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Mid-August Special edition




Sargassum invasion spurs

widespread call to arms

By Staff

The sargassum invasion of the Riviera Maya’s beaches this summer became the talk of the town and a priority problem facing the various governments, scientists, waterfront service providers, hotels, vacationers, publicists, and residents of various beachy resort communities.

But, so far, it appears the brownish blight – like the 16-1 exchange rate – has not impeded continuing investment in the area or caused undue concern of individuals who are already stakeholders in Paradise.

For the moment, it has not been established whether the invasion is a temporary fluke event or a long-term problem. In reply to waterfront businesses losing profits over the invasion, federal, state and local governments, volunteers and workers hired by coastal businesses have been in the process of freeing beaches of the sea-borne scourge along 112 miles of the Caribbean coast and studying possible actions to prevent further landings.

An expensive development

The federal environmental department is monitoring the situation by air and sea trying to find a root cause for the phenomenon. The agency believes the "unusual" seaweed blitzkrieg stems from either high levels of nutrients in ocean water, climate change, or variations in ocean temperatures, currents or wind patterns, all of which can vary from year to year on the whim of Mother Nature.

Besides efforts by local beachfront resorts and communities to maintain clean beaches using regular employees, the federal government reportedly budgeted $9.1 million to hire 4,600 temporary workers to clean beaches without damaging turtle nesting sites or the environment, as has some heavy equipment reportedly used by some hotels in northern Roo.

Solidaridad’s share of the federal grant was reported as $2.7m pesos ($164,754 USD), enough to hire a temporary workforce of some 950 that began Aug. 1.

In addition, an international symposium is being scheduled in Cancun for September, date uncertain, attracting international scientists to determine cause(s) for the troublesome incursion. This is being done in conjunction with researchers from Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute and the Friends of Sian Ka’an organization.

A long stretch to clean

The removal efforts cover Holbox in the north through Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa de Carmen, Cozumel, Akumal, Tulum and (presumably Puerto Aventuras?) and as far south as Mahahual. Sargassum is a brown algae that blooms in the Sargasso Sea, a large body of warm water in the mid-Atlantic, but is also believed to now exist in huge floating independent patches riding the currents as well.

Nearby Akumal Bay and environs have been hit particularly hard, mixing a massive new hotel complex opening in November, political turmoil over local dissatisfaction with limited beach access and recent establishment of a fish sanctuary that prohibits fishing and possibly curtails some traditional waterfront services.

The situation in Akumal has inspired involvement by some stakeholders including one who located a U.S. company that offers possible help keeping kelp from landfall in some situations. The company, “Elastec/American Marine” of Cami, Illinois, USA, maker of oil skimming systems, also offers floating custom protection barriers to capture seaweed, seagrass and sargassum before it reaches shore.

Floating barriers used

The company’s floating protection barriers are designed to deter invasive marine plants like seaweed and debris from recreational, agricultural and industrial areas while maintaining a natural, balanced ecosystem. (Learn more at Elastec.com)

Some stories have emanated from the Mayan Riviera on use of floating barriers that prevent kelp from making landfall, but require the use of boats to remove the buildup of sargassum from the floating devices and nets for deposit farther out to sea. The process thus remains labor intensive but supports the tourism industry with clean beaches.

For the moment, absent snowbirds can be assured much is being studied and done to control, remove and find use for the weed. (More information is available on sargassum by contacting [email protected].

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Briefly Noted…

PA poblado residents have filed complaints with Aguakan, the water provider in the village, for charging higher prices and delivering but a trickle of sometimes dirty water. The resort has its own water provider… PA abstract artist Laura C. Kramis is having a solo show of her work at the “Insituto de la Cultura y de las Artes” in Cancun now through September 4. She studied art in Houston under Sally Babbit and for many years split her time between Texas and Mexico…

Area contruction workers are getting a break as the local governments are ordering hydration centers on work sites to prevent deaths from heat stroke. The sites will keep a supply of fresh and maintained bottled water along with information on heat stroke prevention…

Neighboring Yucatan state businesses are contemplating price increases for products between 6 and 8 percent in view of the decreasing value of the peso, registering an exchange rate currently of about 16 pesos to the dollar…

Mosquito spraying schedule has been changed by the PA Colonos to accommodate evening tennis players. The spray schedule now is Mondays and Fridays from 6 to 7 p.m…. New restaurant is reportedly moving into the Centro space formerly occupied by Tiramisu and is expected to be called “Guacamole’s”…

Pinata Politics – A California retailer has profited from U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants by selling look-alike pinatas that are now a “must-have” at local “bashes”… The local press reported this month five cars that lose the most value on resale in this area are the Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Camaro and Aveo, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry… Of seven cases of chikungunya reported in the state of Solidaridad so far this season, only one was reported in nearby Playa del Carmen, and that one carried by a person visiting from another state…

Murder capital – The state of Guerrero, where 43 students went missing last year and are presumed dead, recorded 1,514 murders in 2014 and 943 so far this year capped by 15 more murders last weekend including that of an activist near Acapulco who helped lead efforts to find the missing students last year. He was found shot dead in his taxi. Guerrero has the highest murder rate in the nation…… Nonetheless, and national violence notwithstanding, Mexico’s first-quarter tourism activity rose 3.5 percent in the first quarter and spending by 2.5 percent compared to the same time last year, reported the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI). Spending by domestic tourists dropped 0.20 percent but rose 2.5 percent in the foreign tourism sector… A planetarium is scheduled to open in Playa del Carmen sometime in October, giving visitors and locals an added tool to view the stars from “Paradise”…

Flying high – It was only a matter of time. Two California teens pleaded guilty last week to smuggling 30 pounds of heroin on drones from Mexico to the United States It was the first drug seizure involving a drone along California’s border with Mexico. A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego said the agency was unaware of any other drone-related seizure on the 1,954-mile border.

Raccoon Boon – The Colonos continues to implore residents to put rubbish barrels out in the morning and not at night to discourage the nocturnal marauders known in Mexico as coati, or trejon, cholugo and moncun. It makes a mess tipping over barrels or ripping open bags, thereby attracting other vermin. PLEASE! Be a good neighbor and help keep your neighborhood clean… Free cross-border calls – AT&T is now offering free cross-border calls to Mexico and Canada from the U.S., but if you’re price conscious, read the fine print and look before you leap. Meanwhile, Carlos Slim’s America Movil announced free roaming for some 400 million Mexican pre-pay customers to counter AT&T’s move… The U.S. has approved limited crude oil trading with Mexico, softening the U.S. ban on crude exports that has drawn objections from U.S. energy producers. Mexico’s state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos,(Pemex), will trade heavy crude for light crude from the U.S. Mexico wanted to import about 100,000 barrels of light crude a day and proposed a deal last year. A major crude exporter for decades, Mexico has seen its oil production fall in recent years…



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Commerce Corner…

Making a will in Mexico;

foreign wills also valid

By Gerardo Gonzalez 
   A will helps to secure the heritage of a person after his death. In this regard, it is important to know that, just like all other legal tools, a will has several variations and approaches.

In the case of wills made abroad, they are valid in Mexico as long as they have been certified by the notary or the heirs, before or after the death of the testator.

The different varieties of wills are adapted to each person based on their needs, economic situation and the type of inheritance at stake. Note that in Mexico a Notario Público must draw up all wills.

Open Public Wills: These are done before a notary and three witnesses. They consist of a signed and certified written statement. The notary issues an original copy known as a testimony of the public instrument, keeping the original signed copy for backup records, which is kept safe until the event of your death.

Closed Public Wills: They are written by the notary or by another person of the notary’s choosing, where each page is signed and kept in a closed envelope. The envelope is then handed over to a notary who remains unaware of its contents till the moment it is revealed to the heirs.

Holographic Wills: This is a will handwritten by the notary, who keeps a copy of the will in a sealed envelope. This is the cheapest option although holographic wills run the risk of being deemed invalid when the notary does not have the necessary knowledge to draft it.

By law, the will must be drawn up in Spanish, which is the reason you may require a translator if your Spanish is weak. Unfortunately, you cannot bring a friend along to translate, as state law requires the translator to be someone recognized by the federal and or state authorities.

It is important to note that when a will is made, anything that was previously done by the person beforehand will be made totally or partially invalid, especially in the case that the conditions regarding a specific asset differ from the latest will.

The main reason why you should consider making a will is, first of all, to safeguard your heritage after your death and to be able to ensure your heritage is passed on to loved ones and avoid a cumbersome trial that would delay the process of handing over your assets and would increase the cost of the procedure, which often ends in a family dispute.

The best approach is to consult a lawyer on the necessary guidelines for making and managing a will with a notary.

(Gerardo González is a lawyer specializing in corporate law at MEXLAW. See the website by clicking on the Mexlaw logo)


Roguez Real Estate representing

UK’s 7th Heaven Properties here

Roguez Real Estate has signed a partnership deal with 7th Heaven Properties Ltd., a London-based international brokerage firm that exclusively focuses on high-end Caribbean luxury properties.

David Zannoni, co-founder of Roguez Real Estate said, “We are delighted to represent 7th Heaven Properties, and to provide property owners, developers and partners in the Mexican Caribbean a new clientele specifically seeking a Caribbean lifestyle and investments”.

Seventh Heaven Properties is based in London, UK. It has emerged as one of the world’s leading independent Caribbean property specialists. Its extensive portfolio spans the entire Caribbean region, including the Central American countries with a Caribbean Sea coastline such as Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and now also the Mexican Caribbean. Their listings include residential property and commercial real estate from across the Caribbean.

Roguez Real Estate is based in the exclusive beach/marina/golf community of Puerto Aventuras on Mexico’s Riviera Maya located between world famous vacation hotspots Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Its core business is providing real estate brokerage services for foreign buyers and investors in the Mexican Caribbean, focusing mainly on high end luxury properties. (View the website by clicking on the Roguez logo in the left hand column.)

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Major solar company buys

toehold in Mexican market

   NEW YORK/MEXICO CITY – SolarCity, the largest solar installer and financier in the US, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Ilioss, a major Mexican solar developer with a toehold in the commercial and industrial markets.

The company described Mexico as "one of the most promising solar markets" worldwide due to its high electricity rates, favorable solar economics and massive solar resources.

SolarCity did not disclose the value of the deal but media reports claimed it will pay up to US$15 million including earn-out of some US$5 million for Ilioss. The transaction is expected to be finalized imminently.

Ilioss will operate as an independent business unit of SolarCity, the San Mateo, California based company announced.Ilioss co-founder and Chairman David Arelle and co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Manuel Vegara will lead the new business unit as President and General Manager, respectively.

As a combined entity, SolarCity and Ilioss expect to be able to allow many commercial and industrial customers in Mexico to pay less for solar power than they currently pay for electricity.

Marco Krapels, SolarCity Senior Vice President of Strategy and Global Expansion, said the acquisition is expected this month, subject to customary closing conditions.

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Of guns and booze

Dutch beer brewer Heineken recently noted that its profits soared in Mexico in the first quarter, attributing the rise to the success of its Mexican packaging and distribution division. On the same day, local newspapers reported the death of a young man who drank too much alcohol and fell from the roof of his abode in Playa del Carmen onto the hard cement below.

A similar event occurred a month ago in Puerto Aventuras town, also resulting in death. In addition, the local press covers an unceasing number of area auto accident fatalities involving drunk drivers, and less frequent but horrid incidents of death involving fights among inebriated citizens.

It would be an interesting national study to learn whether alcohol is complicit in killing more citizens and innocent bystanders than the well-publicized and fear mongering drug war gunslingers.




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The Mail Bag..

What about Omni beach?

image Dear Editor:
How come it only took 9 months or so to find out about the permits for the Phase 4 beach, but it’s been years waiting for a decision regarding the Fatima Bay beach? Also, instead of the Fatima Bay beach restoration waiting for money from building permits, why doesn’t the developer pay for it (as he has the money) and let him wait for the funds from the building permits?

Signed/ Ron Hurst


Golf course work pleases

Dear Editor:

Thank you to Arq. Roman Rivera Torres for following through on his promise at the annual meeting in December to begin and continue the work on the second 9 holes of the Puerto Aventuras Golf Course. It has been a long time coming and we look forward to it continuing! Thanks again,

Signed/David Perry

Police extortion ruins stay

Dear Editor:
   We own a Condo in Puerto Aventuras. Our building is Marina Turquesa. My wife and I visit once or twice per year and always enjoyed our stay. Unfortunately, our recent vacation from July7-15 proved to be less desirable. If the Sargassum doesn’t get you, the Policia will!!!

On July 15, at about 8:30AM, we were headed to the Cancun Airport after a nice stay. Went past the Police filter just to the south of Playa. We were going slower than the other vehicles, next car ahead was 400 yards or more away and they were all pulling away, going much faster. Police truck with 3 Police officers came up from behind and told me to pull over.

An officer requested my license, took it and would not give it back. Said the speed limit is 80, not 81 or 82 it is 80 and I would have to go downtown to get my license back. I told him I would miss my flight, I could not do this. Then he asked for 1500 pesos. I gave him the cash and he said “go”.

Nothing ever written. I know the rental cars are marked and the Police know this. They could see our luggage in the car. They knew we were headed for the Airport and didn’t have time to do downtown or mess with this situation. We were doing nothing wrong. This is a total Tourist Cash Grab.

Very unfortunate, made us feel worse than second class citizens. This is complete extortion, and the practice needs to stop. People are not going to want to visit Mexico and spend their vacation dollars if you are targeted and extorted by the Policia.

Signed/ Robert Rosania

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Ambulance phone numbers listed

Red Cross ambulance: 065; Puerto Aventuras Security: 873-5173 and 51-73. Tell them what your emergency is, and whether you want the Red Cross ambulance or a private ambulance. If a private ambulance, they will send the one which is closest. Ambulance at the Barceló: 044-984-876-2250; Ambulance at the Hard Rock: 044-998-214-4132. The Red Cross ambulance is without cost (although they would appreciate a donation, based on your ability to pay), and will take you to the hospital of your choice. The private ambulance will bill you for the service and both will take you to Hospiten.

See the sea. Plan a dive by clicking on Aquanauts

Nature watch…

There’s more to house plants

than fragrance and decoration


Plants grace homes aesthetically, but that is not their only raison d’etre. Some science holds that plants purify the air and also promote good health. Some plants, it is believed, transmit positive energy. By placing one or two of the following fragrant plants at home helps promote good vibes. The Labioguia.com web site, identifies them as:

Sage is known for its amazing cleansing properties and ability to say goodbye to negative energies. According to studies conducted at the University of Georgetown, it is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic , antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, hypoglycemic and has estrogenic effects.

Rosemary reportedly contains essential oils that help stimulate brain activity and increase alertness and can also relieve pain, help with digestion and freshen breath.It is excellent for cooking using it, for example, fish and chips, and is amazingly aromatic. Keep the plant near a sunny window and remember not to water it too much to keep it healthy.

Jasmine is a plant that represents compassion and love and has been used in health to promote immunity and reduce fevers. Its sweet fragrance is known to be a powerful aphrodisiac. If you decide to have it in your home, place it in a south-facing window.

Bamboo is an extremely versatile grass and has a long history in healing. Known to reduce phlegm and fever, bamboo is an ancient plant and a proven source of medical power.It is also a symbol of luck in Feng Shui and is said to increase mental flexibility, spiritual growth , good health, happiness and wealth. Bamboo’s tough stems can survive in pots or vases with water and stones, or planted in soil with a wide range of sunlight conditions.

Basil is known as "The Incomparable" in India and has been valued for centuries for its healing benefits for the mind, body and spirit. It is a natural anti-inflammatory , antidepressant and is loaded with antioxidants that help protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals. It is also a great herb for cooking and provides living quarters with an indulgent scent.


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