News Starting August 22, 2011
As the seasons change, so does the news from Mexico. By mid-July, one quickly realizes that almost all of Mexico has gone on vacation. One short, quiet month later, the news from Mexico and Yucatan is bursting at the seams again, and a great deal of it is of interest to the expats and Snowbirds who will soon be on their way to their winter homes south of the border. By this time next month, the fall season of symphony, opera, theater, music and art will have begun and we will all be running in high gear. Stay with us now as Yucatan Living brings you the details and back-stories on many things that affect our lives as expats and Snowbirds in Yucatan.
Notice: Decreto 439: For 2011 Only
This concerns the buying of used cars in the Yucatan. As a gift for the Taxpayer, the state has announced a reduction of 50% in the transfer of ownership tax, as well as 100% forgiveness for surcharges, fines and costs of execution that would have been generated in relation to this tax. In order to qualify for this benefit, which is only available for the remainder of this year, you must be current in paying all of your taxes, if applicable you must be registered with the Federal Taxpayers Registry (RFC) and in the State Register of Taxpayers (REC) (if you are subject to state taxes) and you must make the payment in a lump sum. You may pay by cash, check, bank transfer, or debit or credit card. In addition, only one location is authorized to convey this benefit. That location is Modulo Central, Calle 61-A S/N por 90, Col. Centro (next to Expeni). If you have questions or concerns about this, we suggest you talk to the people at Yucatan Expatriate Services for their assistance.
Weather: Irene and Harvey
As Hurricane Irene batters Cuba and takes aim at Florida, please keep the people in her path in mind. It doesn’t look like Irene will develop into a very strong hurricane but, even so, there will be those in need when the hurricane is over. Tropical Storm Harvey is passing behind us, through Belize, Guatemala, Campeche and Tabasco, and dropping some lovely rain our way. Unfortunately, there is the potential for another tropical system to develop in the Caribbean on the heels of Harvey. This is one reason Snowbirds wait until October 1 to start their trip down the East Coast. There is usually some degree of flooding in Campeche and Tabasco after these storms. In the meantime, watch for calls for aid, especially from the Red Cross. Even though we, in Yucatan, are very seldom the target of a hurricane, this would be a good time to double check and make certain you are ready for anything that might come our way. To watch the weather that affects us, visit Intellicast’s Caribbean Satellite Loop.
Merida Diver Wins Again!
Rommel Pacheco is a 25 year old diver who was born in Merida and competes on the Mexican Olympic Dive Team. In 2003, he won a gold medal for the 10-meter platform dive at the Pan American Games. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, he finished 10th place in the 10-meter platform and 3-meter springboard events. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, he finished in 8th place in the 10-meter platform event. Now, Rommel Pacheco has won the Bronze Medal in the 10-meter platform event at Universiada Mundial Shenzhen 2011 in China. Our congratulations to Merida’s own Rommel Pacheco, to his family, to his coaches and to Mexico! Well done!
WestJet Expands Canada-Mexico Service
On the heels of Delta Airlines buying into Aeromexico, we now have news that WestJet is now flying non-stop to Mexico, 95 times a week, from 19 different Canadian cities. No list of the Canadian cities was given in the announcement, but the destination cities include: Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. WestJet is one of the five most successful airlines in the world and a favorite airline of Canadians. This non-stop program is being advertised as only for the 2011 – 2012 winter season, but WestJet is going to be surprised at just how many Canadians there are in Mexico or how many new Canadian visitors will take advantage of this service. Thanks so very much and best of luck to WestJet’s new non-stop Canada-Mexico air service.
New Cultural Theater Coming to Progreso
A proposal for a new cultural theater in Progreso is waiting only for approval from SEMARNAT to get underway. The money has already been budgeted and the Federal CONACULTA is ready to assist in financing as well. The new theater is to be located in the large area that is now home to the big truck scales where Calles 80 and 82 cross the South Bypass. This theater will be a wonderful addition to the cultural life of the beach communities. We love Casa de la Cultura, but it is better suited to artistic exhibitions and meetings. A new cultural theater will have the acoustics necessary for the performing arts. This should bring more and better events to the coast and will provide much more for tourists and locals to see and experience. It will take a little while to get it built, but it is on its way and we can hardly wait to see Progreso in the forefront of event news!
A Little Bit of Red Tide Passing By
This year, red tide seems to be cooperating, as well as it can, with vacations and with fishing season. It is expected to be just passing by off the beaches of Sisal at the same time that visitors are finishing up their vacations and leaving for home. Some of the pulpo fishermen are reporting diminished catches, especially in the State of Campeche, but Yucatan’s red tide seems to be fairly superficial, leaving the sea-floor clean and clear. No other types of fishing have been affected. With talk of this year’s red tide being little more than an afterthought, the Director of Fisheries is, once again, reminding fishermen to enroll in the insurance program that provides them with life insurance and other benefits.
Notice: Avoid Barracuda in Late Summer
Barracuda evidently carry one or more ciguatoxins at this time of year. While the resulting exposure to these chemical toxins probably won’t kill anyone, it is an experience they will remember for a lifetime. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can destroy any toxins by cooking the barracuda well, as ciguatoxin cannot be destroyed by cooking. Since testing for these toxins is not standard, heeding the warning to stay away from barracuda in late summer is the best idea. (And as divers, the Working Gringos think you should stay away from them anyway!)
Please Fatten Up Your Hummingbirds
No matter which end of the hummingbird migration path you are on, we remind you that it will soon be time for the mass migration of hummingbirds to their winter quarters. If you are in the United States or Canada, your little hummingbirds are going to need a lot of extra fat and energy to make their trip, so now is the time to step up your hummingbird feeding schedule a notch or two. If you are in Mexico, you should remember that, when new hummingbirds show up at your house, they will be tired and hungry, so they too will need extra food and attention. For more on hummingbird migration, visit “10 Ways to Help Hummingbirds During Their Fall Migration,”from PRWeb.
Can’t Get Your Cola Open?
It seems that, for the last month, localing bottling company Bepensa, which sells Coca Cola and Crystal , has been saving about 20% on production costs by redesigning their caps and threads to be a bit smaller. The problem with that is that children and many elderly people now can’t get the top off of their purchase without assistance. Local consumers are having a fit because the company did not pass on even part of the savings to them and, in fact, there is a rumor that the company is actually considering raising the price. While consumers and Bepensa sort this out, we thought our readers should know what the problem is, if they are indeed having a problem. You either deal with it or change brands of soft drinks until the situation resolves itself.
American Football and Skateboarding
If you look at a map of Yucatan, Tzucacab is a small municipality that is almost at the very bottom of what is known as the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatan. The most common language, spoken by 55% of the population, is Mayan. Today, the young people of Tzucacab fill their leisure time with chess, baseball and soccer. They have cable television, cell phones and keep up with their friends, worldwide, on the Internet. But they want more! They want space to play American football – and they want a place to practice their new-found love of skateboarding. Although the numbers of skateboarders are still small, those of us who lived through the skateboard craze in the United States know that this sport will grow exponentially. Since our skateboarders grew up to become responsible adults, we advise the parents of Tzucacab to just hold on and make them wear helmets. This too shall pass.
The DEXA TEAM (Extreme Sports Adventure)
These young Yucatecos are amazing! There are six of them. The youngest is 15, the oldest is 26. Last year, they attempted a canoe trip from El Cuyo to Celestun, but only two made it. After that came a bicycle trip from Merida to Isla Holbox – and back! With that success under their belts, they launched out on what was to be a 9 day, 340 km trip from Celestun to Playa Norte in Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche. The trip was called “Finding the Way 2011.” During the entire trip, they were in the open ocean, fighting wind, rain, and strong currents, finding places to stop along the shore to sleep and to eat. If there was no way to land the canoes, they would take turns sleeping and keep pushing on down the coast. Ultimately, they successfully made the 340 km in the 9 days allotted! Now they are home and planning their next extreme adventure. We wish them all the best and can’t wait to hear what their next adventure will be!
Reality for Many Children in Yucatan
In the United States, children must attend school until they are at least 16 years of age. In Mexico, that age drops to 12 years old. In both countries, children’s families must shoulder the cost of school supplies and uniforms. In many cases, this is a hardship for some poor families in the United States, but it is actually impossible for many poor families in Mexico. There was an article in one of the papers in Yucatan this week about a 12 year-old boy who is now two months into what will be his life-long occupation. He is a brick mason and will not be returning to school next week. Stoic beyond his years, this child knows that he has to work and that no further discussion can change his reality. Heartbreakers like this are the reason we remind people, as often as possible, that there is something you can do to help. To sponsor a child, or just to contribute to the general fund, the following programs are available:
- Apoyo Program for Students in Progreso
- educaTE(in Cholul)
- K’ab(in Telchac Puerto)
- Proyecto Itzaes(now in six villages)
Each of these small organizations was founded and are operated by people we know personally. You can be certain that your entire gift will reach the children for whom it was intended.
Free Cataract Surgery in Peto
Fundación Telmex, the College of Opthalmology in Yucatan, the Secretary of Health in Yucatan, Seguro Popular and the Hospital Comunitario have banded together in a program called Extramural Surgery. Together, they have provided the doctors necessary to diagnose cataracts in the population in Peto. The free surgeries, for between 120 and 130 patients, will take place on the 8th and 9th of September. This is modern surgery, performed with a topical anesthetic (eye drops) and with no sutures necessary. This kind of program is life-saving to patients and lifts a huge economic burden off of their families, especially since cataracts often develop during an individual’s peak working years. Everyone is pleased to see that these types of programs are on the rise.
Yucatan Asks Entrepreneurs to Create Jobs
In support of the realization that the long-term stability of a local economy depends on local jobs being created by local employers, the State of Yucatan is providing support to entrepreneurial firms that create jobs. The state provides financial software and other services, which include consulting, training and technical assistance, to help ensure the success of small businesses throughout the state. The current poster child for this program is FRH Performance, at Calle 21 #99 x 18 y 20, Chuburna Hidalgo, Merida. This is an auto paint and body shop that also restores auto interiors. With government support, they have space to work on 20 vehicles at a time, with cleanliness and customer service at the top of their list of business characteristics. These are the kinds of businesses everyone should support because it is these paychecks that keep our state stable and looking toward the future when so many others in the world are not as fortunate. If you know of an entrepreneur in Yucatan, please have them get in touch with the Secretary of Economic Development office to see if they qualify for assistance in this program. Plus, if you need any painting, body work, interior work, or just some fancy rims, call FRH Performance at (999) 195 5375 or e-mail them at performancefrh [at] hotmail [dot] com This is your opportunity to help support a job in Yucatan.
Ashoka in Mexico: Grants and Scholarships
It seems as if almost everybody in the entire world either has a job, wants a job, and/or is looking for a job – without realizing that, sometimes, there just aren’t any jobs. Sometimes, people have to take control of their own destiny and make their own job. …and it can’t be just any old job. They have to make a job for themselves that will allow them to take care of their own families, with enough left over to contribute toward improving the quality of life in their communities. This is called entrepreneurship and, since 1981, Ashoka Innovators for the Public has been investing in new solutions for the world’s toughest problems. These are the folks who provide support for social entrepreneurs, promote group entrepreneurship, and help build infrastructure needed to ensure the success of sustainable social solutions. They give grants in both business and academic sectors in over 70 nations and have a thriving organization in Mexico. Visit the Who Is a Social Entrepreneur?page of Ashoka in Mexico’s website and be sure to pass on the information to our friends in Yucatan. This is an opportunity to connect with successful entrepreneurs worldwide and we don’t want to let it pass by unexplored.