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November 29, 2016

Thieves shackle Chedraui guard,
walk off with Bancomer ATM

THE GUTS GONE and only the outer shell of the ATM remained the day after the robbery.(Staff Photo)

THE GUTS GONE and only the outer shell of the ATM remained the day after the robbery.(Staff Photo)

By Staff
Two thieves pounced on a guard making his rounds at the Chedraui multi-plaza in Puerto Aventuras at about 1 a.m. Friday morning. They bound the 53-year-old guard hand and foot, placed tape over his mouth and eyes and threatened him before walking away with the guts and money of a Bancomer ATM machine located near the bathrooms. Only the ATM outer shell remained  along with a mess of stubs around it.

The municipal police contingent stationed in Puerto Aventuras was alerted following a 911 call placed by two hotel workers who happened upon the guard, untied him and placed a 911 call for assistance.

The local press faulted the municipal government in Playa del Carmen for its lack of interest in Puerto Aventuras’ affairs and problems. Those and other problems, including questions about police response, gave rise to protests and a blockade of Highway 307 earlier this year over water delivery problems and a health-threatening backlog of garbage collection.

In response to the municipal government’s difficulties in dealing with its outpost town, a movement was started several years ago to elevate the Puerto Aventuras  municipal representation from “delegate” to “mayor” with its own budget and autonomy to take care of its own problems and free the Playa del Carmen president to deal with its larger jurisdiction.

While the municipal administration has shown some reluctance in moving ahead with the mayoralty model of governance for Puerto Aventuras despite approval of the move by the previous municipal government, PA resort developer Roman Rivera Torres says he was told during a meeting with municipal president Cristina Torres that her administration would allow the mayor plan to proceed soon.

Get property tax discount here
from Dec. 5 – 16 at Colonos office

By Staff
Property taxpayers in Puerto Aventuras will have two weeks locally this year to get a 25 percent discount on property taxes. Agents from the municipal tax collector’s office will accept payments at the Colonos meeting room from 9:30 to 4:30 starting Dec. 5 to 10 and Dec.12 to 16. The discount is available until Dec. 31. An extra perk is that no travel is necessary for the two-week collection stay in Puerto Aventuras.

Bring your tax invoice with you. If you haven’t received it, bring last year’s receipt and the collectors will look up this year’s invoice on the municipal data base.

Taxpayers who may not be here during those two weeks can qualify for lesser discounts at various intervals at the tax collector’s office in Playa del Carmen. They are: 15 percent discount in January and 10 percent in February.

Mayan villagers get a Paamul taste of Thanksgiving custom

MAYAN VILLAGERS line up for turkey feast in Paamul as Thanksgiving guests. (Staff Photo)

MAYAN VILLAGERS line up for turkey feast in Paamul as Thanksgiving guests. (Staff Photo)

By Staff
Volunteers from Paamul and Playa del Carmen, under the auspices of the Fellowship Church, brought this year’s traditional Thanksgiving observance closer to duplicating the original event –  to the delight of special guests.

Sixty-three Pilgrims were at the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621 along with 90 native Americans, two cultures launching a tradition of thankfulness for a bountiful harvest. The numbers were somewhat reversed in Paamul this year as about 50 native Mayans, many bused for the 1½ -hour drive from the distant jungle village of Chan Chen, joined about 150 expats under the large Paamul palapa/church for the first time to partake of a traditional US turkey feast prepared and served by a group of efficient and congenial volunteers.

At 3:45 p.m. last Thursday, two long, rectangular, canopied tables adorned with bright, white tablecloths waited outside the palapa. They were devoid of food as were the dozens of tables inside. Only a few people stood by the palapa entrance wondering if, perhaps, they arrived too early..

Then it happened!

Paamul’s unpaved roads suddenly burst alive with residents, walking or in golf carts, carrying home-made foodstuffs – white and sweet potatoes, assorted vegetable medleys, desserts, a variety of stuffing, carrots, sautéed peppers and onions, gravy, baked ham and sweets. Several vans and SUVs drove up unobtrusively, parked momentarily. Their occupants alighted and joined the parade, ushering more food and various containers of beverages, coffee, cartons of milk. All who came brought dishes laden with homemade goodness an placed them on the serving tables.

Service volunteers appeared, placing the foods under label signs – turkey, potatoes –  removing tinfoil covers from large pans of already-carved turkey, baked ham and a large variety of prepared dishes. Then there appeared, seemingly from out of the blue, the diminutive Mayan families, smiling but a bit hesitant, many of them children. Lines formed, the Mayan guests first, and by 4 p.m. – in only 15 minutes – the lines began to move and the people helped themselves as a live musical group filled the area with rhythm while recently arrived snowbirds jovially renewed acquaintances.

It was an event well done by the many who prepared the tasteful foods, to pastor Doug Millar and his congregation of assiduous volunteers. Their labors and good will added another reason to be thankful.

The Giving Season…
Agency appeals for help
to uplift neediest of needy

By Staff
Among three spending items on the Dec. 10 Colonos Assembly is one allowing an established social services group called Transformar Educando to appeal for a 20,000-peso monthly contribution from the Colonos budget to support the group’s endeavors for the poor in the poblados of Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Chemuyil.

The agency deals mainly with new native arrivals seeking work and a better life, notes an agency press release, by teaching the young who do not qualify for public schooling and their parents seeking skills to find jobs. Many do not speak Spanish. Meanwhile, some of the families live in conditions of poverty and health afflictions in the back of the poblado under conditions that breed “prostitution of children, sexual abuse, juvenile pregnancies, drug use and other negative behaviors,” the press release states.

Under the current exchange rate, 20,000 pesos converts into $966 USD, rounded out to $1,000 monthly to account for x-rate fluctuations. That’s $12,000 USD a year. The figure would go a long way in helping to pay for teachers, a part-time psychologist and maintenance of the education centers.  More details will be reported on this aspect of Transformar Educando in our next edition.

Nutrition and learning

For the moment, there is an additional appeal from the same group to individuals living in the area for breakfast-food items and/or cash in the realization that the ability to learn is tied in large part to proper nourishment that supports alertness and engagement.

In Puerto Aventuras alone, there are some 300 children and adults being serviced by the agency headed by general director Graciela Maldonado Yanez,

The Latitude 20 restaurant, owned and operated by Jim Stubbs, contributor of proceeds from Trivial Pursuits games, is the resort’s main collection point for donations of food items and cash. Receipts are provided upon request.

The agency recommends foods such as fruits, yogurt, milk, bread, cereal and such, along with paper cups, plates and napkins.  Stubbs says items can be dropped off from noon to closing time, usually around 9 p.m. The breakfast program operates three mornings a week and a 60-pesos donation will feed one child per week, the aency said.

Of an estimated 900 people currently being taught language and working skills and receiving other assistance like counseling at the three centers, 600 are children, says the agency press release.. Those who wish to share their good fortune while shopping can put an extra jar of peanut butter, container of milk, apples or other fruit and box of cereal in their carriage, drop the item(s) off at Latitude 20 and go home to enjoy the moment.

Concert set for this Friday…

whats3The first concert of the season sponsored by the Colonos to fund other entertainment events throughout the season will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal. It will feature “Rocksimus Maxximus” rock and circus group. Entrance fee $100 pesos…Latitude 20 Restaurant and Lounge hosted its first BINGO event at 3:30 p.m. last Sunday, Nov. 27. Entrance fee was 250 pesos, many prizes and proceeds to charity. Next Trivial Pursuits at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4…  The 9th Annual Road race registrations have begun for the race day of January 22, 2017. Dolphin Discovery is again the sponsor… Check Hippo’s Restaurant to see if there are any raffle tickets left for a “deluxe” Hippo meal aboard the Fat Cat for 20 friends of the raffle winner. Proceeds going to Transformar Educando, a volunteer agency helping the  neediest families and children across the highway… Annual Christmas Fair at the Colegio school yard will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m…. Monthly recycling at the skate park will be held Friday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. See below for items to bring:


Who, in the Horn of Plenty,
commits the crime of hunger?

By Staff
We recently went to buy ink at Office Max in Playa del Carmen on a sun-splashed day when all seemed well with the world.

As we approached the sliding glass door at the entrance, there was a small boy standing in the middle of the open, heavy glass panels looking dispassionately up at us and seemingly blocking our entrance. We advised him, as parents would, he should not stand there lest he be injured by the closing door panels.


For many, the reality…

At that moment, a frail woman with sunken, pleading eyes roughly guided the boy away from the door with one hand as she stared at us gesticulating wildly with the other hand repeatedly moving up to her mouth, expressing the word “food” or “eat.”  We remembered then a story in the local newspapers expressing the concern of businesses in the tourist zone lamenting an influx of mendicants, vagrants and organized criminals who, they say, taint the zone’s image by imbuing feelings of guilt or fear in tourists.

We gave the boy some pesos. The woman told him to say “thank you.” He didn’t. He just stood there seemingly immobilized by hunger, void of the capacity to emote. We walked away as other customers came in the door. New targets.

For many, the dream...

For many, the dream…

After some shopping, and as we stepped out, the pair had been joined by another woman and child, the second woman approaching us with eyes that seemed threatening, then following us along the sidewalk repeating “a comer! a comer!” (to eat) using the same hand to mouth gesture as the first woman. We responded that we had given to the other lady. ”Para ella.” (for her)” Then pointing to herself excxlaiming “Para me. Para me.” (for me!) uttered in a mix of despair and aggression as she follow us almost to the car.

We’ve been guilt-ridden ever since for depending so much on credit/debit cards, not needing to bring much cash.

We described the incident to a friend who had just returned from San Cristobal in the mountainous State of Chiapas where, he said, there are many more street beggars than in this area. He said he brings bags of candy to distribute, which usually sends the childrn on their way.

In Victor Hugo’s gripping novel “Les Miserables,” Police Inspector Javert utters a perspective on the human condition that, in its complex simplicity, is hard to forget: “When a town grows, crime grows with it.”

We are told that Playa del Carmen and its environs has grown roughly to a 250,000 population as groups of “invaders” colonize ejido lands west of Highway 307 and live there in abject poverty and extreme hardship.

Their plight too, is a crime of sorts. A crime against humanity. It sadly leaves humankind on a perpetual and so-far futile worldwide search for someone, some entity, to indict.

The Round Up…


THIS MOTO-TAXI fit a family of six, but limits could be coming as the industry seeks legitimacy. (Staff Photo)

The taxi tug of war over the use of some 30 or more moto-bikes as taxis in the Puerto Aventuras poblado was revived last week as traditional taxi drivers protested outside the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Sintra) in Playa del Carmen. Traditional drivers say the trikes do not pay the same in taxes as traditional taxis, are more dangerous to passengers and do not have liability insurance. There was talk the trikes would be allowed to become part of three area unions in hopes of satisfying the complaints and leveling the playing field as to taxes and insurance. Limits on the number of passengers are also being discussed…

Temporary gasoline shortage was experienced last week in at least six area Pemex stations in the wake of bad weather and other problems that stalled pipeline deliveries from ships in Progresso. The station outside the PA main gate apparently was not affected…

A hotel night watchman was apparently beaten to death in Tulum last week. The body of the 18-year-old native of Chiapas showed signs of a beating, police reported. The victim was employed at the El Mundo Maya Hotel on Tulum Avenue where the body was found

EARLY WINNER at inaugural Sunday Bingo at Laltitude 20 Resraurant on Sunday was Hall Harper, center, who said he wasn;;t lucky at winning just a few minutes before he won. Next game at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11. All invited to join in the play to help the needy. (Staff Photo).

EARLY WINNER at inaugural Sunday Bingo at Laltitude 20 Restaurant on Sunday was Hal Harper, center, who said he wasn’t lucky at winning just a few minutes before he won. Next game is at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11. All invited to join in the play to help the needy. (Staff Photo).

The rising dollar and falling peso won’t affect restaurant prices for the remainder of this year, says the national restaurant association. While the price break for American tourists will undoubtedly spur more spending, the ssociation says menu prices will likely rise accordingly  in 2017 should the lopsided exchange rate be sustained…

The Bancomer Bank in Centro Maya Mall has installed a more modern system of checking in clients waiting for customer service. Rather than sign a notebook with a pen, customers can just swipe their debit or credit card into a machine inside the entrance door and take a seat. Service was much faster last week (get there early) with the system…   

Attracting attention is a large house being built on Bahia Xcacel across from the Catalonia Hotel. Several residents have asked the Pelican what it is intended to be. The Colonos reports it is private construction of a large house that perhaps could also be used, as others in the community are, for room rentals…

Political FYI – The local press has been criticizing the new municipal government over issues concerning moveable 5th Avenue business kiosks, ferry ticket sales, municipal employment and wages, crime and public security among other matters. It is the same government waiting to act on elevating the Puerto Aventuras delegation to a mayoralty…

The hurricane season is over – Don’t worry. Be happy. :lol:

Construction of fourth terminal (T4) will place Cancun International Airport second only to Mexico City in Latin America. Cancun airport will be first in Mexico with four operating terminals, is already first in volume of foreign passengers and is second in air traffic. Once T4 is completed the airport will have the capacity to handle 25 million passengers a year by 2018. Terminals 2 and 3 have already been expanded…

The Mail Bag…

Noise begets more noise

mailbag2imagesCAJR81SH8x6.jpgDear Editor:

Poor rich Americans and Canadians living large in Mexico with the super low cost of living were disturbed by Mexicans celebrating in their own country.

They sure don’t mind taking advantage of the locals when it comes to working them for next to nothing. I too live in Mexico and was wakened at 4 a.m. by fireworks. The celebrating lasted late into the night but before you have the gall to complain remember that this is their country and even with a permanent resident visa you are the alien here and therefore should respect their traditions.

If you don’t like it you are always free to return wherever it is that you came from. The nerve of some people really astounds me.

Signed: Felipe Fernandez
Where is Internet improvement?

Dear editor:
Some time ago, I think a year ago, I read in the Pelican Press that a new internet provider was hard-wiring PA and would also offer an over the air connection as they rolled out service. I could not find the edition. Can you direct me to the issue or the company? Or am I just imagining that I read this. I am really fed up with Telmex and the alternatives that I am aware of.

What is the name of the company? I will keep a lookout for it. By the way, thank you for your publication. It makes things a little better knowing what is new and happening in Puerto Aventuras and I find your sponsors to be my first choice when I want something done.

Signed: Michael Savage

(Ed. Note: The story appeared April 12, 2016. Find it in the Pelican archives. The developer says the project has been a slow starter but remains in the works. The company name is C&W Networks, of Miami, Fla.) 


PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. Thank you.

RIGGED AND READY - Laseer and Oprtimist class sailboarts filled the srtreet outside the sailing club in Phase 4 over the weekend in preparation for naional chanpionship races by some 100 boats. (Staff Photo)

RIGGED AND READY – Laser and Optimist class sailboats filled the street outside the sailing club in Phase 4 over the weekend in preparation for naiional championship races in Fatima Bay by some 100 boats. (Staff Photo)

The end – Previous edition below…







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