Yucatan News: Chicken Pox and Salvador Alvarado
Weather at Dawn Headlines: “Almost Frozen”
Yes, the Wednesday morning temperatures were (according to local papers) terrible, especially at the beach. As dawn broke, Progreso’s temperatures were “almost frozen.” By 7:00 AM, the temperature was only 17 C (62.5 F), with a misty rain and 60 km/hr (37.3 mi/h) winds. Residents wore heavy coats with hoods and hugged their steaming hot mugs of hot coffee as they rushed to work and school. However, the weather in Montreal, Canada, was -12.2 C (10 F), with snow predicted for overnight. The noon weather in Milwaukee, on Wednesday, was 2 C (36 F) with snow all day and temperatures predicted to be -11.1 C (12 F) by night. Somehow, we suspect that most expats in Yucatan won’t really need one of those heavy coats after all. By the way, even with a slow morning start, temperatures, for Yucatan, should rise to about 25 C (77 F) Wednesday afternoon and 27.8 C (82 F) by noon Thursday. It’s winter (however brief the nortes may be) in Yucatan. Enjoy!
Yucatan to Export Pork and Beef to China
The first two, of three, agreements with China have been completed. Yucatan will be exporting pork and beef to China. As soon as turkey production can be increased, China will be importing turkey meat as well. This is in addition to the seafood that is already being exported to China. Poultry will not be exported to China because Yucatan is at its limit on how much the poultry industry can expand here and still maintain Yucatan’s food security. The current limit already is under contract, so there is no room for dealing with the Chinese on poultry. What this will do to food prices in Yucatan is unknown. In the United States, exports of beef to China have driven beef prices out of reach for many Americans, but Yucatan has a different form of government with different controls that are specific to food prices, so this will be an economic exercise worth watching.
Mexican Air Force: 100 Years Strong
The expats who have been in Yucatan a decade or more might remember when, every once in a while, clandestine airstrips and marijuana fields were uncovered in our state. During the week of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Air Force, it was announced that it has been seven years since the last of any sign of the clandestine drug infrastructure was found here, and daily military surveillance flights over Yucatan make certain that those kinds of situations do not come back to Yucatan. This kind of daily vigilance is a significant contributing factor to the safety and security of the state, and help to bolster Yucatan’s reputation as the safest state in Mexico. Yucatan Living, along with the entire expat community, sends a hearty thank you to the Mexican Air Force, along with our best wishes for what we know will be their next 100 years of success.
AFAD Celebrates 2014 Adoptions with Open House
Albergue Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido (AFAD) opened its doors a little more than twelve years ago, determined to not only help abandoned dogs and cats, but dedicated to educating the public about the need for pet sterilization. It seemed as if this concept was crawling along for the first few years. Then, little by little, all of Yucatan began to develop a passion for responsible pet ownership but, just five years ago, AFAD could only report that 50 animals were actually adopted during an entire calendar year. That is all changed now. The children who were exposed to AFAD in their schools are growing up and establishing homes of their own. They are young adults now, with influence in their extended families. It is no accident that AFAD can now happily report that more than 365 pets were adopted from their shelter in 2014. That is more than one pet adoption per day, in a culture that continues to grow in its passion for responsible pet ownership and sterilization. Through it all, Lidia Saleh Angulo, President of AFAD, has been the pioneer who insisted that this work would be successful. Now, Lidia, along with her volunteers, adopters, and students deserve many thanks and best wishes for the future. You can stop by and wish them well (and maybe adopt a pet of your own http://www.afad.org.mx/index.php/principal/Galerias/11 ) at the AFAD Open House on Sunday, March 1, from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
Chicken Pox Rate Rising in Yucatan
Last year, Yucatan reported a total of 184 cases of chicken pox in January. This year, that number has risen to 340 for the same month. That is an increase of 45%. While this disease is relatively mild in children, it has a number of risks and potential long-term effects that can be life-threatening. The disease is airborne and presents with mild flu symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) and pearl-like skin blisters. It is contagious for about ten days, or from the time the symptoms appear until they finally erupt and crust over. Children should be monitored during this time because of the risk for secondary infections if they further injure themselves by scratching the blisters. In addition, this virus does not simply go away. Instead, it lodges near the spine and can appear as shingles in later stages of life. Shingles are extremely painful and can be life-threatening. Please be sure to wash your hands often and stay away from anyone who may not feel well until this outbreak of chicken pox is over.
Drug Testing: Who’s Driving You?
You go to a foreign country, maybe on vacation, maybe to live there, and you decide to take a bus, a combi-van, or a taxi instead of renting or buying a car. Did you ever wonder, about halfway to your destination, whether your driver might be impaired? You pride yourself with being pretty much able to spot someone who has been drinking alcohol and side-stepping that ride in favor of the next bus, combi or taxi. But what about drugs? Plus, what about the driver of that 18-wheeler that’s coming toward you? This past week, the Municipality of Progreso drug tested 320 bus, combi and taxi drivers, as well as truck drivers, all in the name of public safety. This is an important step because of the thousands of people who are on the road, literally at the mercy of these drivers, several days each week. Merida’s 2,400 commercial drivers have already been drug tested and all were drug-free. However, in the first five weeks of 2015 (January), six Merida public transport drivers were caught smoking marijuana on the job. They were fired immediately. Now, drug testing of commercial drivers of all kinds is to be made randomly, at least twice per year. Those who test positive will be given a warning and told they will have another random test soon. If it happens a second time, they will lose their licenses. If they get their job back and it happens a third time, they go to prison. While everyone is sympathetic to the need for rehabilitation for drug users, the safety of the traveling public, local and foreign, must take precedence in this case. We hope that every municipality takes the time and dedicates the resources necessary to carry a project like this out in their area.
Dragon Mart: Profepa Calls For Suspension and Investigation
Residents of San Benito, Quintana Roo, claim that, when Dragon Mart first made their application for permits, they claimed they are owned by the government of China. They also gave a detailed description of the size and scope of their environmental impact on the area. Now, it has been discovered that Dragon Mart is a privately owned megaproject that is continuously increasing its size and impact on the local environment. The people say they brought this to the attention of their current state government and were ignored. Profepa has called for a suspension of all work on Dragon Mart and a full investigation, by SEMARNAT, of any and all state and federal civil servants associated with the prior approval of Dragon Mart’s permits for construction and their environmental impact statements. Since there is an extensive list of both documents and civil servants to be investigated, this process is expected to take some time. SEMARNAT is Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, and Profepa is Mexico’s Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection.
Celebrating Salvador Alvarado’s Arrival: 100 Years Ago
Yucatan’s State Congress has announced that, throughout 2015, there will be a number of official events celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the arrival of General Salvador Alvarado as Governor of Yucatan. Although he ruled the state for only three years, his programs – especially the schools he founded – are still alive today. The following paragraphs were distilled from autobiographical interviews with Elvia Carrillo Puerto, younger sister of Yucatan’s beloved Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
Salvador Alvarado was a strange breed of governor, especially for Yucatan. He had been an unwanted child and was forced to grow up in a home that was not his own. He got mixed up with Adolfo de la Huerta, who helped him in his youth and actually helped him get his first job. They became lifelong friends. Yet, Alvarado grew up to become a liberal pharmacist, who had actually participated in rebellion and, for a time, had to stay across the border in Arizona. He wanted rights for the people, but still fully backed capitalism as an economic system. This means he would do things like give women more rights, but still stand up for the rights of landowners who were abusing their husbands.
Alvarado and Elvia became fast friends because of Elvia’s reputation during the Rebellion. She and her feminist friends not only influenced him to institute a number of women’s rights programs, but also to hire one of her friends as a military nurse. Another strange situation, at that time, was the fact that Alvarado’s own troops were made up of soldiers who were affiliated with "batallones rojos" de la Casa del Obrero Mundial (the red battalions of the House of the Worldwide Workers). Alvarado even allowed the formation of almost 500 workers’ unions in Yucatan!
Governor Alvarado visited with the Carrillo Puerto family on at least one occasion, perhaps more, in Motul. We now know that Alvarado, a widower, was falling in love with a lady who was known to Elvia, and would soon marry her. Shortly after his visit to Motul, in October of 1815, Governor Alvarado gave Elvia, little brother Eraclio, and their friend Frank Augustin, jobs with the government. Then he approved the First Feminist Congress in Mexico, to be held in Merida under the direction of Elvia’s friend Hermila Galindo, and he let Felipe out of jail. Alvarado didn’t stop there. He also appointed Felipe President of the Agrarian Executive Committee of Motul. At this point, the nearly 500 workers’ unions began to stir to life and would form the foundation of Felipe Carrillo Puerto’s Socialist Working Party in June of the very next year.
In 1917, Felipe Carrillo Puerto was elected to the Legislature. Alvarado was still straddling the fence, trying to do good for the workers, but standing up for the rights of the landowners. Felipe and Elvia begin to ease their organizations and disciples away from him. The Haberman brothers, Roy and Robert, quietly appeared in Yucatan, as so-called advisors to Felipe and his Socialist Working Party.
In 1918, along with Ceferino Gamboa, Felipe presented a law initiative, for the closing of the distilleries, before the Congreso Local. He organized the I Congreso Obrero Socialista (First Socialist Working Congress) in Motul. Together with Ceferino Gamboa, Manuel Berzunza (who would die with him less than 5 years later) and Manuel González, Felipe Carrillo Puerto founded the periodical Tierra, as an organ of the Partido Socialista (Socialist Party). For a brief moment in time, Elvia stepped back from the limelight and found herself a spot in the gallery from which to watch the political star of her brother finally rise.
Then, in the Fall of 1918, Governor Alvarado was recalled by Carranza. While he was in Merida, Alvarado actually accomplished a great deal. It was under his governorship that the first Montesorri School opened, under the direction of Elena Torres, another of Elvia’s feminist friends. Alvarado believed the way to change society was to begin at the primary level and did much for schools, but he still believed in the same capitalistic economic system. Alvarado, in a stunning move, saw to it that the Law of Cancellation of Debts was passed, so that the debts of the laborers would no longer be passed on to their children. It is as if he wanted to make the leap toward Elvia and Felipe, and their disciples, but just did not have the courage to do so. Instead, Governor Alvarado, friend of the Carrillo Puerto family, did the best he could and, for that, the women and the workers of Yucatan have always been very careful to give him the respect that he has earned.