Que Pasa in Baja?

BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Tijuana floods. Around 100 houses were damaged by the rains last Sunday when the city sewage system clogged up because all the trash on the streets was swept into the sewers by the rushing water.  Some parts of the city were under as much as three feet of icky water. Most of the affected areas were low income neighborhoods, were people habitually toss their trash on the street. Add to that the crappy street cleaning services the city provides and presto, we’re under water

Guys cut through border. Two guys riding motorbikes, cut through the international border fence to sneak into the US with their bikes.  But U.S. border patrol officers were Johnny on the spot and fixed the fence after the fence cutters were long gone. Well, guess the border guys weren’t that Johnny on the spot. Why didn’t anyone think of this already? Just torch through the steel.  A flame throwing torch, that could double duty as protection in case of hot pursuit.

Lyme disease on the rise. The state health department reported that 18 people have died because of Lyme disease just in the state of Baja alone this year. Ticks have been reproducing rapidly as heat has turned up, leaving cozy conditions for the little bastards. The health department recommends to have your pets clean and preferably keep them inside and to inspect them every once in a while. Like with a lot of other diseases, the biggest problem with Lyme disease is people don’t get treatment fast enough because its symptoms are very commonly confused with other bad stuff. If you have fever above 102 F, headaches, muscle aches and general discomfort get yourself to a doctor. Course that could be just another bad hangover, but it never hurts to be cautious.

More pesos for your dollars. The dollar keeps rising, breaking once again the historical record with a selling price of 16.44 pesos for each dollar. The peso has seen a big depreciation against the dollar in the last few months going from an average of 12.80 to 16.44 in less than a year. This 30% increase in the value of the dollar has pushed border tourists to visit Mexico more frequently as everything is cheaper for them. Not in all places of course because some businesses, especially the ones that cater to tourists, charge dollars to their clientele. If you want to save a ton of money, try spending your money in places that charge pesos.

The power of stats. Recently Jesus Grijalva, head of the Baja California state prison system, stated very proudly that only 5% of ex-prisoners commit crimes again and go back to jail. He boasted about the success of the educational and work programs in the prison system and how they work to keep people out of jail. We have no reason to doubt his 5% recidivism rate, but we think there might be other reasons involved:  could it be that they just don’t catch them again? They just learn to be better criminals? That and on second thought, we do doubt those figures. They’re lying their asses off.

In a country were the impunity rate is 75.7%, they have no business crowing about their so called recidivism rate.  Yup, liars, liars, pants on fires.

State promotes medical tourism. Baja recently became the first state in Mexico to come up with a strategic plan to pitch the profitable medical tourism industry. State governor, Kiko Vega, said in a press conference that around 1 million foreign patients spend a little over $500 million USD every year in medical procedures and related expenses here. The governor gave a check for $65,000, earmarked for the improvement of the urban image of the industry in Mexicali. Well, for starters, we could stop kill people who comes here for a butt lift. That happened last month in TJ. Killed by a butt lift. Makes for a rather unattractive obituary.

Baja by the sea. The state government, in a joint effort with municipal authorities, are participating in the Baja by the sea event this August first in Park North, San Diego. The event focuses on promoting what Baja has to offer to potential tourists. “It’s like bringing a little taste of Baja to the US” said one of the organizers. Wineries, craft breweries, and restaurants bring their samples to share. The event also promotes the calendar of the many events in Baja.

“Baja by the sea has historically has had three audience: intermediaries like meeting planners, concierges and media; tourism companies and tourists.” Said the Public Relations director Angel Flores.

No more roaming. All the major cell phone players offer roaming-free programs between Mexico and the US. Now. Mexican cell phone calls used to cost more than a dollar a minute in the US and sky high data charges. This move was most likely motivated by the acquisition of Nextel Mexico by AT&T, soon after the acquisition AT&T announced they planned to offer free roaming services and they are investing around $3 billion USD on improving their network in Mexico.

Hacking Baja. Our state government got caught mixing it up with some professional hacker bad guys when the hackers calling themselves Anonymous  released private information from the  Hacking Team company and its clients worldwide.  The company states on its website that it provides cyber intelligence and data acquisition service.  (Read:  cyber espionage.)

Turns out a couple of Mexican state government officials were on their client list along with the federal police. The state government rushed to say they have hired no espionage services, explaining that what they got from them was, cough cough, “tactical equipment” for the police. Oh well, it’s no surprise that countries spy. But the cops are spying on our own people? They should have been spying on El Chapo when he was calling for tunnel diggers.

Boof still struggling. Things have not been sorted out in the land dispute near the Bufadora, where the Ejido Esteban Cantú is reclaiming the land from the trinket vendors there. In an effort to make themselves heard, the Ejido people, armed with rocks and machetes, blocked the road that goes to the Boof, turning back all tourists to Ensenada. The Ejido has won the case a couple times in a couple of courts, but they haven’t been able to evict the squatters as the squatters fight back. Let’s see how long this goes on, our best guess is 15 years unless the squatters hire some big guns. No kidding. 15 years. And, as the squatters well know, the poor land owners, the rightful owners of the land, don’t have the finances to hire anyone to help them. The last Mexican Revolution was all about giving the land back to the people, but the constitution was written so poorly, the new laws do more harm than good.