What’s Going On In This Country?

BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

We’re coming  up on National Hug Your Cat Day on June 4. Just to be clear here, this is not national hug someone else’s cat day, it’s hug your own damn cat day.

In years past, around this holiday season, some folks have got a little carried away with me and, well, I’m a very private, reserved cat.  If you don’t have a cat to hug, you’re just going to have to fix that yourself.

Between my girlfriend Fluffy, and She Who Works The Can Opener, I usually get all the hugs I can handle, thank you very much.

 

Another train attempt. Two months ago Mexico awarded a Chinese company a big contract to build a bullet train and then quickly cancelled it due to pollical pressure. Now India is bragging they’re bringing their super luxury Maharajas’ Express train to us. And this would be for you, our precious readers, as they don’t see a market for locals, this white tablecloth service is to build tourism.

The Mexican ambassador to India is taking a keen interest in the project but India is whining about our druggies who are active in the part of the country they want to build their railroad. Oh for crying out loud. When Americans built the railroads across the continent, did you hear them bawling about the Indians that kept attacking? Of course not, they just hired Chinamen to build it. And 150 years later we still have not run out of those, so India needs to get a clue.

We will be able to travel like the maharajas of India on this train, with butlers and all the elegance of a bygone era, enjoying spirits in the exclusive Safari Bar served in imported hand cut crystal glasses, with world cuisine and Indian delicacies served on fine Limoges plates and gold, and silver plated cutlery in one of two exclusive restaurants.

There will be Wi-Fi in the rooms, plasma TVs with satellite channels, DVD players and individual climate control. We can hardly wait. Let’s hope Mexico doesn’t cancel this one.

Santiago and girlfriend Fluffy on a date last weekMaybe corruption is worse than we thought? In a recent poll 90% of Mexicans believe politicians and the police are the worst institutions for corruption. The legislative branch of government didn’t do much better at 83%, nor did the judiciary at 80%.

The lack of faith in the country’s institutions is not surprising considering the lack of law enforcement around corruption: only 2% of those charged with it are actually punished. Of the 444 denunciations made by the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF) since 1998, only seven — or 1.5% — have actually been processed.

The study also reveals 14% of household income goes toward bribes and 44% of businesses reported having paid a bribe, which on an international scale is only step better than Russia.

Most of the bribes paid by business — 75% — are to speed bureaucratic procedures and obtain licenses and permits. One third of those payments are made at the municipal level.

Government helping our wine industry. At least that’s the plan, Stan. For six months eight people have worked on designing a public policy to help business and Baja is getting attention to their wine industry. The tax structure, financing, consumer promotion, standardization, technology, tourism product development, export, marketing, and increased consumption are some of the issues that will get special attention.

How do we love Facebook? Let us count the ways. An estimated 60 million Mexicans are users of social networks, and in Baja alone there are 2.5 million registered Facebook accounts. That’s Baja north and south, which includes the big city of Tijuana.

Shut the front door! Uruguay president José Mujica apologized for calling Mexico a failed state, but we’re still mad about it. Their president said the disappearance of 43 students from the mainland suggests authorities have lost control.

Well, just because the mayor’s wife hired drug thugs to kill the students and burn their bodies doesn’t mean we’re a failed state. Maybe that’s a failed city. She didn’t want the kids to protest at her speech she was going to give so she had their bus waylaid and had the kids “disappeared”

Under pressure, the Uruguayan president mumbled an apology, saying, “Mexico is not a failed state because they have the historical foundations of pre-Columbian nations and democratic decisions above and beyond the difficulties of today.” Yes, that sounds better.

But wait, there’s more! At the end of this hangdog apology, President Mujica appeared to place the blame for turmoil in Mexico on the United States: “All of Central America is paying the price for being a clandestine bridge towards the great market that not only consumes, but which also profits the most from this commerce,” he said. That would be the Great Satan, of course. The United States. The U.S. doesn’t have wives of mayors ordering the execution of school kids, but nevertheless, the U.S. is the failed state here. We’re scratching a vacation in Uruguay off our bucket list.

Homes washed away in Tijuana. A major mud slide at the Miramar barrio in Tijuana destroyed 19 homes and severely affected 21 more, which caused the city’s Civil Protection agency to evacuate them. The cause of the mud slide was not identified at press time, but some sidewalk superinetenants are blaming it on  a years old water leak that the local public services agency did not repair. On the other hand, it’s been raining there pretty hard. Coinky dink or water leak? The head of the civil protection agency denied it was a water leak, saying there was no leak from their pipes. Truth or another dodge?

How productive is Mexico? Not very, but we already knew that. The Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCDE) reported last week that Mexico is in the lower end of productivity among the nations members of the OCDE. That’s like being in the slow part of the slow group, sigh.

The report, which bases its results on gross domestic product churned out for each hour worked, places Mexico at the bottom of the report, which includes the European Union (67.4%), Germany (61.1%), the OCDE average (49%), South Korea (32.8%), Chile (25.9%) and Mexico (19.5%). This is where my boss would rush in with her 2 cents worth, saying for the thousandth time that there is no supervision in this country. “There is no middle management because there is no middle class”, yada, yada yada.

Ensenada rally. Bajarallymoto.com has announced Rancho El Coyote Meling as the first of three overnight bivouac spots for this year’s Baja Rally taking place September 28th to October second. The race starts in Ensenada in northern Baja.  More information and videos at www.bajarallymoto.com. ,