News starting December 22 – News will resume on Jan. 5, 2009
The Search is Over: A New Director for the Symphony!
We have gotten ourselves another Star in Yucatan! His name is Juan Carlos Lomónaco and he has just been chosen as the new director for the Symphony Orchestra of Yucatan. His biography is long and prestigious and can be found on his website HERE. Suffice it to say that he has been quite humble in reporting his accomplishments and we know of even more that can be found HERE. We are trying so hard not to “brag” – but … here’s another article about our new conductor, Juan Carlos Lomónaco. Yucatan Living hopes that the tenure of Juan Carlos Lomónaco, as Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Yucatan is long, successful, and happy.
Handicraft Teacher in Tzucacab: Lorena Marques Pat
For the past 2 years, we have been reporting on a handicrafts course that is ongoing in Tzucacab, but we never knew who was teaching the course, just that it was sponsored by the State and Municipal DIF. Now we know. Lorena Marques Pat has a disability that makes it necessary for her to teach from her home, but that doesn’t stop her from teaching handicrafts, including quality control, to up to 20 women at a time. Recently, there was a show and sale of the artisans’ work, much of which is made from recycled materials. The Christmas crafts sold best because of the time of year. Look for this show and sale in next year’s early December Events column. In the meantime, if you want more information, if you want to take the class, or if you want to purchase items from the ladies of Tzucacab during the year, Lorena Marques Pat has invited interested persons to drop by her home on Calle 30 in Comisaria Dzi.
U.N. Symbolic Declaration: Condemnation of Anti-Gay Laws
France and the Netherlands brought a declaration condemning anti-gay laws to the floor of the United Nations this past week. The declaration called for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. It was signed by 66 nations, including Mexico. Nations refusing to sign included the Vatican, the United States, and some Muslim nations. In all, 70 nations still have laws that criminalize homosexuality. This declaration comes on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen, said countries that endorsed that 1948 document had no right to carve out exceptions based on religion or culture that allowed discrimination against gays. "Human rights apply to all people in all places at all times," he said.
Tampa to Cancun: Round-trip Daily
For those of our readers who might need to zip over to the States and back, Jet Blue has a new, daily, round-trip flight between Tampa and Cancun. We know this is especially important for some of our veterans who need to get to appointments at a VA medical center and for retirees who need to keep up with Medicare appointments. Reports are that the round trip is running about $300 USD.
Monty Industries Adds Another Brand
We have heard Yucatan described as a mysterious jungle, often with the adjectives deep and dark thrown in for effect. We aren’t saying that there are no places like that left on the peninsula, but its is often hard to square that with the growing, modern industrialization that is happening all over the continent. Recently, for instance, there is the news that Monty Industries, a clothing manufacturer in Motul, has just added a new brand to its already successful jeans and ladies’ clothing lines. Monty Industries exports clothing both to the U.S. and to Europe. They employ over 4,000 Yucatecos in good jobs and we wish them well in their newest venture.
Chinese Tourist Agency VP Visits Chichen Itza
It looks as if Yucatecos are now all over the world. The vice president of a tourist agency in Beijing has a Yucateca friend who, evidently, told her of the wonders of our state so often that she decided to come and see for herself. Needless to say, she left Yucatan with the assurance that there will be many more visitors from China to our fair state in the near future.
Monitor the Economy in Latin America
The economic news from Latin America is not all bad. Take a look HERE. What it looks like is that developed nations are falling a little bit behind, while developing nations are surging far ahead. Although these are difficult economic times for everyone, it certainly is going to be an interesting situation when we come out on the other side. Plus, what’s up with Uruguay this year? 2008 GDP up 11.5%! This comes as a result of agricultural exports to Russia, Asia, and the Middle East; and, sadly, a billion dollar paper mill.
Mexico’s IT Market Healthy and Growing
Market Overview BMI expects that the size of the Mexican IT market will increase from US$10bn in 2007 to around US$16.9bn in 2012. Mexican banks and financial services companies are among some of the country’s major IT spenders, with regulatory compliance and new service offerings fuelling investment. Other important sectors include manufacturing, retail, construction, transportation and services. The World Bank recently approved an US$80mn loan to help boost Mexico’s IT sector. The fund will be used to support IT training, government infrastructure investment and outsourcing, and to strengthen IT legal and regulatory frameworks. Mexico’s Nuevo Leon State Department recently signed a contract with Spanish healthcare solutions provide iSOFT to implement an IT-enabled integrated care system in ten hospitals and 470 health centers in the state. Meanwhile, Yucatan’s state government recently signed a technology transfer alliance with US software firm Progress to streamline its e-government platform. The 2008 UN E-government survey found that Mexico had the most advanced e-services development in Latin America, due to a ‘strong national government portal’, which encouraged online consultations between government and citizens. Read More.
Interesting Corporate Sell-Offs and Retentions
Sometimes, it is interesting to watch and see what huge corporations are selling off and what they are keeping. Let’s look, for a moment, at Grupo Gigante. Early in 2008, Gigante sold off 200 grocery stores the retail grocery business is known for a very slim per-item profit margin). Now, in December, 2008, Gigante sold off its share of Radio Shack (again, very slim per-item profit margin and stiff competition). So let’s look at what they kept: real estate holdings (better to be a landlord during hard times than a business partner); restaurants (everybody doesn’t feel the pinch of recession), discount stores and joint ventures with Home Depot, Inc. (and the middle-class just keeps on growing!). In our humble opinion, whomever Grupo Gigante is using as a financial advisor totally understands what is going on in the economic world right now and their picks to keep and to sell are a window into at least the near future of investing success in Mexico.
Big Three Auto Woes Come to Mexico
ALFA, one of the world’s largest auto parts makers, is shutting down its 9 plants in northern Mexico for 2 weeks to mirror the shutdowns of major automakers in the U.S. So far, no jobs have been lost, but this is one example of how the recession in the States does have implications for the economy in Mexico. Yucatan is relatively safe because their business associations are focused more in the direction of Europe, but this is a global crisis and no one should consider themselves totally safe from its effects.
Oil Industry News Nearby
PEMEX has awarded Global Industries, Ltd. a $46 million USD contract for pipeline work in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the Bay of Campeche. The project will begin in March 2009 and will be completed by the end of July. Global will install two pipelines at a depth of about 300 feet (92 m). One will be a 24-inch, 1.3 mile (2.1 km) pipeline from one platform to another. The other will be a 12 inch, 0.3 mile (0.5 km) pipeline from a subsea connection to a platform. The project includes pipeline crossings, risers, and expansion curves. Those of us who live in Yucatan must be aware that, even if we do not see oil industry activity, it is nearby and we should at least keep ourselves informed about not only what is being done, but also its potential impact on our area.
LA County: Gang Members Charged with Murder of Yucateco Deputy Sheriff
On August 2, 2008 two Los Angeles gang members gunned down 27 year old Juan Abel Escalante, an L.A. County Deputy Sheriff, in his parents’ driveway. The gang members who committed this horrific act were finally caught, charged and are currently being held without bail. Daily, we are bombarded with the number of drug-related murders in Mexico. Quite frankly, that kind of deliberately misleading rhetoric is not helpful when coming from a country that refuses to even calculate its own drug related murders. Juan Escalante was the son of Yucateco immigrants. At only 27 years of age, he was a husband, the father of three, the brother of two, and a respected member of the law enforcement community in Los Angeles. He was also a military medal winner, as well as a mental health professional in the U.S. Army Reserve. Yucatan Living would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Juan Escalante. His loss is a loss to all Yucatecos, in the States and here at home.
Best Blogs We Found This Week
Karen Carter’s Adventures
This little blog is written by, from what we can gather, a Snowbird in Merida. Its special value is for those who are still north of the border but wondering what it would be like to just take off and go live in a “foreign country.” We don’t know much about “foreign countries” – but we do know about Yucatan and we know that living here is something no one should miss. Read Karen’s blog as she delights us with fresh descriptions of places and food we so often take for granted.
Investors, Are You Listening? We Need One of These!
There is a fantastic palapa RV site in Quintana Roo. The name of it is PaaMul and it is located, of course, on PaaMul Bay. It has been around for a while – long enough to grow to include 200 spaces – but still doesn’t have its own webpage. This week, we found a new blog by Glenn and Susan and its all about building their own palapa RV spot at PaaMul. Take a look at Palapa Life to learn more about what just may be one of the new lifestyles for travelers and expats who want to split the low cost difference between adventure travel and all the comforts of home.
La Gringa’s Blog From Honduras
This week, we found a fantastic blog from Honduras. La Gringa has been in Honduras since 2001 and blogging since July, 2006. She has excellent advice and links for anyone who might think they want to move to Honduras or retire there. Be sure to read about her dogs and about building her home. With titles like “Hand me that pick ax, I need to trim the roses,” this blog is a great read for all of us who have to deal with the daily “little inconveniences” we find in our new lives. We wholeheartedly recommend La Gringa’s Blog.
Michael Dickson Blogs From Pátzcuaro, Michoacan
We couldn’t decide which of Michael’s blogs we like best, so HERE is the list of all of his blogs. Read all about Michael, a retired Houston newspaper editor – now Mexican citizen, and his lovely wife, a Mexican engineer, HERE.