What’s Going On In This Country?

November 2, 2015 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

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I thought you might want to see some of the mail I get from my adoring public. Here’s just two. That’s all you get. The rest are pretty private, if you catch my drift.

 

Dear Santiago,

Forgive me, but I question your catness. Why is it you seem to do a pretty good job writing this column and I can’t even get my cat to flush the toilet when she’s done?

Alejandra Sarachaga

Cabo San Lucas

Dear Sra Sarachaga,

Maybe she inherited her brains from her mom’s side of the family? How do you do in that department? And no claiming you’re trying to be a good citizen and save water.

Santiago, your first choice in newspaper columnists

 

Dear Santiago,

I think you’re kinda cute, would you ever consider taking a dog out? I am enclosing a picture for your consideration.

Bingo

Well, dearie, you look like a very nice chiwawa, but if I’m ever going to get that adventurous, you know, in a physical way, I would have to reserve that bad boy behavior for a poodle. I’m kind of partial to gals who are kind of fancied up, if you know what I mean. Not that I have ever done a dog. Oh, I’ve had a couple of play dates arranged with them, but that’s as far as I’ve gone. But just in case, you could leave me your phone number...

Santiago, boss o’ the alley

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Mainland dodges bullet. The so called hurricane of the century, Patricia, pooped out as it hit landfall over on the mainland, last week. The advance weather reports had veryone freaked out for days before the almost non event. We don’t want to call it a complete non event out of respect for a couple hundred people who suffered damage to their homes, but death and destruction were predicted for days in advance of the almost non event. It hit a sparcely populated area and then headed straight for a mountain which everyone knows is a bad place to be for a hurricane with aspirations of being a big destructor. Sure enough, it quickly petered out. The category 5 storm made landfall about 50 miles  west-northwest of Manzanillo, in the state of Colima.

The eye of the storm battered the fishing villages small towns with steady winds of 180 mph and gusts up to 230 mph.

That night a little baby girl was born but the parents refused to name her Patricia, saying they just wanted to put this behind them.

Dunkin’ Donuts esta here! The U.S. based chain announced plans last January to open 100 outlets in Mexico over the next few years, naming the Federal District, Hidalgo, State of México, Morelos, Jalisco and Querétaro as states on which it would focus. What are we, chopped liver? We like donuts. And it’s not like we don’t have plenty of cops here who would support that.

Company president Paul Twohig said the move is in response to what the firm sees as big demand for its donuts. It has signed an agreement with the Mexican subsidiary of Sizzling Platter, which operates Little Caesars pizza joints in Mexico City and Guadalajara. Dunkin’ Donuts will be competing against Krispy Kreme, another U.S. chain, which is already well established in Mexico with 129 outlets, and several businesses that specialize in coffee. Starbucks leads that sector with at least 40% market share and 500 restaurants

 Chuck E. Cheese,  which opened its first Mexican outlet in 2013, will open three more restaurants this year, followed by 12 by 2018. The U.S. $28.6 million expansion will take the restaurant franchise into Guadalajara, Puebla and other locations in the Federal District. So we’re passed up like a dirty shirt by that shitty kiddie joint Chuckie Cheese. That’s no loss. But Gringo donuts, that’s a loss.

More business. Walmart de México has opened a new superstore in Mexico City, bringing to 138 the number of superstores in Mexico, where it has more than 2,300 stores in total.

The world’s largest restaurant operator, Subway, with 44,105 outlets in 110 countries, arrived in Mexico in 2002, starting in the Zona Rosa district of Mexico City. Today it has 998 restaurants throughout the country, 200 of which are located in the Federal District. That’s Mexico’s DC. District of Columbia, Bunkie! Washington DC!

The cost of a Subway franchise in Mexico runs about $89,000, depending on the location’s size, which will range between 300 square feet  and 10,000 square feet, and other factors. In the States, franchises begin at several hundred thousand dollars. In Mexico, Subway employs more than 10,000 people.

Moving up on the wealth scale. Millionaires in Mexico number 122,000 and make up just 0.2% of the population. Meanwhile, 56.7% of Mexicans live on less than $10,000 per year. The number of millionaires is expected to increase by 68% between now and 2020, to a total of 206,000. Only seven countries — Malaysia, Colombia, Taiwan, Poland, China, Saudi Arabia and Japan — are expected see a higher rate of increase during that period. On a regional level, Mexico is a high flyer in terms of its millionaires, coming second only to Brazil in Latin America.

Trouble in River City.  Also in Mexico. The population of Mexico and Latin America is still rather young, and there are eight workers per retiree. (The United States has about 2.5 workers per retiree). In the next decades, though, population will age: by 2030, there will be five workers per retiree, here in Mexico.

In order to guarantee a pension equal to 50% of the worker’s final salary, compulsory contributions should be between 13% and 18%. But the current rate is 6%, the lowest among OECD nations.

Oh for gods sakes. Rumors swirling on on social media generated mass panic among resident idiots who follow social media. The killing of two young men who now appear to have been innocent of any wrongdoing was due to  mass panic among citizens of a town in Puebla, that was generated by rumors on social media. Mayor Gustavo Lara said stories about children being kidnapped were circulating on social networks over the weekend. By Monday evening, an inflamed populace took matters into their own hands, seizing two men who had been in police custody and beating them and burning them both.

Brothers Rey David, 35, and Abraham Copado Molino, 25, were students at a Technological University  and employees of a research and marketing firm.

Police had taken them into custody after residents called to report two men who were asking a lot of questions. Both were carrying identification indicating they were pollsters. Mayor Lara said there wasn’t a single report or accusation of kidnapping over the weekend, but the social media rumors continued regardless.The investigation into the murders has identified 25 people who participated in the killings.

City authorities called for help from the state police, and within 40 minutes, 15 officers were there to stop the crowd, which was armed with machetes, rocks, and guns they had stolen from police headquarters when they took the brothers.

No one was arrested because police were far outnumbered and overwhelmed by the crowd of 1,500 people. Chalk up another stupid caper to facebook.

What’s wrong with this picture? Butterfly huggers will say nothing is wrong with this picture. The number of monarch butterflys have been in decline as Mexico prepares to receive what is expected to be one of the largest monarch butterfly migrations in recent years.

On their way south the monarchs have to travel through a great deal of Mexican territory, part of which is the state of Coahuila. It is here that the National Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) has announced a novel project that’s trying to help the little guys out.

Working with state environment and transportation authorities, Conanp plans to identify the general routes taken by the monarchs and install speed limit signs for drivers, where the buterfly routes intersect with highways.

In some cases they just flutter over the vehicles, but the dumb ones get smacked by cars, trucks and buses. Hey! Every buterfly life is preciuos, no matter what their IQ is.  Sometimes even the smarty pants buterflies get the bejeezes smacked out of them, depending on weather conditions, said Conanp director Alejandro del Mazo.

“OK, so we’re not sure how many butterflies die on the roads, but thanks to the remains left on the vehicles, we do notice that it is a large number. This is a common occurrence on any road, but if the speed limit is lowered to 60 km/h, (about 40 mph), we give the little guys enough time to maybe move out of the way,” added Environment Secretary Eglantina Canales.

The effort to provide safe passage to the monarchs encompasses 13 states where, in order to correctly assess and identify their feeding and resting grounds, over 10,000 people have been tasked with monitoring their travel routes.

More mines. There are at least three dozen mining projects proposed in various locations in Mexico, and nearly all of them have opposition to giving them permits.

 The opposition has concerns about labor law violations, pollution and health hazards. Anti mine activists claim the mines are supported by all three levels of the Mexican government, mostly due to corruption, and the people who must live and work around the mines are the ones at risk.

There was a mine in northern Mexico that did lose control of its tailings, its waste water that was contaminated with chemicals used in the gold mining project. The damage was serious and massive, impacting everyone down stream, but because the owner of the mine was well connected in Mexico City, he was not even forced to clean it up properly.