Yucatan News: Shoes and Sympathy
Merida’s Hospital Statistics
The Mexican Social Security Institute’s (IMSS) annual hospital survey results are out and Merida completely dominates southeastern Mexico’s health care landscape. The three hospitals that provide the most services are Augustine O’Horan, the Psychiatric Hospital, and the Yucatan Peninsula Regional High Specialty Hospital. O’Horan alone treated more than 144,734 patients over the course of the past year, and all of them together treated more than 2,245,740 patients. All of Merida’s IMSS hospitals annually treat more than 35,000 patients from the other states on the Yucatan Peninsula (Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo). The reason they come to Yucatan is that Merida has such an extensive medical infrastructure, which includes access to the best education for physicians in both general and specialized medicine. The quality of health care in Yucatan is now at a level where questions from potential expats are now centered not on whether care is available, but on choices among a full array of specialty physicians and hospitals. The expat community in Yucatan is now large enough and stable enough to provide firsthand recommendations for potential expats, so that access to excellent health care no longer needs to be a concern.
U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen
Please note that the U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen will be closed from Tuesday, April 19 through Friday, April 22. The U.S. Consular Agent in Cozumel will also be unavailable during those same times. In addition, the U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen will only offer very limited services on Monday, April 18. All U.S. citizens needing services during these dates should contact the U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun or the U.S. Consulate General in Merida. The U.S. Consulate and all Consular Agencies will resume normal business hours on Monday, April 25. We would also like to take this time to congratulate our friend, Heather Anderson, on her new position as Consular Agent in Playa del Carmen.
Tourism Up in Acapulco
Following a violent event that involved elements of organized crime, the United States Department of State recently issued a travel warning for the Port of Acapulco. This travel warning was in spite of the fact that, according to the Governor of Guerrero, no American – man, woman or child – has been hurt because of violence in Acapulco. In fact, with recent tourist seasons having resulted in greater than 95% occupancy levels, there has not been even a single incident in the tourist zone. To celebrate the safety and success of the latest tourism season, the State of Guerrero threw a huge party that recognized foreign and domestic tourists who have remained loyal to this area. Just to satisfy our own curiosity, we paid a visit to Set Free in Mexico, a popular blog by Bruce and Mary, expats who are living and working in Mexico. Bruce and Mary were expats in Yucatan for several years, so they understand safety and would be writing about the situation if there was one. Instead, Bruce and Mary are going on walking tours, spending the day at the river, eating in local restaurants, and watching Minnesota Twins games via Slingbox. We hope that all will remain well all across Mexico and that these periodic United States State Department travel warnings do not set up a potentially dangerous “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario.
Hunucma Shoe Company: DMD
Dennisse Mildreth Domínguez grew up in Yucatan and graduated from Universidad Anáhuac Mayab, following an early education in Yucatan’s Catholic school system. Her education would have guaranteed her success anywhere in the world she chose to go. Instead, she borrowed $250 pesos and started a shoe brand that is not only a raging international success, but that provides decent employment and fair salaries to a large number of people in Hunucma. DMD’s signature shoe is an espadrille that incorporates the bandana of the mission of the customer’s choice. Her customers include students, missionary families, and the general public. After discovering that her idea was well received, she took her initial $250 pesos and only made the pairs of shoes that were paid for in advance. Then, she moved on to making samples and testing new materials. She asked for, and received, support from Sefoe for the first two years. After that, she started giving recognition to employees in her social networks and other mass media. The goal was to show them that doing business with DMD would begin a tradition that enriches culture. She attended courses and entrepreneurial workshops, joined mentoring programs and tried to show a consistent presence in the networking of various programs. From her first proposal, her business went viral on social networks – and the rest is history. Now, in addition to great jobs for residents of Hunucma, she is busy with developing export relationships within her industry in Brazil and making plans to expand with new equipment. Dennisse Mildreth Dominguez feels that much of her success is rooted in her need to improve her community while, at the same time, developing her own path to success; and she is well aware that her schools helped to develop this feeling in her. DMD Shoes, with their determination to improve futures for families in Hunucma, is a perfect example of how young people grow up to reproduce whatever culture they experienced as children. (see link below)
Agoura Hills, California: Classified Employee of the Month
Yucatan Living would like to add our congratulations to Manuel “Manny” Casanova, Classified Employee of the Month at Lindero Canyon Middle School in Agoura Hills, California. Mr. Casanova was born and grew up in the State of Yucatan and is of Maya descent. He moved to California, along with his parents and eight siblings, at the age of 22, married and raised three children, all of whom earned college degrees. One of his children now work as a political coordinator for a labor union in San Francisco, another works on legislation for the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health to remove toxins from children’s products, and the third is an employee of the federal Bureau of Land Management. The members of the Casanova family are all proud, voting citizens of the United States.
With Deepest Sympathy for the Gongora Family
As many of our readers are aware, another Yucateco was shot and killed by San Francisco police officers. This time, it was 45-year old Luis Gongora, an undocumented Yucateco living in the San Francisco area for 15 years. He lost his job, became involved with drugs and alcohol, and gradually lost his resources to the point at which he was living on the street. The police officers claim he had a knife, but witnesses say this is the second police-involved shooting in which they claimed the person had a knife. There is an ongoing investigation of this incident and the widow of Luis Gongora is on her way to San Francisco to get as many answers as she can. In the meantime, we offer our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Luis Gongora.
Mexico Announces Four Billion Dollars in Aid for PEMEX
There was a time when PEMEX’s contributions, as a percent, to the annual budget of Mexico were in double digits. Unfortunately, those times are no longer with us and may not be for some time to come. As oil fields play out, and the price of crude drops around the world, PEMEX can no longer afford the level of research and exploration necessary to remain as a major player in its industry without a very large infusion of cash. In hopes of securing international investments to make up the short fall, Mexico changed its laws to allow foreign investment in PEMEX. Unfortunately, before the ink was dry on the new law, the bottom fell out of global crude. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and Mexico is stepping up with $1.5 billion dollars in a direct infusion, plus more than $2.6 billion dollars to pay PEMEX pensions and retirements this year.
Chicxulub Crater Research and UNESCO
The Chicxulub crater has been under consideration for recognition as a National Heritage site by UNESCO since 2012. The new, scientific exploration of the history of the crater will be presented added to the information UNESCO already has in hopes of tipping the balance and winning the designation for this area and for the entire “ring of cenotes” that marks the boundary of the crater in the interior of the state. If this happens, and there is every reason to believe it will, Chicxulub will have some adjusting to do. Hopefully, the influx of tourists won’t change the flavor of the town, but we well remember how many years Progreso continued to be described as a “sleepy little fishing village” after those days were just a memory.
Paddle Marathon in Bacalar
The beautiful Pueblo Magico of Bacalar will be hosting its annual Paddle Marathon on Saturday, April 30. This is a setting that almost guaranteed that such a marathon would develop, with or without help from sports managers. In fact, it began as an impromptu event with only nine competitors. Now, it boasts 120 competitors and is growing by the year. If you have never been to Lake Bacalar, now is the time to go. It is a place that is unique in all the world. Visit Yucatan Living’s How to Enjoy Bacalar for more information on this wonderful area. Or you can read about last year's Paddle Marathon here.
Dunkin’ Donuts to Open 20 Restaurants in the Yucatan Region
The 20 new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the southeast region of Mexico is only the beginning. The agreement is for 150 restaurants throughout the country. Those will be added to the 700 Dunkin’ Donuts locations that are already in Mexico. If you think you would like to be a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner, they will be happy to talk to you. You may either visit DunkinDonuts.com or contact Ellie Mannix, Fish Consulting, 954-893-9150, firstname.lastname@example.org.