Que Pasa in Cabo?

May 27, 2019 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

Did we say no bad news?

And you believed it? Haha. The Los Cabos civil protection agency, the equivalent to the U.S. FEMA but waaay more efficient, released the forecast for this year’s hurricane season, that runs from May 15 to November.

Contradicting other specialists’ reports that forecast 24 storms for this year, the report states that only 19 hurricanes and tropical storms will be born this summer, with 6 of them having the ability to become category 3, 4 and 5. At press time, the first tropical depression has formed in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico.

Let’s watch the weather channel closely. Even better. Weather underground. Look it up, call your hurricane protection store – there are a few who advertise in this rag, and get prepared. Hurricanes can be lots of fun if you are ready for them. I personally enjoy them more than earthquakes that come unannounced.

 

What about the Grey Ghost?

That’s how we call the unfinished building sitting in the middle of the Cabo marina. Since we regularly get questioned about its fate, here’s the story and the latest news.

Originally baptized as The Place at Cabo, its construction came to a stall in the early 90s. It was owned by Mexican developers based in Acapulco, the 50s sooo popular tourist destination. To finish it, they got financing in U.S. dollars. Much to their disgrace, the peso got highly devaluated in 1992 and they found out they couldn’t handle the debt, so they left town.

The employees left behind filed a lawsuit – well, their workers’ union, known as CROC for their looong name in Spanish – and so did IMSS, Mexico’s social security agency. The bank that lent them the money did so, too.

Mexican law states that in cases like this one, the workers come first. If the building is sold, abandoned workers get the money first, then the IMSS and then the bank. Since in Mexico banks don’t care about selling real property and usually take any money left, the fate of the building was always in the union’s hands.

The CROC fenced the place, installed their offices in it, and sat and waited for an offer. They were expecting to collect past due salaries from the date the construction was stopped, plus Christmas bonuses, vacation time and more. The whole enchilada. Buying the building would be so expensive that it took all these years for someone to come up with a sweet deal.

That was Grupo Questro, the developers of the San Jose marina, the Cabo Real housing and golf course development, the Dreams, Hilton, Casa Dorada and ME Cabo resorts. Following years of negotiating, they closed the deal, paid the union, and hired a bunch of construction experts to find out if the half-finished building had to be demolished or just finished.

Much to our delight, the building can be finished without blowing it up and bring down on us a ton of dust. All Grupo Questro needs now are investors that will go in a joint venture with them. Hard Rock hotels were interested but instead purchased a lot inside the Diamante development on the road to Todos Santos.

So, we’re back at ground zero. Waiting for developers to arrive. Keep your fingers crossed, or as we say in Mexico, light up a candle for the Virgin Mary to make a miracle.

 

Governor delivers help.

Seven brand new ambulances were delivered with great fanfare to the Los Cabos government by state governor Carlos Mendoza last week. Mendoza said during the event that nearly $750,000 were invested to benefit our municipality.

The ambulances will be distributed among Cabo San Lucas, San Jose, La Ribera and Miraflores. The last two are rural communities north of Cabo, past San Jose on the road to the East Cape.

 

A legend was born.

And covered with asphalt. A 2-yeard-old pothole located at the corner of Dominguez and Cuauhtemoc streets in La Paz was finally covered with asphalt last week. Social media users celebrated the event and named the pothole “legendary.”

Potholes in Mexico are as ubiquitous as tacos, and we frequently receive emails about them and why we can’t just fix them all once and for all. Well, some of them are in streets covered with asphalt, some in concrete covered streets. Asphalt suffers from extreme heat in the summer, water leaks, and the potholes are actually the result of cheap materials or unsupervised work.

Every mayor and governor in Southern Baja – and in all of Mexico – boast that concrete covered streets are to last 30 years. Ha. They never mention that water and sewage leaks will destroy them sooner. It’s all a result of bad construction, corruption, and, like a friend of mine says constantly, “there is no middle management in Mexico.” If you live here, you’ll understand.

 

La cuenta! Bring me the bill, please.

Los Cabos, the economic engine of Southern for its tourist vocation, is paying the bill for its accelerated growth and today is the municipality with more irregular settlements in high-risk areas of this state in the northwest of Mexico.

Los Cabos receives visitors from all over the world and the rest of Mexico and has the highest hotel rate in the country: close to $524 per night on average. Tourism represents around 90% of the total income captured by the local population.

It is a first-class tourist destination that offers visitors a fascinating combination of desert landscapes, beaches and mountainous areas. However, it is suffering the effects derived from its vertiginous growth, both economic and demographic.

In 1990, the local population was around 30,000 inhabitants, but by 2015 it was approaching 300,000, according to the intercensal estimates of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography. It is estimated at 350,000 this year, becoming larger than La Paz, the state capital city.

Construction workers have had to be “imported” from Mexico’s mainland and ended up stranded here after their project was finished, without employment and many times, without a place to live.

Hence, Los Cabos is the state's municipality with the most irregular settlements in high-risk areas that are not suitable for housing, with 32 colonies. There are nearly 30,000 people living in houses mostly made of cardboard, wood and sheet, without any public service such as water, electricity or sewage, and much less security.

This represents an imminent danger due to the fact that it is a hurricane zone where there are aggressive rains and runoff that have already claimed lives. Inhabitants of the most populated settlements such as "The Caribe" ask the authorities to be relocated. "In times of rain it gets very ugly, we need to live in a place where it is not a stream because it is dangerous," a neighbor acknowledged.

Even when hurricanes pass, the colonies (neighborhoods) are almost completely destroyed, and days later they are set up again.

And yet there are other consequences that, although they have not been studied and no exact data are evident, such as prostitution without control, trafficking in persons, violence, high rates of drug addiction and femicide.