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PELICAN EXTRA!!! June 2016

 

Bulletin:

Real estate company issues

warning that database hacked

  Investment Properties Mexico, a company with an ongoing construction project in Puerto Aventuras, has issued notice to clients that its database has been breached. Information it says was stolen from the database includes names, email addresses and phone numbers from the company’s mailing list.

“We have reason to believe,” wrote company executive Richard Houghton to people who might be affected, “that the hacker or an associate will try to contact you either via email or phone….to try to discredit IPM and dissuade you from doing business with us.

“We have traced the source of the breach,” Houghton continued, “and appropriately closed it and are working with our providers to add more layers of security.”

He asks that anyone receiving suspicious emails from someone they might know in Mexico but with a questionable topic, to please forward the email, if so inclined, to the IPM website. (See logo on this page)

Tear gas used to disperse mob

blocking 307 near main gate

Breakdown disrupts water flow for 3 days

By Staff
Apparently taking a page from the recent and disruptive Akumal uprising over beach access, residents of the Puerto Aventuras poblado and Puerto Maya housing development blockaded Route 307 adjacent to the Chedraui supermarket for three hours Tuesday evening because of a 72-hour water service shutdown that went on too long.

The blockade on both sides of the highway by 300 or more residents between 5 and about 9 p.m. was responsible for missed flights for tourists trying to reach Cancun airport and ended only when negotiations failed and the police had to use teargas to disperse the agitated mob. By that time, it was reported the service was slowly being restored as the company waited for sufficient pressure to build following a mechanical breakdown.

The event brought Solidaridad Mayor Rafael Castro to the scene 1.5 hours after the blockade began. The mayor tried to negotiate a dispersal for another 1.5 hours without success, which led to the use of tear gas.

As of this writing, 26 suspects had been detained and officials were searching for more individuals responsible for stirring the restive crowd into actions that also included burning four vehicles and damage to a security gate and palapa, actions that have now attracted federal prosecutors. Subsequent investigation alleged that members of the former PA political delegation had incited vandalism.

Poblado residents had also detained and later released three employees of Aguakan earlier in the day in an attempt to call attention to their problem and hasten the return of potable water service so essential to daily life. Local restaurants reported a sharp decline in sales during the unrest as residents remained at home to protect themselves from vandalism.

At issue was the apparent oversight of the Aguakan supplier, which was grappling with a major breakdown, to attempt to inform consumers of the problem and assure them the company was doing its best to repair and return water service as quickly as possible.

The company’s lack of communication, coupled with what the mayor believes were actions by instigators who began making other demands, brought negotiations to a halt and forced police to protect the mayor, his aides, the PA delegate and the three detained Aguakan employees and finally disperse the crowd with teargas.

Spokesmen for the tourist industry generally observed the residents could have used other means to showcase their plight with the slow pace of Aguakan’s repairs without tainting the tourist destination’s image.

The breakdown did not affect the Puerto Aventuras resort, whose developer has the concession to operate and control the resort’s water supply, distribution and sewerage system other than engender empathy for the people who had to make do without water for too long, said one observer from the resort..

Aguakan says it pipes drinking water to the municipalities of Benito Juarez, Isla Mujeres and Solidaridad (poblado and Puerto Maya). It also collects and treats wastewater, a long process that requires technology and expertise that, the company says, insures the communities receive quality service.

Hoteliers ask Pres. Pena Nieto

to intervene in Akumal conflict

By Staff
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has been asked by hoteliers from Tulum and Akumal to intervene in the continuing conflict between private and public interests over beach access in Akumal.

In their appeal to the President, the hoteliers say the struggle has taken a more strident turn with road blockades, attempts to destroy fencing and the use of Molotov cocktails, actions that are causing considerable fiscal shortfalls in the tourism industry there.

The base issue spurring the turmoil is and has been the ambiguous law that both gives and takes away traditional rights of a given community’s residents access to the federal zone beach across private property.

In one version of the community’s history, it is noted the law forbids the denial of free resident access to the federal zone through private property BUT, it has a disclaimer that allows private property owners and developments to select where that access will be.

State, municipal and federal agencies have yet to forge a solution to satisfy both sides of the conflict that also impacts Akuma’ls ecological center. For its part, the center says it is striving to protect the turtle population along its reef from overuse by snorkelers and uncontrolled marine service providers.

The non-profit ecology center, on land deeded to it by Akumal founder Pablo Jose Bush Romero, is administered by a daughter, Laura Bush, and 26 other founders.

Q. Roo voters end 80 years

of PRI control in the state

Quintana Roo was among  seven of 12 states voting for governor and other local offices on June 5 that ousted the long-term political control of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto. Mexico pundits are saying the loss sets the stage for the 2018 presidential election which, as in last Sunday’s vote, highlights voter discontent over rampant graft, impunity, corruption, scandals and a sluggish economy.

Carlos Joaquin, a former PRI member who defected from the PRI shortly before the election cycle, ran under a coalition of the PAN and PRD parties to rout PRI nominee Mauricio Gongora.

Asked to comment on the outcome, Puerto Aventuras developer Arq. Roman Rivera Torres replied: “Carlos Joaquin has occupied an important seat in the federal Secretaria de Turismo. I believe he understands tourism and that our economics is based on tourism.”

Nature Watch…

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Recording the sounds of the manatee

PA’s dolphinarium offers more

than tourist entertainment

Science and study is in the background

Puerto Aventuras visitors and residents may not realize it, but there is more to the dolphin pools and manatee population here than passive and active entertainment. While thousands of visitors to the Dolphin Discovery sites annually watch with glee the interactions of entertaining dolphins swimming with humans and manatees lazily munching lettuce, there is some serious science and education going on in the background.

Curr3ntly, doctoral student Beth Brady is conducting a rare study of manatee vocalizations here in a controlled environment that she says is perfect for analyzing the various manatee vocal characteristics and repertoire. Their sounds, and when and how they are used help provide insight into their reactions to the environmental pressures and conditions in which they live.

The endangered West Indian manatee like those nourished here, Brady notes, face challenges from climatic and anthropogenic (human influences) sources that need to be understood better if the specie is to be preserved. Brady’s study began in May, 2013, with a dearth of written information on the subject, which will make her contribution that much more important to the understanding and preservation of the large, languid marine mammal.

The distinctive sounds analyzed in the study are of vital importance in estimating the distribution, densities and demographics of the manatee population in the wild, Brady notes. The effectiveness of broader studies depends upon a detailed knowledge of the manatee’s vocal stockpile and how it is utilized in communicating with its own specie.

“Dolphin Discovery has interesting facilities, really helpful to obtain daily recordings of the manatees and collect representative samples of the sounds of the various calls manatees utter. It’s a controlled environment that hosts 4 calves and 3 adults where I can record their vocal behavior-necessary for the investigation”, Brady said.

“My goal is to be able to describe the vocal expressions of the West Indian manatee species. In addition, I am investigating how these calls are used in different size groups, age classes and behavioral contexts”, added Brady.

Brady’s work in Puerto Aventuras is  supported by Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and by Dolphin Discovery of Puerto Aventuras, which has contributed to the study and conservation of marine mammals for more than 21 years. It has sites in Mexico, Anguilla, Tortola, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, the Dominican Republic, the USA, Italy and Jamaica, attracting more than 6 million visitors a year.

Brady’s study will conclude next February, after which she hopes to obtain her Ph.D. Her study adds to the scientific map and literature designed to assist and preserve the manatee population.

Audio recordings and photos can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/22nG893

For more information about visit www.dolphindiscovery.org

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our monthly schedule beginning in May is the third week of the month for production at month’s end. Thank you.

The end – Previous edition below

June 2016

 

PA coed fourth in world

free dive competition

Mexico’s record holder improves

performance on world stage

By Staff
Camila Jaber Lara of Puerto Aventuras upped her performance in the world free dive championship competition held in May on Long Island, the Bahamas.

The international challenge, known as “Vertical Blue 2016”, brought together 56 athletes representing 21 countries spanning every continent, all working to claim the title of the “world’s deepest man and woman.” It was the largest turnout ever in that sport.

Miss Jaber came in fourth in the women’s division with 218.88 points preceded in first place by Sofia Gomez of Colombia, 274.50 points; Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan, 260.04 points and Kate Middleton of New Zealand, 235.65 points.

Of the 18 female competitors, two were from Mexico, Jaber and Estrella Navarro Holm, who, ironically, came in fifth with 218.83 points.

In the men’s division, William Trubridge of New Zealand set a new world record free inmersion of 124 meters.

Miss Jaber, daughter of Felix Jaber and Georgina Lara and a student in environmental engineering at the Technical College of Monterrey, achieved two personal goals in the competition, accomplishing all valid dives in the nearly two-week competition, and a personal best in the no-fins discipline, piling up points to earn fourth place among all the best free divers in the world.

Videos of her dives are at:

https://www.facebook.com/CamilaJaberFreediver/videos/1578960832434134/

 

War in Akumal…

 

Battle over public vs. private

beach access turns intense

 

By Staff

It was inevitable that the long-running battle between private versus public beach access in Akumal would reach a more aggressive intensity.

It did just that last weekend when what began as another mostly peaceful demonstration turned into clashes between police, four of whom were injured, and the use of Molotov cocktails that set one palapa stand ablaze along the road that links the beach to the pueblo. There were attempts by a crowd to remove a wire fence topped with what appears to be razor wire blocks traditional free access..

The land in question is part of considerable acreage purchased in the 1950s by the late Mexico-city born adventurer Pablo Jose Bush Romero and now controlled by his descendants.

The base issue spurring the turmoil is and has been the ambiguous law that both gives and takes away traditional rights of a given community’s residents access to the federal zone beach across private property.

In one version of the community’s history, it is noted the law forbids the denial of free resident access to the federal zone through private property BUT, it has a disclaimer that allows private property owners and developments to select where that access will be.

Bush’s daughter, Laura Bush Wolfe, is a principal of her father’s estate and as such has been the mentor of Akumal’s phased tourism development over the years while owning a popular restaurant there and patron of an ecological center to protect turtles from a growing onslaught of snorkelers believed to be endangering the bay’s sea life. Some turtles are growing never-before-seen tumors. This is attributed by some ecologists to overuse by tourists and independent, uncontrolled marine service providers.

Aggrieved residents turned to peaceful demonstrations and blockades over several years in attempts to gain federal and/or state intervention that would guarantee traditional access. While several agencies have responded and have studied the situation, solutions have yet to be worked out.

 

 

 

 

Puerto Aventuras fishing boats

place well in iconic tournament

Puerto Aventuras sport fishing boats took five of the top 10 places in the 38th annual “Prof. Augusto R. Sosa Centeno” tournament out of Playa del Carmen last weekend  including the top prize captured by the PA-based  “Sea Phantom” captained by Pedro Noh of the Capt. Rick’s fleet , who garnered 19084.60 points. The “Sea Phantom” was the first-day contender for first prize after landing a 219.6 pound blue marlin.

Sixty-six boats, from Cancun, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen participated . Other Puerto Aventuras boats finishing in the top ten were the “Sea Queen”, coming in third; “Puffin” fifth; “Diego” sixth and “O’Hara,” seventh. The “Puffin” , another Capt. Rick’s boat, landed the largest Wahoo while the vessel “Wild Goat” reeled in the biggest Dorado.

This annual event is the second largest sport fishing tourney on the Mexican Caribbean. Fishing committee chairman Martin Arguelles said some 2000 fans attended the traditional  “fish fry” after the two-day event and that the tourney has helped the Riviera Maya become one of the most important destinations for the sport fisherman.

 

 

Fiddler on the Roof, the play, will be presented by the Puerto Aventuras Colegio students on Friday, June 3, in Playa del Carmen’s new “Teatro de le Ciudad” – City Theater – adding a modern venue to the talents of the students for a pleasant and enjoyable evening. Tickets are on sale at the Colegio from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Trivial pursuits Sunday, June 8, at 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 Restaurant and Lounge with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy. Happy hour 4 to 6 p.m.. Menu available during play.

Riviera Film Festival will be held June 24-30 in Playa del Carmen and at thus far unannounced July dates in Puerto Morelos…

Monthly recycling will take place Friday at the skate park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Annual reminders to prepare

for this year’s hurricane season

Analysts say area due for a major storm

By Staff

Mother Nature has opened the door to the 2016 hurricane season from June to November, spurring area officials and Solidaridad’s hotel association into action to prevent or minimize damages and assure public safety, precautions that are recommended also for individual homeowners and condo complexes.

Of 17 tropical storms predicted for the season by the University of Colorado, a number considered about average, five are expected to be hurricanes and several of those predicted to be intense and possibly make landfall, calling the attention of all hands to follow the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared.”

To that end, Capt. Rick’s Sportfishing passed on the following preparatory information as a heads up to local residents: Herewith a summary:

 

BEFORE: Plan what actions you will take in the event of an emergency and a list of who to call should you need or your property need immediate help. Plan and get what you may need to dig in for several or more days, such as tinned foodstuffs, plenty of potable water, radio with batteries, lanterns and/or candles, matches; safely store important documents, money and expensive personal items; keep an eye out for elderly or disabled neighbors too; immediately evacuate if so recommended by state authorities and know where your nearest emergency shelter is located.

 

DURING: Every three hours the location and intensity of the storm will be broadcast on radio. Disconnect light switches and propane; move away from the sea if possible and practical; otherwise, don’t leave the house until it is recommended by authorities; don’t be fooled by the calmness within the eye of the storm and venture out during that time since it will be followed by powerful reverse wind direction.

AFTER: Wait for authorities to clear your neighborhood before returning; Do not touch fallen wires or allow children and pets near them; do not attempt to move seriously injured people but contact authorities for help; take note of the safety condition of buildings before entering since they could be in danger of collapse. The local emergency numbers are 066 and (065 for Red Cross ambulance); Solidaridad’s Civil Protection number is 01-984-877-3053. (Note that the  pending change to the more familiar 911 emergency number is now in use as well as the 066 number. The government will phase out the 066 number following a period of transitional publicity. For now, use either number. Don’t forget also that PA Security has an emergency number for English-speaking residents. It is 984-214-7589 and is functional during daytime and evening hours but not at night.

 

Analysts in Mexico say the Caribbean coast averages a strong cyclone about every 10 to 13 years, noting that “we are in that timeline from Hurricane Wilma to date. It warrants giving attention to preparedness and prevention this year,” they suggest.

The Roundup…

 

 

New places – We get word a full-time produce retail store will be opening soon in the marina area next to the Pub restaurant. More later. Also, former Latitude 20 owner Peter Metrick has opened a luncheon eatery at the Grand Marina plaza open from noon to 5 p.m. and featuring Jamaican BBQ… Meanwhile the Europea/Go Mart convenience and wine retail market has opened its doors by the main gate, an event attracting shoppers and the just plain curious…

Murder update – The state attorney has filed a murder charge against Hugo Vergara Rangel following initial investigation into April’s dismemberment death of Lori Archambault, 36, native of Canada who recently relocated to the Maya Riviera. Vergara was reportedly her boyfriend. Early reports said the pair recently moved to the Tulum municipality from Los Cabos. Ms. Archambault’s remains were found in two abandoned suitcases at a Playa del Carmen van stop…

Project begins – Work has begun on the first phase of the Puerto Aventuras main gate improvement project and is expected to last for about four months. The project, approved by voters at the April 16 special assembly, involves landscaping, roadwork and site preparation for Phase 2, which will involve some reconstruction of the building and addition of lanes. Funds for the second phase will be sought at the annual assembly. The current work will require some rerouting of access lanes so motorists are asked to use caution in the gate area during construction.

Security Upgrade – The PA Colonos will deactivate all existing security cards, including resident gate cards and employee passes on June 30. To pre-empt deactivation, visit the Colonos office and fill out the required security form. Absent snowbirds can fill out the form online at www.colonos.com to avoid inconvenience upon return for the high season. Send the completed form to [email protected]org .Have your auto plate number handy when you fill out the form.

A drunk driver who steered himself into a bad accident that tipped his car over in front of the Barcelo Hotel on 307 in the early morning of May 24 had been drinking at a bar in Puerto Aventuras, said the police who had to extricate him from the car in which he was trapped. He and a passenger were taken to a hospital in Playa for treatment of injuries…

The new aerodrome that was supposed to take off by now to replace the one in Playa seems to have lost the air beneath its wings. Apparently, the project has run into disagreements with land owners in or on or around the airport who complain of encroachment on their land west of 307…

Aerial surveillance of waterfront activities using a drone began in February along the Playa del Carmen waterfront and is being extended by the municipality to Paamul and Puerto Aventuras. The drone collects data on the operation of nautical tourism services…

A brilliant light on May 22 that was seen streaking across the night sky by residents of the State of Puebla and two other states is believed to have been a meteor entering the atmosphere and burning out with a very loud and frightening bang…

The General Hospital Staff in Playa del Carmen held a protest in May over unfair working conditions and other irregularities at the hospital including an abrupt power failure half way through a medical procedure. The protest involved an estimated 50 doctors and nursing staff who have threatened a strike unless efforts are made to address their grievances.

Akumal project denied – The environmental statement for a proposed Hotel Jade project involving construction of 12 villas and/or 401 rooms in three-story buildings in Akumal was rejected by the federal environmental agency…

Another death was recorded on the Puerto Aventuras-Paamul section of Federal Highway 307 0n May14 when a speeding VW Jetta driven by a non-resident struck a taxi from behind, then swerved off the roadway into a CFE cement abutment. Witnesses said the car was traveling at an estimated speed of 150 Km per hour. Meanwhile, a report out of Cancun notes that so far this year taxis have been involved in more than 1,003 accidents in that city, half of which, the report notes, was the fault of the taxi drivers…

New crime stopper? – A smart-phone app is being developed in Playa del Carmen that will put citizens in the law enforcement loop by simplifying real-time reporting of criminal activity by citizens witnessing events such as robberies, car accidents and other acts requiring police, fire or medical response. Area businesses are supporting the app’s development…Meanwhile, the press reports that Acapulco has been transformed by criminal violence and murder from a tourist mecca to a hit-man hangout where man-bags around the necks of local businessmen are now used to carry a handgun for protection…

A Tulum transvestite who left a local nightclub with a “stranger” at 3.a.m. May 15 was found stabbed to death a few hours later according to police. Two of the victim’s companions found the body in their shared apartment. The companions were interrogated as witnesses who may have been able to identify the “stranger”…

Legalize opium farming for medicine? State governments are leading a debate to legalize opium farming in Mexico to be used as medicine. The move is seen as depriving drug cartels of the product as a possible way of reducing cartel violence…

The peso’s volatility continued in May reaching an x-rate above 18-1. It is causing concern about inflation and the need to increase prices for products and services that can seriously harm the economies of families and local businesses…Nonetheless, the Caribbean coast continues to attract tourists and hotel investments, one of which is fostering objections from native residents to privatizing a traditional public beach in Playa del Carmen…

 

 

 

Well-known businesswoman here

attacked in home near main gate

A well-known former restaurant owner, writer and activist in Puerto Aventuras was the victim of a nighttime house break and physical attack by an intruder last month in an apartment just outside the resort’s main gate where resort Security has no jurisdiction despite the proximity.

 

As related by the victim and a friend who escorted her for hospital treatment of knife cuts and bruises, the intruder broke into the apartment at around 2 a.m. while the sleeping victim was awakened with the knife-wielding intruder’s hand around her throat. An ensuing struggle resulted in a knife cut on the victim’s nose.

 

When reporting the incident, the victim said she learned that it was the third such attack within two months in which the attacker tells the victim he was paid to kill them. One such attack was in Puerto Morelos two months previous and another in the PA Poblado 20 days prior to the latest attack, according to the Ministerio Publico.

The victim said her hands were tied behind her back while the intruder rummaged for money but untied her hands so she could retrieve it. The intruder fled after he was given money, a laptop computer and phone. He threatened the victim that he would be back.

Police investigators found footprints, broken screen and glass above a door through which the intruder gained access to the apartment. Inside, the police found a shirt and spoon believed used to do drugs left behind by the trespasser. The victim, who has recovered physically from the attack, explained the reporting process for the benefit of the foreign population unfamiliar with the local process.

She said she was brought by a friend to the police station in the Poblado to report the crime. “But they are like the beat cops on the street. They deal with active crime events in real time. They came to my house, checked it out and saw there was no crime going on in the moment and suggested that I go to the Ministerio Publico in the morning, which is what I did.”

In order for any crime to be investigated, she said, a person must make an official complaint at the Ministerio Publico in Playa del Carmen. “The case is then assigned to Judicial police and an investigator. The Judicial police and investigator followed me home to gather evidence which they photographed, bagged and took away to check for fingerprints etc.”

“If a victim doesn’t report a crime to the Ministerio Publico, crimes are never investigated,” she said. “The process is different here,” (compared to the US and Canada).

 

Families internally displaced

by crime estimated at 35,000

By Staff

When a lawyer resettled his family in Puerto Aventuras from Monterrey two years ago, he told the Pelican the move to safer ground was prompted by the consistent drug-related incidents of crime in the sprawling metropolitan city and suburbs just a several hour drive from the Texas border.

It wasn’t known at the time just how many Mexican nationals were being internally displaced by mostly drug-related crime until last month. That’s when the federal Human Rights Commission filed a report estimating that at least 35,000 families have moved from high-crime areas to other Mexican districts such as the Yucatan considered relatively free of organized mayhem.

While the commission was able to document 1,784 cases, it said in the report that the figure exceeds 35,000 according to municipal and state authorities. The commission said this is the first ever such report on internally displaced families and urged the government to conduct a census to arrive at exact figures and to design a plan to protect and assist displaced families.

The non government humanitarian group Norwegian Refugee Council estimated last year that 280,000 people have been internally displaced in Mexico.

Luis Raul Gonzalez, the human rights commission’s president, said on the report that “violence, insecurity, impunity, the weakness of our rule of law and lack of adequate conditions for development for people, have caused a considerable number of Mexicans to abandon their homes in various regions.”

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our monthly schedule beginning in May is the third week of the month for production at month’s end. Thank you.

The End – Previous edition below

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