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earthquakes, boating and harbor fees, summer electricity costs, flu prevention....

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hurricanes, earthquakes, customs duty, border changes, railway line...

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Founder of The Net announces retirement, death of Tony Reyes, closing of stores due to the depression, the space station sighting, winter electricity rates, ATM fraud, Puerto Penasco's new airport, tourist spending..

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Kitesurfing in the windy months, the South Campos land problems, strange fish at Bahia Santa Maria, moving the fisherman statue from the Malecon, rains of the week of 18 January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regional News Topics, the San Felipe Economy and more.....

...by Tony Colleraine

 

 

 

Friday 19 March

I have been following the response of the US government and the national press releases following the Juarez consulate attacks. What has emerged is that two separate cars carrying US consular employees left a childrens birthday party, were chased, and the adult occupants of both cars killed. The two incidents occurred within minutes of each other. Can it be mistaken identity? Two separate incidents within half an hour involving people attending the same function? Is it likely that consular officials are, in some way, targets because they are involved in the narcotics business? Unthinkable. These personnel are well-vetted and investigated periodically to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.

A much more likely scenario is that the cartels are sending a message to the US government to stay out of this battle. They are not interested in attacking individual US citizens - after all, it is the US consumer that is their prime customer and they do not want to alienate that market. There has certainly been rumor in recent months that the string of successes in capturing key members of drug cartels is, in part, because US intelligence operations have been able to point to the location of key cartel members.

Thursday 18 March

Following the killings of US consulate employees in Juarez last weekend, there has been the expected outcry and new warnings issued by the US State Department concerning travel in Mexico. The US consulate has also circulated email to Americans living in Mexico with additional details of their concerns. See here..>>.

Many colleges and universtites within a days drive of San Felipe are now about to start their spring break holidays. Some 210,000 students are on vacation this week, 170,000 next week and 183,000 for Easter week. In the past, San Felipe has been a favorite destination for those looking for an inexpensive trip. However, this year, with the warnings from school officials about travel to the Mexican border region, bookings here have tanked. We see, instead that places like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are doing well, with occupancy rates close to 80%. The message here is that it is better to travel much further south, using airplanes rather than driving, and get away from the border problems. When you see the package deals that students can get to spend a week in exotic locations, with all the booze you can drink, it just does not make sense to drive to San Felipe and make your parents worry all the time:


NOTE TO STUDENT VISITORS: SAN FELIPE IS SAFE AND QUIET. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET BARGAIN TREATMENT HERE IF YOU SHOP AROUND.

Sunday 14 March

There was a lot of confusion over the time change to daylight savings this morning. Many people reported that they were early for church or that their favorite restaurant was not open for business because they were too early. The problem was that the information announcing that the border cities (including San Felipe) were going on to the new schedule, to be compatible with cross-border customers and trading partners, was never effectively disseminated to the general population. Decisions of this type must be made and approved in Mexico City and then delegated down the line to the state, the municipality, the delegation and finally to the people. Nevertheless, I expect that things will be better when commerce gets going again on Tuesday (Monday is a legal holiday in Mexico to celebrate the birthday of Benito Juarez).

 

The Baja 250 races went well with only one serious injury reported. As of this writing, however, the official results are still not published because of an "inconsistency" between two different computer systems needed to certify the race. Check the score-international.com site in the next few days for progress.

 

The very positive publicity generated by a good Baja 250 on Saturday was, unfortunately, eclipsed by major developments in the drug cartel battles in other parts of Mexico. All national and international press turned their attention to the shootings of three workers at the US consulate in two separate incidents in Juarez, across the border from El Paso...>> The incident brought immediate condemnation from President Obama in the US and President Calderon in Mexico, and news organizations around the world are now focussing attention on Mexico. The New York Times is quoted:

"Alarmed by the brazen shootings, the State Department told employees at a string of American consulates along the Mexican border — Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros — that they could evacuate their families to the United States until April 12.

Strengthening its travel warning for Mexico, the State Department said: “Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles. While most crime victims are Mexican citizens, the uncertain security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.” ..>>

This heightened travel warning, coming at the beginning of the Spring Break season is particularly unfortunate for a quiet and peaceful location like San Felipe. The situation is made increasingly worse by major gun battles over the past two days in and around Acapulco in which some 28 people were killed and gruesome deaths of several policemen occurred...>>

Additional violence in Reynosa, on the Texas border, has also occurred in the last few weeks and Associated Press reports of these incidents are now getting priority display in many US and international newspapers...>>

"The crumbling of an alliance between two Mexican drug gangs has plunged the 200-mile stretch of border into violence, raising fears of a new front in the drug war, a U.S. anti-drug official told The Associated Press.

In Mexican border cities stretching from Matamoros near the Gulf to Nuevo Laredo, gunfire has been heard almost daily, and at least 49 people were killed in drug war-related violence in less than six weeks.

.....Drug gangs have set up vehicle "checkpoints" along highways to the U.S. border, apparently to look for their rivals, according to the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, two hours south of the Texas border. As a result, the U.S. Consulate offices in the area had restricted travel of their employees to Reynosa, but lifted that ban Monday."

For many years I have been answering questions from nervous tourists about the situation in San Felipe. I have always told them what I have observed and what I believe of this region; that it is a safe and tranquil place for a family vacation, that it is an excellent place to consider for retirement living. My views are echoed by the overwhelming majority of people who live here and visit here. Similar positive stories come from our friends in places such as Rosarito and Ensenada. Baja California is safe!

What I fear now, however, is that the attack on consular workers has made it inevitable that the US Government will take a strong stand on the issue of safety of its citizens in Mexico. It has also likely changed the whole dynamic of press reporting and coverage of the Mexico situation. This could be very bad news for tourism and investment in Baja California.

Friday 12 March

The Director of the Tourism and Conventions organization (COTUCO), David Rojas Rojas, confirmed that San Felipe is 95% sold out for this weekend's Baja 250 race. Participants and visitors will be escorted through the city of Mexicali to ensure that they have a positive experience. Local police, the federal police and the Green Angels will be patrolling the roads to attend to any accidents. In San Felipe, there will be joint participation of the armed forces of the navy and army, together with the municipal police, the federal police and the Red Cross to ensure the family atmosphere of the town is maintained.

With the recent huge confiscations of drugs at the military checkpoint at the Ensenada Road junction, we can expect that there will be thorough checks of the vehicles and baggage headed north after the race on Sunday. Many people will want to stay for an extra few days in San Felipe to let the long lines dissipate.

In Washington, the White House announced that Michelle Obama will visit Mexico from 13-15 April to meet with Margarita Zavala de Calderón, wife of the President of Mexico. Discussions are to be held on how to enhance educational and economic opportunities for the children of both countries. No word on whether the visit will include a stop in San Felipe.

The 072 hotline is working! The state urges anyone wishing to file complaints against civic officials or any public service to dial 072 on their phone and make a complaint that may be kept anonymous. This new hotline has been upgraded to ensure that all calls are answered within 4 seconds and that the computer servers involved in maintaining the databases ensure that all complaints are kept active until finally resolved. The City of Mexicali has adopted a new regulation in Article 73, section X, to specify that any member of the police force who gets more than two disciplinary notifications in a year will be subject to separation from the force. Many people in the past have felt uncomfortable about going to the police station and placing a "denuncia" in the complaint box.

Yesterday, Thursday, the festivities for the 107th. anniversary of the city of Mexicali began and will last through Sunday 21st. March. This Sunday, a half-marathon will be run and this, together with other celebrations will likely slow traffic down throughout the city (another reason not to travel on the 14th.!). The official ceremony for the 107th anniversary of Mexicali will be held on Tuesday 16th, at 10:30 a.m. in the Teatro de la Casa de la Cultura.

Wednesday 10 March

Very little has been happening lately, so I will just summarize a few recent items below:

Yesterday, in the cold, wind and rain at the summit of La Rumorosa west of Mexicali, President Felipe Calderon inaugurated the first phase of a great wind farm that will soon be supplying 10-15 megawatts of electricity to the CFE and to consumers in the USA. The site at La Rumorosa is believed to be one of the best wind locations in Mexico with a potential to provide some 5000 MW of power, and the site will eventually have hundreds of giant windmills to provide renewable energy to Mexico and the USA. California law requires the electricity utilities to get 20% of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2010 (33% by 2020) and the siting and construction of wind farms in Baja California is the only way that this mandate can be achieved. Environmental reviews and legal challenges in the USA are delaying construction of solar and wind power plants far beyond original estimated completion dates.

President Calderon also announced new incentives to reinvigorate the Baja California movie industry in Rosarito Beach where "Titanic" was filmed. Managed by state-run film financing agency Imcine and Mexican trade and investment body ProMexico, the program offers tax rebates of 7.5% on film productions that exceed the amount of 70 million pesos ($5.5 million). "The initial resources will allow Mexico to attract productions with an approximate value of $260 million, which will generate more than 2,000 jobs," a ProMexico statement said.

In anticipation of the Baja 250 this weekend, almost 100% of hotel rooms and 80% of condominiums in San Felipe have now been rented. The taxes and occupancy fees should generate much-needed revenue for the town. Typically this event brings some $3-5 million dollars into the San Felipe community.

Thrifty Car Rental, the only car rental service in San Felipe, has ceased operations so you should not count on this company to fill your needs if you fly your private plane here. We also understand that the Century21 real estate office in San Felipe has closed and their website listing on our business page is now being redirected elsewhere.

Moves are afoot in Mexicali to limit the hours that liquor stores are able to operate in the municipality. Data from 2008 (the latest available) shows that some 25% of all traffic accidents involve drunk driving. There were 4700 accidents which resulted in 3000 injuries and 60 deaths that year.

Increases in the price of gasoline, water and electricity are contributing to a surge in inflation in Mexico. Current estimates by the Bank of Mexico indicate a price rise of around 5% this year. Some consumer commodities are expected to skyrocket. Onions have risen a reported 27% since last year.

According to the Director of Municipal Medical Services in Mexicali, Alfredo Gruel Culebro, some 10% of sex workers are failing to renew their health cards. It is most likely that the poor economic conditions have led to this decline in getting tested, rather than the individuals leaving the industry.

Over the past weekend, two bodies were discovered in the vicinity of Campo San Fernando south of San Felipe in the Ensenada municipality. Reports in El Mexicano newspaper indicate that foul play is suspected.

Tourism in both the USA and Mexico continues to decline. The US Office of Travel and Tourism released the latest available figures this week which show that for the year 2009, total spending by Americans traveling abroad totaled $98.2 billion, down nearly 13 percent ($14.2 billion) compared with 2008. Similarly, spending by international visitors coming to the United States totaled $121.6 billion in 2009, down more than 14 percent ($20.1 billion) when compared to 2008. Specific data for travel to Mexico by US citizens also shows a decline of about 14% in 2009. These figures are similar to the terrible decline (13%) following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and have created the most difficult environment for the tourism industry since that time.

The Trump Ocean Resort Baja saga is far from over. The proposed 526-suite luxury project between Tijuana and Rosarito has turned into an abandoned excavation site. Trump, his wife and children are now being sued by seven investors in the project. What a blessing that we do not have problems of this magnitude in San Felipe.

Mexico's national water authority Conagua will launch a tender in April to build a 360million-peso (US$28.5mn) desalination plant in Ensenada. The plant will provide 250 liters/sec and provide enough water for 96,000 residents, reducing the strain on the local aquifers. Additional desalination plants are planned for Tijuana and Rosarito. No word on when San Felipe will be included in the planning.

The 1st International Aerospace Supplier Forum was announced this week by representatives from the the Tijuana Economic Development Council, the City of Tijuana, and aerospace and trade organizations from Baja California, Mexico, the U.S. and the U.K. Baja California is already home to one-third of Mexico’s aerospace companies, with approximately 40 firms – half of which are located in Tijuana. Representatives from some of these companies, including Eaton Aerospace, HST Aerospace, Parker, Tyco Electronics, Lockheed Martin, and many more, will be present. The event takes place March 17-19 at the Grand Hotel Tijuana.

Forbes Magazine late on Wednesday named Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu as the world's richest man in its annual ranking, dethroning Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Slim's wealth was estimated at $53.5 billion by Forbes, compared with Gates' $53 billion. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett came in third with $47 billion. Carlos Slim is the man behind most telephone service in Mexico, and also Tracfone and Net10 in the U.S.

 

Sunday 28 February

I have to admit total frustration in trying to interpret the very latest regulations from the Mexican government on the requirement to have a passport and visa to visit San Felipe. A new regulation goes into effect tomorrow, 1st. March, that mandates visitors to have a passport and tourist visa to visit Mexico. The bulletin of 16 February stated:


Boletín Nº 66/10.
México, D. F., 16 de febrero de 2010.

Define México documentos oficiales válidos para el ingreso
de estadounidenses y canadienses

El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) informa que a partir del próximo primero de marzo los ciudadanos canadienses y estadounidenses que se internen a México, vía aérea, o más allá de la franja fronteriza o población marítima, deberán presentar para identificarse pasaporte vigente o tarjeta pasaporte vigente (en el caso de los estadounidenses).

De igual forma, se definen una serie de documentos que los residentes permanentes en Canadá o en los Estados Unidos podrán presentar para estar exentos de visa.

Esta medida brindará certeza jurídica y claridad tanto a los extranjeros en su proceso de internación al país como a los diversos actores de los medios de transporte, toda vez que el pasaporte contiene estándares de seguridad internacionales, evitando falsificaciones, revisiones discrecionales e inconvenientes a los usuarios.

Esta medida no aplica para aquellos extranjeros que visiten la franja fronteriza, ni para aquellos a bordo de cruceros.

El INM reitera su compromiso de continuar con la agilización de sus procedimientos, tendientes a facilitar el ingreso de visitantes extranjeros con seguridad y respeto a los derechos humanos.

 

The outcry from the border states caused the regulation to be modified and we had a statement from the Secretary of Tourism for the State of Baja California that no passport is required for any U.S. or Canadian visitors to the state of Baja California (Norte) and that the existing visa policy (no visa for 7 day visits) was still in effect. The Government of Mexico has separately published a statement that no passport is required for "the border region" - which they define as the zone up to 20 km south of the US border.

Regardless of anything else, it is mandatory that you have your passport or passport card/SENTRI card to re-enter the USA. So whether the the Mexican Government wants you to show a passport or not, you will have it with you.

Now the Secretary of Tourism has published conflicting requirements on the state website regarding the need for a visitors visa (FM-T). Here ..>> you will see, under "immigration":

IMMIGRATION
Americans and Canadians who wish to enter the country do not requiere a visa. They only must present their passport and fill the "Forma Migratoria de Turista, Migrante, visitante Persona de Negocios o Consejero” (Migratory form of touristmigrante, visiting business person or adviser"), available at Travel Agencies , airlines abroad, or the point of admission to Mexico.

Foreign tourists can stay in Mexico 180 days. When they come by air, right of entry fee (approximately 20 dollars) is included in the cost of the plane ticket. If entering by land they must pay duty during your stay and accredit the payment at exit. Tourists entering by land and remain less than 7 days in the country do not pay entry fee.

All travelers are authorized to bring to Mexico equivalent to 300 dollars in merchandise, personal baggage, sports or photographic equipment. Articles exceeding that amount shall pay a tax of 32.8 per cent of the value of the surplus.

then if we go to their next page ..>>

INMIGRATION
If you are not a Mexican citizen, in order to enter the country you need to obtain a tourist immigration form (FM-T). They are available at the first port of entry, at the borders, or at Mexican consulates and embassies.
Within Baja California, U.S.A. and Canadian citizens can travel as far as the port city of Ensenada without having to obtain a tourist card, provided the length of the stay does not exceed 72 hours.
A FM-T tourist card is officially required for travel further south or inland for each individual visitor, regardless of age.
Make sure your form is stamped and authorized by the immigration authority; the FM-T is good for a maximum of 180 days. If you need an extension you can request it by contacting the Mexican Immigration Authorities (INAMI) before its expiration.
For U.S.A. and Canadian Citizens, the FM-T may be obtained by presenting one of the following documents:
Passport
Birth Certificate, accompanied by a photo I.D., or Voter ’s Registration Card, accompanied by a Photo I.D.
Although some nationalities are not asked to present their passport upon entry into México, it is recommended to have it available at all times, it will make entry fast and easier.

It is necessary to have the FM-T with you while you remain in México, and turn it in when you leave the country.
Minors entering the country must be accompanied by his/her parents, or have a notarized letter from absent parents, authorizing them to enter the country.
If you are not a Mexican citizen and you intend on staying for more than seven (7) days in any region of México. You are required to pay a Non-immigrant Fee (DNI) that currently costs $262.00 pesos (around 22.00 dollars), payable at any Mexican Bank. Visitors arriving by land and staying up to 7 (seven) days are exempted of paying this fee, for any additional information please check with the immigration authorities or with the Baja California State Tourism Secretariat.
For updates on Non-immigrant Fees please visit: www.inami.gob.mx

BY AIR: for visitors arriving by plane, the Non Immigrant Fee (DNI) is included in the airplane ticket price. For passengers arriving in a non commercial flight, the fee will apply for each entry into our country. It can be paid at any national bank and the form can be submitted at any office of the National Immigration Institute.
BY SEA: For visitors arriving by sea, the Non Immigrant Fee (DNI) is included in the cruise package price. For passengers arriving in a personal boat or water craft, the fee can be paid at any national bank and the form can be submitted at any office of the National Immigration Institute. The fee applies for each entry into the country.

If you have questions of interpretation about what documents you need to visit San Felipe, I suggest you give a call to the Secretary of Tourism office in Tijuana. Here is their complete contact information:


TOURISM SECRETARIAT OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
Oscar Jesús Escobedo Carignan
Secretary

Ives G. Lelevier Ramos
Sub Secretary

Alan I. Bautista Plascencia
Marketing Director
abautistap@baja.gob.mx

Hector Mendiola Sáenz
Planning and Investment Promotion Director
hmendiola@baja.gob.mx

Rosalba López Regalado
Administrative Director
rlopezr@baja.gob.mx

Arturo Martínez Esquer
Facilitation and Tourist Assistance Sub Direction
amartineze@baja.gob.mx

Roberto Karlo López Paéz
Communications and Public Relations Sub Direction
rklopez@baja.gob.mx

OUR OFFICES
Central Office
Juan Ruiz de Alarcón St. No.1572
Zona Rio, C.P. 22320
Tijuana, B.C.
Phone 011-52- (664) 682-3367
Fax (664) 682-9061

You might also want to contact the immigration department to get them to clearly state what they want:

Instituto Nacional de Migración
Puerta México, Línea internacional s/n.
Col. Federal. Tijuana, B.C.
Phone: 011-52- (664) 682 98 62
www.inm.gob.mx

Saturday 27 February

A great earthquake of magnitude 8.8 hit Chile last night at 10:30 pst. The epicenter was in the sea, 60 miles off the coastal city of Concepcion and has triggered a Pacific tsunami. The waves, probably around two feet in height, are expected to reach the San Diego and Los Angeles coastal areas around noon today. I expect that a small fraction of the energy from the advancing wavefront will be channeled up the Sea of Cortez. Here, however, the effect should be quite weak and probably unnoticeable on top of the high tide that occurs around the same time (just after noon).

Update 12:40 p.m. No sign of any unusual wave action or waves up to this time. The sea is calm, there is very little wind (NE at 6 mph) and it is approximately high tide.

Update 7 p.m. More than 300 people have been killed in the collapse of buildings in the Chile earthquake. This is one of the greatest earthquakes in recorded history and was more than 500 times the strength of the recent Haiti earthquake that has killed some 200,000 individuals and caused many, many grievous injuries to thousands of more people on that Carribean island. An important difference in the two situations is that Chile has had a history of great quakes and has adopted a very strict building code for how structures are braced and reinforced.

Meanwhile, the Tsunami generated by the earthquake dissipated most of its energy in the vast, uninhabited area of the Pacific as shown in the following computation by NOAA showing how the energy of the sea level rise in the wavefront was distributed:

On the coast of the Baja Peninsular, the CICESE university in Ensenada recorded the passing wave on their tide gauge (below) where the water level fluctuated from its expected position by around 50 centimeters for a few hours starting at noon (red line):

I analyzed our timelapse movie of the tide position from noon to 3 p.m. but was unable to see any unexpected surge in San Felipe. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego observed similar fluctuations to those seen at Ensenada. (TC)

Tuesday 23 February

Lately, I have been getting a lot of enquiries from people trying to find cheap lodgings in this region. Maybe they want to come down with the family and get a room with a kitchenette so that they do not have to to spend lots of money on eating out. Others are prepared to spend more money for a condo that they have seen advertized on Craigs list (and will bring 12 family members to make it worthwhile), but don't want to be stuck out in the boonies. What is interesting in all of these ads is that you are given the impression that your room will be "close to the beach".

Unfortunately, very few places in this town have made any concession to the economic recession by reducing prices. In fact, driving past one hotel in town, I noticed that they had actually increased their prices by 25% - probably in anticipation of the Baja 250 crowd that will be here the second week in March. By contrast, in San Diego, hotel rates have dropped to about 50% of their price a year ago - and even then occupancy has gone down from an average of 80% to closer to 40%. Imagine what would have happened if there had been no rate reductions: San Diego would be a ghost town like San Felipe.

All-in-all, tourism officials make the excuse that visitors are not coming to Mexico because of the drug cartel battles giving rise to bad press in the USA. However, it is clear in talking and emailing with potential visitors that the real cause is the economy. People are looking for "cheap" and San Felipe is definitely not cheap.

Note that on the drug front, another huge truckload of Marijuana was discovered at the checkpoint at the Ensenada Road on Monday. Some 18 tons of pot in a shipment of cookies was seized on the way to Ensenada by alert military personnel when it was realized that the driver had the wrong bill of lading. That makes around 30 tons seized this month at the checkpoint. There was no panic, no gun battles, no disturbance to the flow of tourist traffic. Nothing to get worried about. (TC)

Tuesday 9 February

The Ministry of Communications and Transportation has announced that two fibers in the CFE (Electricity Commission) national fiber optic communication network will be placed up for bid to other companies. This is part of an aggressive plan to improve the national communication infrastructure of Mexico which is presently dominated by Telmex. Making these new fibers available to other companies is expected to open up new voice, video and data services and provide a much-needed impetus for Telmex and the existing carriers to improve their services. The Spanish firm Telefonica Movistar has expressed a strong interest, along with Televisa and TV Azteca. However, all parties wish that the bid would include more fibers (i.e. greater bandwidth capacity) in the existing network. The winning bidders will have 18 months to establish service after the close of bids on this 9 June. (TC)

Monday 8 February 2010

The El Nino weather system has been growing in intensity for many weeks now. The strong rainstorms that have hit Southern California and the Pacific coast of Baja are not yet over. More rain in these regions is likely this week as the jet stream dips low over the Pacific ocean and brings moisture that is hovering over the warm waters around the equator towards continental America.

The NOAA picture above shows the very warm water stretching from Australia and Indonesia on the left to the Coast of Central America. This has given rise to flooding in the Macchu Pichu area of Peru, stranding thousands of tourists, and is contributing to heavy rains and storms all along the Pacific coast. Fortunately, we have had only modest amounts of rain in San Felipe so far but we badly need more precipitation in the mountains to our west in order to recharge our fragile aquifer.

While nobody is happy with the current halt in economic development of our region, it does give us a chance to re-evaluate what our position is for the future and, perhaps, rein in some of the excessive water use that is contemplated.

Other recent news:

Over the past weekend, a trailer truck headed to Mexicali from San Felipe was stopped at the military checkpoint at the Ensenada Road junction and discovered to be carrying over 12 tons of marijuana. An impressive photograph of the haul can be seen in this picture in La Voz. It is believed that this is the largest haul of drugs ever made in this region. The driver of the truck was carrying some 5000 pesos, possibly to use as a bribe; he was detained for questioning. (Update: This huge drug find even made the New York Times..>> )

The government raised the IVA tax rate for Baja from 10% to 11% as part of the new austerity program to keep social programs operating during the recession. Gasoline prices have also risen and regular unleaded now costs 7.96 peso/liter, premium costs 9.70p/l and diesel 8.05 p/l. Inflation in Mexico this year is likely to be around 6%.

The Baja California state records office is seeing a 34% increase in demand over this time last year for birth certificates and other official documents needed for citizens to get a Mexican passport and to apply for a US laser visa. Surveys by the Pew Research Center have indicated that a majority one in three Mexicans would emigrate to the USA if they could get permission to work there. (Corrected thanks to a comment by Rob Hoare. I had mis-remembered the original article. The original report is here..>>)

The US Department of Homeland Security has informed the President of the United States that they believe a terrorist attack on the homeland is certain to occur in the next six months. No basis for this testimony has been made public but already, in San Diego county, checkpoints are becoming more vigilant on local highways. A side effect has been record confiscations of loads of drugs in trucks, vans and cars during the past ten days. It seems likely that the border crossing inspections at the US-Mexican border will increase in thoroughness and result in even longer waiting times. (TC)

 

previous months news - Kitesurfing in the windy months, the South Campos land problems, strange fish at Bahia Santa Maria, moving the fisherman statue from the Malecon, rains of the week of 18 January.

 


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