Yucatan News: What a Beginning to 2017!
Gasolinazo: Protesting Gasoline Price Increases
After being told that gasoline prices would be going up, but not by unaffordable leaps, prices were raised by between 14% and 20.1% across Mexico all at once. The cause of these rises in price are twofold. First, Mexico imports a significant amount of its gasoline and international prices are rising. Second, several of Mexico’s aging refineries have been closed down for years so they cannot be quickly retooled to replace the now more expensive imported gasoline. Taken together, this has caused a perfect storm that has significantly increased gasoline prices in Mexico. In a domino effect, but only in some areas, this caused an increase in the price of food and other commercial goods of up to 100% due to restocking and transportation costs. Gasolinazo was supposed to be simply a day of protest against increasing prices. Enter Social Media and it soon looked as if all of Mexico had lost its mind in panic buying and looting. In truth and as of this writing, there have been only 250 documented incidents spread across 15 states, none of which were in the State of Yucatan.
Social Media: Fake News About Yucatan
Regardless of what you see or hear on social media sites, so far, there have been no reports of looting or vandalism against any businesses in the State of Yucatan. The General Directorate of Social Communication said that false messages about supposed looting in department stores in Merida have been spread on social networks, with the aim of “creating confusion and fear, using events that have taken place in other states.” These social media fake news stories have gone so far as to use photos of disturbances that do not correspond to any locality in Yucatan. There is also an audio in which a woman supposedly “confirms” that vandalism is going on in Merida, but the voice has been identified as the same one that, several years ago, made a false claim that there had been a kidnapping in Yucatan. The SSP is asking the public not to be surprised when they see these types of messages and to please not forward or otherwise disseminate them. Surely, after 2016, people should be at least beginning to realize that social media outlets are probably not the best places to get news.
Yucatan’s Fishing Industry Affected by Gasoline Prices
There are two types of fishing boats working from the coast of Yucatan: large ships owned by industrial fishing fleets, and medium to small fishing boats owned by individual local fishermen. It is this second group that the price of gasoline has sidelined. These individual fishermen are the ones who will be the first and hardest hit as the high gasoline prices cause them to remain in port and join the ranks of the unemployed. Next will come the restaurants and their employees, both inland and along the coast. They serve tourists and must make a profit to keep their doors open and their employees working. What looked as if it would be a bumper year for tourism in Yucatan may not turn out to be quite as profitable as originally predicted.
Mexicans Buying Gasoline Across Border
Do you remember in 2008 when gasoline prices in the United States went up so high that Americans were crossing the border into Mexico to fill up vehicles and even barrels at Pemex stations? Fast forward to today and you have the reverse situation. Mexicans, who live near the border, are now crossing into the United States to fill up their vehicles and to do their grocery shopping. It seems that since August, gasoline has been sometimes up to 25% cheaper in the United States than in some areas of Mexico. Last summer, California had its cheapest gasoline in ten years. Now, gasoline prices have risen in California for the past ten consecutive days because of the situation in Mexico. This is a situation that will, eventually, work itself out, as it did in 2008 when the shoe was on the other foot.
Trump vs Auto Industry
The threat was (is): Make vehicles in the United States or face a 35% tax at the border. Experts say it is not possible for Trump to do that to a single U.S. company.
- Ford was to move production of the small Ford Focus to a new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, keep production of larger vehicles in the U.S. Now, Ford is moving production of the Focus to an existing plant in Hermosillo and expanding its plant in Michigan to include research on electric cars for the future. Ford says this is a business move and not a reaction to Trump’s threat.
- The same threat has been made against GM, Toyota and Volkswagen, all of which have declined to alter their business plans. They all make smaller vehicles and their markets are worldwide.
Merida’s King Cake Breaks National Record for Length
Until Thursday, Mexico City held the national record for the length (1.5 km) of their Rosca de Reyes (King Cake). It took the employees of five hotels in Merida, working together, to beat the record and at 2.4 km (1.5 miles!), they took the national title for the longest King Cake ever baked in Mexico. This was a very special King Cake that was cut into 25,000 slices, which were then sold to the public and the proceeds donated to a number of altruistic organizations that provide assistance to Yucatan’s most vulnerable populations. With 2017 being the second time that Merida has been named the Culture Capital of the Americas in the 21st century, winning the national title for the longest King Cake in Mexico couldn’t have come at a better time. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this event the most successful of its kind in the country.
Merida Marathon Earns International Certification
The Merida Marathon and Half-Marathon are part of the January Anniversary of the City of Merida each year. However, this year is a little different in that both the Merida Marathon and Half-Marathon have been granted international certification by the International Association of Marathons and Distance Races, so they can be a qualifying event for other international marathons. This designation will be valid until 2021. Yucatan has an avid running community and they are to be commended for their efforts on behalf of the Merida Marathon.
Mayan Octopus May Hold Key to Alzheimer Cure
The saliva of the red octopus (aka Mayan octopus) contains a substance that paralyzes their victims. Researchers, led by Sergio Rodriguez Morales, pharmacist and chemist in the Sisal Chemistry Unit of UNAM’s Faculty (School) of Chemistry, are investigating if the paralyzing substance in the saliva of the Mayan octopus can have an effect on the central nervous system of humans. There is now scientific evidence that one of the components of the saliva of the Mayan Octopus does inhibit the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, which prevents communication between neurons and is related to Alzheimer’s disease. The hope is that this substance would prevent Alzheimer’s disease in healthy individuals and prevent it from developing further in those who already have Alzheimer’s disease. It is expected to take ten to fifteen years of research and testing before a safe drug is ready for human use, so Yucatan is taking the lead in yet another area of medical research and development.
Ways to Help Chicxulub Food Bank Help Local Families
- Chicxulub Food Bank Bingo
- Wednesday, January 11
- 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
The Chicxulub Food Bank Bingo events take place every second week and have been moved to Restaurante La Antigua, located on Calle 21 x 60 y 58 in Progreso. Proceeds will go to help provide food to needy families.
- Thursday, January 19
- 9:00 AM
Artisan and International Food Market- Held twice a Month at D'Mar Salon de Eventos, calle 28x21y23, Chicxulub Puerto. This market has become an invaluable resource on several fronts. First, it helps to showcase many of the wonderful specialty foods made by expats from around the world, as well as local vendors. Second, it helps to get the work of both local and expat artists in every medium. Finally, it helps to support the Chicxulub Food Bank. If you need a hammock, you can purchase one made locally and, if you have an extra package of beans or rice, your donation will be deeply appreciated.
Need More Bingo?
- Chelem Christmas Toy Drive January Bingo
- Tuesday, January 17
- 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
This event is held at LaBarca Restaurante de Chelem, Carretera Chelem – Chuburna km 2.1 esquina (corner) Gaviotas. The proceeds go to purchase Christmas presents for every child in Chelem, from birth to 10 years old. This year, the number climbed to 800 so everyone needs to play a whole lot of bingo in 2017.