Local activism mild compared
to deaths in teacher protests
Recent protests in Akumal, Chetumal and Puerto Aventuras, where teargas, Molotov cocktails and property damage came into play, pale in comparison to violent demonstrations and gang activity reported elsewhere in June that resulted in death and injury.
Reportedly, nine people died and 100 were said to be injured in clashes between the police, teachers and “outside agitators” in Oaxaca state. Authorities say teachers protesting education reforms by the Pena Nieto administration barricaded roads that prohibited delivery of needed supplies to area towns.
Unarmed police attempting to dispel the blockade were pelted with rocks. Federal police chief Enrique Galindo said armed officers were sent to the scene only after shots were fired into the crowd and at police by “unidentified people” believed to be outside agitators.
A general infection of ill temper in the national population, an anemic oil economy and resultant peso devaluation, crime and impunity, have combined to fire unrest and activism in the populations of some states. These conditions have been met with peaceful demonstrations gone awry in some sectors of society and have led to the defeat of President Pena Nieto’s PRI party in 7 of 12 states during recent gubernatorial elections.
The ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, met its first defeats in 80 years in the states of tourist-rich Quintana Roo on the Caribbean and oil-rich Gulf states of Veracruz and neighboring Tamaulipas, two political districts riddled with gang violence.
The embarrassing upsets of the PRI fostered the recent resignation of party chief Manio Fabio Beltrones, who is considered to be in the running for Mexican president in 2018.
On the heel of these events, United Nations human rights expert Christof Heyns, author of a 2013 study of Mexico’s public protection sectors showing little change in the protection of the public, said, “Extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force by security officers persist.”
In a follow-up report to the 2013 fact-finding mission, he said in June that protective measures remain ineffective and that impunity and lack of accountability in right-to-life violations remain a considerable government challenge. As though to prove his point, 21 people including three federal officers were shot dead last week in gang violence over a period of only two days in Guerrero state and two journalists murdered during the month in other parts of Mexico.
Shared GoMart/Europea outlet
disappoints some local consumers
What was initially billed by word of mouth as the coming of the upscale La Europea wine, liquor and deli outlet in the main gate area has so far turned out to be more a standard convenience store with but a touch of Europea.
That’s the reports coming in from some disappointed residents who were looking forward to a full-fledged La Europea similar to the one in Playa del Carmen with its considerable assortment of wines and exotic deli-cacies.
“There’s just a couple of alleys of wine that I could see,” said one dismayed resident. “It hardly adds to the image the resort seems to be looking for in its main gate remodeling project.”
Said another: “I thought it would be bigger and have a deli section. It does have more local options for wine and liquor and a few Italian items like canned tomatoes.” Another shopper said Europea looks more like an extension of the convenience store rather than the main attraction.
One lamented, “Having been to La Europea in Playa, I would have expected something similar. However, the placement indicates that it is more a convenience store for people stopping to purchase gas. The wine selection is not bad, as well as some liquor products. There was a case in the back that did have pre-packed cuts of cheese, and looked like they were possibly going to expand. However, pre-packed isn’t quite as good as fresh cut at the deli.”
On other fronts, the Colonos reports that the first phase of the Main Gate Project is going at a slower pace than predicted, with a new completion date set for mid-September.
The project – essentially landscaping, roadwork and general site preparation for Phase 2 that will add more lanes through the gate and enhance the security office – hopes to achieve an image of simple good taste and dignity when completed. It was said the gate area as it is looks “diminished” compared to the glitz and pizzazz of the all-inclusive entrances along 307.
In other community developments, the new golf-cart parking lot carved out of a chunk of Centro near the CEDAM museum came up about five spaces short of what had been designed. The Colonos, Centro and developer are expected to explore more potential spaces in hopes of accommodating at least 20 carts in Centro, thus leaving that many spaces for cars.
And to those inquiring about the proposed “doggie park,” the Colonos reports that an appropriate site has yet to be offered by the developer.
“The biggest news is that there isn’t much of it,” said one wag in reference to the diminished numbers of people remaining in the resort during the low season.
Akumal reports jet ski intrusion
over turtle feeding sanctuary
Craft reportedly came from Puerto Aventuras
Akumal’s ecological center said two jet skis entered waters over the turtle sanctuary feeding area in Akumal Bay on June 26, a protected area closed to power boat activity.
Amanda Baye, a spokesperson for the ecology center, said the jet skis were not registered and that the drivers refused to identify themselves when asked to do so by center personnel. It was later learned, Baye said, the drivers and presumed owners of the jet skis, were from Puerto Aventuras.
She said the port captain has been briefed and that Profepa, the federal attorney for environmental protection, is being notified.
Only authorized vessels can enter the bay, said Baye, “All other water craft are strictly prohibited from entering the bay in accordance with the port authority.”
The intrusion into Akumal’s turtle sanctuary comes at a time when, two months into the turtle nesting season (May-October), a major reduction in nests, from 913 in 2015 to only 342 so far this season, is reported by the State Secretary of Ecology and Environment (SEMA) for the Xcacel-Xcacelito area.
Turtle populations along the Riviera Maya have long attracted tourist snorkelers and divers, and are an asset to the area’s economy worth protecting, say authorities.
Bill Gates fund aims to end
dengue, zika, threat in Q. Roo
Good news this month was the arrival of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agent in Quintana Roo with a plan to end the ability of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito to transmit dengue, chikungunya and zika along the Riviera Maya.
Jorge Osorio, the representative, was accompanied by several colleagues to discuss the project with state health officials and agree on a plan to implement the program that could show results within a year. Osorio said it was a “courtesy visit” with authorities and an opportunity to locate potential sites or the project work areas.
The process involves the large-scale exposure of mosquitoes to a naturally-occurring bacterium known as “wolfpack”. Once exposed, the subsequent larvae of mosquitoes the following year are no longer able to spread the viruses, although they will still bite humans, he said.
Osorio explained a need to survey the existing medical infrastructure and a historical analysis of zika cases that have already occurred before implementing the program, which has been successful in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and Colombia.
While a virus-impotent mosquito will still bite humans, it is interesting to note just which humans they prefer to bite and why.
According to research by Spanish dermatologists and researchers in Madrid, mosquitoes prefer type “O” blood. The mosquito is also attracted by carbon dioxide exhalations of pregnant and/or overweight people whose conditions increase CO2. And finally, mosquitoes favor perspiration indicators whose odor identifies the source as a blood bearing mammal ripe for feasting.
WeRWater pool service, supply
relocates outside the main gate
After four years of operation in a Centro location across from the Omni Hotel and Capt. Rick’s Sportfishing, WeRWater pool service and supply company has moved outside the main gate in the space formerly occupied by the Subway sandwich shop, just south of the gasoline station.
As the only local purveyor dedicated to supplying lines of pool supplies, accessories and services in Puerto Aventuras, the company operated by partners Lucy Wedge and Leliet Duschkin also has a full-time professional pool maintenance technician available to tackle pool problems.
One immediate customer benefit of the new location is ample parking space and ease of loading supplies into vehicles.
Residents “tired of lifting water bottles and agonizing over late or missed water deliveries,” say the owners, “can also consider the option of installing affordable point-of-use Purikor osmosis purifying systems that deliver potable water from the tap.” WeRWater is the local distributor for Purikor and the system for homes and condos is very affordable, the owners say.
Among WeRWater’s other practical supplies are citronella candles that help keep mosquitoes at bay in a time when just one local mosquito specie can deliver dengue fever, chikungunya and the feared zika virus.
Wedge and Duschkin invite the residents of Puerto Aventuras, Paamul and Akumal to stop by for more information about their locally available pool products, supplies and services at their new location. Information also available at 984-873-5283 and cel. 984-115-4588 and on their website available just by clicking on the WeRWater logo on this page.
Dolphin Discovery named a top
company fourth consecutive year
For the fourth consecutive year, the Dolphin Discovery family of dolphinariums offering entertainment and scientific research throughout the Caribbean área, including Puerto Aventuras, is listed as one of the top 30 Mexican companies in the 300- to-3000-employee category.
The 2016 edition of “Expansion” magazine, which rates companies every year, listed Dolphin Discovery as 17th of 75 companies in its category for this year. The magazine analyzes companies on standards of leadership, resonance, job satisfaction, communication, corporate social responsibility regarding climate, motivation, impartiality, compensation and other aspects of corporate operations and spirit.
Following the announcement, a Dolphin Discovery spokesperson said the company, which is the largest in the world employing dolphins for entertainment and conducting research for the care and conservation of the specie, also maintains high standards of quality in tourism services and employee relations and opportunity.
Dolphin Discovery is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, which has presented the company and its staff with numerous awards for the care and husbandry of the animals. (Click the Dolphin Discovery logo on this page for more corporate information).
UK’s close vote to leave EU
could impact tourism here
The euro’s dive against the dollar as a result of the United Kingdom’s popular vote to leave the 28-nation European Union (soon to be 27) had immediate effect on world markets but could also show negative numbers of European and UK tourists along the Riviera Maya in the medium term, reports Dario Flota Ocampo, director of the area’s Tourism Promotion Trust.
He said the UK’s move is likely to negatively affect the purchasing power of Europeans compared to last year because European travel operators are considering using the dollar, meaning higher travel costs to Mexico.
Ocampo said it’s too early to see a trend but expects one to evolve from ongoing sales for the next winter high season. There was an increase of 6 percent British tourists in the last three quarters, he noted, but said “we will have to wait” to see if the trend continues.
A new bakery appropriately called “The Sugar Shack” has opened in the former Mango’s along the Dolphin Walk in Centro. Owner and baker Christina Hurtubise notes the bakery is open Mondays through Saturdays offering cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, muffins and made-to-order treats…
Monthly recycling is Friday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the skate park…
Canada next? – Former Mexican President Vincente Fox, outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s rants, predicts that Canada would be next in line after Mexico for hard times as the result of Trump’s plan to abolish the NAFTA trade agreement between the three countries… Meanwhile, Canada says it will ease visa restrictions on Mexicans Dec. 1 provided Mexico’s administration can keep the floodgates closed…
Unrest in the medical community continued in June as local medical staff protested along with their national colleagues for better working conditions at IMSS hospitals
More jobs – Automaker BMW has begun expanding a new plant in San Luis Potosi for assembly of the BMW Series 3 model for sale in the Americas, joining other car makers taking advantage of Mexico’s growing industrial base, comparatively low wages and tariff-free access to the US market. The company plans to invest some $2.2 billion (USD) in the region through 2019…
And while Trump wants to build his now-famous wall between the US and Mexico, Texas builders are complaining over a lack of skilled Mexican labor it needs to build housing. They say many laborers and craftsmen are leaving the US for Mexico and not returning…
Sargassum is continuing to invade area beaches despite continued efforts at keeping the grassy deposits off beaches where it discourages tourism. The latest effort failed in Playa del Carmen’s Recodo Beach area where private initiative resulted in the placement of nine concrete structures that anchor mesh netting to capture the weed before it reaches the beaches. Various steps have also been taken along parts of PA’s waterfront and appear to be more successful…
Gunshots rang out – at Las Americas Mall in Playa del Carmen June 17 as three gunmen attempted to hold up personnel replenishing cash at ATM machines there. Three people were shot and injured by the bullets in the shootout, the police said, and were brought to the IMSS hospital for treatment. The gunmen ran off empty handed in a red car later discovered in the El Pedregal neighborhood…
Brick and mortar businesses on iconic 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen are complaining to authorities that the proliferation of street vendors is tainting the destination’s tourist image. They say some of the stands blocking strolling space are used as fronts for sale of drugs and alcohol and otherwise harassing passers-by…
Volunteerism has helped Quintana Roo place 6th in the world in keeping beaches clean, reports the local Ocean Conservancy group. Some 8,000 volunteers participated in beach clean-ups during 2015, an increase prompted by continued environmental education, according to the group…
A dozen hotels and homes occupied and run by alleged squatters along part of the Tulum beach were emptied of their belongings without notice by an army of more than 100 men acting on a court order. Squatters said, however, they were not shown the court order or notified in advance or given the chance to negotiate with those who claim ownership of the land…
Modern LED traffic lights with video cameras are being placed along Avenidas Juarez, 115, Constituents, CTM, Colosio, 125 and 10th. The LED lights use 80 percent less electricity, providing savings to the municipality. In all, the new lights will be at 23 intersections, nine of them modernized with GPS to help traffic move better and safer, say authorities.
The term”hot popcorn” was carried to an extreme June 12 when a short circuit in the popcorn machine at the Cinemex Theater in the Centro Maya Plaza spurted flames that ignited nearby flammables, forcing some 40 patrons to evacuate the smoke-filled premises. It was reportedly the second time in a year the machine caused a fire, leaving nearby merchants to urge civil agencies to investigate claims of ongoing building code irregularities…
At least there is talk in official circles about widening and making improvements to Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum. The state’s Secretary of Infrastructure and Transportation says there hasn’t been funding for improvements in the last five years since the overpass was built in Playa del Carmen. The agency says rights of way have already been established along that road, an expense that would not need to be funded…
Mexico’s mobile phone rates are among the lowest in Latin America since the Pena Nieto administration’s telecommunications reforms were implemented in 2013. Since then, reports the Secretariat of Transportation and Communications, prices have dropped 23 percent, fed by the elimination of domestic and long distance rates to North and South America…
Missionaries detained for trying
to baptize kids without consent
Four missionaries of the Mormon Church were arrested and detained in a Chihuahua State town recently after trying to baptize children without parental consent.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reported the men attempted to baptize three brothers from 9 to 11 years old after luring them to the church on the promise of free food.
When the men asked the brothers to change into baptismal clothing, the boys became frightened and ran home to tell their parents. Their father, Estrada Ruiz, contacted police after hearing the boys’ story and police placed the men under arrest.
The local church there, also known as Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, admitted the men clearly failed to communicate with local church leaders about the baptisms of children, which require parental approval. The church told the father the men were to be removed from the area.
There are several Mormon missions reportedly operating in the Mayan Riviera, including one in the Puerto Aventuras poblado that offers children English-language studies.
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