State & National News

BY: DAVID FLORES

Out! Out! Mexico has stepped up the deportation of Central Americans, thousands of whom are un-escorted children. Mexico’s National Migration Institute, (you foreigners all know who those guys are), reported  deportations at 12,000 in the first five months of this year, an increase of 49% over the same period last year. Immigrants are primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The push north from Central America is caused by gang and cartel violence, corruption, high unemployment and low wages. Uh, how exactly does that differ from Mexico?

Here’s another shocking statistic: the Secretary of the Interior said Mexico deported 107,814 migrants in 2014, most of them from Central America. More than 18,000 of them were children. And Mexico is whining about the Mexicans deported from the United States? Hipócrita is the word you’re looking for. It means hypocritical in Spanish.

Fast food tax. As of July 1, 2015, Mexico will slap 16% IVA (sales tax), on fast food. The regulation includes sandwiches, cakes and lunches, including ciabatta, pepitos, baguettes, paninis or subs, gorditas, quesadillas, tacos or flautas, and wrapped burritos, including rolls and wraps, croissants, bakes, pies, pizza, hot dogs, pancakes, wings, muffins, burgers, sushi, tamales, instant soups and nachos. So, basically, anything quick, processed, not healthy, and tasty.

Maybe no fancy new airport. President Enrique Peña Nieto announced plans for an impressive new airport in Mexico City last September to replace Mexico City International, which is over capacity. As contracts went out for bid, residents of surrounding communities slapped a lawsuit on the whole shebang. The attorney representing at least 70 people from eight communities stated the resolution of the environmental impact statement is challenged because a query to all the affected communities was not performed, and that the project violates a healthy environment and access to water. In addition, the petition seeks recognition of indigenous people who are descendants of ancient tribes such as the Chichimecas and the Acolhua, who nobody has ever heard from before, and states that it should be the obligation of the Mexican government to consult them prior to construction. So there.

If it ever gets built, the new airport will be an X-shaped single roof structure in one terminal under a lightweight grid-shell. Along with its futuristic design, the airport also will display Mexican symbols representing national identity including an eagle, the sun, cactus, and the snake. All that stuff is on the flag, you’ve seen it, don’t say you haven’t.  The airport is expected to handle 50 million passengers a year with up to six runways, and is to replace the existing Benny Juarez International Airport. Designers had to deal with unstable soil conditions and created the flexible steel frame roof, making it more forgiving of ground movement. (Mexico City was built on a lake bed, not smart but important for a good story). Solar energy and collection of rainwater are other innovations of the planned design.

Aerospace flying high. The aerospace industry has been strong in Mexico since 2004. We’re important for the manufacture, maintenance, repair, engineering and design of commercial and military aircraft in six areas of the country, including Baja Norte. There may be as many as 7,000 new jobs in that industry this year. By 2020 the country could be among the top 10 in the world in the export sector of the aerospace industry, reaching $12.3 billion a year.

At the same time, Luis Lizcano, managing director of the Mexican Federation of Aerospace Industry, said “The current workforce of 43,000 employees in the aerospace industry will increase this year with the opening of new service centers.”

The expansion of the aerospace sector in Mexico grew significantly in the past five years, with Mexico ranked 14th in the international aviation industry. The number of aeronautical plants has increased considerably, with employment in the sector growing at an annual rate of 24 percent. Commercial aviation is the driving force, which is estimated to expand at an annual rate of 5 percent over the next 20 years.

Gas pipeline from U.S. The federal electricity guys, (CFE), called for bids totaling $10 million between Mexico and the United States. Among 24 new projects, by far the largest is a pipeline linking two natural gas transmission systems from Texas to Tuxpan, Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico. The new pipeline will transport natural gas from Texas, through an underwater route and will supply CFE’s power plants serving the eastern, central and western regions of Mexico. Bids go out this month; contracts are scheduled to be awarded in December 2015, with commercial operation beginning June 2018. So, let’s see if we’re getting this straight: Rather than harvest the plentiful oil reserves Mexico is blessed with, they’re going to import the stuff from the United States. Sigh. All those natural resources Texas has underground don’t stop at the border, you know, northern Mexico has the same oil fields under their ground.

Other Mexican infrastructure projects include a new combustion plant in our state, with a capacity to generate 42 megawatts. Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell praised the investment in infrastructure. He said the new projects will not only meet the energy needs of Mexico, but will also increase local and U.S. connectivity and improve the global competitiveness of Mexico. Just how Mexico is going to be more competitive if we’re begging for our energy from the United States, he didn’t say.

The director general of the Federal Electricity Commission said the bidding process will be transparent and will be monitored to prevent corruption. Oh Yeah, yeah yeah. Not a chance in hell that’s going to happen. 

No more net fishing. Commercial net fishing, including nets used in small fishing boats, has been suspended for two years by the Mexican government to protect an endangered species of porpoise. Fishing with nets is forbidden in the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, in order to protect the vaquita marina, a rare porpoise common only to the northern part of the Gulf of California. The estimated number of individuals dropped below 100 in 2014, pretty much putting it on the goner list.

Shark! In the wake of all those recent shark attacks in North Carolina, everyone’s a little jumpy and now a great white shark was found by a team of researchers in Mexican Pacific waters off Guadalupe Island, 150 miles off the coast of Baja. Supposedly this was the largest white shark ever videoed, according to Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, marine biologist and shark specialist. It was a female measuring 20 feet long.

Trump in a pickle. The television company controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has canceled a project with real estate developer and TV gadfly Donald Trump after The Donald insulted Mexicans by describing migrants from Mexico as drug runners and rapists.  NBC canceled his show, Miss Universe Pageant bailed on him, as well as Macy’s and even his hair care product line pretended they never heard of him.  The good news for Trump? His standing in the polls for the presidential race just keep going up every time he runs his mouth off again. One can only conclude that people are sick of all the political correctness pushed down their throats and that they’re pretty fed up with illegal immigration.

This paper has seen it many times over the past 21 years;  For every person who doesn’t like something we write, 10 more people pop up as new fans of our brand. That’s why when someone calls or emails a complaint about our attitude, we send high fives around the office, knowing that’s nine more fans we have now. People say we couldn’t get away with our attitude in the States, but that’s not true, as the press is way more free there than it is here.

Not ready for UPS. A truck carrying almost 10,000 United States visas for Mexican citizens was hijacked earlier this month and the visas were stolen. The story came to light after email messages were sent by U.S. officials to Mexicans whose visas were among those on the truck. The theft took place in northern Mexico when a truck was carrying the documents from the U.S. to Consulates in Monterrey and Guadalajara.

Also stolen were some electronic border crossing cards; an alert has been issued so they cannot be used and the visa applicants were also advised to take measures to prevent the information on the cards from being used for identity theft.

It is feared that cartels will use the stolen visas to move migrants across the border into the U.S.

The U.S. has had other visa problems this month as a result of a computer malfunction that has halted the visa process. The 50,000 visa applications received daily from around the world have been piling up since June 9 and as of Monday was the problem was not expected to be resolved until next week. Among those affected were more than 1,000 temporary farmworkers from Mexico waiting at the border to work on the summer harvest.

Visas have since been issued to 1,250 whose biometric data was already in the system. The computer hardware problem is linked to that data and has prevented the transmission of fingerprints and photographs.

Turns out the people expecting the documents were all sent an email saying they were on their way down the highway in a blue truck driven by a guy in a mustache named Jesus, he would be unarmed and he liked to stop at fish taco stands that carries breaded, not grilled fish.

At press time 9,000 of the visas had been “found” “abandoned” at a mall parking lot. Don’t mess with the US of A.

Amazon is here. Sort of. It will be the Mexican version, pretty watered down. They launched a new retail site offering everything from consumer electronics to beauty products. Consumers will find electrical hardware for wiring a house, diapers for the baby, camping gear and telephones: Amazon has Apple’s iPhone 6 listed at a price that is lower than that on Apple’s Mexico website.

The company is also offering its third-party sellers’ platform called Marketplace, allowing vendors to list and sell their products through Amazon, which can look after their delivery as well.

Nobody’s worried here. Companies such as the Mexican owned MercadoLibre and Linio have high expectations for growth in the Mexican market and Amazon is expected to be a catalyst. Linio’s general manager Bernardo Cordero sees it driving further growth of electronic commerce, which can only go up considering online buying currently represents just 1% of retail sales.

MercadoLibre’s general manager is another optimist. After 15 years in which his firm worked to overcome technology, payment and delivery challenges, along with the lack of consumer confidence in online transactions, Ignacio Caride believes e-commerce is about to take off.

Those who are more likely to be adversely affected by Amazon’s expansion — it has been selling electronic books in Mexico since 2013 — are the bricks-and-mortar retailers that have neither online presence nor a digital strategy.

Amazon’s options for delivery times are one day, two to three days and three to five days (which is free on orders of 599 pesos or more).

Good luck with that delivery plan. We ordered something from Marcado Libre and it took six months and numerous phone calls to get it.Maybe they’re going to use the Mexican mail service, ja ja ja. Ha ha ha,

I’ll take the bus. Mexico’s discount airline Volaris is facing a fine of US $735,000 for operating an aircraft in the United States that was not in compliance with United States regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed the fine, charging that a plane in Volaris’ fleet had been flown after the company was advised in March of 2013 that required safety inspections had not been performed.

The airline rolled the dice on 121 flights before bringing it into compliance, according to the FAA, which alleges that certain tasks were not completed during what is known as a “heavy maintenance inspection.”

Volaris has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine.

Oxxo expands services. The convenience store chain Oxxo, who some folks call Mexico’s health food chain, not, has announced a new mobile phone service in partnership with Telefónica, one of the world’s largest broadband and telecommunications providers. Oxxo entered the telecom market with a new service called mobile phone recharge that offers preferential rates to make local and international calls without minimum terms.

Customers using the service can recharge minutes from 20 pesos to 200 pesos, and make international calls from 59 cents a minute. However, to use the service, you have to have an unlocked phone and a superchip, which can be obtained free of charge, via the Internet. The new service joins other telephone services offered in in Oxxo, including time you can buy for Telcel, Movistar, Nextel, Iusacell, Unefon and Virgin Mobile.

Calling all Martians. NASA is planning now for a manned mission to Mars in 2030. The Mars Global Trekker Teen Summit is a program to provide opportunities for teens ages 13-17 to learn skills for this future mission, exploring topics like clean water, renewable energy, food and nutrition. At the inaugural summit held last month in Houston three Mexican students from Tlaxcala were the winners of a science contest at the Mars Trekker Summit. Out of 120 participants, 20 were from Mexico. Well, yeah, Mexicans are so eager to get out of Mexico, they will even go to Mars.

Mexicans won prizes for robotics, 3D printing in space, and human habitat design in outer space. Orion, the space ship that NASA will use to send people to Mars, had important contributions by Mexican engineers in its systems.

Not so successful, was the ride a Mexican satalyte hitched into space last month on a Russian rocket ship. The Russkies’ space craft exploded, and Mexico’s satlyte was lost. Next one is scheduled to go up on a U.S. rocket ship, said a Mexican spokesman. No more cut rate rides on Russion equipment. 

King Philip visits Mexico. Last week Spain’s King Philip VI and his wife made their first state visit outside the European continent, selecting Mexico because of cultural, commercial and diplomatic ties. During a visit to the Mexican Permanent Commission of Congress the monarch said, “Spain is the second largest investor in Mexico and this confirms the trust that Spain, its businesses and its people, have in the present and future possibilities of such a dynamic country and such a vibrant society as Mexico. He also expressed to the Mexican government Spain’s interest in increasing trade between the two countries and raising investment in areas such as renewable energy and the space industry. While he’s here, maybe he could take a look at our desal plant here in Cabo? Spain built it, it has never worked properly, and every time it goes lame again, it takes weeks or months to get parts. Some unkind people might speculate that the reason Mexicans keep buying crappy Spanish products is because Spanish commpanies are not burdened by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American companies from paying kick backs to obtain contracts in foreign countries. Not many Mexican buerocrats will let contracts without a little sweetner. Certainly not our mayor.

Spain makes generous offer. At the Spain-Mexico Business Forum held in Mexico City this month, Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said the European Union (EU) can reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas by importing gas from Mexico. Right in front of President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Spanish King Philip, he said Spain is ready to help introduce Mexican energy into the EU. Spain even has seven re-gasification stations, placing it in a good position to become a gas distribution hub for the rest of Europe. Nobody laughed out loud, because diplomats practice keeping straight faces in these situations.  But the fact is, Mexico can’t even get enough oil out of the ground and refined to make gasoline plentiful and cheap for their own people. If they send what little they can dig up to Europe, we Mexicans will be pretty pissed off.

Tire factory in Coahuila, Mexico. The Japanese are going to  build a tire plant in northern Mexico. This will make enough tires to supply 300,000 vehicles. The factory will  begin operations in about a year. Don’t get excited, better priced tires are not in the cards for you and me, these tires will be mounted on all those foreign cars manufactured here and sent to the United States and over seas.

KIA opens 21 dealerships. Kia Motors announced they’re opening of 21 dealerships in 10 Mexican cities. Nope, Los Cabos is not on the list. The South Korean firm is currently building its first assembly plant in Mexico. Nope, not in Los Cabos.

Digital TV in Loreto. Loreto’s municipal government has announced digital television is coming to Loreto. Engineers from Mexican television network Azteca are in town for the installation of digital TV antennas to send the signal to the TVs of Loreto, and will fire them up in the next few days. If you have an old analog TV you will need to buy an ectronic image decoder to receive the new signal. This is happening all over Mexico. The U.S. went digital just a few years ago.

Beaches are for eveyone. Mexicans hold that belief close to their heart. So when beach access is denied to them, they can get pissy.

Access to some Loreto beaches has been closed. Beaches like Nopoló and Notri, where the (foreign) owners of the waterfront properties have obstructed the access. For instance the Loreto Bay housing tract has built several residences near the beach, closing the driveway, in the case of Nopoló, cutting off access to the Federal Maritime Zone. At Notri, property owners also fenced off the roads leading to the beach.

Families in Loreto are starting to complain that more beaches are being closed off and the government is not putting a stop to the privatization of their beaches.