Honor The Heroes of 1968
On Friday, July 26, 1968, several college students belonging to a group of young Communists were picked up in a coffee shop just off of their campus in Mexico City. They were jailed and accused of everything up to and including stealing the cups and saucers from the coffee shop. For days, the numbers of students detained continued to grow. At length, their parents heard that they would not be released from prison until the day that President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz left office, April 24, 1971. Needless to say, the remaining students in Mexico City and throughout the nation were stunned. While their friends were stuck in the infamous Lecumberri Prison, tortured by both Mexican and American Communist hunting investigators, 15,000 students began marching toward the Plaza of Three Cultures in the Tlatelolco area of Mexico City – armed only with red carnations. Since the 1968 Olympics were only 10 days away, it was decided to end the problem by shooting the students on October 2nd. Eye witnesses say the shootings continued through the 3rd and 4th. Forty years later, it really is as simple and as horrific as that. Shooting them was the ultimate solution to rid Mexico of bothersome Communist students and to ensure peaceful Olympic games. The government claimed a few hundred, maybe 250, died. Those who lived through it say to add another zero to that and you should be in the ball park. Sadly, the U.S. provided much of the communication and riot control equipment, as well as a significant amount of the ammunition used in the massacre. In the end, what this event managed to do was galvanize the spirit and power of Alicia Escalante de Zama, whose son was one of the students who had been imprisoned in Lecumberri, and her extended group of trusted friends, most of whom are women. Through their efforts, Amnesty International was brought to Mexico for the first time. It is interesting to note that, when the student prisoners were finally released in 1971, they were paroled to far-away countries in hopes that they would never come back. Wrong again. They were all back and politically active within a matter of months. Today, we are grateful for the prisoners of Lecumberri. Many have gone on to hold positions of great respect and honor in Mexico. One is a dear and precious friend of mine and a delight to all who know him. We are also thankful for Alicia Escalante’s tenacity in the area of human rights. Today, she is hard at work still dealing with human rights and now the problems of immigration. However, we also have to mourn the loss of those who died in 1968 – so many young people who would have surely shaped the future of Mexico if only their lives had not been sacrificed. To learn more about this story from first-hand accounts, read “Massacre in Mexico” by Elena Poniatowska. You can also find this story online.
Agencia Espacial Mexicana May Be Located in Yucatan!
We could hardly believe our eyes when we read an article about American astronaut Jose Hernandez and discovered that he is a consultant on a proposed project to build “a technology research and development facility and a commercial launch platform for space tourism” in Mexico! Not only that, but he believes that the correct “location location location” is right here in the State of Yucatan! (Recordnet.com) The biggest surprise is that this has been in the works for at least two years (who knew?)! The Mexican Congress has already voted for this project and we are anxiously awaiting the Mexican Senate’s vote, sometime this week. If passed, the President of Mexico says that construction on the facility could begin as early as March, 2009! Jose Hernandez says that we are in the middle of history being made and that this will bring Mexico (Yucatan) into the position of being an accepted and respected partner in technology in the 21st century! It is not 100% certain that we will have this smaller version of NASA but… considering that it will also have an underwater installation and the recommendation of Jose Hernandez, we’re keeping our fingers crossed! Space tourism in Yucatan… can you believe it? Now we really will have it ALL!!! Keep up with news of this project at the website of Agencia Espacial Mexicana
PBS: Cracking the Mayan Code
PBS has a new DVD out, along with suitable for printing text, that shows not only how the Mayan Code was broken, but how to read and speak it as well. The DVDs can be purchased online, but the printable notes are free. For a better understanding of what this NOVA produced program is all about, visit Cracking the Mayan Code.
Reuniones de Las Mujeres de la Playa (The Beach Gals)
Is it Fall again already? Las Mujeres de la Playa is the club known affectionately as the Beach Gals. Membership is open to all ladies who live either full or part-time along the coast of Yucatan, so if you are going to be spending your winter at the beach, please know that you are welcome to meet with the Beach Gals on the First Monday of every month, Nov. 3 through April 6, at Buddy’s Restaurant on the Malecon in Progreso, at 9:30 AM. That having been said, it is still possible for non-members to help out with the Beach Gals’ community projects. Right now, they are working toward developing a children’s library. If Snowbirds and other visitors could each bring along a children’s book or two (in English or Spanish), just let Kitty know when you get here and she will make arrangements for getting them to the proper location. If someone can’t bring a book, the Beach Gals will accept monetary donations that will be used for postage for used books donated by the St. Louis County Library in Missouri. So far, the Beach Gals have donated over 400 books to local school libraries, to the public library, and to the Casa de Cultura in Progreso. If you would like to help with this project, please contact Kitty at: kbmorgan_99[at]yahoo[dot]com
Protección de Perros y Gatos de Progreso
This animal welfare organization meets on the last Monday of every month at 8:00 PM at Flamingo’s Restaurant on the Malecon in Progreso. Anybody and everybody is welcome to join this group but they should know that all business meetings are conducted entirely en español. It is the goal of this group to build an animal shelter in Progreso. Land has been purchased and they are looking forward to finishing up with the legalities before construction begins. This shelter has been a long time coming and will certainly be a blessing for the animals that are the beneficiaries of this effort. Donations can be made in USD or pesos only (no Canadian funds!) and should be payable to: Protección de Perros y Gatos A.C. and mailed to P.O. Box 30; Progreso 97320; Yucatán, México. This is a hardworking, community-minded group, so look for plenty of volunteer opportunities here.
Amigo de los Animales on Isla Mujeres
This week, we were pleased to find the website of Amigo de los Animals on Isla Mujeres. We really wanted to highlight the difference that it makes to have a page with pictures of dogs available for adoption, along with a little bit about them. Quite a few of our expats spend time on Isla Mujeres, so please remember to bring a donation of money and/or supplies to Amigo de los Animals when you go.
New Developments in Canine Control in Merida
We have just received wonderful news! Merida’s Canine Control picks up an average of 20 dogs per day in the Municipality of Merida and they have been working hard to develop an adoption program to go along with the free spay and neuter program that is already in place. Now, they are getting some much needed help from the Department of Social Development, the Department of Public Health, and the Municipal Council. Not only are much needed remodeling projects in the works, but new equipment as well. …and the very best part is that they are talking about launching a website with pictures of the dogs they pick up so that people can either choose one for adoption or be reunited with their own lost dog. Sadly, the Canine Control officers say that they still suffer some abuse as they go about their daily work. We hope that all of our readers will visit their website, bring them a donation, and give them all of our thanks for a job well done! Their site can be found by going to the website of the Municipality of Merida, then navigating to Areas y Programas Municipales, and then scrolling down to Canino. Just click on the paw icon to see what Canine Control in Merida is doing today. While there, you might also want to read the regulations concerning animal protection and welfare. This isn’t a “no kill” center yet, but they are trying hard to get there and that’s what counts. Again, our congratulations for a job well done to both the Canine Control officers and to the various agencies that support them.
Don’t Forget Albergue Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido A.C (AFAD)
Last, but certainly not least, is our own “best favorite” no kill animal shelter, AFAD in Merida. To read the latest news, see the latest pictures, and make a donation, just click here. AFAD is home to approximately 50 dogs and 20 cats at all times. They are open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM.; and are are located on the Merida-Cholul Highway, just across the street from Modelo University. The Merida-Cholul “Highway” is the name of Correa Rachó after it crosses the Periferico
Horse Breeding Increasing in Catmis
When we saw the article about increases in horse breeding in Catmis (see map), we couldn’t help but think of our Mississippi friends who are also horse breeders and trainers. As most of us know, Yucatan has long been in love with horses. Sadly, everyone who loves horses here does not have the means to care for them properly. Such is not the case in Catmis, where cattle breeders use horses to help them in their work and where some folks actually raise horses for the pure satisfaction of it. Catmis is just off of Hwy 184, almost to the Quintana Roo state line, but a trip to see “real” cowboy country life in Yucatan might be well worth the time it takes to get there.
Tourism Numbers Continue to Climb
It is clear that all of the world is not in an economic slump. Tourism numbers, for the first half of 2008, are up 6.3% from the same period last year. This means that 13.7 million tourists decided that Mexico is still the best buy in the tourism market today. Since Chichen Itza was named as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, we have had our fair share of those new tourists and are happy to have them with us. We would also like to point out that, of the 13.7 million tourists who came to Mexico the first half of this year, over 8 million visited the interior of the country, while just over 5 million went to the beach. This is more support for our belief that everybody who comes to Yucatan is not necessarily coming to spend their entire vacations at the beach. We have much to see and do in the interior and hope that many more people, including the expats who live here, will visit the roads less traveled in our fair state.
Yucatan Finished 5th in Mexico’s Olympic Standings
The 2008 National Olympic Games are over. Mexico awarded a total of 276 medals: 88 gold, 91 silver, and 97 bronze. Yucatan ended the year in 5th place in the nation for number of qualifying medals. The top earners were Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Baja California, Sonora, Yucatan, Guanajuato, D.F., and Mexico. The next Olympic Games will be held in 2012 and that’s one year in which we can expect greater things than ever before from our Yucateco athletes. Congratulations to them all and Yucatan Living’s best wishes for 2012! For more details see Olimpiada Nacional 2008
Nicknames: Just for Fun
This week, we found an old article on Mexico File that speaks to the issue of Hispanic nicknames, many of which the author found right here in Merida. We wondered if any of our readers know of someone who has a “really cool” Hispanic nickname or if they have one of their own. If so, just leave us a comment telling us the nickname and what it means. We’ll bet there are some strange, different, and odd nicknames to be found among the expats in Yucatan! (Additional “did you know?” …)
Who Is A North American?
This is a concept that expats soon learn must simply be accepted and not thought about too deeply. Did you know that a Cuban-American from the States is a Cuban-North American in Mexico? Now this is a concept that can be quite confusing when you realize that Mexico is in North America, so everybody here actually is a North American. As suggested – don’t think too deeply about that concept. Just enjoy being in Yucatan no matter what strange a label you (or anyone else) is wearing.