What's Going On In This Country?

September 3, 2018 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Here comes the train. Barreling down the tracks. Oh! There are no tracks! The Cancún to Palenque tourist train announced last month by the incoming federal government has grown in route and budget. Incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador now is saying the original 500 miles has been nearly doubled and will include five additional stops. The project’s earlier announcement came with a preliminary budget of US $3.39 billion, but that has now doubled. The president elect is counting on a public-private partnership with the contribution of the government coming from tourism tax revenues.

Yikes! The body of a man was found surrounded by crocodiles near a lagoon at a Cancún golf course. Officials are saying the man drowned after he was dragged into the water by one of the crocodiles. Video footage of the corpse being eaten by crocodiles hit social media, and on Saturday family members saw it and identified the victim as44-year-old handicrafts vendor. That’s not a good sign-off for anyone’s next of kin.

The newspaperEl Universalthat the Nichupté lagoon system is overpopulated by crocodiles, whose habitat has been invaded by humans. This has caused ever-increasing reports of crocodile sightings in residential areas and golf courses located on the lagoon’s shores.

 

Biiiig Mistake! Really big. 50 tons of meth, worth $5 billion, has been discovered in a remote forest in the state of Sinaloa. This is the gang that used to be led by El Chapo, who is currently resting comfortably in a New York jail while awaiting trial.

Taking out leaders doesn’t seem to stop the drug trade, leadership just sinks down to a new level of violence and stupidity.

Why wouldn’t the gang break up this, um,merchandise, into smaller chunks before it piled up so much? This takes the old adage, put all your eggs in one basket, to a whole new level.

Turtle die off. We don’t know why but more than 100 turtles, mostly olive ridleys, have washed up dead at a turtle sanctuary on the Pacific coast of Chiapas. Autopsies are being performed but at this moment we don’t know what they died from. Best guess is asphyxiation, maybe from an algae bloom.

So, what did you expect? So far this year there have been 22 women who have complained to the labor board that they have been fired for becoming pregnant. That’s against the law.  Not getting pregnant, that’s legal, but getting fired for it is not. Maybe the employers can be forgiven for firing them, as labor laws governing pregnant employees are onerous.

However, there is no law against demanding the job candidate be under 30 and female. You frequently see help wanted signs with these parameters.

Why don’t they just hire a female past child bearing age if you don’t want to pay the cost of pregnancy? Or a qualified man? Do these employers want to hire a young woman to ogle and harass? Or are they concerned about not uglying up their work environment? And who says a woman over 30 will do that? This is not a pretty part of the Mexican culture.

No meter? No problem. When a woman took over an abandoned house to remodel, she found the electric meter had been stolen.

In all likelihood someone had stolen the meter and connected it to another home. The thief need never pay the bill and he was safe from having the connection disconnected, which could have gone on for decades. At this point the bill was only about $900. The matter, after much negotiation, was settled for less than half that.

Then there’s the swap caper. The thief swaps with your meter after yours has been read. The person then replaces your meter just before the meter reader comes back for the next monthly reading. Of course, the thief has cooled his entire house for the month. Since tamper-proof meter seals are relatively new to many parts of Mexico, this has been going on for years in those areas.

You might want to photograph your meter just in case some kind of meter fraud is visited upon you. 

Well, that was efficient. 20 houses were set on fire Wednesday as a dispute flared up over a proposed wind farm in Oaxaca. Municipal authorities and a community of fishermen were at odds over a wind farm, which was first proposed three years ago. The indigenous fishermen opposed it, refusing to give up 15,000 hectares of coastal land.

So the municipal representative led a group of supporters to the beach where they set fire to some 20 palapa-roofed houses belonging to the fishermen. The municipality has claimed that the wind farm will be “for the benefit of all.”

New law. Guadalajara has passed legislationnow legalizes public sex as long as there's no third-party complaints filed with police.members who proposed the legislation said it's to prevent police from extorting young couples caught having sex and also to channel police toward investigating more serious crimes, including the region's rising murder rate.

We are loved. The Mexico Tourism Board announced the addition of 1.5 million seats on direct flights to Mexico in 2018. Mexico welcomed 10.6 million tourists in the first quarter of 2018, a record breaker and 12.6 percent increase over the same period last year. Mexico is now the 6th most visited country in the world with 39.3 million international visitors in 2017, of which 18.6 million traveled by air. Tourism revenue also grew by 7.2% in the first quarter of 2018 over the same period in 2017, reaching $6.2 billion.

Neat trick. Mexican farmers have accused Volkswagen of altering the weather because they sometimes shoot off a hail cannon to keep their new cars from getting hailed upon.

The country’s farming communities have accused VW of provoking a drought in the central state of Puebla, where Volkswagen operates its largest car factory outside of Germany. They are now seeking more than $3.7 million in compensation.

VW had installed hail cannons at the plant, which fire shockwaves into the atmosphere to prevent the formation of ice stones that had been damaging finished vehicles parked outside its facility. The automaker has officially been granted permission to use hail cannons, although the technology still lacks scientific evidence that it works.

A resort by any other name…is still Costa Baja. What was wrong with that name? Well, the huge property just outside of La Paz is now called Puerta Cortés and is currently undergoing a $5 million makeover. The development, with golf course, was purchased by Ascendancy which has plans for rebranding. The rebranding part seems to be a done deal.

New rule. Union leaders, judges and all other officials who receive or manage public money will now be required to show their assets under a new scheme proposed by the incoming federal government. The aim of the so-called universal declaration system, proposed by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is to help stamp out corruption in the public sector. Ha! You people can’t even get your president to show his taxes.