Que Pasa in Baja?

May 16, 2016 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Good news for Baja. We just got word from INEGI, the national statistics agency, that our economy grew 6.3% during 2015. That makes us the third fastest growing state in Mexico and was the biggest growth for us in 11 years.

The governor also said that Baja has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country with only 2.95% of people looking for work while the national average is 3.74%. (In the United States it’s about 5 %.)

Unemployment is not Mexico’s problem, under employment is.  People run for the border because they can work their ass off here and still get paid only peanuts. Minimum wage is less than $5 U.S. per day.

Produce growers tired of theft Produce growers south of Ensenada are asking authorities to lend a hand against thieves.

“It’s been an ongoing problem for years now, we are losing almost 20% of our crops from petty theft” said Raymundo Carrillo, president of an Ejido that owns a farm. Well, 20% of their product is hardly petty.

Thieves sneak into the fields at night and steal vegetables that they then sell on the street to unsuspecting buyers who don’t know they are receiving stolen property. Yes, the vegies are hot. Lots of people buy from the thieves because the vegetables are very high quality (since most of it is grown for export), cheap and of course fresh.

Mr. Carrillo said most of the growers have hired extra security guards to watch their crops and they do catch some thieves and deliver them to authorities but they are let out of jail in only a few days since it’s not a crime that’s taken seriously.

Now you know, try to buy your crops from established stores, not on the street. I know it’s hard though, where else are you going to get a pound of asparagus for less than a buck? But think about this: Would you buy a stolen phone just because it’s cheap? Yeah, most of you would. Sigh. We’ve seen how you buy pirate CD’s when the pirate comes around to your bar stool. Every Gringo paws through the stack every time.

Fonatur Flogging nautical ladder. The federal agency Fonatur is trying once more to build the nautical ladder project of marinas and is asking for about $11 million USD to finish developing the marinas of Santa Rosaliita here in northern Baja and Topolobampo across the sea in the state of Sinaloa.

The project was started in 2001 by then president Fox and was all about deploying 24 marinas all around the Sea of Cortez, a day’s boat ride apart. The goal of the project was to make this part of Mexico convenient to the yachties.

The marina in Santa Rosalita was especially important because a “terrestrial bridge” was to be built terminating there, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the sea of Cortez. Terrestrial bridge was the fancy name for a road that you would be able to use to drag your boat over from the Pacific to the Sea of Cortez. 

Fonatur says its real goal is to make the marinas attractive for investors. Fonatur has tried to revive the project two times in the past without any luck.

Sea lions to be counted with drones. CICESE, the Ensenada based research institute, has announced the use of high resolution aerial imaginary from drones to estimate the population of sea lions in the Gulf of California. Dr. Mario Pardo, a researcher working on the project, said they’ve been counting the critters from boats, looking with binoculars, but this didn’t take into account lots of baby sea lions that are hidden behind their moms.

Dr. Pardo said this time the populations will be counted using both methods, so they can establish an error margin for estimations in past years and correct that data. Well, we can tell you right now we’re not going to run out of stinky sea lions any time soon.  Yeah, yeah, we know they’re nice guys and gals, but up close they really give off an odor.

Baja is not voting enough. With the upcoming elections just around the corner, the election institute is asking the people of Baja to get their lazy ass off the couch and get out there and vote.  Well, we paraphrase. In the last elections Baja had the lowest percentage of participation in the entire country with only 31% of eligible people bothering to cast their vote.

“Participation has been dropping throughout the years because people have lost faith in the system”, noted Pedro Cardenas, a local citizen. 

Such low rates are a big concern because this means that a candidate can be elected president by just about 10% of the population, and that’s not what democracy is about. The segment of people with the lowest rates of voting is young Mexicans from 20 to 39 years of age. When participation is this low, parties rely on their “hard vote” to win elections. It’s called hard vote or “voto duro”, which is the core percentage of people who will vote for their political party regardless of who the candidate is.

Ensenada airport finally has a starting date. Oscar Escobedo, head of the state tourism office, has stated that the construction of the Ensenada International Airport, located in Ojos Negros, will begin in late 2017.

The state government already acquired about 900 acres of land to develop the airport for just about $7 million USD.  (No doubt they bought it from some politician’s brother in law, which explains how people have lost interest in voting.) The federal office of communications and transportation (SCT) has already given the go ahead for the project and the development will be financed by private and public funds. Isn’t that awfully close to the under used TJ airport? Just asking.

Governors pow wow. Governors from all over the country will meet in the wine museum for this year’s National Conference of Governors. The subjects being discussed are related to the development and security of the country.

Our governor, Kiko Vega, said they will discuss the development of the wine industry in Mexico, which will be very important to strengthen Baja as the main wine producer of the country.