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Monthly Archives: September 2016



Citizens march on Akumal

to carve out a beach access

Hoteliers say fundamental rights violated;

Tulum municipal council OK faulted

By Staff
The disagreement over beach access in Akumal continued in August when community cooperatives, guides and pobladores, with the blessing of a Tulum municipal council resolution, tore down a reportedly private fence and chain-sawed several palapas to open a public path to the beach while police and private guards stood idly nearby ostensibly to preserve the peace.

Private interests that claim ownership of the land in question did not interfere but they disagree with an apparent belief by the citizens that municipal approval for the action was sufficient to support the destruction. Tulum’s hotel association said the municipal council resolution falsely  legitimized the invasion and fueled “a climate of violence and aggression, caused legal uncertainty and violated fundamental private property rights affecting tourism.”

Those who claim to own the land say the destruction was illegal because the land in question has always been privately owned and because the action that was taken would have required approval by a state or federal judge. “They essentially took the law into their own hands,” said an observer.

Club Akumal Caribe claims ownership of the land. The cooperatives had earlier alleged that a public right of way to the beach had existed on land claimed by Centro Ecologio Akumal, but have switched that view to the Club Akumal Caribe, noted the observer.

There were other protests by pobladores and cooperatives earlier this year, including roadblocks and some property damage, in a quest to maintain a public access point in reaction to access limitations being mandated by private interests. Those destructive activities were spawned by the reluctance of municipal, state and federal agencies to take responsibility in forging a legal resolution, say neutral observers.

Some observers note what happened in Tulum earlier this year when i6 renters leasing homes or businesses were evicted without notice by a force of 100 men who unceremoniously emptied their premises with a questionable court order. However it was reported last week that at least one Tulum lessee had received court approval to return to the property. It was also reported earlier this month that some 4,000 families could be affected by a major land ownership conflict that has developed in Veracruz over uncertain land titles.

It is unknown as of this writing what findings or actions governments might take in the ongoing Akumal dispute, which is said to be damaging the local tourism economy.


Commerce Corner…

‘Social Sirens’ grows businesses

via Internet design, media presence

By Staff
A relatively new company in town is helping small and large businesses merge with the 21st Century world of electronic communication, advertising, social media, website building/maintenance and related guidance designed to showcase products and services and enhance the customer base.

In nearly two years of operation on the Riviera Maya, Social Sirens Media Works of Puerto Aventuras and Playa del Carmen, offers a comprehensive range of skills including photography and aerial (drone) video, graphic and website design, video editing, computer savvy, advertising strategies and business development to a growing number of clients.

Staff, which has a propensity for helping small to medium sized local business find their way onto the Internet, includes co-owners Doris Hernandez, a native of Yucatan and a licensed graphic designer, photographer and illustrator, and Andrea Salazar, a California born college educated major in technology development who is also a 20-year tech marketing veteran.

Rounding out the staff is Samy Krazem, an aeronautical engineer, photographer and drone operator experienced in computer programming and technology who is also the company’s technical guru. Together, the staff is fluent in Spanish, English, French, Arabic and Kabyle, the latter a dialect of northern Algeria, said Ms. Salazar, company spokesperson.

“We love working with them,” said Mikael Sidenius, owner of Riviera Elite, a tour company dealing in yacht and catamaran rentals. “From the beginning, the team has been able to understand our message to clients and our market. It has come up with wonderful graphic designs at no extra fee. We’re excited to be working with the team on future promotions and advertising.”

Social Sirens services clients at their place of business, said Ms. Salazar, to better capture the ambiance, the employee spirit, the products and services and transform the perceptions into today’s electronic advertising and communications that attract the attention of a wider audience, visually and verbally.

Realizing the important local link between bi-lingual skills and prosperity, Social Sirens gladly works gratis helping the Friends of Puerto Aventuras, FOPA, maintain its fund-raising website. FOPA fully funds daylong classes in English for local pupils and follows it up with scholarships for higher education.

For more information, personal service and contact to help your business grow, check out the Social Sirens website by clicking on the logo in the sponsor column at left.


Unique design…



Akumal dinner raises $82,413MX

for Red Cross ambulance service

Sustaining the service means saving lives

By Staff
Akumal’s Red Cross ambulance fund grew by $82,413MX ($4,292 USD) at an August 26 dinner event described by volunteer coordinator Marieke Brown as a “fantastic success” made possible by Turtle Bay Cafe owners Jen and Bart Smith who donated the entire evening’s dinner proceeds.

The event’s receipts were considerably above the $66,000MX collected last year from a similar event, both of which were infused with growing enthusiasm for the cause, entertainment and, in plain language, “great eats” and bonhomie. Extra contributions over and above the ticket price by dozens of dinner guests and donors who could not attend were mentioned by Brown who thanked all those who worked and came to the rescue so to speak.

Brown has noted that having emergency “rescue” service available 24/7 often means the difference between a life or death event: That’s what this funding is all about. Red Cross crews, including the ambulance, have been stationed in Akumal’s main beach area since December 2014 despite the fact the Red Cross district of Tulum is not able to support it financially.

It would take an ambulance from Tulum more than 30 minutes to reach Akumal, a response time that is unacceptable if the implied speed in “rescue” is to be achieved. Hence the efforts and donations by community members and friends elsewhere to assure the service remains.

What have the donations accomplished so far?

Brown reports the Red Cross crews have responded to 220 emergencies and calls for medical assistance, many of those cases life-threatening, such as near drowning and heart attack where speed and efficiency are primary requisites.

Brown said The community needs to raise 65,000 pesos a month to support its own Red Cross emergency service, while room and board for the crews and basic ambulance maintenance is furnished by Secrets Hotel. Some funding stems from repeat monthly donations totaling (so far)  24,840 pesos ($1,293 USD) from 11 businesses and individuals. This amount has been augmented by one-up donations and fundraisers to achieve the monthly 66,000-pesos total.

Brown has compiled a line-item list of costs and revenues, a commendable effort that goes a long way in assuring that donors know their contributions are well spent. Contact Brown for a summary of expenditures and donors at [email protected]

Below: Enjoying the event.


The Mail Bag…

A distant eulogy

Dear Editor:
I/we miss our “family” and friends of beautiful Puerto Aventuras. Among them being the always philosophical, observant, knowledgeable and captivating Frisbee (and his dear friend Daisy).

Frisbee taught me so much about the importance of respect for all of nature and the amazing powers of a greater spirit that has “gifted” the earth with so much to be thankful for, to care for and to share. Frisbee is forever and still walks,flies,drifts within the community of Puerto.

His physical form may be different but his spirit will be the same. So, HI FRISBEE! Nice to see/feel you again and thanks for your eternal journey, now with fewer restraints.

Signed/ Denny Wall, Minnesota


The Roundup…

Mountains of rubbish continued to pile up in Puerto Maya across the highway this month because, supposedly, the current municipal administration leaving office at the end of the month can’t afford to repair a score of inoperable trucks. So much odiferous garbage left lying along the streets put residents at risk of sickness and can possibly attract disease-bearing vermin. Residents are hoping for better service from a new administration… The resort was not spared from this problem despite payment by the Colonos for several trucks to fill the municipal gap. The administration released an emergency advisory last week asking residents to temporarily refrain from setting out their rubbish. There was so much rubbish piled up in some Playa del Carmen neighborhoods that firefighters were called out to remove some of it, but not enough, said residents…Oddly enough,  the profusion of garbage contributed to some rather severe flooding from rain in Puerto Maya  last weekend as storm drains were obstructed by rain-swept garbage … Finding out precisely why  the municipal treasury lacked funds to repair some dozen broken collection trucks that left Puerto Maya without service for more than eight days would go a long way in preventing a similar problem in a new municipal administration and points to a  perceived need for Puerto Aventuras to have its own mayor….

Expats happy in Mexico – Mexico ranked fourth in expat satisfaction in a survey by the InterNations guide for expatriates worldwide. Expat views on security dropped somewhat, but ratings usually exceeded the international norms on other fronts including finances, cost of living, housing costs and ease of settling in and finding friends. The US came in 26th and Canada 12th.

Theft of electricity by manipulating the meters has been discovered in eight cases in Puerto Aventuras and roughly 400 cases in Playa del Carmen, particularly in the so-called “invaded” neighborhoods of the ejido lands west of Highway 307. The CFE said the theft of the government-operated electrical system is considered a federal crime…

A double fatality was reported last week on Highway 307 near Puerto Aventuras when two passengers in a car were ejected and instantly killed when the car hit the median and flipped several times. The driver was seriously injured and had to be extricated from the twisted metal by firefighters. Police said speed and alcohol were involved… Two bicyclists and  pedestrian were also killed in two separate incidents along the stretch of Highway 307 this week…

A crocodile attacked a Houston, Texas man while he was spearfishing in a Cancun lagoon last week. Jonathan Schoeneman, who had been working as a diving instructor for10 months and enjoyed fishing, was seriously injured and hospitalized with severe injuries and placed in an induced coma. He improved after surgery, said hospital officials, and plans to return to Houston for recovery…

Tulum day of snakes – Firefighters responded to three calls about snakes invading populated areas and homes in one day this week. One of the boas was captured while nesting under a boat being repaired. It weighed an estimated 20 kilos and measured in at 2.20 meters long. The boas, which feed on small animals, were released into the wild…

Shootouts killed 11 suspected members of warring Zeta drug cartel factions and one innocent bystander on Sept. 3 along a major highway in Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas, in a confrontation with Mexican soldiers. The highway, which handles about half the export-import cargo between the US and Mexico, had to be closed temporarily, said the city’s mayor. Soldiers seized a truck and a cache of high-caliber automatic weapons…

Thousands marched in Mexico, including some in Playa del Carmen,  in opposition to gay marriage in a challenge to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s proposal to allow it. The nationwide protest was organized by a coalition of the National Front for the Family…


Nature Watch…

Scientists theorize rabbits helped

sustain ancient Mexico civilization

By Staff

People 70 and over may remember the rabbit coops that sprung up in neighborhoods during WW II as reaction to food rationing fueled by the necessity to feed the troops and provide some protein at home that, as we were told, tasted like chicken.

Since then we’ve depended on the larger, commercially bred and fed animals, among other sources like fish for protein, thus relegating the rabbit to the annals of what now seems to be historical trivia… except for the fact that the rabbit and hare apparently supported a long-ago civilization here in Mexico providing protein, fur clothing and bones for shaping into tools.

Scientists studying the ancient, pre-Hispanic archeological digs of Teotihuacan, which means “the place where men become gods” was among the biggest cities on earth some 2,500 years ago. It had an estimated 100,000 inhabitants on a planet that counted a total estimated population of only 200 million. The site is located 30 miles north of modern Mexico City.

Researchers using modern tools available to science have been able to hypothesize that since Mexico’s terrain at the time was somewhat devoid of larger edible animals suitable for breeding, rabbit husbandry became an economic force as well as a source of basic necessities and then some.


Analyzing rabbit bones found at the site, researchers using stable carbon and oxygen isotopes were able to weave the importance of rabbit husbandry into the tapestry of a society that believed in eight gods and occasional human sacrifices.


So what’s the connection? Well, some visitors here in the Yucatan see the abundant agouti, or Tzereque, and usually describe them as a cross between squirrels and rabbits…or pigs… or…? The Yucatan has an estimated 125 species of small mammals – including the Eastern Cottontail and forest rabbit, or “tapeti” and several varieties of squirrels. Natural crossbreeding could have happened during all those years and maybe the Tzereque is a mammalian link to the rabbit of the past.

Teotihuacan was completely abandoned in 700 AD and the reason remains a mystery. But the legacy is that in the absence of thousand-pound cattle or 250-pound hogs, little things mean a lot.






The End – Previous edition  below

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