What's Going On In This Country?

June 26, 2017
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Uber moves in on PV In our last issue I told you about squabbling between taxi drivers and Uber drivers in Mazatllan, with a few incidents coming to blows. What, you didn’t believe me? Is it because I’m a cat you don’t take me seriously? Well, your loss.

Trust me when I say the same thing could happen in Puerto Vallarta. Uber just announced it would be working PV and Nuevo Vallarta just north of PV. They haven’t announced a start date yet, but they’re looking for drivers in both areas.

There are some 3,000 taxi drivers in the municipality, and as far as they  are concerned, Uber doesn’t have the necessary authorization to operate. They’re planning on protesting if they have to, and they have the support of the former mayor, who issued a statement saying Uber’s presence would create a negative impact for many area families, meaning it could put Papa taxi driver out of a job.

Uber has defended itself by promising to boost the local economy and make streets safer by reducing the number of drunk or distracted drivers. It also said it would promote an environment that was more connected and less congested.

A taxi union spokesdude said they are also developing a mobile platform to become more innovative, and we assume more competitive with services like Uber, although it seems like it might be a little late in the game for that.

 App makes donating blood easier A blood donation startup with the less than musical name of Blooders has chalked up 2,800 donations in three years , which is a pretty big deal in a country where people don’t usually donate unless a close relative or friend turns up short on blood.

Blooders is a digital blood donation platform (which means they have an app, website and Facebook page) that connects patients needing transfusions with blood donation campaigns created digitally by hospitals with voluntary donors. Since starting in 2014, Blooders has signed up 9,500 people in Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla and Villahermosa.

Blooders users sign up, schedule an appointment and fill out the required forms. One big advantage of the app is that the scheduling process reduces wait times from the usual four hours to just one. The service sends out emails reminding donors of their appointment, with notifications four hours and again one hour before the scheduled time.

The app is currently available in 27 hospitals: 16 in Monterrey, nine in Mexico City and one each in Puebla and Villahermosa, but there are plans to expand and hopes to be in 10 states by the end of the year.

A four hour wait just to give blood? Could be a reason people don’t like to give.

Mexican mangos big in US Could mangos be the new avocado? Mexican mangos are gaining popularity in the United States, which has almost tripled its mango consumption in the last decade.

Just last year, Mexican producers exported a record 73 million crates of mangos worth almost $500 million USD. And those figures could increase by up to 30% during 2017, according to market projections from the U.S.-based National Mango Board.

Around 65% of the mangos consumed by the United States market are of Mexican origin, which means Mexican farmers have no real competition there. And mango exporters don’t fear customs duties being imposed on their product because the fruit isn’t a big crop in the United States.

The 2017 harvest season started this month. Locally, we have way more mangos than we could ever use.

Watch out for cyclists Cyclists in Guadalajara were getting more attention than usual earlier this month. That’s probably because they were riding naked! Well, some of them were naked, others, less adventurous, were only half naked or wearing skimpy outfits.

They were all taking part in the World Naked Bike Ride, an annual event that happens in more than 70 cities around the world. The goal for the ride is to increase awareness about cyclists on the highways, and protesting aggressive drivers and gas emissions from cars.

Stop that bus! A bright orange bus decorated with messages protesting sex education for kids has arrived in Mexico. This same bus was dubbed the “transphobic bus” in Spain and was banned for being anti-transgender.

The bus is decorated with sayings like “Boys have penises, girls have vaginas, don’t be fooled,” and “Don’t mess with my children.”

One of the bus’s sponsors in Mexico, the Council for the Family, says the bus is a “freedom bus” and that their goal is to take a stand for the rights of parents to educate children “in accordance with their moral and religious convictions.” Of course it is connected with the Catholic church.

They don’t approve of sex education classes discussing things like being transgender, although critics of the freedom bus say sex education in Mexico is limited as it is, and topics such as sexual orientation and gender diversity are not even touched.

The bus will start its campaign in Cancun and then will be touring throughout Mexico. If you see it driving down the highway, be sure to moon it for us.

That’s no childhood A recent study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) found that 3.6 million Mexican children and teens, between five and 17 years old, are currently employed in some way or another. That number represents close to 50% of all working children in Latin America.

The report was published as part of the World Day Against Child Labor. According to the report, six out of every 10 children in Mexico are looking for an “informal but honest” way to survive. Even though they should be out playing and enjoying their childhood, many families in extreme poverty expect the children to make some kind of contribution.

Some of those contributions include housework under extreme and hazardous conditions, like using dangerous equipment or moving heavy loads. Housework? Heavy loads? How often do these people clean their house?

According to Mexican labor laws, working hours for children under 16 can’t exceed six hours a day. However, 37% of working children reported working 35 hours or more a week.

And here is where you can help: Don’t buy the trinkets from the little ragamuffin kids in town. If you don’t buy, they will give up selling and there’s a chance the kids will be sent back to school where they belong.