Que Pasa in Baja?

November 30, 2015 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

New border crossing. A new border crossing between Mexicali and Calexico just broke ground last week, with officials from both, USA and Mexico, present to lay the first stone.

The federal government of Mexico is investing around $21 million USD on the project for the Mexican side and the U.S. is coughing up another $98 million for the U.S. side of the crossing. Our state governor said that our state and municipal governments would invest another $14 million in rearranging the streets that are near the crossing in order to ease access to the border and have a better vehicular flow. Don’t forget to make room for the squeegee men and the guys selling the blankets and Elvis statues! Oh, and the churro guys, don’t forget them. And we could hardly go home without a plaster statue of Guadalupe.

Authorities said that in 2014 alone, 7.2 million persons crossed this border by car and 4.5 million people hiked through it.

The new crossing will be located adjacent to the old one. Once this new border is finished in 2019, the old one is going to be torn down and a new pedestrian crossing will be built in that space.

Trash collection worsens. As it turns out, the crap keeps piling up in Ensenada.  And as if it weren’t bad enough that only a few of the trash trucks are working, now the company that owns the landfill where the trucks are supposed to take the trash are limiting their hours of access as a way of pressuring authorities to pay them the half a million dollars they are owed.

The landfill is open from 8:00AM to 1:00AM but now it will be only open until 4:00PM for city trucks.

City officials say they don’t understand why the company is acting like this since they have told them repeatedly that they will pay one of these days.  Meanwhile the amount the city owes is piling up, along with the trash.

Obesity prevention. A law was just presented, although it has not passed yet, which would increase the amount of required PE classes in school from 1 hour a week to a minimum of 4 hours every week. Mexico has been strongly criticized in the past for its short hours of instruction in public schools, with some schools having just about 4-hour school days. 3 extra PE classes would definitely come in handy if you want to keep the kids off the streets and in school a little longer. Not sure they would learn anything of value, but the stats would look better.

Authorities said obesity is related to 12.2% of deaths that occur in Mexico and that 7% of the health budget is spent on obesity related diseases, just under the U.S. which spends around 9%.

Fewer chiclets kids. Ensenada joined the national program “De la calle a la vida” (from the streets to a life), that aims to take kids of the streets and put them in school. In Ensenada, Consuelo Mora, head of the local family oriented charity called DIF, said the program is working.

They snatch the kids off the streets and take them to school and back. Back? Dump them back on the streets? Probably. What else are they going to do with them? There are no better homes for them.

 Mora said they have seen success with around 18 kids but they have seen resistance from other families, as they normally turn the kids out to sell gum while they peddle the bigger, more complicated merchandise to tourists. That’s lost income for the family if the kids are in school.

The irony is, if the parents had stayed in school, they would have better jobs and not have to depend on a four year old’s earnings. There are better jobs than peddling, but those jobs take at least a few years of education. And sobriety. Takes that, too.

FBI does Baja. Enrique Corral, legal attaché to the FBI, visited Baja in order to meet with the head of state public security, Daniel de la Rosa. Corral said he was more than happy with the way they’ve been working with the state police, sharing information in order to collaborate and capture bad guys on both sides of the border. He said the collaboration between the two agencies provide very good results. We think that means bad guys locked up.

Gas going down. Just as we predicted last year, the price of gas is dropping along the border again. Gas had zoomed up most of the year but in October gas started its plunge. Magna gas went down from around 3.17 U.S. per gallon to about 2.82 now. Remember that this drop in gas prices only applies to Tijuana and Rosarito because PEMEX agreed to keep prices at border towns competitive with those in the U.S. So if you live in Ensenada you will still have to pay the hefty gas prices, and no, the savings are not enough to drive up there to fill the tank. But some smarty pants living in Ensenada do fill up jerry cans when they’re up there.

News on tuna. Mexico just won the last of their appeals with the World Trade Organization regarding the U.S.  tuna embargo. This means Mexico will be allowed to sell its tuna in the U.S again and the court is saying Mexico will also receive a big payout from the U.S .for the damages done with the embargo although they haven’t decided how much.

The tuna embargo of 1991 was imposed by the U.S. because they believed Mexican tuna was not dolphin safe. This means too many dolphins were killed as bycatch when fishing for tuna. But Mexican tuna interests believe the embargo was imposed to protect U.S.  tuna companies. At the time of the embargo, Ensenada had the biggest fleet of tuna boats in Mexico and it was the biggest industry in town.

After the embargo was imposed, most of the tuna companies went bankrupt and the ones that were left moved to Mazatlan or Colima in order to be more centrally located to sell their products to the Mexican market. Wow. This might be quite a hefty fine.