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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thieves break into two homes; steal 3rd boat

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Owner out thousands in cash, jewelry;

Press again claims PA a Cuban mafia base

Thieves took advantage of seasonal doldrums to break into two resort homes and tow a  stolen twin-engine boat out of the private marina while ignoring a guard’s orders to stop.

The Colonos administration reports that on September 30 a safe in a home on Bahia Yanten was opened, $5,000 in U.S. dollars and about $80,000 pesos taken along with a “large amount” in jewelry while owners were out for the afternoon.
Prior to that, on August 22, thieves broke into a home on Bahia Xaac while the owners were away and took a multitude of items including a laptop, iPad, camera, Indian pipe and other goods.
In addition, a safe at the Colegio school was broken into in June for the second time in about a year.  Colonos general manager Armando Rincon, who declined to identify the property owners, said the boat was stolen in the wake of a Colonos  campaign to have skippers register their vessels and the hiring of extra guards that have been posted nightly from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at the marina exit channels to monitor traffic. The so-called private marina where boats are “parked” in owners’ channel-front yards is located off Bahia Yanten, Puerto Aventuras Boulevard and Matzoma.
Some boat owners say they were supposed to receive stickers for the boats from the Colonos but they never arrived.
While Puerto Aventuras is home to a part-time contingent of the federal Navy/Marines, the private guard told the Colonos that after the boat thieves refused to stop, he called the Coast Guard to report the incident and that the boat was heading north. The Coast Guard reportedly told the guard it did not have the equipment at hand to initiate pursuit.

However, the local media, underscoring “unofficial information” re-stated previous speculation that Puerto Aventuras has been a base of operations for a Cuban mafia operation linked to “Los Zetas.” The claim is not accompanied by hard evidence and thus remains conjecture. The local media also suspects that local guards may be complicit in the operation based on the fact that PA is a gated community and that three very expensive boats have been stolen this year. It said the vessel’s owner in this latest grand theft realized the boat was being taken, informed officials but they declined action or did not have the means to pursue.
Feeding into the media’s allegations of a Cuban mafia operation is the observation, says the media, that no local, state or federal authority monitors boat traffic into and out of the “private” marina area where vessels come and go freely. They can access docking at private homesteads or un-built lots without being checked at all by any of those authorities.
Some circumstantial evidence is presented in recalling a 2008 case of Cuban nationals illegally deposited in Puerto from a powerful boat that was abandoned there when it wouldn’t start, an event that had post-repercussions involving the local gasoline station.
The thefts underscore a truism that exclusivity comes at a price. It has been said that the federal government will not participate in beach replenishment projects in PA precisely because it is exclusive. The same federal mindset may prevail when it comes to providing security.
The owner of the stolen 28-foot Grady White filed a report and was waiting to hear from the municipal police.
About the home break-ins, Rincon said both homeowners filed complaints with the municipal police in Playa del Carmen but the police opted to investigate only one case.
An observer on the ground in PA pointed out that thieves were evidently targeting big-block 4-stroke engines since two other vessels stolen this year from the marina had similar outboard engines. He said this is the first year since he has lived in Puerto that entire boats have been stolen.
Conventional wisdom is that the thieves beach the boats in shorefront jungle near the highway and strip them of their engines, a heavy task, and other electronic gear that can be sold on the black market. The thefts of goods from homes begs the question of how thieves are getting their loot out of the resort. The stripped hulls of several boats reported missing from various areas recently have been recovered while adrift, says one report.

5th Annual road race scheduled December 2    

After four years of success, the Colonos Association of Puerto Aventuras announces its fifth annual 1 – 5 & 10 km. race taking place December 2 starting at the post office kiosk. As usual, all runners are invited to compete  for a total purse of 50,000 pesos to be shared by winners. Last year’s race set a record at 500+ runners.

Starting time for  categories: 10 km. 7:00 a.m.; 5 km. at 7:15 a.m. 1 km. at 9 a.m. Categories are: 1 km for coed kids (9 to 14) 500 meters for kids 8 and under; 5 km. for junior men and woman (15 to 18); OPEN: men and woman (19 to 39);MASTERS: men or woman (40 and up); 10 KM.- OPEN: men or woman (19 to 39);MASTERS: men or woman (40 to 49);VETERANS: men or woman (50 and up).
COST AND REGISTRATION:$100.00 pesos per person until Saturday December 1 at 16:00 p.m.; register 1) By e-mail to: carrerapuertoaventuras@hotmail.com ; 2) Asociación de Colonos de Puerto Aventuras. Tel 984 873 51-16 y 17. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
PACKAGES AND NUMBERS will be distributed at the Colonos office Friday, Nov. 30 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Registration on Sunday will cost $250.00 pesos and only in the categories still available under the 500 person limit for runners. You will receive your number but no gift package.
PRICES AND AWARDS – There will be $50,000.00 pesos in total purse for the first, second and third place of each category and special prices from sponsors. There will be gifts for the first resident of P.A. to arrive. For the safety of runners, the race duration will be 1 hr. and 59 minutes and the route will be free of automobile  traffic.

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
              COMING UP – Halloween costume party at Latitude 20 Restaurant from 7-10

p.m. October 31. All ages invited. Also hosting 6th annual Riviera Maya Comedy show Nov. 4…PELICAN FREE PRESS will resume weekly editions in November. Sign up and stay tuned…TUSCA STRIKE – A potential strike by the Federation of Workers and Peasants (Fesoc) at Tusca transportation has been postponed until December while negotiations continue. The buses carry about 35,000 users in the Playa and Puerto area…BLACK EYE – Elderly packers at Soriana’s market on Playa’s 3oth Avenue complain of being mistreated by cashiers and staff,  a charge acknowledged by management, which identified two cashiers as particularly offensive to the elderly workers…UP TO CODE – The president of the Solidarity Association of Architects says that greater Playa del Carmen is growing at a rate of 20 percent annually and that building codes need to be revamped and adhered to…NONETHELESS, retailers were complaining along 5th Avenue that the popular street was empty at the start of October, causing restaurants to lower prices and agitate for more marketing to attract tourists…MEANWHILE there are complaints about 5th Avenue vendors “stealing” public space by extending seating, signage and what have you from their venues onto the public passage ways…
     TWO SEMI-DECAPITATED BODIES were left on Cancun Hotel Zone’s Kukulcan Boulevard by assassins claiming to be a Gulf Cartel cell calling itself “the Taliban” and CDG (meaning the Gulf Cartel, according to investigators.) The murders have prompted hotels in the area to demand more police patrols to protect visitors and the tourism destination’s reputation…WHILE EXTORTION and other crimes in the expanding Playa del Carmen area continue to make headlines in the local media, the government is stepping  up its crime-fighting capabilities by dedicating a new Strategic Operations Center in Playa. It will house various law enforcement agencies in a coordinated attempt to rout organized criminal activity…FARE TRADE – State and municipal government officials say they are continuing to weed out criminals and drivers using taxis to accommodate illegal activities…PUMPED UP – New regulations will allow inspectors to monitor gasoline pumps to assure consumers are getting the amount of petrol they are paying for. Fines will be imposed on personnel who dicker with the mechanisms for illegal purposes. And for trivia’s sake, there are more than 10,000 gasoline stations in the country operating 48,000 individual pumps, 144 of which are in northern Quintana Roo…HOME DEPOT CEO  tells The Economist magazine it will develop eight more stores in Mexico. Is there a Home Depot in Playa’s future?…   

If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it…

 

     We called the Mexican consulate in Boston to inquire about the new visa regulations outlined in our last edition (see previous story below) and told the gentleman there we split our time between the U.S. and Mexico at 6 months each.
Then we concurred the new regulations take effect Nov. 12 and asked if we could make early, post-dated application for permanent or temporary retiree residence visas since we were headed back to Mexico prior to Nov. 12. (Applications must be made in the home country consulate).
The gentleman’s best advice? The new visas may have requirements that may not suit us, such as limits on how much time one can spend outside Mexico. We asked how long that might be. He said, “six months.” That puts us back where we are with the tourist visa, which is free.
He suggested we familiarize ourselves with the requirements, costs and limitations of the new law before jumping in. Since we already have time requirements we can live with, then what’s the need and cost benefit to change?
Nonetheless, the Pelican will try to scoop up continued good information from the current dearth in succeeding issues.

 

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
When will you be arriving? “¿Cuándo usted llegar?

We’re waiting for you! Instruction in the Spanish language begins anew in mid-October with formation of a group class on the 16th. Instructor Gloria Contreras announces she will be available to teach classes in Puerto Aventuras from either 10 to 11 a.m. or 3 to 4 p.m. again at the Tiramisu Restaurant. She also offers private lessons in PA and also in Paamul where she also invites group sessions. Group classes are $150 pesos and $250 for private one-hour lessons. She is open to other suggestions and locations.
Anyone interested in learning the language can contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras nanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3516.
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos per session. Please call her first to make arrangements.

 

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NOV 2012: PA Trust seeks lifestyle input

HAPPENINGS:

HALLOWEEN PARTY Oct. 31, Latitude 20, kids welcome, 7-10 p.m.
COMEDY SHOWS Nov. 2 at La Buena Vida in Akumal and Nov. 4 at Latitude 20 Restaurant, Puerto Aventuras, 9 p.m. Cover charge.
ANNUAL ROAD RACE  December 2. Get ready.
ROAD RESURFACING: Be advised that for 30 days beginning Monday, Oct. 29, the Concreto Ecologico Co. will be laying pavement of one lane of Puerto Aventuras Blvd. The street will be partly closed as construction progresses , starting at Porto Bello to Condominio Peninsula. The Colonos asks all to obey the security signs directing drivers to drive and leave vehicles on the lane opposite the construction lane for 10 days, which is how long it takes for the concrete to dry. Drive carefully.
TASTE OF PLAYA food fest Nov. 18 at Parque Fundadores, on the beach below the bus station and adjacent to the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen.
RIVIERA MAYA JAZZ FEST Nov. 22-24, 7 p.m. nightly at Mamita’s Beach in Playa del Carmen

 

Survey offers opportunity to vent, make

suggestions to improve PA’s lifestyle

The Puerto Aventuras Fideicomiso (Trust) is asking for input from local residents concerning restaurants, sports facilities and use of the Colonos meeting room and Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal to advance the local quality of life.
To that end, the Trust is asking residents to respond honestly to 13 questions, printed below. Readers of the Pelican Free Press can fill in the questionnaire, print it and/or copy it electronically and email it to hector@puertoaventuras.com.mx  or maricela@puertoaventuras.com.mx or drop it off at the Main Gate Security or Fideicomiso office.
There is space at the end of the questions for general comments. This gives residents the opportunity to express their feelings and suggestions about general observations on such things as lighting, crime, beaches, roads – particularly the rough road aprons at the Main Gate – that continually attracts negative criticism by car owners. Please participate.
The questions:

1-Do you usually go to Playa del Carmen to lunch or dinner with your family ?

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2-Why do you prefer Playa del Carmen instead of restaurants in Puerto Aventuras ?

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3-Do you have an opinion of the restaurants and bars at the Omni Hotel and Beach Club ?

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4- Do you have an opinion of the restaurants and bars at the Marina ?

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5-Do you use the Golf Course in Puerto Aventuras ?

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6- What changes would entice you to use the golf course, or use it more ?

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7- Do you use the Tennis Club in Puerto Aventuras ?

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8- What changes would induce you to use the Tennis Club ?

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9- If we were lighting the Tennis courts, would you use them at night and would you be willing to pay a differential cost ?

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10- Are you familiar with our Cultural Center for 300 persons, where concerts have been held ? Would you be interested in making use of it for cultural or social promotions ? Please suggest .

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11- Do you use local attractions that offer residents a 20% discount? Which ones :

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12-Do you know that at the Asociación de Colonos office has a meeting room with television and gaming tables? Would you be interested in using it with friends and neighborhood groups?

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13- What suggestions would you make to improve the infrastructure of Puerto Aventuras for a better quality of life for its residents?

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Resident Name and Signature ______________________________________

Address ___________________________________________________________

Stolen-boat owner tells story

Implores Colonos board

to improve local security

  (Ed. Note: The Pelican Free Press policy is not to name victims of crime if they prefer to remain anonymous, as in this case.)
    The owner of the latest boat stolen from the Puerto Aventuras Marina – the fourth in a year – has appealed to Beatriz Marron, chair of the Colonos Association, to try to initiate action to ensure more vessel owners are not subjected to these brazen and very expensive losses. His note to Sra. Marron:
       “My wife and I had the fourth stolen boat from Puerto Aventuras this year.  Please read below what I just sent to the Pelican Free Press.  I ended the account with a request that Puerto Aventuras and Colonos be proactive in resolving the recurring crime.
“There is a pattern here and we need to be aggressive in determining the root of these crimes.  Can Colonos go to someone connected or in power that can assign an investigative
team or task force to come from outside to investigate these crimes?
“The police investigators that started this investigation believe there is an internal problem within Puerto Aventuras that requires further examination.  There are too many inconsistencies and too much continuing crime.’’

      The owner wrote the following to the Pelican Free Press:
My wife and I have owned a condo in Puerto Aventuras for six years.  Three years prior to that, we bought two prime months of a fractional ownership overlooking the main marina, where we learned to love all that Puerto Aventuras and the Riviera Maya have to offer.    

Each year, we average spending five to six months in Puerto Aventuras.  During these years we have experienced both the good and bad that Mexico has to offer.
Until recently, the good has always outweighed the bad.
Looking at the beautiful Caribbean from the beach, we see the calm days with fishing boats, dive boats and catamarans passing by just outside the reef.  In March of this year we made the big decision to buy a boat.  We bought one in Florida to fit our needs, a Grady White center console with two Yamaha 250 four stroke engines, fishing outriggers, radar, marine radio, depth sounder and satellite radio.
We paid to have the boat shipped from Miami to Puerto Morelos where we officially imported and then registered the boat.
At 9:15 a.m. on the morning of October 4, 2012, I walked down to the Puerto Aventuras channel where we dock the boat and discovered the boat was gone — stolen.  I immediately went to the marina office to report the theft.  According to personnel at the marina office, around 1:25 a.m. a security guard, who had been posted at the end of the beach, saw the boat with two individuals on board exiting the channel and turning north to Cancun.  It was dark so he couldn’t see the name of the boat.  Of course there was nothing the guard could do from the ground to stop the boat.
We hired an attorney to assist us and the police investigation started on Saturday. It was obvious the thieves entered the main gate of Puerto Aventuras prior to the robbery.  The follow-up investigation brought conflicting stories. I was told that the Marine / Navy base was immediately contacted by security.  The base is located in Puerto Aventuras on the same channel as the boat and only a couple hundred meters from where the boat was docked. 
We were told by an employee at the marina that the military went out from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. to search for the boat to no avail.  We then saw an email from Colonos Administration that thelocal military base replied that they did not have a boat available and would have to defer to the Cancun military base. We have never been able to confirm that the Cancun military base sent a boat out.  Additionally, we were told all harbormasters and military bases between Puerto Aventuras and points north of Cancun would be notified within an hour of the 9:30 a.m. report.
A couple days later, we had an appointment with the harbormaster in Playa del Carmen. He said he did not receive any notification.  We then obtained an email that went out from Puerto Aventuras at 4:12 p.m. on the day of the theft.  Of course, by then the stolen boat was already where the thieves planned to hide it.  We are not accusing anyone of complicity in the crime, only showing frustration over the inability to get the facts straight.
It is disheartening to experience this loss.  We had only been out on the boat six times.  In July we pulled the boat from the water and had the bottom painted.  The day before the theft we put $300 (usd) of fuel in the boat.  We do have theft insurance, but with the extras and deductible we stand to lose a substantial percentage of our investment.
Yes, we are keeping it in perspective and are grateful no one was hurt. In addition to our financial loss, the workers we pay to maintain the boat and assist us when fishing have now lost a job.
     With this being the fourth stolen boat from Puerto Aventuras this year, along with a rash of home robberies, we question whether Puerto Aventuras is the paradise we thought. With these disturbing events, and the inability of Colonos to resolve these issues, why would anyone want to invest time and money here?
The economy has been slow and values in Puerto Aventuras are at a low.  The last thing we need is to allow crime to continue driving values down.  Colonos must be proactive in assisting authorities to get to the bottom of this criminal activity and must take bold steps NOW to prevent this from continuing.”

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and press reports
LOCAL ENGINEER DIES – Arturo Hernandez Ramos, 34, who worked in the maintenance area of  the Dolphinarium in Puerto Aventuras, was killed in a single-car accident on Route 307 near Tulum – THIRTEEN TAXIS were damaged in a continuing battle between unions in Tulum and Playa del Carmen during a recent confrontation on Highway 307 at the entrance road to the Tulum ruins, surprising tourists. Negotiations to resolve differences are ongoing as is a legal case to recoup damages…FIGHTING EXTORTION – Law enforcement agencies have combined to distribute pamphlets on how to avoid being set up for telephone extortion scams. Among suggestions: Don’t answer unfamiliar calls and never give out personal information. Police say most telephone extortionists targeting Playa are calling from Tamaulipas and Veracruz…SPAIN’S MONEY WOES continue to stall construction of 4,000 hotel rooms in Cancun and Riviera Maya. The Spanish consul says it is a temporary situation and will be resolved when banks there resume investment loans…IN THE MEANTIME,  The Economist magazine says Mexico’s banks that were in trouble back in 1995’s “tequila crisis” and needed a $50 billion bailout for loose lending practices are now in a position to help their parent companies. Bancomer – an annual visitor to Puerto Aventuras and popular among Anglos – is the Mexican link of Spain’s BBVA, and now accounts for a third of BBVA’s worldwide profits…THE WORLD AIR TRAVEL SUMMIT held in Abu Dhabi last month has given cause for hope that flights to Cancun International from UAE, Qatar and South Africa could begin in 2013…POLICE ARRESTED four men who reportedly had been fighting over a brick of marijuana at the Xpu-Ha Beach, which is popular among Puerto Aventurans…THE NATIONAL MARINE PARK of Cozumel Reefs has been given an award, and the flattery of being copied by other countries in its strategies to battle the beautiful but deadly lionfish that is anathema to marine microsystems…NEW YORK CITY is making a concerted push to attract more travelers from Mexico. Turnabout is fair play. The number of Mexicans visiting the city has doubled in six years…

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

We have postponed our trip to Mexico “Hemos pospuesto nuestro viaje a México”
Anyone interested in learning the language can contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras nanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3516.
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos per session. Please call her first to make arrangements.

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