Yucatan News: Sea Water and Best Honey
Elvia Carrillo Puerto
One hundred years ago, one of the bravest human beings the world has ever known was the driving force behind the holding of the First Women’s Rights Congress in all of Mexico right here in Merida. Out of her tireless lifetime of work, which covered more than 40 years, came almost every citizen right that women enjoy today in this state. This week, to celebrate the beginning of her movement, the new femicide law was passed and the name of Elvia Carrillo Puerto was added to the Wall of Honor of the State of Yucatan, located in the Congressional Chamber of the State of Yucatan, where it will remain forever. Elvia was the younger sister and philosophical companion of her brother, Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto. She was a beloved figure and called The Red Nun of the Mayab. Yucatan Living congratulates the descendants of the entire Carrillo Puerto family on the occasion of this great honor. It is one thing to have 13 politically active children in one family, and quite another to have two of them honored in perpetuity by their state and nation. We thank your family for service to Yucatan that continues even today.
The femicide law has been defined and a set of protocols has been issued to determine whether a particular crime against a woman can be used in that case. The Governor has signed it and 10,000 copies have been distributed to schools, public libraries, state officials and the women who met in the Centennial Memorial Feminist Congress of Yucatan. The definition of femicide, in Yucatan’s law, is that it is a murder motivated by misogyny with extreme violence, such as various forms of violence and humiliation, abandonment, terror, physical and emotional abuse, harassment, sexual abuse, and more. Yucatan also speaks to the issue of not re-victimizing the victim and her family in print or in social media. This speaks to those who might say that the young lady brought this crime on herself with her behavior. There is no behavior that justifies murder. There are 7.2 women murdered by femicide per day in Mexico. At the present time, the murder of a young girl in Conkal looks as if it will be Yucatan’s first femicide case.
New Convention Center Bringing World Class Hotels and Restaurants
The Governor of Yucatan met with local entrepreneurs last week to give them even more good news. Although it should take most of 2016 to construct the new International Convention Center, the economic impact of new hotels and restaurants in the Paseo Montejo area is expected to be in the billions (pesos). Target locations for the hotels are at, or near, the corner of Avendia Colon and Calle 62. Two hotel chains already being mentioned are the Hilton and the Marriott. Together, these new hotels will add 12,000 rooms and Yucatan will take a significant rise on the scale of international convention centers. All of this will also generate business for local entrepreneurs, from construction to maintenance and service.
Spay and Neuter Extravaganza
Last week, a team of volunteers, vets from inside and outside of Mexico, AFAD and others waged a huge spay and neuter campaign in Merida, Progreso and Kanasin. They were supported by various government agencies and a lot of well-wishers who donated sandwiches, places to sleep, towels and other essentials. In all, it was reported that 2,554 animals were spayed or neutered during seven days of hard (but rewarding) work. We want to add our congratulations and thank yous to all these people for helping to make Yucatan a safer and more humane environment for all species to live in!
Yucatan Honey: Best in Mexico
As always, Yucatan’s beekeepers and honey producers have brought home the awards. This time, Yucatan has the honor of not only producing the best honey in Mexico, but more than 16% of all of the honey produced in Mexico. Less than 15 years ago, Yucatan’s beekeepers were little more than independent producers, many keeping bees simply for the love of the art. Today, with the full economic support of the State of Yucatan, they are organized, have state of the art production facilities, conduct valuable research on bees and on the environment, and enjoy state-sponsored marketing to the European Union and beyond. Production has responded by growing 61% in just three years, from 270 million pesos in 2012 to over 434 million pesos in 2015.
Yucatan Auto Production and Export Breaks Records
In 2015, Mexico emerged as the undisputed leader in the production and export of vehicles in Latin America by increasing production by 5.6% in 2015. Mexico is now the second largest supplier of cars in the United States, after Germany, and is the country of origin for 11.5% of all vehicles sold in that country. Mexico’s investment in technical education for young people is paying off handsomely and is one of the major characteristics in the fast rising quality of life for the new, young middle class in Mexico. Exports to Latin America dropped by 9.7% due to a drop in sales in Brazil, but were either stable or rising to all other countries.
No Surprise: 2015 Saw Yucatan’s Most Rain on Record
The year 2015 saw the State of Yucatan with an 8.3% cumulative average above that of the past 60 years! However, it could have been worse. Quintana Roo’s cumulative average of rainfall was 19% above the peninsula’s 60 year cumulative average. It was good to see that Campeche’s cumulative average was only six percent above the peninsula’s average. Much more than that and there would have been mudslides and perhaps loss of life, so their rain situation is good. In all three states, the lowest month for rain is April and the driest month is July. In Yucatan, the most rain falls in August, September and October, with the most rain falling in August.
And so... What Will the Weather Be in 2016
Yucatan’s Maya priests will soon have their annual rain-drought prediction ready for the public. Many are familiar with old lore that you can tell how the weather will be, for the year, from the weather in the first twelve days of January. The Maya have that refined quite a bit. To find the weather for each month of the year, use January 1 – 12, and combine with January 13 – 24 (counting those as 12 – 1). The combination of the 1 – 12 and 12 – 1 will give you the weather for each month for the rest of the year. Now – what about per day? The Maya priests say that the 25 – the 30th of January will give us the weather on any particular day and that the 31st of January can be used to determine the hourly weather. We will soon know their results for 2016. In the meantime, You might want to visit the Ceremonial Center of the Talking Cross in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo.
The Face of Danger
For those who may have been a little slow in cleaning those patios and gardens of anything that could hold enough water for a mosquito to breed, try looking directly into the face of danger. This is what lurks beneath those spotted wings and this is what can make you very ill, or even kill you. While you clean your patio yet again, you might want to be planning your next trip to the market as well. What you will be looking for are foods high in sulphur, which this particular mosquito doesn’t happen to relish. Not too much though, or else Montezuma will take brief revenge. Those of us who live in the tropics and sub-tropics, by birth or by choice, know that we must accept a certain degree of risk – but that is one ugly mosquito and we going to sweep our patio and eat our broccoli (or cabbage, etc).
Yucatan Included in Genetic Study of Depression
There are three states in Mexico that have high suicide rates: Yucatan, Tabasco and Mexico City. Each of the areas under investigation have a high indigenous population and a higher than national average suicide rate. What researchers are looking for are genetic clues as to anything that might be common between these populations and that might alter serotonin levels enough to cause major depressive episodes. Oddly enough, Yucatan has a much higher rate of suicide than does either Quintana Roo or Campeche, so this will be an interesting study to watch.
Keeping Beached Boats Safe
From all that we see and read, the fishermen of Yucatan are some of the most environmentally conscious of any in the world. When a fishing ban is even suggested as a means of protecting a species, they do not wait for laws to be written. They institute whatever bans are needed on a voluntary basis. This happened years ago, with respect to mero (grouper), and now there are bumper catches and jobs are assured. However, a fishing ban requires that many boats be brought out of the water for the length of the ban. In Yucatan, this means 600 boats hauled up onto 12 beaches for a full two months. Each of these “parking lot” beaches has its own way of parking and protecting the boats during the time they are there. Boats stolen are quickly recovered and those who would break the ban meet the authorities in open water. On the whole, there are few incidents reported each year, which is directly attributable to the dedication and determination of Yucatan’s fishermen to protect their industry at all costs.
UADY Research: Transforming Sea Water for Human Consumption
Keep your eye on Jorge Lechuga Andrade, a professor on faculty in UADY’s Chemical Engineering Department. He has just received the 2015 National Award from the Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers. His work was to design a pilot seawater desalination plant, reverse osmosis centrifuge, with generation Dean vortices. The Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers encouraged him to continue his work. Jorge Lechuga Andrade is the kind of man we need in the sciences and in the world. He says that, if he were to be born again, he would want to be just what he is – a chemical engineer. Those of us who depend on men like him to bring us safely into the future are in full agreement. Congratulations, Sir – and Congratulations to UADY as well.
Local expat, Grant Spradling, will be having a signing of his new book, David Goes Home, at Hennessy's on January 28 at 7 pm. Spradling, a retired United Church Minister, is a graduate of Weatherford Oklahoma High School, Oklahoma City University and Boston University School of Theology. He served seven years as a minister in two Congregational Churches in the Boston area before launching into a singing career, which landed him in four Broadway Shows. Spradling appeared with such luminaries as Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake Melina Mercouri, and Giorgio Tozzi. A member of the Metropolitan Opera Studio, he sang the tenor soloist role on national radio in a performance of Wonder Tidings. Spradling has also appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and at the White House.
Spradling returned to work within the church as Arts Consultant to a United Church Board for Home and Ministries. He has served as Executive Director of Monroe County (the Florida Keys and Key West) fine Arts Council. After retiring from the Arts Council, Spradling rented a room near Santiago in Mérida and began to write seriously. A dyslexic, Spradling says; “The computer, spell-check, the cyber age and the help of friends have opened a whole new world in my later life.” Spradling says, “the news that Alice Munro had had won the Nobel Prize in literature brought a rush of memories. I would like to think reading Munro has influenced my writing. Munroe is quoted as saying: ‘I would really hope this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.’ I have been eager,” Spradling’ continued, “to complete, David Goes Home, so I could return to short story. In short story we may skim closer to transcendent truth. I am saddened to read Munro says that she is finished writing. She’s only 82. I’m 86 and just getting started!” Spradling and his partner, Clifford A. Ames were married in Santa Fe New Mexico last year. They make their home in Amarillo, Texas and Mérida, Mexico.