News Starting May 24, 2010
Applause and Standing Ovation for Calderón
Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, received applause and standing ovations when he asked a joint session of the U.S. Congress for help to limit the flow of illegal weapons to his country. Mexico has done their part, and continues to do so daily. Now is the time for the U.S. to do more than throw money at the problem. Stopping the flow of assault weapons to Mexico will require restrictions that the American gun lobby will fight, but we must admit that assault weapons and shoulder launched rockets are probably not the sort of weapons one keeps around the house for hunting or personal protection. All advance pundit discussion of the issue assumed that Calderón would not get a warm response to such suggestions, but to everyone’s surprise, Congress may just be ready to do their part in the war on drugs. Only time will tell. What is certain is that 20,000 Mexicans have died in the past few years, while the drug trade in the U.S. has continued to flourish, thanks to relaxed laws and reduced enforcement.
Mexico’s Economy Rebounds
Despite the media splash made by the drug war in Mexico, both tourists and big business have finally come to understand that the violence is not widespread and that it is safe to both visit and do business in Mexico. The GDP climbed 4.3% in the first quarter over the same period last year. Manufacturing grew 9.9% above the same period last year. Services increased 3.8% and industrial production is up 7.6% above last year. Production of cars and light trucks is up 69.6% for April, over the same month last year. It is also nice to know that Sidney Weintraub, an economist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, has enough faith in the future of Mexico to not only write books about it, but to invest his own money in Mexico as well. It now looks as if there are limitless opportunities for anyone who has had faith in Mexico’s ability to weather every storm that has come her way!
Local Ballerinas Receive Royal Academy Honors
Two local 17 year old classical ballet students at the Leonor Medina Ballet Dance Studio recently passed a Review with Merit, which was granted by the Intermediate Foundation of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. We can only imagine the hard work and time involved in years of preparation for such an honor. Our congratulations to the two young ladies, to their parents and to their teachers. They are the future of ballet in Yucatan and we are all very proud of them. Look for the names of Cossette Brule Aldana and Camilla Balzaretti Medina to be up in lights!
Boomers Begin to Rant
As we read the papers this week, we noticed that a peculiar phenomenon has begun to pop up in editorial pages concerning high prices, and we just couldn’t help but smile when Yucatan was mentioned. Editor and writer Bob Wells talks about manufacturers who “have a lot of nerve” charging what they charge these days (for stove knobs), and organic grocery stores whose products are affordable only to the Land Rover driving crowd. Then he begins to sing the praises of living in Mexico, Merida in particular! He gives a link to a local real estate company just in case his readers can’t believe how much better it is in Merida than where they live. By then, we’re chuckling. Here’s the link to Eye-popping U.S. Prices Force Americans Southward by Bob Wells.
Volunteer Programs in Yucatan
If you know of someone who is interested in volunteering in a Mayan community or orphanage, or perhaps has dive skills or qualifies to work in various phases of marine conservation, GoAbroad.com has a number of volunteer opportunities on the Yucatan Peninsula. Some are right here in Merida. Some of them look a little pricey to us, but when you consider that food and lodging and necessary classes are included, volunteering in Yucatan might not be a bad idea, especially for young people who are exploring their options. Visit GoAbroad.com’s Yucatan Website to see if there’s something there for you or for someone you know.
Yucatan Has a Chickenpox Season?
Who knew?.. and now it’s almost over! It seems that chicken pox season in Yucatan is from March to May. The number of cases in Yucatan is down this year, from 117 per week to just 61 per week. Chicken pox is usually a relatively mild disease in young children, so many parents skip giving their children the vaccine. This is a huge error. If a child doesn’t get chicken pox until they are a teen or an adult, the disease is far more serious and can even be life-threatening. In all cases, no matter how mild, just having had chicken pox puts one at risk for developing shingles later in life. At the very least, shingles is one of the most painful things anyone can suffer through. So, remind parents to vaccinate their children and, if you have not had chicken pox, be sure to get your own vaccination as well.
Latin American Bloggers, UNITE!
The third annual Latin American Bloggers conference will be held in Merida again this year. The venue will be a downtown college campus of a local tourism school that has wireless Internet, garden space and a lecture hall. The activities will start on Friday evening, November 12th, with a Cocktail-Social to meet and greet fellow bloggers. On Saturday, November 13th, there will be a full day of conferences, talks and workshops, followed by lunch, more topics, and more opportunities to eat. If you are interested in attending or learning more, contact Theresa
Welcome Back Carnival Cruises!
After a four year absence, Carnival Cruises will be arriving in Progreso, beginning May 31st. As many as 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members will be visiting Progreso and Merida every week. This will be a significant boost to the economy of our port city, and it is deeply appreciated. Welcome back Carnival Cruises and bienvenido to everyone aboard!
Coppel to Open in Valladolid
As Valladolid continues to grow, more business than ever is locating there. This time it is Coppel, a store that offers everything from clothing and furniture to automobile tires and life insurance. As of now, the store is set to open in September. This is great news for the citizens of Valladolid as their city continues to improve its position as one of the premier places to live on the entire peninsula.
Congratulations to Cool Zone!
Merida has two more new entrepreneurs! Their company is called Cool Zone and their product is a fan with a cooling system that produces a fine mist of water that can cool a space by up to eight degrees. All anyone has to do is hook the fan and its equipment up to a garden hose and turn on the water and the fan. Plus, they come in all sizes, and the equipment can be rented or purchased alone to be installed on large industrial fans. This is a great start for two recent business administration graduates! Congratulations to sisters María Luisa and Ana María Conzuelo Garabana – and here’s to a cool summer for Yucatan!
Suicides Triple in 2009
This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the Save a Life Association. This group is based in Yucatan and mans a suicide hotline that serves the entire country of Mexico. In 2009, they received 7,250 calls, nationwide, with two thirds of those coming from women. Successful suicides in the State of Yucatan numbered more than 240 cases. This is, in all probability, due to downturns in the economy caused by news reports of a drug war that is not in Yucatan, an H1N1 virus scare that wasn’t, and the worldwide economic crisis. If you speak Spanish and are comfortable with speaking to individuals who are in a state of emotional distress, please call 945-3777 or 945-3075 to volunteer for this worthy service.
Placido Domingo Well and in Mexico!
Just 2 months ago, Placido Domingo underwent successful surgery for colon cancer. Now, he has already performed in Qatar, Washington, and Los Angeles. This past Thursday night, he conducted eight gifted members from the Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artists Program in concert at the Broad Stage. Read our previous news article about this beloved icon and why Yucatan is proud to call Placido Domingo one of its own. We are so happy to know that he is well and able to continue his marvelous career.