What’s Going On In This Country?

November 27, 2017 edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Gourmet horse meat Some stores in Mexico were caught selling horse meat as beef, and that made big news, as everyone was going tsk tsk over it. But horse meat is actually legally exported to seven countries around the world where it is considered a delicacy. Hong Kong, Egypt, Japan, Vietnam,  and Belgium are among the customers lining up for Mr. Ed.

There are 11 slaughterhouses that have legal permission to kill horses for their meat. More than 128,000 unlucky horses were killed and shipped last year.

A study conducted by the National Autonomous found that almost 10% of beef samples taken from meat markets in five cities turned out to be horse meat. Cabo was not one of those cities.

Insult to injury After waiting for two months for  government financial aid to come through, in order to start rebuilding their homes, some earthquake victims found their debit  bank cards they were given were empty. Their cards had been cloned and the money withdrawn. Most of the victims realized their loss when they tried to use their cards to buy building materials to patch up their homes.

Bansefi, the bank the cards were drawn on, says they can’t imagine how this caper went down.

That didn’t go well A program that tried to save the endangered vaquita, a type of dolphin only found in the Sea of Cortez, has been shut down. Turns out the only two critters were ever caught, and one looked around at its new digs and promptly died. The second looked not so good, and was quickly released to either live or die on its own.

A team of 65 scientists from nine different countries were involved in the failed caper. The  goal was to keep the captured vaquitas in floating pens to protect them from gillnets, the biggest threat to their survival.

Gillnets used in shrimp and illegal totoaba fishing have posed the biggest threat to the vaquita and nobody has figured out a way to stop the gillnet fishing. Yes, they tried paying the fishermen to not fish. They just took the money and kept on fishing.

That’s a butterfly, not a moth The monarch butterfly is enjoying its day in the sun. There are conservation efforts and festivals in honor of the insect going on right now. Yes, butterflies are officially insects.

Butterfly observation posts are set up to view them as kajillions of the little guys  are expected to rest in butterfly sanctuaries as they migrate south.

TJ flushing toilets north Beaches in Tijuana were closed Thursday due to sewer pollution  washing up on beaches in both Mexico and the United States.

What California beach city officials are particularly pissed off about is Tijuana officials didn’t alert them when the toilets overflowed. Therefore, beaches in California remained open.

But the municipality of Tijuana closed all its beaches for at least three days.

Not in our neighborhood Two six-story apartment buildings and one three-story condominium building planned for north of Puerto Vallarta, is being fiercely opposed.

Neighbors say the impact of the Canadian backed development, along with a lack of urban infrastructure make it unfeasible.

A scarcity of drinking water, along with lack of a sewer system and garbage collection would place pressure on already failing infrastructure. Huh? It’s called developers fees, and yes, they need to be paid.

Big whoops  A Spanish multinational clothing company was caught plagiarizing indigenous Mexican textile designs.

The accusation was the designers “ignored that these were artistic representations made by indigenous communities,” was the charge.

The company said so sorry, “we found the designs on the internet and thought they were fair game.” 

Next up is Nestle, which, according to the artists’ lawyers, is also stealing indigenous designs. Indigenous artisans have lawyers? Sign of the times.

Still better than dial up Mexico is not generally known for breathtaking internet speeds, but indications are that the situation is improving.

According to a recent report, AT&T, a relative newcomer to the Mexican market, is in a close race against Telcel for download speeds and are tied for 4G internet speeds. Telcel’s average 4G download speed was 23.48 megabytes per second and AT&T’s was 22.76.

Telcel also leads over AT&T for availability, giving users access to high speed wireless connections 76.4% of the time, up from 69.4% six months ago.

One surprising finding from the report was that Mexico’s 4G speeds are some of the fastest in Latin America, and are actually faster than the U.S. Huh. Well, maybe the internet is faster down here in Mexico, but it sure as hell is less reliable.

It’s election time again The biggie, the presidential. With our current president’s popularity in the crapper, and his party’s reputation for state corruption in there right beside it, it’s a pretty good bet we will have a new party in power after the next general election on July 1.

We are telling you this now because the locals are just so happy this administration is "almost" over.

The current president can’t run for re-election anyway, he will have served his only six-year term allowed. Also at stake are the jobs of 500 members of the chamber of deputies, and 128 members of the senate.

There are nine registered political parties so far, but more interesting is the multitude of candidates now running without a party. This has just become legal and people are flocking to take advantage of the new rule. Many see this rule as a positive development, as politicians are often accused of representing their party over their country. And that may be true, as the party contributes a lot of money to the race, and so expect to get something in return. Political parties are seen as particularly corrupt, even worse than the police, which are themselves viewed as pretty much lower than a snake’s belly. So to speak.

A woman who calls herself the Mexican Hillary, a 50-year-old former first lady of Mexico, has joined a mind-boggling 85 other independent candidates quixotically pursuing the presidency. However, most are not expected to gather the 866,593 signatures required to make it onto the ballot.

Since Mexico does not have runoff elections, the next president could be elected with as little as 30 percent of the vote, posing real questions of legitimacy about the next leader in the eyes of an increasingly jaded population.