Category Archives: News

Poverty On The Rise In México

There isn’t that much abject poverty here in Baja Sur. Most people do okay. There are plenty of fish in the ocean and lots of fruit trees. It’s easy to farm if you have the desire. You don’t see a lot of homeless or beggars. I am sure there is hardship hidden but less that I expected. However the truth is that México has an enormous amount of poverty nationwide and the economic crisis that began in 2008 has only made it worse. It is very disheartening to think that over 46% of Mexicans live in such poverty.

The Washington Post had a great story on the rise in poverty in México as of a 2009 report but they have taken it offline. Here are the bare facts from the report.

MEXICO — The Mexican government says poverty rose by 1.7 percent between 2008 and 2010 due to the global economic crisis and an increase in food prices.

A study by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy says there were 52 million poor people in 2010 compared to 48.8 million in 2008.

That means about 46.2 percent of Mexico’s population of 112.7 lives in poverty. Of those, 10.4 percent live in extreme poverty.

The study released Friday says extreme poverty remained the same.

The council considers a person who earns 2,114 pesos ($181) per month to be poor. The extreme poor are those earning a monthly salary of less than 978 pesos ($84) in urban areas and 684 pesos ($58) in rural areas.

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Semarnat Visits Los Cabos Bearing Good News

According to the Gringo Gazette (and you must always take what they print with a handful of salt, lime and tequila although they usually get the message from visiting government agencies correct) Semarnat, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources at the federal level, representative Elvira Quesada said that the proposed Concordia gold mine in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains will not be allowed to continue. Apparently the land that Concordia has a permit to explore is not owned by them due to title irregularities. The permit they have will expire in July 2012 and not be renewed. The land under question is being claimed by Semarnat and will then be merged into the protected area of the Sierra de la Laguna. Semarnat’s state representative (Baja Sur) says Concordia does not have a mining permit and they will not get a land use or deforestation permit.

Semarnat also brought bad news for the Cabo Cortés development. They say over 100 scientists from many different organizations are currently working on the environmental impact statement which is needed for the project to continue. This is the first time that various oversight agencies have worked together on an impact statement. Also, more studies are needed besides the impact statement and they will take years to complete. For the project to continue, these studies must prove beyond any doubt that no harm will come to the protected marine park at Cabo Pulmo. Making matters even worse for Cabo Cortés, they need more money, $800 million dollars worth and their funding is coming from CAM in Spain and CAM is in trouble and hoping for a Spanish government bail out. With all the economic and monetary union problems in Europe and Spain in particular, this could mean no more funding for the project.

Whew! That’s a lot to digest, but if true, it’s great news. Let’s hope so.

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FDA Approves Scorpion Sting Treatment

Interestingly enough, this treatment was developed in Mexico and has been in use here for a while. I have never heard of it being available in Todos Santos, Baja. Have you? Did you know that as many as 1000 people die from scorpion stings each year in Mexico?

FDA Approves Scorpion Sting Treatment

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Mexico’s New Immigration Law

Since May 25,  2011, Mexico has had new immigration procedures by presidential decree. Below is a synopsis of the changes, courtesy of mexdata.info:

A Thumbnail Sketch for Expatriates of Mexico’s New Immigration Law

By Keph Senett


On May 25, 2011, in response to mounting concerns about the safety and welfare of migrants, a Decree signed by Mexican President Felipe Calderon promulgating a new Migration Law (Ley de Migración) was published. The law, which is designed to favor the human rights of migrants regardless of their nationality, affects all foreigners in Mexico including those from Canada and the United States. In consultation with Puerto Vallarta lawyer Claudia Cadena of 
Cadena and Associates, we help you understand what this means. 

The new Migration Law was enacted in response to intensifying violence against migrants and reports of complicity by immigration officials. “The law favors migration to the country [in a] more orderly and safe manner, [and] procedures are simplified for the stay of foreigners in Mexico,” President Felipe Calderon said, adding, “The Mexican government is doing what we have long urged [of] the United States.”

According to El Economista.com.mx, the Migration Law completely decriminalizes migration in the country, and also mandates the creation of the Center for Evaluation and Control of Trust that will oversee the conduct of immigration authorities. All officials at the National Migration Institute will be required to meet the same standards as the rest of the country’s security agencies.

In addition to these changes, the law contains new criteria and rules for issuing visas or permits to foreigners who are in the country either temporarily or permanently (these changes are included in Article 52). To help understand the implications for the expatriate community in Mexico, PV Pulse consulted Puerto Vallarta lawyer Claudia Cadena of Cadena and Associates, who provided us with some interpretation. The notes below were prepared with her input.

1. Details have have not yet been published, however, those who already have FM2s or FM3s will be able to retain their status and obtain extensions. Criteria and requirements to live in Mexico on a temporary or permanent basis are available on the National Migration Institute web site.

2. The procedures for extending temporary and permanent stays will largely remain the same. Special care must be taken to respect the deadlines (expiration dates). Extensions must be managed 30 days before expiration to continue a legal residence permit. These rules and procedures may change as the immigration authority is still establishing processes. It is always recommended that applicants complete the process well before the deadline. Requirements can be viewed here.

3. Those holding FM3s (temporary residence) can renew for up to four years (an initial application plus three annual renewals).  All renewals must be processed 30 days before expiration. If the person is abroad, they have 60 days to complete the extension without penalty. Applications outside these deadlines will be subject to a fine.

4. In the case of people holding an FM2 (permanent residence), the card may be extended for up to five years with annual renewals, with the condition that the person is not out of the country for more than two years. An FM2 holder can apply in the fourth year to become an “inmigrado,” on the condition that the person has not been abroad more than 18 months of a continuous or discontinuous time period.

5. Regarding the “visitor visa,” which is set out in Article 52, Section I of the Migration Law, permission is restricted to a visit in Mexico of no more than 180 days. After that time the person must leave the country but they are able to return.

6. One significant change affecting foreigners is that the FM2 and FM3 designations will be replaced by a “green card.” A disadvantage of this card is that unlike the old system, the new system will not include information about the person’s work or other reason for being in the country. This means that in some cases, the person may have to provide further paperwork to the immigration authorities.

7. A benefit to the new structure is that if a person changes employer but not their activity, the immigration authority will not charge a fee (“derecho”) for processing the paperwork. Payment depends on the applicant’s status, but for a non-immigrant the fee is $1,294 for non-profit activity and $2,102.00 for profit activity. For an immigrant, it’s $2,801. These amounts can be referenced here.

8. If they meet all tax rules in the tax law, permanent residents might apply for the benefit of not paying capital gain when selling real estate. Potential sellers should consult a tax lawyer.

In addition to the above, the new regulations — which have not yet been published* — will not use the FM2 and FM3 designations. Instead, foreigners will be able to apply to stay under one of four new categories:

Visitor (see Chapter II, Article 52, Items I – VI)

Visitor without permission

Visitor

Regional visitor

Visitor frontier workers

Visitor for humanitarian reasons

Visitor for purposes of adoption

Temporary Resident (see Chapter II, Article 52, Item VII)

Temporary Resident Student (see Chapter II, Article 52, Item VIII)

Permanent Resident (see Chapter II, Article 52, Item IX)

On implementation, status — either “temporal” or “residente” — will be conferred using new ID cards called a Tarjeta de Residencia. Current visas are good until their expiration date, with FM3 and FM2 cardholders switching to the new system on renewal. For renewals that take place before the new regulations are published, the new card will be issued (immigration officials will no longer be stamping FM3 and FM2 books) and existing procedures will be followed until the changes take effect. There’s no official word on when this will happen.*

Further acknowledgements are due writer Steven M. Fry at YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan, who has set out a number of other salient points about the effect of the new Migration Law on the expat community in Mexico. There is a wealth of commentary and expertise on this issue at his site.

MexiData.info noteTransitional Point Three of the Decree states that the new Regulation of the Migration Law is to be published within 180 days (counting from May 26, 2011).  In the meantime, the Regulation of the General Population Law will remain in effect, excepting any rules or directives therein that may contradict the new law.


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This article, “How the New Immigration Law Affects Mexico’s Expats,” was first published by PV Pulse(http://www.pvpulse.com/) on Jul. 2, 2011.  PV Pulse is “a community site that encompasses all that Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay represent.” Reprinted with permission.

6.0 Earthquake, 60 Miles East Of La Paz

Hey, I didn’t feel it, did you? 11:44 am, not quite 2 hours ago, a 6.0 quake occurred in the Sea of Cortez, east of La Paz.

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, 60 miles east of La Paz, Mexico, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Tuesday.

The quake occurred at 11:44 a.m. local time (1744 GMT) at a depth of 3.1 miles. There were no immediate reports of damage.

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More On Baja Pot Plantation Bust

Just discovered this from the AP:

58 held in Mexico’s biggest marijuana farm bust
Posted: Jul 15, 2011 1:59 PM PDT Updated: Jul 15, 2011 1:59 PM PDT
By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON
Associated Press

SAN QUINTIN, Mexico (AP) – Farm workers fled the camp dinner table when Mexican soldiers on routine patrol turned up at their lush, mesh-covered oasis stretching across the harsh Baja California desert.

Two men were caught in the camp and 56 others were rounded up in the area around what the Mexican government calls the biggest marijuana plantation ever found in the country.

Officials on Friday showed reporters the sophisticated operation, which the army says popped up in less than four months.

Army officers said the vast farm just 1½ miles (2.5 kilometers) from the main federal highway in Baja California state appeared to be the work of the Sinaloa cartel. The same gang was tied to Mexico’s largest bust of marijuana packaged for sale last fall and sophisticated underground border tunnels discovered in November, both also in Baja California.

No one has been charged in the raid on the huge pot farm late Tuesday. The suspected workers are still being questioned.

Two of the men said they were from Sinaloa state, headquarters of the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive. The farm was in remote territory of the Baja peninsula, 280 miles (450 kilometers) south of Tijuana, that is believed to be controlled by Guzman’s cartel.

“There are indications that these are zones of the Sinaloa cartel,” said infantry Maj. Bernardo Rafael Sanchez, spokesman for the army’s second region, which covers the border states of Baja California and Sonora.

Some areas of the more than half-mile-square (kilometer-square) marijuana farm resembled a nursery, with small plants. Other parts were like mature corn fields with neat rows of forest green plants rising more than six feet to a protective mesh shielding the expanse of plants. From the air, it looks like a giant square of asphalt.

Authorities believe as many as 120 men worked the farm, living in four rudimentary, plywood buildings, including a large bunkhouse with long sleeping platforms for up to 60 people, a living room and the kitchen.

Beans, cheese and salsa sat on the dinner table nearly three days after the raid, along with CDs of Norteno music. Women’s lingerie and platform heels were found in one of the smaller bedrooms. Army officials said women did not appear to have worked in the fields and may have been there for “entertainment.”

The army also found prepaid telephone cards and communications antennas.

Marijuana plantations this large and sophisticate are rare in Mexico, especially in Baja California, army Brig. Gen. Gilberto Landeros said.

Pot cultivation is much more common in the Sierra Madre mountain range in northern Sonora, Durango and Sinaloa states.

Federal authorities said the Baja pot farm was nearly double the size of an operation found in Sinaloa in 2007 and four times the size of the “Bufalo” farm discovered in the border state of Chihuahua in 1984. Estimates of the size of the Bufalo plantation vary widely.

The army said that troops patrol this area of arid bushland and cactus every three to four months and that the plantation was not here just a few months ago. The operators used wells for water, and tiny irrigation hoses fed every plant. There were also discarded boxes of the herbicide Gramoxone.

“At first they thought it must have been a vegetable farm,” Landeros said of the soldiers who walked onto the ranch.

Army Gen. Alfonso Duarte said traffickers could have harvested about 120 tons of marijuana from the plantation, worth about 1.8 billion pesos ($160 million).

Troops have begun destroying the operation by burning the marijuana plants. Landeros said it would take a week.

Last October, Mexican authorities made their largest-ever seizure of marijuana packaged for sale, a record 148 tons (134 metric tons) found in a number of tractor trailers and houses in Tijuana, which is across the border from San Diego.

In November in the same region, U.S. and Mexican investigators found sophisticated tunnels that ran about 2,000 feet from Mexico into California and were equipped with lighting, ventilation and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart.

While the Arellano Felix or Tijuana cartel long dominated the drug trade in Baja California, the cartel has been greatly weakened by government hits on its leadership, and authorities say there are signs that the Sinaloa cartel now also operates in the area.

Drug violence continued around Mexico on Friday as police said they found three bodies with heads and two severed heads without bodies on the highway between the resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Another decapitated body was found in Acapulco, along with the man’s head and a hand-lettered message of the kind frequently left by drug cartels to threaten rival gangs.

In the western state of Jalisco, federal police reported they had arrested Martin Arzola, who is allegedly one of the leaders of a new cartel, The New Generation, that sprang up after top-level Sinaloa cartel leader Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel was killed in a battle with soldiers during a raid on his mansion in July 2010.

Arzola was allegedly in charge of drug distribution in the state capital, Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.

The New Generation is reportedly fighting a group called The Resistance for control of the area. The Resistance was formed by former members of the Milenio, Gulf and La Familia cartels.

Largest Pot Plantation Ever, Found In Baja California, Mexico

Nearly 300 acres of pot plants, under shade cloth, hidden in the Baja California Mexico desert. Wow!

Note, not Baja Sur but still.

Read more from CBS News:
Army Finds Biggest Pot Plantation Ever In Mexico 

and the UK’s Telegraph:
Baja Pot Plantation

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