Town Hall meeting for Americans and Canadians
Thursday: June 23, 2011
The Merida Consular Section is sponsoring this meeting on the following topics:
* The Merida Consulate’s American Citizen Services Unit – routine services, hurricane preparedness.
* A representative from the U.S. Embassy Federal Benefits Unit (handles Social Security and Veterans Affairs) will give a presentation and be available to answer questions.
* The Canadian Consul covering the Yucatan Peninsula, Alie Bourgeois.
* Protección Civil del Estado de Yucatán– hurricane season.
* Ministerio Público – how to file a police report, etc.
Location: At the Crew Club in Progreso, Calle 82 – Entrance at the Viaducto Muelle Fiscal Lado Poniente
Time: 3:00 PM
Email for more information: ConsularMerida [at] state [dot] gov
Blue Land Crabs in Yucatan!
On the way to a turtle nesting ground, Jim Conrad found a Blue Land Crab walking off of the beach and onto the road. We had visions of a local source of crab meat and went looking on the Internet to see if we could learn more about them. Unfortunately, what we found was that blue land crabs have a tendency to become agricultural pests and are especially difficult to deal with when attempting to plant tropical vegetation. It would rather defeat the purpose of replanting on our beaches if we deliberately introduced a species that could eat it all overnight. Sooner or later, we suspect that someone will figure out a way to farm these creatures without having to sacrifice the environment. In the meantime, we will just enjoy each new addition of Jim Conrad’s Backyard Nature Newsletter.
We are pleased to report that, even though there is plenty of heat coming off of the western shore of Africa, Intellicast’s Atlantic Analysis shows that there are more than enough winds and high pressure systems, coming from the west and northwest, to keep Yucatan safe from anything more than a run-of-the-mill, daily, tropical shower. This is a time to not only prepare for a hurricane that will, most likely, never come… but also to double up on cleaning up your garden for the purpose of reducing mosquito hiding places and the risk for contracting dengue fever. There has been a lot of water lately… it pays to be vigilant about making sure none of it is left in pools and puddles anywhere for very long.
Hurricane Tree Recovery
While searching for information on the blue land crab, found by Jim Conrad (see above), we happened upon a commercial website for tropical garden design that is based in Florida. The first thing that caught our eye was Exotic Plants for Butterfly Gardens. We had no idea that “Sliced ripe fruit will attract many species. A cut open Watermelon will attract Julias and Monarchs.” But then we saw the section on recovering trees and palms after a hurricane. There are a number of articles in each of the categories on the Tropical Designs website and many of them look as if they could be quite useful to those of us who are building our new gardens in Yucatan. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did. We do want to add that we have left sliced, ripe fruit in our gardens as a decoy for leaf-cutter ants (they tend to like red and orange vegetation) and it works to keep them away from other things you would rather they didn’t eat. We have not noticed those same fruits attracting butterflies, but it might depend on the time of year.
Mazda Coming to Guanajuato
China is the world’s largest market for new automobiles. Next comes the United States and then Japan. In fourth place is the rapidly expanding auto market in Brazil. Mazda will build the Mazda2 subcompact and Mazda3 compact in Guanajuato while, at the same time, stopping the manufacture of the midsize Mazda6 sedan in the United States. According to Mazda, sales in Mexico have improved consistently since 2005 for Mazda cars. This is wonderful news for the 3,000 Mexicans who will be employed in the new Mazda plant. Guanajuato is an area that has prepared its people well for new opportunities such as this and the entire state should be congratulated.
Travel Mexico: CNN Reports
While the United States continues to upgrade travel warnings, Europeans and Canadians are visiting Mexico in record numbers – and all without incident. We agree that it is unusual to find that reports of drug violence in some areas of a few large cities are extrapolated to include an entire country of 31 states, and we wonder why Americans are not paying closer attention to the facts. This last week, CNN published a report from Robert Reid, of Lonely Planet and the 76-Second Travel Show that gave a lot of good reasons why people should continue to travel to Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Reid and CNN for an informed perspective on this issue.
EducaTE Yucatan: Its That Time of Year Again
Each summer, as one school year ends and support programs take a hard look at their resources for the coming year, expats are asked to help by contributing to the support of students in the communities that have welcomed them with open arms. Currently, there are 44 students in Cholul’s EducaTE Yucatan program and they have just established a scholarship fund for girls. They have also added an afternoon tutoring program for all students. Please spend some time reading our article on the EducaTE program and on the EducaTE Yucatan website to see who they are and just how valuable each expat’s contribution is to the children of Cholul. If you like, you can go directly to their donation page.
Overseas Vote Foundation: Can You Hear Us Now?
The current guess of how many Americans are living abroad is somewhere between 4 and 10 million. Even if we use the lowest number, this means that there are more Americans living outside of the country than the combined populations of Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota. …and we all retain the right to vote. Part of our problem, especially in the area of rights for overseas Americans, is that the United States government apparently has no way of getting an accurate account of how many of us there actually are. The Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-profit, 501 c(3) organization that serves both private citizens and members of the military. In 2008, 4.75 million visitors used the Overseas Vote Foundation’s voter services. In order to give all of us a louder voice in our home government, we encourage you to please take a few minutes to self-report your data at: the Overseas Vote Foundation Project Website or by using the Facebook application.The overseas voter count will continue until July 15, 2011.
Pork and Poultry Certified Safe in Yucatan
When five soccer athletes were cut from the World Cup team this past week, their trainers insisted they failed the doping test because of Mexican beef that was tainted with the steroid clenbuterol. Mexico quickly abandoned their defense by declaring that meat is not tainted by steroids in Mexico. While it is true that it is illegal to use growth enhancers in Mexico, this official Mexican study in Sonora shows that the law, as late as 2008, was not stopping 93% of the beef farmers in northwest Mexico from using clenbuterol, even though the penalty is seven years in prison. In effect, what happens is that there is a law against the use of steroids and antibiotics in herds, but no official oversight to make certain it doesn’t happen. We are very lucky in Yucatan, in that our pork and poultry farmers export meat to countries that have some of the tightest meat safety restrictions in the world. This means that our pork and poultry are – and have long been – certified free of any kind of growth enhancer or antibiotic. Our pork and poultry farmers are to be commended for suggesting that Yucatan move forward with testing of both beef and lamb, just so everyone can be certain that all of Yucatan’s meat remains the safest in the region.