Gringo Gazette

Gringo Gazette

Development of the new Calimax supermarket started last month and is expected to be finished in January 2019

Que Pasa In Baja?

New Calimax Opening In Puerto Nuevo. Don’t run to the car just yet, the new store is not expected to be open until January of next year, but we have already confirmed that this is the reason dirt is being moved around in the lot between the north and south Puerto Nuevo entrances.

Public records filed in Rosarito City Hall state that the new Calimax will have almost 22,000 square feet of construction, along with 71 parking spaces.

Although no official comment was given from Calimax headquarters in Tijuana, a city government source (who didn’t want to be named) said that the supermarket planned here is not your typical Calimax store, but a more polished version of it that the company only uses in select markets.

The store will be especially helpful for people living or staying on the south part of Rosarito and north of Ensenada, which for now, must travel several miles to the nearest supermarket in Ensenada or Rosarito or just settle buying limited groceries at OXXOs or other local mini markets.

Smoke-free beach in Ensenada. Ensenada city council has unanimously approved yesterday a new rule that will start a procedure to make Playa Hermosa the second tobacco smoke-free beach in Mexico. The first one was San Martin beach in Cozumel but the project is now abandoned in there.

ZOFEMAT (the ones in charge of the federal zone in the beach), will be in charge of certifying the beach before the COFEPRIS (The federal commission for protection against sanitary risks). COFEPRIS is the only authority that can certify a place as “smoke-free”.

Jorge Martinez, local councilman, stated that they will help organize, coordinate and implement the necessary infrastructure for this to happen. He said that signs will be installed on the beach and that a surveillance committee will be formed to enforce the new rule and get the federal certification.

The announcement comes just a few hours after Terra Peninsular stated that in their recent cleaning efforts of local beaches, they were able to gather almost a ton of trash which included 1,495 cigarette butts in just over half a mile of beach. And this wasn’t even in Playa Hermosa, which is the most visited beach in the city.

Hopefully authorities around here will keep the designation longer than San Martin in Cozumel, where now, after only 4 years, people are mostly unaware of its smoke-free designation because no one bothered to replace the decaying signs or have anyone in there to enforce the non-smoking rule.

Gendarmerie back in Baja. Just last week 130 elements of the Federal Police of the “Gendarmerie” Division, were deployed here in Baja mainly in Tijuana and San Quintin.

Juan Carlos Moran, head of the federal police in Baja, stated that the deployment of this group of police was in response to the increased requests from local authorities and the private sector regarding the increasing drug crime problems that have been going on.

Moran said that the Federal Police has been the only one in the country that has been able to increase their perception of trustworthiness and credibility between the population.

The Gendarmerie Division was created in 2014 by president Peña Nieto as part of his security strategy to combat organized crime in Mexico.

It has been widely seen as an effective police force by the general population since these officers are better prepared and better paid than almost all other police forces. In order to be accepted to the force, a candidate needs to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

ATM Bandits Are Back! A new card robbing scheme has been caught on camera recently and there are reports that is being used all over Mexico.

This is the way the scheme works: A person gets close to you while you are using the ATM so he/she can visualize your PIN number while you type it in and leaves.

A second person drops money on the floor near the victim and starts picking it up.

While the victim gets down to help the other person to pick up the money or just gets distracted on what’s going on, a third person removes the card from the ATM hides it and walks away.

In some of the videos, the victims walk to the perpetrators and confront them but when they categorically deny it, the victims just walk over to the ATM again to check if they just didn’t leave the card there.

Of course, the maximum permitted cash is withdrawn from the ATM within minutes of the card theft.

Victims have been, on the majority, women. Be careful out there, check your surroundings when typing your PIN code and don’t get distracted and leave your card unattended at any moment!

Watch out for those mosquitoes. State health authorities, headed by Guillermo Trejo, warned citizens to be aware of possible breeding places for mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever, zika and chikungunya.

David Ibarra, head of the vectors control program for Baja, stated that all actions taken are merely preventive, as no cases of any of these diseases have been reported yet in the current year.

He did say that because of the present climate change, temperature and humidity has become ideal for the proliferation of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which has already increased its population by 30%, although they haven’t been found to carry the diseases.

“It’s important to remember that tires, flower pots and any containers that contain water, are ideal for the proliferation of the mosquito, since it looks for clean water to deposit its eggs”, said Ibarra.

Ibarra also stated that his office has already installed 6,692 mosquito traps around the state and invited everyone to pitch in by not leaving any open containers with water around the house.

Wow! Did You See That Giant In Ensenada?

The largest cruise ship in the Norwegian line dropped anchor in Ensenada’s bay for the first time on Saturday, October 6. It did look big, from wherever you viewed it.

the Norwegian Bliss will set sail from the Port of Los Angeles for a few week long voyages to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, before squeezing through the Panama Canal to ply the Caribbean route for the winter season.

This past summer it sailed between Seattle Washington and Alaska. It had to wait for low tied to go under the Lions Gate bridge on arrival in Vancouver British Columbia.

The newly built Bliss is Norwegian’s largest cruise ship, and has an onboard go-kart race course, a water park, Broadway theater shows, and a very cool sounding laser tag arena. Some people don’t like such big cruise ships, so there is a separate upscale section, called The Haven that offers quieter, more luxurious accommodations. Away from the unwashed masses, one would presume. Well, we presume.

The big boat can take up to 4,900 passengers, mostly in 170 square foot balcony rooms, but there are 2206 rooms total, in 42 categories on 11 decks. Altogether there are 20 decks It takes about 1700 crew to keep it all organized. Top speed is about 26 miles an hour, and the $920 million ship gets about 3,000 gallons an hour.  That’s 3000 gallons to move the ship 26 miles down the road. Sounds expensive, but with 4000 passengers, that’s only about three quarters of a gallon per person per hour.

Classifieds

Otay Vet VeterInAry Clinic in Tijuana/Otay area, offers vetenary specialty services. Go to www.otayvet.com or facebook. Ph. (664) 623-7999 CA Cell (619) 816-8415. (#26)

Mexico Liability Insurance with legal starting at $84 per year. 800 909-4457 or mexicoinsurance.com OB92215 (#26)

Oceanfront one bedroom suite $800.00 USD. p/month. With a 6 months lease utilities & Direct TV included. Furnished in Rosarito county, to see many photos go to: https://airbnb.com/rooms/691934 Contact Salvador at: salnav2@gmail.com, US 619 467 0310 MX. Cell phone 661 850 4517. (#TF)

DO NOT RENT FROM TOM S. (AKA. BAJA TOM)IN LA MISION AREA Myself and 6 other tenants have been seriously ripped off and no deposits have been returned on long term rentals. This action is ongoing, take warning. (#TF)

for sale by owner oceanfront house/bed & breakfast 4173sq/ft $549k USD 6 bedroom 6 baths 4 kitchens & 2 car garage in Rosarito county Baja, Mexico. Call Luisa MX Cell: (646)947-7105 or US (323)952-4925 photos link www.ggnorth.com/house (#TF)

FOR RENT CONDOS FOR CHRISTIANS: US retired christian renting condos with great ocean views. Priority for low income christians. Requirements: Baptized Christians, Pastor’s recommendation letter, no smoking or drinking. Facilities included: worship sanctuary, sunday service, weekly bible study, indoor swimming pool, excercise facility. 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms condos. Non-profit organization, Rosarito-Ensenada Free Road KM. 40, across Las Gaviotas. Call Oki @ (661) 107-2072.

FOR RENT IN HACIENDA DEL MAR Gated community with security, fully furnished. 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom, full kitchen, laundry room, inside patio. Roof BBQ area with ocean views. $900 USD p/month. Call Peter at Mex Cell (664) 333 0590. (#TF)

Are you in need of a home caretaker? Tired of the work and the worry? Professional-Reliable-US Citizen,Rental Maintenance,Monthly rates or by service call,Reset Services (Prepare house or clean after visits),Lives in Ensenada,Basic Repairs/Handyman, Manage Large Projects, References Available, email: bajahomeservices@gmail.com

HUGE FENCED lot 2 houses good location, call 6461550248 or 6197529595. (#16)

FOR RENT IN ROSARITO One and two bedroom apartments, furnished and unfurnished. Two blocks from Benito Juares Blvd, between the toll road and the Blvd. Walking distance to stores, restaurants and bars. 1BD starting from $250 p/month and 2 BD starting from $365 p/month. Secure place, fenced parking. Call Heriberto @ US ph. (562) 760-6410 or email centercitiesauto@gmail.com

La Mision 1bd home for rent $600/month. furnished in the best area on the hill. Text or email 760-455-0401 davek@plasticclothing.com

FOR RENT guest house in La Mision, large patio, private, off-street parking, utilities and wifi included. $300 USD month. Ph. 646-155-0011

WANTED driver with car to transport Senior from Rosarito Centro Playas to Kaiser Permanente Otay Mesa Palm Avenue Clinic. Call 619-913-3303 or 661-612-4492 Pay well Pesos or US email rkuntz123@gmail.com

La Salina Beach houses for sale KM73 Ocean front home with panoramic view. New 2 bedroom home with marina & ocean view. call or text Doug Burmeister 951 973-6097. La Salina Beach Real Estate Facebook.

What’s Going On In This Country?

Pipeline taps. Petroleum theft, committed by gangs of thieves known as huachicoleros, costs Pemex US $1.6 billion a year, and is just getting worse. Officials blame this trend on Pemex workers in cahoots, and because people living nearby protect and often join in the effort. They view the robbery as   getting back at Pemex for rising gasoline prices.

Good idea for tires. The seventh annual used tire collection drive in Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, collected 46 tons of old tossed around tires from streets, homes and businesses.

Known as Llantatón, the event was run by the local Sustainable Development Secretariat (SDS) and the Japanese tire maker Bridgestone. Yup, believe it or not, Bridgestone had always been a Jap company. It’s the English version of the word in Japanese for bridge stone. What??

The problem is, rainwater collects in used tires left around, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The collection drive was designed to remove the hazard. They also kept the tires from reaching rivers, ravines, streets or open-air dumps.

In the seven-year history of the tire collection marathon it has rounded up 446 tons — an estimated 46,000 tires, which have been used as an alternative fuel in the cement industry or reused as furniture parts or an asphalt ingredient.

Raising The Price Of No Water City officials in La Paz are warning about raising the price of water delivered to their 104,000 homes, 70,000 of whom don’t even have a meter. Well, that’s alright, since La Paz doesn’t have water.

Although a lot of their watery  is pretty spotty, the official price of this “non delivery” is about 40 cents US for about 270 gallons. The average in Mexico for that much water is about $1.60.

Mayor Ruben Munoz explains, “We would like to start with the tariff update program, but first the administration needs to improve the quality of the service and once we have made the service more efficient, then I will propose the increase in tariffs.”

This effort was halted by top Democrats in Congress and so far dismissed by the Mexican government. Well, it might work better than a wall.

Thousands of Central Americans travel through Mexico to reach the U.S. and either cross the border illegally or legally. In any case, the Trump administration doesn’t want them and is willing to pay the Mexican government to deal with it. Although Mexico says they want no part of this plan, it would be just like Mexican officials to take the money anyway. And why not? $20 million bucks doesn’t grow on cactus.

Put that call on hold. In a crackdown on extortion calls, almost 3,000 cell phones have been taken away from prisoners in seven prisons. “Suspicious” telephone equipment was found among 20,000 inmates, and they are linked to 6,926 chips.

In order to establish a cell phone as “suspicious”, the telephone companies took into account factors such as whether these devices presented an “atypical number of outgoing calls” or that they worked with several chips. The 3,000 phones made 3.7 million calls last year.

The authors of this report urged prison authorities to design a program that reduces the number of cell phones in prisons. It was also suggested that prisons block all outgoing calls.

Prisoners rent the phones by the day from other prisoners, and then sit on their bunks and dial for dollars all day long. They call random numbers and threaten people with bodily harm or kidnapping if they don’t pay. Some people are tricked into paying.

Trump hires Mexicans. The Trump administration is moving ahead with a plan to pay Mexico $20 million to deport migrants from Central America and prevent them from reaching the U.S., even after the plan had been cancelled.

Those pesky laws. The Senate is trying to establish penalties of between one and three years in prison for those who promote, apply or fund therapies that claim to cure homosexuality. It also proposes to suspend the professional practice of physicians who promote or apply these practices.

The United Nations withdrew homosexuality from the list of diseases in the 1990s and advocated eradicating these supposed therapies as being “a painful and cruel practice”.

Lotta scofflaws. Four out of every 10 electricity customers in Mexico City don’t pay their bills, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). That’s 1.15 million customers. CFE is not amused.

That accounts for 41.4% of the 2.77 million electricity customers in Mexico City. The number of defaulters increased by 282% between January 2012 and August 2018. Contrary to what might be expected, the increasing number of people not paying for their power consumption is not a product of any dramatic increase in electricity rates. CFE data shows that prices have gone up by just 3.5% in Mexico City over the past six years, less than half the average 7.75% hike across the country.

Other states with high numbers of people who don’t pay their electricity bills include México state and Tabasco. Not in this state, you will notice, as around here CFE is quick to cut the cord. You will be in the dark within days after ignoring a CFE bill. And if the bill gets blown off your door knob before you get home from work, break out the candles. In Mexico City, México state and Tabasco as well as Chiapas and Veracruz, a large number of customers who refuse to pay their bills are claiming “civil resistance” against the public utility, a movement that first began in 1995.

To make CFE’s problems worse, President-elect López Obrador said in July that his government will cancel the debts owed to the CFE, but stressed that the “clean slate” applied from July 1 of this year.

Between this January and July, the CFE cut off more than 3.2 million residential customers across Mexico for failing to pay their bills.

Drink beer. More than four million Mexico City residents will have no running water for up to five days at the end of this month due to maintenance of the capital’s main water system, and people are already wringing their hands over this. The Mexico City government advised residents to prepare by stocking up on water before it begins, adding that water tankers will be used to supply hospitals, schools, prisons and other public places. Everyone else is on their own.

Buncha whiners. We here in Northern Baja go that long without water, and don’t even get any warning. Supposedly the local water agency warns us on their website or facebook when a particular neighborhood is going to go dry, but don’t count on any accuracy there. Nor do we ever know when the water is going to come back on. Don’t see us whining like the Mexico City folks.

Rosarito Calendar Of Events

Every Monday through Thursday, 10 am – 1 pm; Pickleball at Castillos del Mar Hotel, k 29.5. Organized by Robert Canaan. Court fee $3; lessons available at extra cost. BYO paddle and ball. Maximum 8 players per day at this time. Facebook.com/ SuperFunBaja.

Every Sunday 4 pm. Cultural Sundays in the park. Local Mexican and American dancers and musicians.  At the IMAC in Abelardo L. Rodriguez park, west of Banamex. Facebook IMAC Rosarito. Free.

Every Sunday 2 – 4 pm at the IMAC Central Park (behind the Banamex on Juarez) Dancing for seniors. Salsa and merengue (among others) tunes designed to not throw out a hip. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito

Second Sunday of every month, Pet sterilization by the Baja Spay and Neuter Foundation at the Centro de Diagnostico Clinico Vetrinario, ave. Queretaro #2331-3, Col Cacho, Tijuana. 200 pesos, 661-124-3619, or Robin at www.BajaSpayNeuter.org.

Last Sunday of every month, Jewish Chavurah. Gordon Kane – gordonmkane@gmail.com.

Every Monday, 10:45 am, duplicate bridge at Baja Gold Bridge Club, KM 42 at the Rosarito Beach Christian Church. bajagoldcoastbridgeclub@gmail.com.

Every Tuesday – Rotary Club meets at Rosarito Beach Hotel. 664-376-2620.

Every Tuesday 10am to 11am.  Chair Yoga – Rosarito Wellness, Healing, Living at IMAC Park, room 1 in Rosarito (behind Banamex). Improve Balance & Coordination.  Receive all the benefits of yoga in a gentle, Healing, Meditative yoga class where a chair is used for support and balance. Bring water, small towel and comfortable clothing. Instructor: Erendira Abel, Certified Holistic Health Specialist. $5 per class, paid at beginning of month. For registration and location:  (661) 614-6036 Mexico or (619) 632-2965 US. Email: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com

Every Tuesday. 9:00 am. Board Meeting for Yo Amo Rosarito at Ortega’s Buffet. See what events are under consideration or volunteer to help plan and run upcoming events.

Every Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:00 am; Tai Chi classes with certified instructor Eugenio Encinas at Galeria Fausto Polanco Rosarito. 350 pesos per month. Alyce: 664-368-6733; Alberto: 661-125-9191.

Every Second Wednesday (except December). 10 am. Friends of the Library meeting at main library of IMAC building next to Abelardo Rodríguez Park. Promotes reading and literacy in Rosarito. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx. 661-612-3659.

Second and FourthWednesday, 1 pm; Cruz Roja Primo Tapia Bingo at El Pescador Restaurant. 6 games/ 2 cards for $5. Reduced price menu; Jamesphausmann@gmail.com; 1-623-217-9795.

Every Second Wednesday OR the Wednesday prior to the Second Saturday (except December); Flying Samaritan’s General Meeting at Rene’s Casino (k28) at 1:30. Come early and enjoy lunch! www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org; Susan Smith @ susansmithz@hotmail.com; US: 1-858-240-2360; MX: 661-100-6066.

Every Third Wednesday, 10 am, Meeting of Rosarito Sister Cities at City Hall, Fojadores Room, 2nd floor. Information and RSVP: FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Third Wednesday (except December) 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Flying Samaritan’s Outrageous Bingo at Popotla Jr. Restaurant (across from El Nino), Food and Drink specials; free parking behind restaurant; Six games, 4 cards for $10; Karen: kajomc@yahoo.coojm; (US) 1-818-515-0067l (MX) 664-609-3419.

Every Last Wednesday, 11:30 am, Wellness Wednesday Workshop “Intentionally Aging Gracefully” with Erendira Abel at IMAC a Abelard Rodriguez Park (behind Banamex). $6, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Thursday. 8:30 am. Local Board of Realtors (APIR) meets at Oceana Grill. Good place for buyers or sellers to find a Realtor

Every Thursday, 10:30 am, Learn Spanish “Naturally” with Erendira Abel at Rosarito Beach Christian Church. $5, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Second Thursday. 10 am. Cruz Roja Volunteers, Rosarito Chapter General Meeting at Popotla Restaurant. www.cruzrojarosarito.org.mx; President: Mary Moreno, miqueridomx@yahoo.com.

Every Third Thursday. 10 am. General Meeting for FRAO, Foreign Residents Assistance Office. Open to the public. Calafia Hotel.  Speaker’s presentation. FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Fourth Thursday of the month, 12 pm, Baja Babes, the Rosarito Chapter of the Red Hat Society for ladies over 50 monthly luncheon. Each month a different restaurant. margit@prodigy.net.mx.

Every Friday. 4pm.  Spanish class main library, by IMAC, in Abelardo Rodriguez park behind BanaMex. Free but donation appreciated.

Every Saturday, 10:00 am at IMAC Central park. Chess for all ages. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito.

 Every First Saturday. 10 am. United Society of Baja California (USBC) general meeting at Casa Blanca Restaurant, Rosarito Beach Hotel. Good info for the English speaking community of charitable, community service and social organizations. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org. 661-614-1113.

Every First Saturday. Noon-sundown. Open Studio Art Walk, a free tour of galleries in Rosarito Beach Hotel commercial center. Meet artists at work in their studios. pacothepainter@hotmail.com

Every Third Saturday. 1pm. USBC, United Society of Baja California, monthly potluck dinner, at La Maroma sports bar, across from Burger King. Different theme every month. Usually live entertainment. Free. Membership $20 per year.

Every day but one day at a time AA Grupo Gringo meets daily #16 Mar Meditteraneo (two blocks behind Del Mar Beach Club). Saturday, 3:00; Sunday, Monday, Thursday: 10:00 am; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 6:00 pm.  Additional meetings in Cantamar (just south of the footbridge) Tuesday and Friday, 10:00 am.  661-614-1678.

October 17, Monday, 7 pm; “25 Visions of Rosarito” photographic exhibit opens at CEART. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

October 17, Monday, 7 pm; Concert at  CEART Rosarito with Wakuatay, featuring Gaby Medina.. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

October 19, Friday, 11 am – 2 pm; Cruz Roja Rosarito Paellafest at Solaza Bar by Chef Enrique Murillo. $15 tickets available at Cruz Roja Rosarito Thrift Store. All monies benefit Cruz Roja Rosarito Hospital.

October 19, Friday, 7 pm; Presentation of Disney’s Animated movie “Coco” at IMAC Rosarito (At central library behind Banamex). Free.

October 19 – 21, Friday – Sunday; “An Act of God” Comedy at the Rosarito Theatre Guild in the Cines Building. Friday: 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 2 pm. Reservations and tickets through PayPal at www.rosaritotheatre.org. $15 members; $20, non-members. 664-631-3320.

October 24, Wednesday, 2 pm; Purse Stuffing Party to benefit Hearts of Baja Children’s Homes at Club Marena North Club house. Information: www.HeartsofBaja.com.

October 24, Wednesday, 7 pm; Live concert at CEART Rosarito featuring Baja Bands, Two Souls ofEnsenada, AlternaPlay of Tijuana, and Riflejo de Rosarito. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

October 26 – 28, Friday – Sunday; “An Act of God” Comedy at the Rosarito Theatre Guild in the Cines Building. Friday: 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 2 pm. Reservations and tickets through PayPal at www.rosaritotheatre.org. $15 members; $20, non-members. 664-631-3320.

October 27, Saturday, 7 pm; 3rd Annual Halloween Costume Contest at Bobby’s By the Sea (k43). Music by Pachuco Blues. Cash prizes for best costumes. 661-114-6278 reservations.

October 27 & 28, Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 10 pm; Katrina Fest 2018 celebrating Mexican traditions. Music, dancing, food ,art, alters, games, and more; Government Building parking lot. Faceboom.com/ Karina Fest 2018.

October 29, Monday, 7 pm; Ballet Oriental: “Mestiza” under the direction of Grinelli Sandoval at CEART Rosarito. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

The Case Of The Vanishing Vaquita

The rest of the world has suddenly caught up with the sad story that has been followed in Baja California for many years and it has taken the shy little vaquita porpoise to become the most endangered marine animal in the world to bring it to everyone’s attention. You may well ask how in today’s modern world of wisdom and conservation awareness, we are now accountable for the rapid demise of this unassuming porpoise. It’s a story that began back in 1958 when the vaquita was first recorded as a species in the Journal of Mammalogy.

At only around 5 feet long and weighing less than 100 pounds, the Vaquita is the smallest of the porpoise family. They reproduce only once every two years or so, produce one calf normally at the beginning of spring and are found only in the Sea of Cortez. The name means “little cow” in Spanish and they are also nicknamed “panda of the sea”, due to their chubby frame and black-ringed eyes. So far, so cute but here the story takes a darker turn into one of greed and the criminal underworld.

As far back as the 1980’s the vaquita began to ring alarm bells in the conservation world as they realised that 7-15% of the population was becoming unintentionally entangled and drowning in gillnets used by fisherman to trawl for shrimp and finfish and later the prized totoaba, every year. In 1985 the vaquita was listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and a year later listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

When the first official population count was made in 1997 it was estimated that there were less than 600 left and for the next eight years continual lobbying of the Mexican government by the likes of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), founded by a global group of scientists in the same year, won a small victory – a vaquita refuge was established in 2005 but gillnet fishing wasn’t totally banned until 2015 with compensation offered to fisherman and associated fishing industries as a sweetener for the loss of income.  As the vaquita only reproduces every two years that was never going to be a long enough recovery period.

Although fishing for totoaba (they too are unsurprisingly on the endangered species list) has always gone on – it exploded into big business back in 2011 when the Chinese market turned to Mexican waters to supply the ever-growing demand on the Chinese black market for the swim bladders (or maws) of the totoaba. The maws are used in a soup and alleged to contain medicinal properties for blood circulation, joint pain and improved skin complexion amongst other attributes.  They are a symbol of wealth and have on occasions been used as a source of investment or traded as currency and in some Chinese homes are framed and hung on the wall.  Selling on the Chinese black market for around 20,000 USD per kilogram, it is no surprise that they have become known as the “cocaine of the sea” and of course where there is easy wealth to be made, regardless of the law or the consequences, there will always be those waiting to swoop in for the spoils.

Even with a ban in place and financial compensation, the lure of cash that could be made illegally fishing totoaba versus legal fishing was just too great for some and so gillnets continued to be used, the vaquita continued to die, and a chain of people continued to make money. Since 2015 the vaquita population has continued its rapid decline to just 59 in 2016, 30 in 2017 and now there are only a dozen left.

In 2017 vaquita CPR was born, a collaboration between the Mexican government and a group of international experts and scientists, to rescue and relocate remaining vaquitas to an ocean sanctuary with the additional hope of a breeding programme to increase their numbers. They managed to capture two vaquitas – a young female who had to be quickly released due to signs of great stress and a more mature female who initially appeared to be less ruffled by her situation.  All was going well until she arrived at the state-of-the-art floating sea enclosure where she proceeded to swim into the nets and show deep signs of distress eventually leading to her death which scientists believe was caused by heart failure. Broken-hearted by the results, the group realised they could not risk any more deaths and the project was abandoned.

In the same year, A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexico’s telecommunications billionaire – Carlos Slim, met with President Enrique Pena Nieto to pledge their respective foundations support to the plight of the vaquita. In November 2017, Sea Shepherd – the international ocean conservation organization, put Project Milagro IV in place. Milagro means “miracle” in Spanish and right now that is exactly what the little vaquita porpoise needs. With two ships patrolling the vaquita refuge they are removing gillnets, patrolling for poachers and taking partial blame for the U.S. ban on seafood harvested by gillnets in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California.

A lot of people are putting their hearts and souls into saving the Vaquita but there are many more ominous twists to this tale and you can read more of this story in the poignant but sometimes disturbing “Vaquita – Science, Politics and Crime in the Sea of Cortez” by Brooke Bessesen which came out last week or wait until next year for Terra Mater Factual Studios, the movie and TV production arm of Red Bull to release their documentary – “Vaquita: Sea of Ghosts”.

The documentary begins with the meeting between Leonardo DiCaprio and Pena Nieto in May 2017 and follows the increasingly violent conflict between the Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime gangs on one side and the Mexican government, U.S. Navy, FBI, Sea Shepherd and other wildlife activist groups on the other. Scriptwriters are no doubt hurriedly adding the latest instalment following the arrest on Thursday 13th September of an alleged drug cartel hitman with strong links to the Sinaloa cartels known as “El Parra” who was hauled in with accusations of trafficking the critically endangered totoaba fish amongst other serious charges and subsequently if not surprisingly released again a week later.

So, will the vaquita be saved? That remains in the hands of the gods, but we would be wise to remember that 14 known breeds of our wildlife have already become extinct in the 21st century, mostly due to our destruction of their habitats or hunting and do we really want the vaquita to be the 15th in our legacy?

Writer Brooke Bessesen hit the spot when she said, “I learned that conservation is a messy business”.

T.G.I. Friday’s Causes Uproar In Tijuana

A bad choice in Halloween decoration caused uproar between clients of the Tijuana location of the american restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s this past week.

Users in social media showed their indignation after pictures of their choice of Halloween decoration, a black bag taped in the shape of a body that was placed on the entrance stairs of the restaurant, went viral.

One Facebook user said he thought that the decoration was in very bad taste, and a bad joke for the thousands of people that have lost a loved one to the growing violence in the area.

Others offered insults and accused the Tijuana location of being insensitive and even idiotic.

Some people said that they didn’t even know it was a decoration and thought that someone had left a dead body in there for real. Unfortunately not an uncommon sight in Baja these days.

After seeing all the controversy generated by the decoration, the restaurant decided to remove the decoration and publish a statement on their Facebook page:

“Friday’s is a franchise, and as every year, for the upcoming Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations, there was a misunderstanding in one of the decorations we chose for our front door, regarding that we apologize in the name of everyone that works in T.G.I. Friday’s, and specially to the people that were bothered by it, it was not our intention and the decoration was already removed. Thank you for your comments and support.”

This is their original statement (in Spanish):

ATM Bandits Are Back! Did They Ever Leave?

A new card robbing scheme has been caught on camera recently and there are reports that is being used all over Mexico.

This is the way the scheme works:

  1. A person gets close to you while you are using the ATM so he/she can visualize your PIN number while you type it in and leaves.
  2. A second person drops money on the floor near the victim and starts picking it up.
  3. While the victim gets down to help the other person to pick up the money or just gets distracted on what’s going on, a third person removes the card from the ATM hides it and walks away.

In some of the videos, the victims actually walk to the perpetrators and confront them but when they categorically deny it, the victims just walk over to the ATM again to check if they just didn’t leave the card there.

Of course the maximum permitted cash is withdrawn from the ATM within minutes of the card theft.

Victims have been, on the majority, women. Be careful out there, check your surroundings when typing your PIN code and don’t get distracted and leave your card unattended at any moment!

This are some of the videos, they don’t need translation this time, as these images talk for themselves:

Photo by Enrique Botello

Baja 1000 Temporarily Suspended: Score International Fined $27K by PROFEPA

Score International was hit with a fine of around $27,000 USD and in order to guarantee the payment of the fine, the permits for the coming Baja 1000 race where suspended.

PROFEPA (The federal agency for the protection of the environment) was the one to fine Score because, they say, the race last year passed through unauthorized protected areas in the “Valle de los Cirios” (That’s the valley south of the city of Ensenada that has huge cacti everywhere).

Valle de los Cirios in Ensenada, a natural protected area.

The agency says race participants destroyed several specimens of protected cacti from the lophocerus schotti species.

Due to this violations, PROFEPA issued a temporary suspension of activities to Score International S. de R.L. de C.V., which effectively suspends their right to do the race until they pay the fine.

In November of 2014, PROFEPA announced that it was fining the Baja 1000 race organizers for about $162,000 USD for the same violations, although there is no public knowledge about the fine being paid or not, since it was contested in court.

 

With information from El Vigia

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