economy by another 10% and we’d really be in a Depression.

    Fence or military, nothing ever overcomes economic demand – market demand. As I saw this morning on a TV interview, an ex-warden of a prison commented: “I supervised a maximum security prison. We have lock downs. We control and search every person entering the prison. We can search any room at any time and do so constantly. Yet… our #1 biggest problem in prison was illegal drugs. If we could not eliminate drugs in prison where we control absolutely everything, we will never eliminate them in a free society.” Prohibition didn’t work. Why? Market demand. The ‘war on drugs’ has been going on for over 40 years, yet every high school kid in the USA can tell you where to score some pot. Undocumented labor will continue as long as there is unmet demand for workers in the USA. No man-made law has ever overcome market demand. It’s just that simple.

    Expatriots who live in other countries still pay income tax to the USA on their earnings from savings or investments. The number of ex-pats who are retired vs those who are working overseas are hard to determine, but a good number of those living in Mexico and elsewhere are still paying US income taxes, regardless.

    As far as “open borders,” history tells us that the USA had pretty much wide open, free immigration until the first restriction came about in 1882 – the Chinese Immigration Act. Prior to thios racist (rather openly) 1882 legislation, the most significant act had been in 1798 – raising the residency requirement for becoming a US citizen from 5 years to 14 years. It was directed against Thomas Jefferson (who French and Irish immigrants tended to favor) by the Federalists. And it was repealed in 1802 – a life of 4 years. It wasn’t until 1906 that there were any standards at all for immigration and naturalization. And it wasn’t until 1921 until quotas were placed on nations other than China. So, if your predecessors arrived in the USA at any time from 1776 through 1921, all they basically had to do was show up under the wide open doors policies at the time. There were -essentially- zero “legal” requirements other than being alive at the end of the residency period.

    So, immigration was pretty much wide open for 145 years (except for the Chinese who only had 106 years). For the past 89 years, there have been various restrictions, rules and regulations. But the vast majority of US citizens had their ancestors arrive during the wide open doors = zero legal requirements. (simplified for discussion sake)

    We could go on and discuss how neo-liberal policies like “free trade” have failed to take into account the movement of labor when both capital (money) and goods/services (products) are allowed to travel freely along with the imbalances created by US farm subsidy and NAFTA policies. It’s all a complex situation, mostly unintentionally caused by our own country – the USA. That these problems continue has more to do with the enrichment of multinational corporations and their lobbying efforts than with any one from Mexico or border fortifications.

    “We have met the enemy… and he is us.”

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