What's Going On In This Country?

December 25, 2017 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Does anyone still smoke? Yes. smoking rates in Mexico increased over the past five years despite campaigns, initiatives and laws to discourage it, a national survey reveals. And not even to mention the horrible pictures the industry is required to print on the packages.

The average number of cigarettes an individual smoked per day also increased. Of 15 million Mexicans who smoke, close to 11 million are men. On average, smokers spend 282 pesos (US $14.80) per month on their habit, the survey said. A package of 20 cigarettes generally costs around 50 pesos (US $2.60).

Although laws banning smoking in public places went into effect in 2008, it doesn’t seem to have done the trick.

The widespread flouting of a 25-year-old law designed to prevent the sale of single cigarettes also makes smoking more financially accessible. 50 per cent of smokers surveyed said they buy cigarettes from vendors who sell them in onesies, usually for 25 cents each. More than 70% of those polled said that they supported raising tax on tobacco products and the survey determined that while three out of every 10 smokers were aware of services to help them quit smoking, but only 4% had used them.

With the highest proportion of smokers found in the 18-24 age bracket, reducing smoking levels doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Drivers tests coming Sometimes we have driver’s tests here, and sometimes they hand out the license like it’s peppermint at Halloween. But no evidence of actually being able to operate a motor vehicle or knowledge of road rules is required in many parts of Mexico, including the chaotic streets of Mexico City.

Although a new law went into force last year requiring an exam, the Mexico City government abolished the driving exams in September without any explanation.

Now, starting in March, all new drivers in the entire country will be required to take mandatory driver exams before licenses are issued. In Mexico City, prior to sitting the exam, new drivers will also have to attend driving schools. Here in Cabo they don’t even have a booklet to study. You’re supposed to divine their rules by, what, what you see on the streets? We hope not.

The only constant here is you will need to take a blood test and provide proof of your blood type, an ominous requirement.

What are we gonna do? We currently have about 15,000 hotel rooms here, but 3,800 more are under construction. We already have 14 golf courses, although we don’t have enough ground to build housing for our workers. We have two marinas, both full, and three beaches with the federal Blue Flag certification, (meaning all the needles have been picked up and the bath rooms cleaned).

Where are we going to put all the workers who will staff those new rooms? And, by the way, where are we going to get the workers? From the mainland, of course.

How we’re going to educate their children is still another problem the government is not even addressing. We already have two shifts at most schools, with children getting out of school well after dark. Is anyone addressing these issues? If they are, they’re doing it quietly behind closed doors, because there is no public discussion going on.

No more plastic bags Oh, no, how are we gonna get our stuff home? Bring a cloth bag, Bunky. Or hold everything in your arms. Just as is happening in the States, (we don’t know about Canada), some cities in Mexico are outlawing plastic bags as being harmful for the environment. No, Los Cabos has not been hit with bag requirements, and we’re betting that as usual, we’re going to be dead last to embrace this, but heads up, it is coming.

Here comes Amazon. Amazon.com doubled its sales to become the biggest internet retailer in Mexico this year, helping to grow the country's e-commerce market by a third, the world's largest online retailer will generate $500 million in Mexican sales this year. Online sales still account for slightly over 3 percent of all retail sales in Mexico. Online sales are nearly 12 percent in the United States.

Argentina's MercadoLibre was second, and in third place was Wal-Mart de Mexico with $260 million in projected online sales.

Amazon, which formally launched in Mexico two years ago, made a push to expand its customer base in October by introducing a cash payments system, as most Mexicans still don’t have credit cards.

You know better, right? The fake news phenomenon has turned up with a story about mass murder on the beaches of Cancún.

“More than 50 lifeless bodies of children and adults found on the coast of Cancún,” screamed the headline published last week on a Spanish language website called Más Viral No Hay, “There’s None More Viral.”

Photographs of what looked like dead bodies strewn on the sand accompanied the text with two Mexican soldiers appearing in one image.

But the color of the sand and sea didn’t match the famous hues of the Mexican Caribbean and the soldiers appeared to have been Photoshopped into the image.

But more than 80,000 Facebook page shares went around.

Turns out the photographs were in fact staged on a beach, but one that is in Spain, and taken as part of a project completed by two journalists to draw attention to the plight of migrants who have drowned at sea. Volunteers played the part of the alleged victims.

The newspaper El Universal tracked some Facebook pages and sites responsible for the fake news story to a woman in Mazatlán.

There might have been political or economic motives, or it was just a stupid way to get page views.