What's Going On In This Country?

April 16, 2018 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Yikes! Who knew this was happening? According to the Washington Post the United States government is capturing the biometric data of tens of thousands of migrants arrested in Mexico. According to the Post, the U.S. Homeland Security has gained access to Mexican immigration jails to identify criminals, gang members and potential terrorists before they reach the border. Operating in detention facilities in southern Mexico, officials have installed screening terminals to collect migrants’ fingerprints, eyeball scans and other features, including tattoos. The information gathered is immediately forwarded to DHS and other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence databases, alerting American officials if an individual in Mexican custody is a convicted criminal or in a category known as “Special Interest Aliens.”  The United States has paid $75 million for the equipment they’ve installed. And the Mexicans are allowing this, apparently. Or maybe they don’t know.

Uber vs. taxis. The taxi drivers in La Paz are not giving up, although they lost round one when Uber started cruising the streets.

Now the Federales have impounded several Uber cars working the La Paz airport.

Well, honestly, the feds have a point, because airport property is federal and Uber does not have a concession for the airport. The Uber guys couldn’t work other areas?

The fine to get the cars out is US $2,300, which the drivers said they are expecting the parent company Uber to pony up for the fine and the days of labor lost.

More Uber grief. China’s Didi Chuxing has moved into Mexico. It’s very similar to Uber and apparently the Chinamen are not afraid to take on Uber and the taxis.

Didi publicly launched in Mexico with a website advertising its service to drivers and passengers, although the service itself won’t begin operating until later this month.

Didi will start in a suburb of Mexico City.

In an effort to attract as many drivers as possible, the firm will not take a share of fares until June 17 and will offer bonuses to drivers who recruit other drivers and passengers. After then Didi is planning to take a 20% share of fares, below the 25% taken by Uber.

Didi is also considering using scooters, motorcycles and even bicycles. Geeze, how is that bike thing going to work?

United at last. It takes a lot to unite politicians in Mexico, but Donald Trump has managed it. Mexico’s business community and presidential candidates have closed ranks behind President Enrique Peña Nieto, even though he is not well liked, when he called for Trump to show respect for the sovereignty and dignity of Mexico.

Worse than fake news. Fake tequila is on the loose in Mexico. The tequila council blames it on lax regulation, fraud and bribery.

 “There’s a huge over-tolerance on the part of the authorities in an environment plagued with impunity and illegal sales with enormous consequences for the health [of consumers],” said public health specialist Arturo Cervantes Trejo.

The Tequila Council has identified several brands it says are fake, including Rancho Escondido, El Mecatito, Mujeriego and El Compadre, among others.

Hollywood comes to Tijuana. You know how famous the Hollywood sign is, what a cultural icon it is, and how much we all love it? Well, now TJ is going to feel the love generated by their own sign. Of course, this one will say, wait for this… Tijuana.

The head of the chamber of commerce is pushing for it, and currently negotiating the lease of the land. He projects it will cost about $200,000 be 45 feet high, and 240 feet long, almost the same size as the Hollywood sign, which cost $21,000 in 1923. The money for this sign will be solicited from businesses and the government will not be asked to pitch in.

We’re only fourth? According to the volume of Google searches, Mexico has become the favorite destination for US citizens looking to buy a second home. Google counted 64,000 monthly searches of homes in Mexico.

The most coveted Mexican destinations are around 10,000 searches a month, the first being Puerto Vallarta. Tied for second place are Playa del Carmen and San Miguel de Allende with 6500. Finally, Cabo San Lucas up with 6,000 queries per month, as in fourth place; by Cancun 5,380 searches per month.

And here is another spooky example of Google watching us.

San Jose Merchants Complaining. The couple blocks of downtown San Jose were chewed up and re-designed but the merchants along the route are not happy.

First, it took too long and they haven’t gotten over that. But, moving on, they say that the palm trees on the median between the two lanes are shriveling up and dying. (It’s called landscape irrigation, has anyone heard of that?)

Also, the fancy pants design has left very little room on the street so tourist buses and vans don’t bring people in, anymore.

Finally, the last insult is the concrete curbs are already crumbling.