Villa Opens North of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Patrick Harrison - P. Gringo Marketing & PR
January 11, 2010
El Panorama de la Peñita is located at
Oceanico Atlantico 82 esquina de la Cristobal Colon in La Peñita
de Jaltemba, Nayarit. For more information, call 1-888-246-1369
La Peñita, Mexico - After 25 years in retail, Paul Leger, a francophone
from St. Antoine, New Brunswick, Canada and former Home Hardware Store
co-owner, along with partner Tom Hopper from Moncton, New Brunswick,
Canada, a manager with Loblaws Grocery, decided it was time for a
After a Mexican vacation during the winter of 2008, they decided that
the time was right for an adjustment in their quality of life and escape
to a warmer climate. Soon, they devised a plan that allowed them to
combine work with some relaxation and a dream came to life.
After viewing several homes throughout Mexico's Pacific Coast, they
decided on this luxurious home located on the top of a small mountain in
a fishing town called La Peñita. They retuned to Canada, sold their
home, put some items in storage, gave away the rest, packed what they
could in 4 pieces of luggage, said their good byes to family and friends
and retuned to La Peñita three months later. The dream, and the creation
of El Panorama de la Peñita, became a reality.
Welcome to El Panorama de la Peñita, a restful Villa experience in the
charming Mexican seaside village of La Peñita, Nayarit. Located 40 miles
north of Puerto Vallarta, El Panorama de la Peñita offers a calm and
comfortable get-away retreat overlooking a colorful colonial beach-front
town, the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the deep-blue waters of
Their name truly does say it all, this hill-top estate is beautifully
situated giving a breathtaking 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
Their three comfortable guest suites all feature private balconies with
sweeping views, private baths and luxurious, comfortable beds.
The sun drenched roof-top patio and pool will quickly become a special
place to enjoy a book, relax in the sun, or enjoy a relaxing swim all
while enjoying the panoramic vistas. Here you'll find two shaded
cupolas, an outdoor barbeque, kitchen, bar area, and washrooms all
located here for your enjoyment.
La Peñita de Jaltemba is a small town of approximately eight thousand
that quickly doubles during the "high-season" (November - May) with
mostly Canadians and Americans. Known largely as a fishing village, La
Peñita is located on a bay recognized as the "largest natural swimming
pool in the world."
La Peñita is also best known for its large tropical fruit and
world-famous coffee, which is grown in the Sierra Madres Mountains
directly behind their home. The region offers a variety of activities;
from shopping, eco-experiences, pre-Hispanic sites or just hanging out
on a secluded beach, the area is a treasure trove of things to do and
They are here to fulfill your every whim. From exploring the villages
and artisan shops, a picnic lunch on a secluded beach, or bird watching
in the nearby estuaries or island, let them provide you with the rest
and relaxation you deserve. Rates are from $69 to $99 USD a night,
double occupancy, and include a large breakfast on their sunny terrace.
Explore El Panorama de la Peñita's online photo galleries, rates and
amenities on their newly launched website at
ElPanoramaHotel.com or drop by for a personal tour to discover this
hidden-gem located on Mexico's Pacific Riviera.
in Seattle, WA, Patrick Harrison has been living in PV since 2003.
Drawing on his experience in entertainment, radio, retail and sports
marketing in major US cities, Patrick opened his own business here in
Vallarta, P. Gringo Marketing & PR, a successful Public Relations Firm
that targets the English-speaking tourist and local communities. You can
contact Patrick at patrick(at)pgringo.com
Become a Friend of Riviera Nayarit on
Saving an Aztec salamander
An effort to save the axolotl – a type of salamander
– is also a bid to preserve an ancient cultureThe ancient waterways upon
which the Aztec Empire was built are now a fraction of their former
glory. Sucked dry by Spanish conquerors and subsequent urban planners,
Mexico City’s great lake.…….Click
Here for Original
Mexico City To Host 2010 Virtuoso(R) Symposium
For centuries, Mexico's famous El Camino Real has
served as a welcoming trail for the world to discover the heart of the
country, Mexico City. In April, that historic path will transform into
a red carpet welcoming the world's top leaders of luxury travel for what
will be an unprecedented gathering.…….Click Here for Original
…….Click Here for Original
Heineken-Femsa deal could push Modelo into Anheuser-Busch’s arms
Heineken of Amsterdam said Monday it plans to buy
the beer operations of Femsa, the maker of Dos Equis, in a $7.7 billion
deal that will further consolidate the brewing industry.Many observers
had believed SABMiller, the London-based owner of Miller Brewing, was
the most likely suitor for Femsa.…….Click
Here for Original
seven years production at Pemex Oil may actually rise
Oil looked a bit tired to start the week, unable to
build on early gains inspired by a weekend of what should have been
exceptionally bullish news. Whether it was the strong economic data out
of China or the increasing tensions around the globe with regards to
Nigeria and Iran, or the ongoing oil price dispute between Russia and
Here for Original
Mexico real estate rebound means great deals for U.S. Veterans
The Mexico Real Estate
market is still recovering so that means foreigners are finding
fantastic deals on property in resort areas.
…….Click Here for Original
Mexico says immigration reform unlikely in
Mexico's ambassador to the United States said
Friday he expects immigration reform is unlikely to pass in that country
in 2010 because of unemployment and midterm elections.
In an unusually frank assessment, Ambassador
Arturo Sarukhan said Mexico will continue its quiet, "under the radar"
lobbying for a reform that would benefit the estimated 11.8 million
Mexicans living in the United States. A large percentage are
to original article
Rafael Marquez optimistic about Mexico’s
Mexico’s most famous player, defender Rafael
Marquez, is optimistic about his team’s chances in the World Cup, and
much may depend on the opening game against host South Africa.
The Barcelona player said on Thursday there
may be extra pressure because it will be the first game………..go
to original article
Mexico mugged by Starbucks? Company plans
Starbucks Corp.'s Mexico unit says it is
willing to pay for permission to sell coffee mugs featuring pre-Hispanic
images, after the Mexican government notified it about potential
violations of intellectual property rights.
Starbucks Corp.'s Mexico unit says it is
willing to pay for permission to sell coffee mugs featuring pre-Hispanic
images, after the Mexican government notified it about potential
violations of intellectual property rights. ………..go
to original article
Canada to lend Mexico 5 million swine flu
Canada is lending Mexico 5 million doses of
the swine flu vaccine.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in
a statement Wednesday that Mexico requested the doses to help bridge
that country's immediate pandemic vaccine requirements.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says Mexico
placed orders with several manufacturers, but the bulk of Mexico's order
will only be available at the end of the month.………..go
to original article
Mexico’s Wireless Airwaves Auction to Begin in
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s government will
begin its auction of mobile-phone airwaves in May, aiming to spur
competition with Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB.
Regulators are relaying the information to
prospective bidders this week, the Federal Telecommunications Commission
said today in a statement. The length of the auction will depend on how
many rounds of bidding occur. Once it ends, the agency will have 30 days
to declare a winner. ………..go
to original article
Four Mexican priests leave church over
Four priests assigned to the archdiocese of
the central Mexican state of Puebla have decided to leave the Catholic
Church because they have girlfriends and children, a situation that is
incompatible with the celibacy rule. ………..go
to original article
Mexico’s Valley of Wine
Hot, dusty, rattled by rocks and ruts of the
road, and as confused as lost conquistadors, we slump into chairs at the
reception office of the inn Adobe Guadalupe.
Minerva Cerda, graciously bearing dewy glasses
of a bright rosé, materializes immediately through a side door. With the
first sip – a gulp, actually – we relax, stop worrying about the car's
undercarriage and begin to look more closely at our surroundings.………..go
to original article
Escape to divine Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
Rose-hued sunsets meet azure waters in this
sensory extravaganza…a rainbow tapestry of experiences and
accommodations. For those with “champagne taste and beer money,” there
are lovely, quaint resorts with all the amenities for less than $50 a
night. For those travelers who can afford it, there are elegant
accommodations where the sky’s the limit. But for everyone who visits
this still-underdeveloped gem on Mexico’s western coast, it is a double
paradise in other ways as well. The colorful fishing village of
Zihuatanejo (“Place of Women”) oozes with tradition, heritage and déjà
vu culture of the past, while Ixtapa sports the image of a young, new
and contemporary tourist mecca. Old and new are blended like a fine
tapestry offering something for every tourist in what’s termed the Costa
Grande of Mexico.………..go
to original article
Elton John concert in Mexico's Maya ruins
Mexico City - British singer Elton John is set
to perform amid the ruins of the famous Maya site of Chichen Itza in
Mexico on April 3.
According to Mexican media reports,
archeologists have authorized the concert but the relevant contract was
yet to be signed. ………..go
to original article
80 years young!
One of Jaltemba coast's
nicest people recently celebrated her 80th birthday! Congratulation to
Whales are one of most mesmorizing creatures one can view along
coastal Riviera Nayarit. Since the tropical warm water of this
latitude is the winter breeding ground for several migrating
species, January is an excellent month for whale watching. Besides
the resident species of Cetaceans, one can catch a glimpse of mother
with calve from shore and certainly farther out in a boat on one of
the numerous whale watching tours that are available. Seeing these
denizens of the ocean in the wild is an unforgetable experience that
tops even the best Discovery special or Seaworld show. Coming
face-to-face with a hypnotically lovely group of whales-experiencing
their immense size, intelligence, and acrobats live- far surpasses
Cetaceans are air-breathing, warm-blooded ocean mammals that bear
live young and nurse them on milk. Since
the gestation and rearing periods are so long in most whale species,
and the suckling so draining, cows only give birth every two to four
years. This slow reproductive rate means that any substantial whale
hunting may have a detrimental effect on whale populations.
as impressive is their evolutionary history: that the study of
fossils indicates is that cetaceans evolved from four-legged,
terrestrial ancestors that made their way back to the seas around 55
million years ago. The existing 83 species of Cetaceans are
subcategorized into two main groups: the toothed whales (odontocetes)
and baleen whales (mysticetes)- with both types inhabiting
the Mexican coast of the Pacific Ocean. This article will focus on
the toothed species that you may see in the Riviera Nayarit; next
week will highlight the baleen species as there are significant
differences between the whale types.
Before meeting the local toothed whale species, let’s look at
typical behavior and characteristics of all toothed whales. This
category of species uses echolocation- the sound tracking by
bouncing sonar signals to identify prey and obstacles. As with land
predators, they are active hunters, needing to search and stalk
their dinner. They use their teeth to seize their target then
swallow it whole, unlike other smaller predatory mammals that tear
apart prey. Thinking of the biblical tale of Jonas being swallowed
by a whale indicates this behavior has been observed by humans for
Watching Regulations In and Around Banderas Bay Keith May - PuertoVallartaWhaleWatching.org
January 08, 2010
Whether you are taking a tour or are a private boater, the Executive
Director of Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching Forum, Keith May, tells us
everything we need to know about safe and legal whale watching for
Banderas Bay's official 2009/2010 whale watching season.
This year SEMARNAT gave out white flags with
the SEMARNAT logo and a humpback whale, so you can easily
identify the boats authorized to do whale watching activities in
Whale Watching Regulations for Private Boaters
Many private boaters are not aware that the Mexican government has
enacted very specific laws as it relates to whale watching activities
from a private vessel as opposed to a vessel that has a legal whale
These laws were designed to ensure the least amount of stress on the
whales, to protect them from unintentional injury by boaters and to
ensure that the mothers and calves are never separated from each other –
lest the calf falls victim to being eaten by a Killer whale. Without
human intervention, we estimate that one in three calves are lost to
predation by Killer whales. So, it’s in our interest and the interest of
the whales to ensure that we are not accidently contributing to the
deaths of the newly born calves.
Mexican environmental law NOM 131 ECOL 1998 states the following as it
relates to whale watching by private boaters:
Private boats can stay looking at the same group of whales for a maximum
of 10 minutes (no matter how exciting the show might be) and must
maintain a distance of at least 80 meters or 240 feet. When
participating in whale watching boats must operator no faster than 4
knots at any given time and must never move faster than the slowest
Mothers with calves are extremely sensitive and every effort should be
made to reduce their stress. Never obstruct the path of a whale, never
split groups and certainly never engage in any activity that will
separate the mother from the calf.
Sport fishing is not permissible near or during any whale watching
activity. If you observe any marine mammal entangled in fishing gear,
please report it to the Navy Sector at (322) 224-5783 or on marine
channels 16 or 82. Do not attempt to assist the animal as this can be
very dangerous and keep a distance of at least 300 yards until
professional assistance arrives.
Scuba diving or snorkeling in the vicinity of a whale is very dangerous
and is forbidden by law. Jet skis, water skis, kayaks, canoes, etc. and
any type of aircraft, parasail or gliders are also forbidden to be used
in the vicinity of whales.
Trash, especially plastic bags and such can suffocate a whale if it is
sucked into this blow hole. Also, they become a choking hazard for our
endangered sea turtle as they are mistaken for jellyfish – a favorite
food of sea turtles. If you see plastic bags floating in the water
please take the time to retrieve them. This small action may in fact
safe the life of an endangered whale or sea turtle.
When whale watching you should only ever approach diagonally from the
lateral position and move parallel to the course of a whale or group of
whales. Avoid any unexpected changes in velocity and direction within
300 feet or 900 meters of the nearest whale.
By following these few simple steps will ensure a safe whale watching
experience for you and your friends and most importantly help to protect
these gentle giants that call Banderas Bay home for a few months of
every year. The official 2009/2010 whale watching season runs from
December 8, 2009 – March 23, 2010. Whale watching activities outside of
these dates are forbidden.
Authorized Banderas Bay Whale Watching Boats and Tour Companies
This year SEMARNAT gave out white flags with the SEMARNAT logo and a
humpback whale, so you can easily identify the boats authorized to do
whale watching activities. If the boat does NOT have this flag it means
they don't have a whale watching permit.
A hand-made Afghan, knitted by Micheline Bédard, will be raffled off
with proceeds going to the primary school ''Sebastian of La Colonia
de La Penita''.
Tickets are selling for 50 pesos for 3 tickets and can be purchased
at the Hotel & Bungalows Guayabitos, 15 Sol Nuevo, apartment 215. I
will also have tickets available. Draw will be held February 15,
Hope your readership supports this activity.
Rotary Club of Jaltemba Bay announces 1st Annual Dinner
First Year Anniversary to raise funds for two major 2010 projects
La Peñita de Jaltemba, Nayarit, January 4, 2010 -- Sebastian Marin,
President of Rotary Club of Jaltemba Bay – La Peñita announced today
that the club, celebrating it’s first year, is hosting it’s
First Annual Dinner Dance
on Saturday January
23 rd at Toñita’s
III in La Peñita. The event is open to all Rotarians,
business and community leaders, and the public at large.
he Dinner Dance is schedule from 6:00 – 12 midnight and
tickets are available from Rotary members, in Guayabitos at Piña
Colada Restaurant and Fitness Pad and in La Peñita at Xaltemba
Restaurant, Youcha Centros Quiroprácticos and Sebastian Realty.
Tickets are 300 pesos per person, which includes dinner dance, and
one drink, there will be dancing to a wide variety of music.
he Jaltemba Bay Rotary Club is a young club founded in late
2008.It is made up of
local business owners and some foreign business owners and retirees
who live here a major part of the year.The event is bound to be a great opportunity to celebrate the
clubs first year and meet the local business owners who are working
hard to improve the community.
he funds raised will be used to finance the building of a new
kindergarten at Las Cabras in La Colonia and classroom repairs and
computers for Cebeta/Zaeta Extension Preparatory School in Zacualpan.The Club has received initial support and donations from
Rotary Club of South Cowichan (Mill Valley) B.C., Rotary Club of
Ladysmith B.C. Canada, and commitments from Rotary Clubs of
and Santa Rosa in Northern California.
otary International is the world's first service club
organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs
worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally,
regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and
sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and
eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.
Club Rotario meets every Wednesday at 7:30 am for Breakfast meeting
at Piña Colada in Guayabitos located on Highway 200 lateral street.
Las Cabras Kindergarten, La ColoniaWeeklyRotary
Club meetings at Piña Colada
The next meeting of Los
Amigos de La Peñita will be on Monday, January 11 at Restaurante La
Palapa de Guty, Circuito Libertad #4.There will be a social gathering at 6:30 with the formal
meeting starting at 7:00.
Key agenda items will be:
Report from Recycling Committee
Report on Fiesta
All are welcome.
Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico Jim Scherrer - PVNN
January 05, 2010
There are in excess of 200 cruise ships that
visit PV from the US every year with an average of more than
2,000 passengers each; i.e. approximately 400,000 passengers
This article is prepared in response to an extremely misleading and
obviously biased piece recently published on a site known as
OfficialWire.com and shown under the topic of Official Spin; and spin it
is! It was written by Derek Armstrong and posted on his website,
Crime Report USA, as follows:
Mexico the Most Dangerous Country for Americans Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM
U.S. Department of State Warns Largest Number of Non Natural
Deaths Occur in Mexico.
Derek Armstrong, Chief Crime Correspondent
Crime Report USA: Mexico is overwhelmingly the most
dangerous place for non-service Americans, topping the list of
destinations with the highest "Non Natural Deaths", according to
the US Department of State:
Top 5 Countries for Non Natural Deaths
Costa Rica 69
Since shocking and misleading headlines such as "Mexico the Most
Dangerous Country for Americans" are designed to be attention grabbing,
tourists that read such nonsense might want to do their homework before
considering vacation destinations in Mexico; they must understand the
facts and not be frightened by ridiculous fear tactics put forth by
those with ulterior motives.
At first glance, the above article seems to indicate 651 non natural
deaths occurred in Mexico last year, however, when the reader digs
deeper into the article he finds that the data was obtained over a three
year period from 2006 through 2008, resulting in about 220 non natural
US deaths per year in Mexico. Of the 220 non natural deaths per year,
approximately 50 are homicides, the balance being auto accidents,
drownings, suicides, etc. per the
US Department of State.
Next, the reader needs to understand that approximately 20 million
Americans visit Mexico each year, far more than any other country in the
world per the
US Dept Commerce. Therefore, we know that about 50 individuals out
of every 20 million US visitors to Mexico are murdered during a violent
crime every year while in Mexico.
Okay, let's take it a step further; let's determine where in Mexico
these violent crimes take place. When reviewing the data presented by
the US Department of State, you'll see that the majority of these
violent crimes occur in the border towns such as Ciudad Juarez and
Tijuana. Therefore, the next time you plan your winter vacation you
might want to avoid these areas; they're probably about as dangerous as
Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles! Instead of vacationing in beautiful
downtown Juarez, you might want to consider a resort destination such as
Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Huatulco,
or Puerto Vallarta.
As 13 year residents of Puerto Vallarta, we can attest to the safety of
this magnificent resort destination south of the border where the
possession of hand guns is prohibited and violent crime is virtually
nonexistent. For proof of this claim, we'll first determine the number
of US citizens that visit PV annually and then get the facts related to
violent crime in the area.
There are in excess of 200 cruise ships that visit PV from the US every
year with an average of more than 2,000 passengers each; i.e.
approximately 400,000 passengers arriving annually. During the six month
"high season", PV receives more than 50 international flights daily.
Let's assume that 40 are from the US carrying an average of 100
passengers on each plane; that's more than 700,000 passengers arriving
by air during the six winter months.
Next, let's assume that 30 planes arrive daily in PV during the six
summer months of which 20 are from the US; that's another 350,000
passengers arriving by air during the "low season". Finally, we'll
assume that another 50,000 people drive to PV every year. Totaling these
conservative numbers, we find that at least 1.5 million tourists from
the US visit Vallarta annually.
A number of websites such as
travels.com put the total number of visitors at 2 million, others
puertovallarta.net peg it at 2.2 million - and assuming at least 75%
are from the US, our estimate of 1.5 million US visitors to PV per year
is quite accurate.
Now, let's return to the data from the US Department of State. You will
notice that during 2008, there were merely five non-natural deaths of US
visitors in Puerto Vallarta and only one was a homicide. (Chances are
that he was doing something or involved with something that he shouldn't
have been!). That's one violent death out of 1.5 million visitors for
the year or less than 0.7 per million.
According to US government provided data, the US has 6.2 violent deaths
annually per 100,000 residents. This information is readily available at
US Bureau of Justice and on other websites such as
cdc.gov. In other words, we have 62 homicides or violent crimes
resulting in death per million residents in the US, or 93 homicides per
1.5 million; i.e., 93 times as many as in Puerto Vallarta!
You'll notice that the author of the referenced article is from Toronto,
Canada; a beautiful city with a reputation for being quite safe, having
a homicide rate of only 3.1 homicides per 100,000 residents per the
Toronto Police Department or approximately half of that in the US.
Still, that equates to 31 per million residents or 46 murders per 1.5
million people, i.e. nearly 50 times as many as the number of Americans
murdered in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! For example, in 2007, Toronto, with
a population of 2,750,000 inhabitants, experienced 84 homicides or
approximately 31 per million people.
You'll also notice that the author of the article publishes his
propaganda on sites where feedback and comments are impossible; is it
any wonder? There have been plenty of knowledgeable folks that have read
preposterous articles such as the one addressed above and they too, are
voicing their opinions and commenting on websites such as
TheTruthAboutMexico.com. For the most part, these are people with
intimate knowledge of Mexico and if it were dangerous for Americans in
Mexico, they probably wouldn't be living or vacationing there on a
(Yes, I am biased and yes, I have an axe to grind [representing real
estate buyers in Puerto Vallarta]; but more importantly, I feel it
imperative for someone to set the record straight and not allow
misleading propaganda to be published on the Internet without being
In summarizing, the next time someone insinuates that traveling to or
vacationing in Mexico is dangerous for Americans, you can present the
facts to them. Hopefully, after reviewing this analytical approach with
the documented facts and figures provided by the US government, you'll
feel much more comfortable and inclined to visit our beautiful Paradise
south of the border, where you have nearly 100 times better odds of
surviving than in the good ol' US of A!
founder of Puerto Vallarta Real Estate Buyers' Agents (PVREBA), Jim
Scherrer is a retired entrepreneur who has owned property in Puerto
Vallarta for more than 25 years. Utilizing his experience and extensive
knowledge of the area, Jim's series of informative articles about travel
to and retirement in Puerto Vallarta reveal the recent changes that have
occurred in Vallarta, while dispelling the misconceptions about living
conditions in Mexico.
Open wide! Amazing how this La Penita de Jaltemba pelican can open its
mouth so wide. Bill Bell photograph
Held in Mexican Jail have Yet to be Charged Brigitte Morissette - QMI
go to original
January 11, 2010
Following their arrest, a military
patrol was then put in charge of their custody.
Five Canadians held in Mexico since Jan. 1 have yet to be charged with
serious criminal offences: participating in organized crime and
misdemeanours against health, as the Mexican criminal code qualifies
drug trafficking. However, 10 days after the events occurred, actual
charges have yet to pressed.
Yesterday, the spokesperson for the attorney general of the Mexican
Republic commented, laconically: "It is a delicate affair." The Mexican
Attorney General's office was put in charge of this affair after the
army transported the Canadian suspects from Puerto Vallarta to the
The suspects, four Quebec residents and a fifth from Vancouver, were
arrested by police on Jan. 1 at 6:15 a.m. following a raid in a bar
called Mandala after a shootout took place. One officer allegedly
sustained a head injury.
Following their arrest, a military patrol was then put in charge of
their custody. Until an official statement is released, the only
available version of this story is that of the accused and their
families, as well as the stories published by the local press.
One of the accused's attorney, Marie-Ève Plante, has told TVA that they
have been subjected to cruel and unusual treatment by the Puerto
Vallarta police force, including electrocution and burns.
According to a QMI source, all five Canadians are still being held in
the Attorney General's jail in the heart of Mexico City.
Never smile at Crocodile when you visit Jan and Bill Poteat's House in
La Penita, Bill Bell Photograph
Up close crocodile, Bill Bell photograph
Valley of Wine Mike Dunne - Sacramento Bee
go to original
January 07, 2010
Harvest workers keep the wine presses busy at
L'Escuelita, a cooperative winery and winemaking school. (Mike
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico – Hot, dusty, rattled by rocks and ruts of
the road, and as confused as lost conquistadors, we slump into chairs at
the reception office of the inn Adobe Guadalupe.
Minerva Cerda, graciously bearing dewy glasses of a bright rosé,
materializes immediately through a side door. With the first sip – a
gulp, actually – we relax, stop worrying about the car's undercarriage
and begin to look more closely at our surroundings.
Though Adobe Guadalupe has just six rooms, it's one sprawling hacienda,
with a massive fountain in the courtyard, a winery off to one side, a
pool and hot tub on the other, collections of teacups and cut crystal
artfully arranged here and there, and three galumphing Weimaraners
enjoying the run of the place.
We glance out doorways and windows, seeing vineyards roll in orderly
rows across the vast valley floor. It looks like the Napa Valley, but
we're in Baja California.
More specifically, we're wrapping up our first day in Valle de
Guadalupe, about half an hour northeast of Ensenada, a coastal party
town roughly 70 miles south of San Diego.
In Ensenada, the tourist draws are fish tacos and beer. In Valle de
Guadalupe, it's wine. There's not much here other than vineyards and
wineries, slowly squeezing out the orange and olive groves, alfalfa
fields and horse farms that have long set the tone for the valley's rich
Wine lovers won't be disappointed with what they find in the hot, arid
Valle de Guadalupe. Although swine flu and fear of violence have
deterred many Americans from visiting, we couldn't resist it.
An estimated 80 to 90 percent of the wine made in Mexico is made in Baja
California, and most of that is produced by the 30 or more wineries in
this valley. The producers range from corporate giants to boutiques no
bigger than a one-car garage.
Although most of Baja is desert, Valle de Guadalupe benefits from its
proximity to the Pacific Ocean and by topography similar to Santa
Barbara County. In both viticultural areas, maritime breezes stream east
though a gap in the coastal hills and are more or less confined by
ridges, providing cool breaks from torrid temperatures, helping maintain
the sugar and acid balance crucial for expressive wine grapes.
Wineries are apt to be far back on a washboard road or tucked in a
ravine up a tortuous path best traversed with a high-riding
"I like to tell people that this is off-roading in the wine country,"
says Steve Dryden, a retired U.S. National Park Service naturalist who
came here a decade ago to write about wine and guide tours.
Our first stop on Day 2 is Vinicola L.A. Cetto, one of the larger and
more historic wineries in the valley, dating from 1974. Out front,
members of the Kumai tribe oversee a table at which they sell bundles of
fresh rosemary and sage, and baskets woven with pine needles.
Inside, Camillo Magoni, the native Italian who has been Cetto's
winemaker from the start, is lining up bottles to showcase the winery's
portfolio, from an inexpensive everyday petite sirah to a pricey blend
of cabernet sauvignon, nebbiolo and montepulciano he makes every five
years to salute the winery's founder, fellow Italian Angelo Cetto.
"Mexico is known for tequila, beaches, archaeology, Corona and spring
break, and in the near future for wine, I hope so," says Magoni.
He's been involved in the valley's wine trade since 1965 and has seen it
evolve from a focus on large yields for simple brandy to today's
intensifying concentration on small yields, premium varietals and
high-end proprietary blends. The brandy has all but disappeared,
succeeded by dry table wines, Magoni says.
"This is the best area in Baja for wines, but it's not the only one," he
boasts, noting that such neighboring valleys as Las Palmas to the north
and Santo Tomas and San Vicente to the south also yield fruit for fine
While demand for Mexican wine is growing, particularly in Mexico City,
Guadalajara and resort cities with a sophisticated and affluent
clientele, vintners say, Baja's wine trade is hamstrung by forces
natural and bureaucratic. Drought, coupled with Ensenada's tapping of
the Guadalupe River, is keeping growers from expanding for fear they
won't have adequate water to irrigate their grapes.
And then there are Mexico's mysterious, cumbersome and onerous wine
taxes, which inflate the price of a bottle between 35 percent and 40
percent if it is sold beyond the winery.
"It's almost impossible for a winery our size to comply with the federal
regulations to get that government sticker so we can sell to hotels and
restaurants," says Miguel Fuentes, vineyard manager and winemaker at his
family's Vinos Fuentes winery on the southern outskirts of Francisco
"Producing grapes, making your own wine, and selling your wine on your
own property is a lot easier to do," adds Fuentes, a Mexicali native who
graduated from UC Davis with a degree in international agriculture
development in 1992.
Like several of the valley's other boutique vintners, he's hoping the
area continues to develop the infrastructure to become as well-known as
an appellation as it is as a day trip for tour groups out of Ensenada.
But today, Valle de Guadalupe is a rustic wine region with just a
handful of posh accommodations and only a couple of restaurants with
ambitiously artistic food. Like the Napa Valley of half a century ago,
it is occupied primarily by farmworkers and pioneering winemakers, and
only essential businesses – the Pemex gas station, mini-markets,
panaderias, taquerias. Fashion boutiques and spas are a long way down
Wine enthusiasts who want something to do after they've exhausted their
palates pretty much are limited to horseback riding, mountain biking and
hiking, or they can head to Ensenada for sport fishing or golf.
On the other hand, anyone seeking a change of pace from the
competitiveness and congestion often encountered in Northern California
wine regions, as well as some welcome solitude, will find Valle de
Guadalupe comforting – unless they step out of the car and almost get
hit by a youngster galloping by on his horse, as happened to me in
"Most guests have an agenda when they get to the valley, but once they
get to our place they stay and relax," says Nathan Malagon, whose
family's Vinedos Malagon includes a small and secluded bed-and-breakfast
bordering an old grenache vineyard tucked up against the foothills just
to the north of Francisco Zarco.
Not that Valle de Guadalupe entirely lacks archaeological, historic and
cultural attractions. The most curious stem from the immigration in 1905
of Russian Molokans, pacifists who fled the mother country rather than
fight for the czar. They congregated just southwest of Francisco Zarco,
in an area to become known as El Porvenir, or "the future."
Today, the valley has three small Molokan museums, two across the street
from each other in Francisco Zarco, where the cemetery has almost as
many headstones in Russian as Spanish. (Explanatory signs in the
museums, however, invariably are in Spanish and Russian, not English.)
The third museum is at Vinos Bibayoff, owned by David Bibayoff Dalgoff,
a member of one of the last two Molokan families in the valley, in
Rancho Toros Pintos, just south of Francisco Zarco and El Porvenir.
Dalgoff, who in the winery's museum shows off the framed government
permit his grandfather, Alexie M. Dalgoff, got in 1931 to make wine,
tends 40 acres of grapes, most of which he sells to other vintners.
Under his own label, he makes a fleshy and herbal cabernet sauvignon, a
sweet zinfandel and a spicy port.
Big and convivial, Dalgoff represents the relaxed and casual attitude of
much of the valley's wine community.
"When the gate is open, we are here," says Dalgoff, when asked when
Vinos Bibayoff is open to the public.
No less enamored with Valle de Guadalupe's wine prospects is ceramic
artist Ivette Vaillard, who moved into the valley from Veracruz 27 years
ago, acquired a half-acre of hardscrabble hillside and without
electricity began to plant pomegranate, macadamia, walnut, olive and
pear trees, the fruit of which she sells at the local farmers market.
She also began to cultivate wine grapes and with two other women created
Tres Mujeres Winery. They make mostly perfumey and juicy cabernet
sauvignons. They sell their production out of their cellar, where they
tunneled deep into the granite under vineyard and orchard to scoop out
one of the few wine caves in the valley.
Throughout my tastings I'd been trying to pin down stylistic threads
that tie one wine to another in hopes of understanding what sets apart
the wines of Valle de Guadalupe from releases in other regions. The task
is complicated by the wide variability in style and quality among
Some are as coarse as wines made by a not particularly attentive home
winemaker, while others are startling for their complexity, elegance and
When I ask vintners what broadly distinguishes the wines of Valle de
Guadalupe, they also struggle to come up with an answer, an indication
of the region's youth and continuing experimentation. Ivette Vaillard,
on the other hand, nails it: "Compared with other countries, they are
heavy wines, they have a lot of body."
True, regardless of whether the wine is white, rosé or red, varietal or
blend, dry or sweet, the wines of Valle de Guadalupe tend to have a
richness to them, a fleshiness, a ripeness stopping just shy of being
overripe. That's generally speaking. Exceptions can be found, such as
that lean, crisp and spicy rosé that first welcomed us into the area at
Having problems with Telemex? You can call an English speaking operator for
problems with your internet and phone 01 800 123 0004
Unprecedented US-Mexico Border Cooperation: Ambassador Agence France-Presse
go to original
January 10, 2010
A Mexican soldier controls traffic at the
Mexico-US border customs post in Ciudad Juarez in August 2009.
Mexico City – Mexico and the United States currently have an
unprecedented level of cooperation on fighting crime on their common
border, the Mexican ambassador to the United States said here Friday.
Arturo Sarukhan said it was important to continue "this unprecedented
cooperation established with the administration of President (Barack)
Obama," at a meeting of Mexican ambassadors and consuls in Mexico City.
Sarukhan underlined that, despite the financial crisis, the US Congress
has approved some 1.3 billion dollars for Mexico under the regional
three-year Merida Initiative, a joint plan to fight organized crime.
The United States had started to show "important results" in its
capacity to reduce the trafficking of arms and money south of the
border, he said, adding that it was now time to evaluate how bilateral
cooperation would continue.
The United States last month delivered five helicopters worth a total of
66 million dollars to Mexico under the Merida Initiative.
The slow release of funds has frustrated top Mexican officials.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon is waging a controversial clampdown on
the country's powerful drug gangs, and has deployed some 50,000 troops
to fight organized crime since he took office three years ago.
The government blames Mexican drug gangs for more than 15,000 violent
deaths in a wave of violence since the clampdown began.
Law Changes Little in Mexico Dennis Wagner - Arizona Republic
go to original
January 11, 2010
The limits include 5 grams for
marijuana (about three to six joints, depending on size) and
500 milligrams of cocaine (roughly five doses, or "lines").
Those found to be users must be released with a referral to
health authorities, though it's unclear how many referrals
are made or whether they work.
Agua Prieta, Sonora - A few blocks from the municipal police
station, on the morning after a cartel gunfight took four more lives
in Sonora, drug dealers cruise the streets of La Zona Roja with
cellphones in their hands.
Addicts in a local treatment center say these "carros alegres," or
happy cars, bring crack cocaine to consumers with all the speed and
reliability of a pizza delivery.
The happy cars are one more sign of Mexico's growing drug-abuse
problem and serve as a backdrop to the government's decision in
August to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of
narcotics. When the measure was adopted, President Felipe Calderón
and Mexico's Congress said they wanted to concentrate
law-enforcement efforts on the ruthless cartels that are blamed for
an estimated 13,000 deaths since Calderón declared a war on drugs in
December 2006. Calderón also said decriminalization of personal-use
quantities would thwart corrupt Mexican cops who sometimes shake
down drug users for bribes.
The measure incited controversy from Mexico City to Washington, D.C.
Legalization advocates suggested that America's closest neighbor and
ally in the drug war had finally recognized the waste of filling
prisons with non-violent addicts who need treatment rather than
punishment. Drug-enforcement hard-liners warned that eliminating
criminal charges for drug abuse would lead to increased public
consumption and addiction, perhaps even spawning narco-tourism by
Americans looking to get high legally in Mexico.
That the happy cars still cruise about Agua Prieta suggests that
critics and supporters overestimated the law's possible effects,
both on drug violence and the scourge of addiction.
The reform seems to have had more impact in the rhetorical war over
drug decriminalization than it has on Mexican streets. Rather than
claiming victory, legalization advocates say the new law may even
make things worse because of the way it's written. Conversely,
anti-legalization groups condemn the measure because it appears to
legitimize drug abuse.
Beneath the lofty debate, cops, treatment counselors, government
officials, researchers and addicts interviewed last month said there
have been no discernible changes related to the new law.
Police still arrest and incarcerate drug users. Americans have not
flocked to dope parlors south of the border. Mexican narcotics abuse
surges unabated, as does the flow of drugs and blood.
At the municipal police station in Agua Prieta, Jose Martin Lopez,
commander of an anti-narcotics unit, said the enforcement business
remains "exactly the same as it was before."
"Nothing has changed," agreed Alejandro Marin, assistant director of
a drug treatment center in Nogales. "If police see somebody using
drugs, smoking a joint, they pick 'em up."
Kenn Morris, president of a San Diego market research firm that
represents the Tijuana tourism bureau, said there is no sign of
Americans visiting the border town to use drugs legally. As for the
new law's overall impact, he added: "It was a big yawn."
While public attention focuses on violence and corruption spawned by
drug cartels, more damage is hidden away in a Nogales barrio, behind
a locked gate with walls topped by barbed wire.
The treatment center is temporary home to 180 addicts, alcoholics
and psychiatric cases. Most express ignorance of Mexico's new
measure, and many criticize the idea of decriminalization.
"If the law allows us to have a little bit of drugs, then we as
addicts will only carry a little bit and a little bit," says Juan
Manuel Rodriguez Arroyo, a heroin junkie for 32 years who now serves
as volunteer director of the Nogales shelter. "It's bad
symbolically. It says you can use and nothing will happen."
Marin, a recovering user as well as administrator, leads visitors
past men cooking supper in a cauldron over a wood fire to a
windowless detox unit. Several recent arrivals, wrapped in blankets,
squint and groan as sunlight breaches the room's darkness.
Next door, in an assembly hall, about three dozen guys take turns
proclaiming that they are addicts. A young man in a Denver Broncos
jacket, using heavy street slang, orates about the pain he has
brought to his family, the damage he has done to himself.
Along Sonora's northern border zone, this is one among dozens of
treatment facilities, a sanctuary for crackheads, tweakers, huffers,
junkies and boozers. Some residents were committed by police. Some
were brought by family members. A few admitted themselves.
At the treatment center in Agua Prieta, a 13-year-old boy, the only
child among 84 adults, says he began sniffing inhalants three years
ago, then got hooked on cocaine. This is his third time in rehab.
Another cocaine addict, 22-year-old Arturo Quijar Rodriquez, says
his wife forced him into recovery because he was neglecting the
family. Rodriguez, a municipal police officer, says he is hoping to
be back on day shifts soon, while still spending nights in the
During a series of interviews at two Sonoran shelters, the stories
of dozens of men seemed to blur into one. All started using drugs
with friends, wound up dealing or smuggling, spent time in prison.
Now, in rehab, they are unanimous in declaring that they want to
"It's just like the same movie over and over with a different
actor," says Francisco Cardenas, one of the clients.
The federal decriminalization law, which took effect Aug. 21, calls
for suspects caught with small drug quantities to appear before a
prosecutor, who must determine whether the possession was for
personal use or trafficking. Mexico's government contends the
statute merely codifies what already was a legal reality.
The limits include 5 grams for marijuana (about three to six joints,
depending on size) and 500 milligrams of cocaine (roughly five
doses, or "lines"). Those found to be users must be released with a
referral to health authorities, though it's unclear how many
referrals are made or whether they work.
At the same time, the law gives Mexico's state and local police more
drug-fighting authority. For instance, the measure empowers them to
prosecute street drug dealers, a job previously limited to the
federal government. It also calls for a central operations center
housing drug-enforcement units at all levels in each state. And it
toughens penalties - four to eight years in prison - for anyone
caught selling even tiny amounts of narcotics.
Finally, the measure allows one year for Mexico's state and local
authorities to adopt corresponding personal-use laws and three years
to implement them.
But nearly half a year into the new law, many legalization advocates
view Mexico's change more as a setback than a victory.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a
coalition that favors decriminalization, said most addicts buy drugs
in quantities greater than allowed under the measure, so the law in
reality would not even decriminalize most "personal use."
"It's not clear yet whether this is three steps forward or two steps
forward and three steps backward," he said.
John Walsh, a senior associate at the Washington Office of Latin
America, a non-governmental organization that promotes social and
economic justice, predicts that Mexico's law will wind up putting
more drug users in prison at greater public expense. Because
penalties increase for possessing drugs beyond the allowed amounts,
he said, the measure also may worsen police corruption, giving
officers greater leverage for extortion.
Those who favor rigid enforcement standards are just as critical of
Mexico's new standard but for opposite reasons.
"It's a bad message to kids," said Calvina Fay, executive director
of Drug Free America Foundation, noting that there is even
grass-roots opposition to legalization south of the border. "This is
not what moms and dads and grandmas (in Mexico) want for their
children. They recognize that drug use is harmful to families."
Fay warns that any softening of enforcement will create safety
hazards on highways and in workplaces. She rejects the idea that
allowing personal-use amounts will somehow reduce police bribery
"Decriminalizing drugs isn't going to clean up their corruption,"
she said. "And I don't think it will make one bit of difference as
far as easing up the violence."
The larger debate
Because of such philosophical differences, Mexico's reform has
emerged as a talking point in the renewed debate over the war on
Walsh recently co-wrote a report that says decriminalization is
spreading through Latin America: Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil,
Columbia and now Mexico all have had recent court decisions or
legislation eliminating personal-use narcotics offenses.
Walsh said there is little statistical information so far on the
impact of decriminalization in Latin America. But in Portugal, where
possession of drugs was decriminalized in 2001, research shows
improved government control of product safety and distribution,
among other issues, without an increase in narcotics use - and
without a surge in recreational-drug tourism from surrounding
In the United States, meanwhile, debate has focused primarily on
cannabis: Thirteen states already have adopted so-called medical
marijuana laws. (Arizona voters are expected to cast ballots on a
proposition this fall.) Fourteen states have reduced pot possession
from a crime to the equivalent of a traffic ticket. And in October,
the Justice Department announced that it will no longer raid
properly registered dispensaries of medical marijuana.
Legalization proponents contend these are signs of a nation and
world recognizing that the strategy of arrest and imprisonment of
drug users is fundamentally flawed. They argue that legal regulation
of narcotics would break cartel monopolies while reducing violence,
corruption and prison overcrowding. They also contend that the
billions of dollars now spent on enforcement could be shifted to
treatment and education.
Walter McKay, Mexico City director for Law Enforcement Agents
Against Prohibition, said the war on drugs created a lucrative black
market that perpetuates cartels and their mayhem. "This is a bloody,
costly war," he said. "It's slowly moving toward anarchy."
But in the Nogales rehab center, 55-year-old Carlos Hernandez said a
quarter-century of addiction to cocaine and heroin have convinced
him that even tiny amounts of narcotics endanger society.
"Oh, yes, it should be illegal," he said. "It destroys lives."
Buy Mexico's FEMSA in $7.9 Billion Deal Ben Berkowitz & Philip Blenkinsop - Reuters
go to original
January 11, 2010
Bottles of Heineken beer are displayed before
a news conference in London January 25, 2008. (Reuters/Stephen
Amsterdam/Brussels – Heineken NV will buy the beer business of Mexico's
FEMSA in a $7.9 billion deal that boosts the Dutch brewer's
emerging-market presence and cements an alliance with Latin America's
biggest drinks firm.
Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, said on Monday the all-stock
purchase of the brewing assets excluding debt - $5.5 billion based on
Friday's closing share price - would make FEMSA Heineken's second
largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake and give it a boardroom
Analysts said the deal was competitively priced and broadened Heineken's
exposure to higher-growth markets, sending its shares sharply higher.
Chief Executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer told Reuters the deal would
raise Heineken's operating profit from faster-growing emerging markets
to 40 percent from 32 percent.
"It rebalances that spread between the developed and developing
markets," Van Boxmeer said in a conference call.
Heineken would secure FEMSA's Dos Equis, Tecate and Sol brands, beers it
already sells in the United States, and an operation with a 43 percent
share of the Mexican beer market and a 9 percent share in Brazil.
The United States, Brazil and Mexico are the first, second and fourth
largest beer profit pools, Heineken said.
Heineken shares, which opened lower, quickly reversed and were up 5.2
percent at 34.63 euros in Amsterdam by 1220 GMT, increasing the value of
the acquisition to $5.8 billion.
The deal includes a further $2.1 billion of net debt and pension
The total value of the transaction based on Friday's closing Heineken
share price - $7.6 billion - meant an 11.2 percent multiple of
enterprise value to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
Analysts said this was broadly in line with levels of 10-11 times for
Latin American beer assets.
"It looks like a reasonable price ... Heineken lacked exposure to
emerging markets and it is already selling the (FEMSA) beers into the
United States so it protects that ... Overall it's positive," said
Trevor Stirling, analyst at Bernstein Research.
STRENGTHENS FEMSA PARTNERSHIP
Heineken said it expected the transaction to close in the second
quarter, provide annual cost synergies of 150 million euros ($215
million) by 2013 and to add to earnings per share within two years.
It would produce a profit after six years based on weighted average cost
of capital of 12.5 percent.
FEMSA, which describes itself as Latin America's largest beverage
company, sells Coca-Cola in nine countries in Latin America. It also
operates OXXO, which it says is the largest convenience store chain in
Latin America. With the deal, it will also be selling the Heineken
"It is a very good basis to build up in the future ... FEMSA has
regional strengths and we will exploit them," Van Boxmeer said.
FEMSA Chief Executive Jose Antonio Fernandez said the deal would allow
FEMSA shareholders to participate in value creation from Heineken's
transformation of its brewing assets and allow FEMSA itself to focus
attention on Coca-Cola FEMSA and OXXO.
Heineken will first issue 86 million new shares. FEMSA would keep half
and exchange the rest for shares of Heineken Holding (HEIO.AS), which
would retain its 50.005 stake in Heineken NV.
Heineken would give FEMSA a further 29 million shares over the next five
years, although FEMSA would earn Heineken dividends for these
immediately. Van Boxmeer said Heineken would seek to buy these shares
back from the market.
The deal would give FEMSA a 12.5 percent stake in Heineken NV and 14.9
percent of parent Heineken Holding.
It would have the right to appoint two non-executive members to the
supervisory board of Heineken NV, one of them becoming vice chairman who
would also sit on Heineken Holding's board.
Keijser Capital trader Geoffrey Leloux said many analysts would be
charmed by the deal. Heineken was consolidating its position and there
would be no general share issue but a direct placement with only some
dilution for shareholders.
The absence of an expected general, larger share issue was pushing up
the shares, Leloux said.
The deal was expected, after SABMiller Plc (SAB.L) dropped out of the
auction for the FEMSA businesses.
FEMSA had said in October it was looking at options for its beer
business, which is the second-biggest in Mexico and number four in
(Additional reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Hans Peters,
Sharon Lindores, John Stonestreet)
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Saturday, 06 February 2010
15:00 - 22:00
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Mexico Drug War to Task Ken Ellingwood - Los Angeles Times
go to original
January 04, 2010
Soldiers at a Mexico City military school line
up before leaving to aid in drug crop eradication. Two former
top officials write in a recent book critical of the
government's campaign against narcotics traffickers, "If what is
good for us is decriminalization, that is what we should fight
for." (Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press)
Mexico City - Almost everything to do with the Mexican government's war
against drugs is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The threat from narco-trafficking is overblown. Fighting cartels won't
stop the flow of illegal drugs or erase Mexican corruption. The real
battle over drugs lies on the U.S. side of the border.
That's the gist of a provocative new book that challenges virtually
every premise on which Mexican President Felipe Calderon has based his
3-year-old offensive against drug cartels.
"El Narco: La Guerra Fallida" ("Narco: The Failed War"), by two top
officials under Calderon's predecessor, Vicente Fox, is one of the first
book-length looks at the crackdown launched by Calderon when he took
office in December 2006.
The Spanish-language book, which has sold well here, is controversial
and stubbornly contrarian, to the point of suggesting that Mexico might
be better off coming to terms with the drug capos and focusing on
smaller-bore crimes that plague Mexicans.
"Calderon could have easily launched a major crusade against insecurity,
violence and unorganized crime, on the type of minor misdemeanors that
gave birth to Rudy Giuliani's zero tolerance stance in New York," the
authors assert. "But that crusade would never have unleashed the
passions, support or sense of danger that a full-fledged war on drugs
In "El Narco," former Fox spokesman Ruben Aguilar and former Foreign
Minister Jorge Castaneda attempt an end run past the usual debate over
whether the Calderon anti-crime strategy is working. Instead, they
maintain that the offensive was unnecessary, and they seek to poke holes
in many of the reasons Calderon has offered for launching a campaign
that has claimed more than 15,000 lives.
The president's assertion that Mexico faced a crisis of deepening drug
consumption at home? They present figures showing that though domestic
use has risen, it is minuscule compared with countries such as the
Calderon's contention that drug violence had reached alarming levels
when he decided to act? The authors quote studies showing that the
nation's overall homicide rate had been in decline for years. (It has
gone up since.)
"Why in the world was it necessary to declare an all-out war against the
cartels because of growing violence, when violence was actually
diminishing?" the authors ask.
The book argues that U.S. drug use - the motor of the violent
trafficking industry - is largely unaffected by Mexico's enforcement
actions. The answer for Mexico, it says, lies in swinging debate north
of the border in favor of drug decriminalization or legalization.
"If what is good for us is decriminalization, that is what we should
fight for," write Aguilar and Castaneda, a leftist intellectual and
commentator who is the better known of the two.
The authors propose some public-safety measures, including creation of a
national police force and a no-fly zone over southern Mexico. But rather
than send troops to fight drug cartels, they argue, Mexico should focus
on limiting the "collateral damage" that most aggrieves Mexicans:
kidnappings, extortion, car theft and corruption.
This could mean "tacit quid pro quos" with gangs to get them to keep
down criminal mayhem in Mexico's streets, the writers say, but it
doesn't require a formal handshake.
"The narcos understand," they say. "If they were imbeciles, they
wouldn't be rich."
Aguilar and Castaneda contend that in launching the drug offensive, the
conservative Calderon sought to win legitimacy for his presidency after
a disputed election victory in 2006. That thesis is heard often on the
Calderon hasn't directly referred to the authors, but he has sharply
criticized those who he says would have Mexico run from the drug war or
cut deals with traffickers. He says such approaches would "erode the
foundations that support our society, as a state based on law."
Calderon has frequently characterized his crime crackdown as an attempt
to clean and modernize a system that had become thoroughly corrupted
through decades of official acceptance of the drug trade, or even
outright collusion with it.
Last month, he urged Mexicans to "ignore those who naively want the
government to just walk away from the fight, as if the problems would
solve themselves by magic."
The outspoken authors of "El Narco" are uncharacteristically spare when
it comes to solving Mexico's graft problem. They agree that drug-related
corruption has long been part of the Mexican landscape, especially in
small towns, but are skeptical of reports that traffickers' penetration
of the system had hit grave new depths when Calderon sent troops into
"This is Mexico, not Norway," they write. "Narcos' complicity with
municipal, state and federal authorities wasn't born yesterday."
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Off Cliff in Northern Mexico; 14 Dead Associated Press
go to original
January 03, 2010
Tijuana, Mexico — A bus carrying farm workers and their families home
plunged off a cliff in northern Mexico on Saturday, killing 14 people
and injuring 21.
The bus was traveling along a treacherously winding stretch of highway
before dawn when it veered off at high speed over a cliff halfway
between the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, according to reports
from police and prosecutors.
Baja California state prosecutors said the bus fell about 330 feet (100
meters) and broke in two, scattering luggage, seats and passengers along
the slope below the highway.
The cause of the crash was under investigation. One man injured in the
crash told investigators the bus appeared to have brake trouble before
the wreck and quoted the drivers as saying a mechanic would be available
Among the 14 dead were two young boys and an infant. Nine men and two
The bus was transporting the workers from El Papalote ranch in the
Pacific coast town of San Quintin to another ranch hundreds of miles
(kilometers) south, in Villa Juarez outside the Sinaloa state capital of
Among 21 people treated for injuries at nearby hospitals were five
children, ages 8 months to 10 years, listed in serious or delicate
Banks to Charge Only One Fee for ATM Use The News
go to original
January 01, 2010
withdraws money from an
automatic teller machine (ATM)
of BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City
on Wednesday. (The News)
Mexico City - In 2010, the Bank of
Mexico (Banxico) will inact a new
regulation in order to prevent undue
commission fee charges for ATM users.
The effort won't be easy, said Banxico
Director of Operations Systems and
Payments, Ricardo Medina. He
acknowledged that there is currently no
limit to the commission fee “we will be
vigilant regarding the rate of increase
in order to determine whether or not
another type of regulation will be
Last October the central bank reported
that from next year banks will only
charge cardholders once for ATM
transactions, after detecting that banks
were charging ATM users double
commissions without informing them of
the charges. The change is to enter into
effect from 15 January and 30 April, the
new regulation will limit the number of
commission fees charged and require
banks to notify users of the fees before
In an interview Ricardo Medina explained
that with these measures the central
bank will resolve a problem with
transparency in ATM operations. “We
think that it is very healthy and
recommendable for cardholders who use
ATMs that before they realize their
transaction they clearly understand how
much the bank will charge them for the
transaction and on the basis of this
authorize the transaction.”
“It has become common practice that each
bank, that which issued the card and
that which operates the ATM, each
charges a commission of their own.” In
these cases the cardholders do not
realize they will be charged twice “and
this can become quite expensive.”
In the face of this situation Banxico
has outlined within the new regulation
that banks will have until 15 January,
2010 in order to regularize and make
transparent their commission charges for
transactions where the ATM operator and
bankcard are from the same bank, and
until 30 April for different
Ricardo Medina emphasized that “through
the new regulation Banxico will
eliminate one of these two commissions.
The ATM operator will have the right to
charge the commission and if the ATM
operator decides to charge the
commission then the bank that issued the
card will no longer be able to charge a
commission fee.” He said that there
still does not exist a limit on rate of
commission that can be charged
Now you can report police and
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The Perez Brothers and the Puerto
Vallarta Chamber Players to Entertain at Fiesta 2010
The Perez Brothers and the Puerto
Vallarta Chamber Players have been confirmed to entertain at Fiesta
- a gala fundraising event in support of Los Amigos de La Peñita
will be held on Sunday, January 31 from 1:00 to 5:00 at the
award-winning home of Thomas Bartlett in La Peñita.
extravaganza will include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres.There will be a new live auction as well as a silent auction
featuring a host of valuable items.
will be available for a donation of 750 pesos per person.Tickets can be obtained at
Xaltemba Restaurant, Daniel’s Backstreet , Latitude 21, Bold
Development, Hidden Paradise Real Estate, Casita de La Peñita,
Posada Las Flores (Los
Ayala), Beach Dog Boarding & Salon (Lo de Marcos) as well as at the
Tianguis every Thursday.You can also get them through Allyson Williams at
Christina Stobbs at
firstname.lastname@example.org, Jerry Aschenbrenner
at the La Peñita RV Park or
at the Tianguis every Thursday.
raised will be used to support a variety of Los Amigos projects
including: our plastics recycling program, building and maintenance
projects at local schools, beach clean-ups and scholarships for
Christian Groups Try to Reverse Mexican Gay Marriage Law Agence France-Presse
go to original
January 09, 2010
The capital's legislature approved gay
marriage on December 21, in the first such law passed
anywhere in Latin America.
Mexico City - Christian groups on Thursday said they had asked
Mexico's attorney general to overturn a newly-voted Mexico City law
allowing gay marriage and the possibility of adoption, because it
The capital's legislature approved gay marriage on December 21, in
the first such law passed anywhere in Latin America.
The Contraternice group of Evangelical churches and the College of
Catholic Lawyers said they believed the new law that "allows
marriage between people of the same sex and the possibility to
adopt" was unconstitutional, a statement said.
The complaint was based on "Christian principles," but also included
legal issues on which the Supreme Court should decide, including
possible violations of the Constitution and the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, it added.
The Mexico City law changes the meaning of marriage from "a free
union between a man and a woman" to "a free union between two
The Mexican capital authorized civil unions for homosexuals in
November 2006 and decriminalized abortion in April 2007, contrasting
with mostly conservative policies across the largely Catholic
TABLES of ten have sold out
Individual ticket sales are still available
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Bans Cougar Cruises: Older Women Looking for Younger Men on the High
Seas Told to Go Elsewhere Sebastian Lander - Daily Mail UK
go to original
January 09, 2010
Hide and seek: There is a growing number of
events for older women and younger men who are attracted to each
A cruise line has banned events aimed at older women searching for
younger men from taking place on its ships. Last month, U.S.-based The
Society of Single Professionals and The Singles Travel Company held
their 'International Cougar Cruise' aboard Carnival's Elation on a
three-night trip from San Diego in California to Mexico.
The 300 places booked for the event on the 2,052-capacity ship were
swiftly snapped up and there was even a waiting list of eager cougars -
the name given to older women - and 'cubs' - the younger men attracted
A spokesperson for Carnival made its position clear, saying: "This theme
group was not sponsored nor organised by Carnival but rather by a travel
agent and the cruise line will not be allowing any future groups to be
booked and marketed under this theme."
But Rich Gosse, chairman of The Society of Single Professionals, said
the event had been a success.
He said: "We are grateful to Carnival for helping us with the world's
first International Cougar Cruise. Their cruise staff were wonderful,
and our cougars and cubs had a great experience.
"[It] was such a tremendous success, we are doing it again - twice!"
The 'West Coast Cougar Cruise' will visit the Mexican Riviera from May
16 - 23, leaving from Los Angeles and stopping in at the ports of Cabo
San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, aboard Royal Caribbean's
Mariner of the Seas.
The 'East Coast Cougar Cruise' will take place from December 3 - 6
departing from Miami and visiting the Bahamas with cruise line NCL.
Mr Gosse added: '"In addition, we are currently negotiating the
Australian Cougar Cruise for 2010. "We hope the 2010 cougar cruises will
be even more popular and more fun. British cougars and cubs are most
welcome to join us!"
Become a Friend of Nayarit on Face book
click here Wanted
Can you Speak Spanish? How long have you been studying
Spanish? Between high school classes, college classes
and you own efforts you could easily have a couple years
already under your belt. During this time you have
likely built up a good Spanish vocabulary, along with a
basic understanding of Spanish verb conjugation. But can
you speak Spanish?
Why is speaking Spanish
so hard? Would you feel comfortable approaching a native Spanish speaker
and starting a conversation? Why not? Why is it so hard to speak Spanish
evenBeginning high school and college Spanish classes, as well as most
self study Spanish courses start off by teaching vocabulary and verb
conjugation. You practice speaking, but the focus is on the individual
word or phrase. Lists of words are memorized and tests are given on verb
conjugation. So when it comes time to speak, the words and phrases are
separate in your mind. It becomes a matter of trying to pull all the
pieces together and form them all into a sensible sentence, not just
The key to becoming more
comfortable in speaking situations is to practice and learn the
sentences as a whole, not in separate pieces. This way when you are
trying to remember what to say, the whole sentence pops in your mind,
not just one word. You will speak Spanish more correctly, more fluently
and more confidently than ever before.
The Visual Link Spanish
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Pacific Coast Road, Driving and Travel Guide Log 2010
Driving in Mexico just got a little safer with the
release of México Road Logs - A comprehensive compilation of road logs
of the Mexican Highway system researched and created by Bill and Dot
They have just released the updated version of their successful Nogales
to Puerto Vallarta road Log and Travel Guide.
The Mexico Road Log and Driving Guides give details
of what to expect along major travel routes when visiting different
areas of Mexico. "Far more than a simple map, these road logs detail
intersections, driving directions, points of interest, and provide
important information on driving hazards that even current GPS systems
do not track" said Dot Bell. "The Road Logs are a must for those who are
driving throughout the Baja, Pacific, Gulf Coast, and the Interior of
According to Insurance Guru Jim Labelle President
of Mexpro (the largest insurance supplier to Canadians and Americans
entering Mexico ) the Road Logs will make car and RV travel in Mexico
less intimidating. "For years, our clients have asked us for updated
road logs of Mexico," Labelle said.
"The Mexico Road Logs provide our customers with
additional peace of mind and will allow them to have a more enjoyable
Mexico travel experience. They may even prevent U-turns and collisions!
By using the Mexico Road Logs, our clients will experience less stress
and have a more relaxed driving experience, which should also help
Mexpro with reduced claims that in the past have resulted from customers
getting lost or losing their composure," Labelle said.
The Mexico Road Logs are updated, simple to read,
easy to use, and offer the perfect solution to people who want to drive
and enjoy Mexico.
The Bell's originally designed the Mexico Road Log
for a Caravan they were leading down Mexico's West Coast. "We wanted to
list every individual gas station and identifier so folks wouldn't get
lost. We wanted to warn them of every turn and hazard along the way,"
says Bell. "They were such a hit and even the people who have driven
Mexican Roads for years were asking for them. They wanted to be reminded
where the next gas station was, if it sold diesel or where the next
Military checkpoint was likely to be."
The Bell's are experts in Mexico Travel and have
led conferences, seminars and special classes about driving and travel
in Mexico throughout Canada and the USA. They have the most
comprehensive travel website on Mexico Driving, RVing and Camping and
are now working with Mexpro to distribute Mexico Road Logs in an
easy-to-use interactive download.
Available at http://www.ontheroadin.com.
How to download and buy the Road Log
Click on the buy now button and you will be directed to a merchants page.
Once you pay for the road log you will redirected to an easy to use download
page where you will be able to receive your product immediately. Now only