domingo, diciembre 11, 2005

Beatlemania in Ixtapa

Grupo mexicano HELP! en el Hotel Holiday Inn Ixtapa la noche del 8 de diciembre del 2005 The Mexican group "HELP!" creating good vibes and music at Holiday Inn Ixtapa, December 8, 2005. (click to enlarge photo) These guys put on a wonderful show the evening of December 8th to a crowd of only about 200 people on the lawn of the Holiday Inn in Ixtapa. The dew caused a few problems with the keyboards and some minor electrical glitches, but these guys put on such a good show that no one minded. Lots of folks were singing along and dancing away, and at the end of the night the audience called them back for about 5 or 6 encores, to which they graciously obliged. Their first set saw them dressed as they looked in their early years, later they came out in Sgt. Pepper attire (which is when the keyboards acted up and caused the set to have to end early), then they came back for a final set and really got the joint rocking in the Beatles late 60's to early 70's mode. We all sang ourselves hoarse and clapped till our hands ached. Several of their final songs were a tribute to John Lennon on the 25th anniversary of his tragic murder. The overall effect was terrific, right down to Liverpool accents, Beatles poses, and even their equipment was vintage Beatles right down to the imitation antique Vox amps. For too brief a time all the love and good vibes of the 60's were alive and well among the crowd at the concert. If only the world could get back on the path of peace and brotherly love. Imagine...

New Land Invasions

nuevo ecocidio Local firefighters recently discovered and reported to municipal authorities the recent clearing by chainsaws of another large area of our ecological reserve. About 3 hectares have been cleared so far on the high part of Colonia Vicente Guerrero next to another irregular (illegal) settlement that receives economic support from mostly foreigners for a small school as well as a "co-operative" made up of women from that squatters community. Probably emboldened by the lack of action to remove other squatters as well as the economic support from foreigners given to a neighboring illegal settlement, this latest invasion of our protected ecological reserve underscores the need to do whatever is necessary to discourage further invasions, including cutting off economic support from well-meaning but misguided and poorly informed charitable organizations made up principally of foreigners whose actions may have contributed to this latest invasion. It's one thing to have politicians manipulate squatters in exchange for their votes by promising to give them titles to the lands they have stolen, but it's another thing altogether to have non-Mexicans providing any type of economic support for these land thieves and thus emboldening others to come and seek similar favors from "wealthy" foreigners. The large trees are gone and will take decades to replace, but we can help prevent further damage to our ecological reserve by not giving any hope to people who attempt to illegally occupy our public lands. Being charitable is a noble act of selflessness, but one should not be irresponsible and wreckless with that charity so that it causes irreparable damage to our small community and places at risk the future of Zihuatanejo and the livelihood of our lawfully settled residents. Less than a week later another hectare of zona ecológica was found to be cleared near the high part of the Colonia El Limón. The lider of a nearby colonia irregular (squatters community) was implicated by neighbors as having been responsible, though to date no detentions have been made or charges filed. But supposedly police have been stationed nearby to monitor the area. The same week in the colonia irregular where a predominantly U.S.-sponsored "charitable organization" helped establish a school for the children of this squatters community, a local inspector for public works correctly tried to halt the use of city equipment (bulldozer, etc) that was being used to clear and level an area near the school in order relocate the school from its current precarious location. But after receiving a call from someone at City Hall he was instructed to allow the use of public funds and equipment to continue providing this project for the illegal community. Precious public funds being irresponsibly allowed by elected and appointed public officials to benefit land thieves! All supposedly due to a work order authorized by an ex-official of the recent outgoing city administration who has a documented history of seeking political and economic benefits from the illegal settlements. Corruption wins again! And one of the squatters had the gall to say to the inspector that her taxes paid his salary, when the truth is that the only taxes squatters pay are federal sales tax, as does everyone. They do not pay the local property tax called a predial which is the basis of our city government's locally generated income. They do not have established business that pay income tax, rents, and emit facturas (official receipts for goods or services that contain the seller's tax number and that are supposed to be given to the recipients of the goods or services upon payment). In short, they are a huge drain on scarce local resources that local legal tax-paying residents deserve to have spent in their benefit instead of on the land thieves. But most Mexican political parties and politicians have long abandoned providing for the common good and instead concentrate on providing only for their personal interests and those of their party.

Heroes, Victims & Villains

Whale Rescued From Net On November 11th of this year Capitán David Otero of the panga Black Marlin found a 10-meter long humpback whale tangled in a fishing net about 50 meters long. The whale was injured on one of its flippers as well as its tail. Capitán Otero was able to cut the whale free from the net with a knife, and he reported that it appeared to be pregnant and that due to its wounds it was not submerging but instead remained swimming on the water surface. Later the Navy observed the whale in front of Las Brisas in Ixtapa for a few hours, and another fisherman, Capitán Isay Hernández said he saw the whale in the mouth of Zihuatanejo Bay. The Navy said the whale may be pregnant and seeking a place to give birth, and that apparently due to its injuries it was staying near the coast. Just a few days prior to this, several tuna boats were seen fishing a few miles off the coast, and a group of dolphins had also been spotted trapped in nets and were injured as well. Maybe it's time to boycott Mexican tuna again. It doesn't appear that the tuna fishermen are respecting the law or the wildlife. ¡Gracias al Capitán Otero! Sad news (whale followup) The pregnant whale cut free from a fishing net by Capitán David Otero was found dead on November 15th at Playa Larga. Apparently the net had fractured its tail and it could not swim well enough to feed and survive. I won't hold my breath waiting for the "responsible authorities" to carry out an investigation or to detain and punish the fishermen responsible (most likely one of the tuna boats that passed through here days before the whale was freed from the net). Dozens of Sailfish Slaughtered Longlines (baited fishing lines of up to 4 kilometers in length) used by poachers were discovered on November 25th of this year by local fisherman Gilberto Anzo Gutiérrez of the fishing boat "R3". About 50 sailfish were found hooked on the line, and while Gilberto and some tourists fishing with him were destroying the line one of the poachers, Alfonso Gaytán Godínez, approached in his boat and threatened their lives. The next day nine more local fishing boats went in search of more longlines, and the captain of "La Ilusión I", Simón López Barroso, found another longline with over 50 trapped fish. While he and other local captains were freeing the sailfish and destroying the longline they were also approached by poachers who threatened them. The poachers have operated out of Zihuatanejo for years with impunity while the "responsible authorities" have done nothing but turn a blind eye to the problem, which is why our local fishermen feel obligated to take matters into their own hands so that Zihuatanejo doesn't end up like Acapulco where there is no sport or commercial fishing industry to speak of since they overfished many local species to death due to lack of regulations and enforcement and even less self policing. Please help us protect our local billfish species and our local sportfishing industry by insisting that captains practice catch and release before it's too late. Otherwise, like our once pristine hillsides and clear blue bay, our sportfishing adventures will be nothing but a memory. Also, do not order marlin, sailfish or dorado from any local restaurant menu. Their commercialization is supposed to be prohibited, but since so many people continue ordering them the local restauranteurs continue purchasing them from poachers and the vicious cycle continues. Please be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. The Federal Law that declares billfish and dorado a protected species exclusively for sportfishing can be found in Artículo 84 of the Reglamento Federal de la Pesca.

martes, noviembre 29, 2005

Ecocide, Invasions & Corruption

Destroyed ecological zone in Zihuatanejo Once again a protected ecological zone on the hillside surrounding Zihuatanejo Bay is being deforested in order to clear space for new land thieves to build their shacks and begin the long wait to receive titles to this land from corrupt politicians and bureaucrats seeking their votes and kickbacks. Approximately 30,000 square meters (3 hectares) of ecological reserve in the high part of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, next to another area of squatters known as Colonia Buenos Aires, has been cleared over a period of at least the past four weeks during the weekends, according to people living in this area. It turns out that the police have known about this since "three or four weeks ago", yet the clearing continues. It only made news because it was finally reported by the local fire department to the city's Ecology Department, whose inspector allegedly visited the area for the first time this past Monday, November 28. It is noteworthy that this latest invasion is occurring immediately after the local cabildo (sort of a town council appointed by the mayor) voted to approve the recent regularización of the majority of existing illegal settlements in order to deliver on a campaign promise made by the mayor, whose term expires tomorrow. When the mayor entered office he promised he would give land titles to the existing squatters and that he would not remove any since he "did not put them there" but that he would "not allow one more squatter". No, he allowed thousands more! Their population doubled during the mayor's three year term from 24 to 42 colonias irregulares. And most certainly his party got their votes as well as kickbacks to his administration's functionaries from the payments the squatters make to the "leaders" of their colonias. This practice is an old problem in Mexico and especially here in the state of Guerrero where Acapulco is the prime example of this type of political corruption and its consequences. What is most disheartening is that there is apparently no public official who will halt the deforestation or stop the squatters. They claim they will try to persuade them not to damage the ecological reserve, but the damage is already done! It is also noteworthy that even though all the political parties have had a hand at fomenting land invasions, only one local city administration, that of Jorge Allec of the PRI, has actually removed an entire settlement of squatters, who later returned just after he left office. In the three years of the self-described ecologically friendly "partido del cambio" of the PRD under Amador Campos, not only have the squatters had their way at deforesting and occupying our formerly protected ecological zones, but his administration also allowed the megaprojects of Cerro del Vigía (a very shady land swindle) and Puerto Mio (another shady operator) to blast and destroy the hillsides that form the two arms of land that embrace our bay's oceanside entrance. Many local functionaries also have lands in or abutting these new developments, including the outgoing Regidora de Ecología. All of this unplanned and unsustainable growth has caused very notable damage to the quality of the bay water as well as overtaxing our already insufficient and inadequate city services such as sewage and potable water and garbage collection. The rain runoff from the squatters communities now causes outbreaks of diseases and infections both from the dust it leaves in the streets as well as the contamination of the bay, and swimmers are reporting an alarming increase in ear infections as well. I fear a serious decline of Zihuatanejo's tourist industry will soon begin after this season as the consequences of irresponsible actions by our politicians and city administrators take their toll on tourists who refuse to swim in our polluted waters, and who will no longer enjoy Zihuatanejo's natural beauty that has now been destroyed by the ecocide, land invasions and corruption permitted by our "responsible authorities."

viernes, noviembre 04, 2005

Día de Muertos in Zihuatanejo

Gran Baile de CalaverasGran Baile de Calaveras José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913)

This year in Zihuatanejo we saw a renewal of Mexican and regional cultural traditions related to Day of the Dead. It seems that much of our local society here in Zihuatanejo as well as the rest of the Costa Grande have noticed that we have been losing the traditions of our forefathers and that the young people of today are forgetting little by little the rich Mexican culture that dates back to prehispanic times.

That is the reason why cultural events were organized this year in order to recognize the traditions related to Day of the Dead, which is celebrated each year on November 2.

Shown below are some of the altars that were placed in the main plaza as part of a competition. All adorned with representative offerings of things associated with the dearly departed as well as the traditional flower called zempazuchitl.

Altar for Oliverio Maciel Altar for Oliverio Maciel Sand sculpture in gazebo at Zócalo Altars with graves of sand at Zócalo Altar in the Zócalo

One of the altars was for the renowned local diver Oliverio Maciel. A dolphin's skull can be seen in the middle of the cross of flowers. There was also a beautiful sand-sculpture in the gazebo of an angel praying over a sea turtle. Other altars were representative of graves, also made with sand from the Playa Principal in front of the Zócalo.

El Panteón de Agua de Correa

As happens every year, families of the region clean and adorn the graves of their deceased loved ones at the municipal cemetary located in Agua de Correa. On the 1st of November the children are remembered, and on the 2nd of November the adults are remembered. It is a solemn occasion even though it is common to see musicians singing as well as familes and friends sharing happy moments remembering their loved ones.

Bocote tree in bloom and flowers adorning tombs at the municipal cemetary Families visiting and adorning gravesites at the municipal cemetary Bocote trees bloom on hillsides and in cemetary amid adorned gravesites

In the photos you can see flowering trees called bocotes in and around the cemetary as well as dotting the hillsides with their white flowers. In our region of Guerrero these trees always flower during the week when Day of the Dead occurs, and for this reason they are associated with this day.

viernes, octubre 28, 2005

La corrupción, ineptitud y Cerro del Vigía

Apareció un artículo iluminante en el periódico "La Jornada" con la fecha del 29 de marzo del año 2004 que yo acabo de descubrir. Creo que describe muy bien la corrupción e ineptitud que padece nuestro gobierno municipal, estatal y federal relacionada con la pérdida del Cerro del Vigía, lo que era zona ecológica y cuyo paisaje natural forma una gran parte de la atracción turística de nuestro destino, aunque también se hacen referencias a otras proyectos como Puerto Mio e Intrawest que también ahora manchan la imagen de nuestro entorno natural. En Zihuatanejo, los ricos se van al cielo - por José María Iglesias

martes, octubre 04, 2005

Update (& vindication)

A little while back I had asked many readers of my message board to communicate to their lodging operators their concerns over local security and the bay's pollution problems. I took a lot of flack from some readers over my request. Some called me alarmist, others said I was appealing to the wrong audience, others said some rather nasty things. Well on August 24 the hoteliers had a meeting with one of the mayoral candidates and what do you think their primary stated concerns were about? You got it! Security and bay pollution. I rest my case. ;~) (And thanks again to all who heeded my plea!) Some noteworthy replies from some of my message board readers:
"Though we're not in the bay, Hotel Las Palmas tosses our hat in the ring of your support. These key issues are our 'golden geese' in our special corner of the earth. Let's not let them get killed." Scott of Hotel Las Palmas
"Excelente Rob! Thanks for your work. Keep following your instincts. Let's keep moving in good directions. Bravo amigo." Laura of Casa del Encanto

martes, agosto 23, 2005

Zihuatanejo Sunrise

Since I've apparently been rousing too much rabble lately, I thought you might like to hear about a typical morning in our life here. Dawn over Zihuatanejo BayMorning begins with the whistling of the street sweeper at about 5:30 in the morning as he makes his rounds. Now this guy doesn't simply whistle some rambling ditty tune in his head. Oh no, this guy gives a full concerto of some classic and timeless Mexican music. He'd easily win any talent contest or variety show competition. This guy is quite the warbler, and he's probably waiting for some talent show scout to discover him. However, the magic lasts only until he rolls away his plastic trashbin, which is a bit on the loud side, and sort of sounds like a train coming down the street at that hour of the morning. But then quiet returns for a few moments before roosters can be heard in the distance over the hissing and crashing of waves on the beach in front of our house (I almost can't sleep without that beautiful sound of the surf). Sunrise from Playa Municipal looking towards Playa La RopaAnd as the first light turns the sky bluish gray, the smell of fresh roasted coffee from the shop below my window spurs me into action for the first chore of the day: making the coffee, of course. While the coffee is making I usually do some exercises on the roof and enjoy the fresh clean scent of the ocean air off the bay, and I watch as the fishmongers pass by from the beachfront market on their way to other markets where they will sell their purchases, and housewives and restaurant people pass by also carrying fresh fish, some of the women still carry the fish balanced in a large bin on top of their heads. Rob at the helm heading out to blue water fishingThis is also when the sportfishing boats are making their way out of the bay into the open ocean, and wizened fishermen in canoes paddle around the bay looking for baitfish and throwing their nets upon large frothing schools them, supplying many of the sportfishing boats with live bait for their day's adventure on the watery blue horizon. And slowly but surely in the growing daylight people start making their way to the beach for their morning exercise routines, including my wife who likes to swim a few laps at Madera Beach in the mornings. Sometimes I accompany her or meet her there. Sunlit clouds at dawn over Zihuatanejo BayDaylight comes fast at these little latitudes, and the morning light show is no less spectacular than the sunsets as the evening moisture makes its way down out of the mountains, sometimes providing great orange and white towers of clouds that head out to sea, lit by the sun as it creeps over the horizon and casting their colorful glow on the bay and surrounding hillsides. About that time the sailors can be heard chanting as they make their daily exercise run down the beach. Then come the vendors: the ice truck supplying the beachfront restaurants, the water truck bringing garafones to homes and businesses, the propane gas truck who honks and cries out "gaaaas", the voceadores who drive the streets with large speakers atop their cars crying out the daily news: "¡léelo en su periódico!" And before you know it, as Cat Stevens says, "morning has broken", and the day is underway. Living downtown can have its disadvantages regarding noise and congestion, but it is also the center of life for our community, and in the cool tranquility of the mornings it is always fascinating and invigorating to watch our community come to life much as it always has for the past few decades. It is certainly my favorite time of day and my favorite place to be. No doubt about it! =)

Beach Report (Pollution followup)

Untreated raw sewage flowing from semi-hidden drain between canal and museumRAW SEWAGE ENTERING BAY FROM SEMI-HIDDEN DRAIN NEXT TO CANAL "LA BOQUITA"

Just as I predicted, the latest report of the water quality at our local beaches was just released for the month of July, now that summer vacation season is over and most all the tourists have already left. For some reason the report for June simply wasn't published (that bad, eh?). And many other areas appear simply not to have had water samples taken.

Calidad Bacteriológica del Agua de Mar

And as I have been saying for over the past month, the water quality at the Playa Municipal is unsafe for swimmers. But hey! They've already been exposed to the health hazard for the past month because of the alleged collusion and intentional coverup among the "responsible authorities".

Now that the July report shows health risks at both the Playa Municipal as well as at Playa Quieta (in front of the Club Med), it will be interesting to see if the "red banners" and signs warning of the health risk are ever placed on these beaches. There is currently no such banner or announcement on the Playa Municipal, and today, just like every other day during this summer vacation period, tourists and their children will flock to this beach and play in the water. Unfortunately, they may be taking more home with them than a suntan, and although they have a right to know, the "responsible authorities" do not appear to be willing to tell them.

jueves, julio 14, 2005

Crime and Pollution

Sadly locals have watched as during the past couple of months a number of notorious crimes have taken place giving rise to a feeling of insecurity and uncertainty among the local residents. There was the assassination of a man at an auto repair service on the highway in Ixtapa, the discovery of grenades in a planter on a downtown street, the discovery of a cache of weapons and ammunition less than a block from the police station as well as near a school and public sports center, the detention of 16 men (though only 13 were handed over to federal authorities with no mention of the fate of the remaining 3) along with the confiscation of four and a half metric tons of cocaine 140 km off our coast, the attack on the Ixtapa police module on the coastal highway Carretera Nacional 200 in broad daylight with a grenade and automatic weapons, several kidnappings including one where a ransom was paid but the victim was murdered anyway, the brutal and senseless murder of a young woman 8 months pregnant by a thief who first made the woman tie up her husband, and an attempted kidnapping in broad daylight and right in front of the municipal police by Policía Ministeriales del Estado and one of their "madrinas" (all 3 were inebriated and had no valid excuse for "detaining" the lady they allegedly tried to kidnap and they were all let free). Local residents no longer feel confident to walk the streets at night and by 10 o'clock Zihuatanejo is now quieter than it's been for years. Municipal authorities have not addressed the problems but instead have only contributed to them by allowing family friends and members to blatantly thumb their noses at police when caught violating our laws, even attacking and threatening police only to get off scott free or paying an absurdly low fine.
Additionally, concealing the pollution problems with Zihuatanejo's bay has also led to a worsening of the problem. City authorities maintain there is no problem and the federal agency entrusted with monitoring and reporting on bacteriological water quality of our beaches, SEMARNAT, simply does not test where raw sewage enters the bay next to the canal "La Boquita" by the museum on the Playa Principal, the town's main beach where many vacationing families frequently swim and play in the water. They apparently have made a deal with politicians to overlook this very real danger to the health of our visitors and instead, like most all of the local lodging establishments and promotors of local tourism, simply maintain that there is no problem or risk to bathers.
How can Zihuatanejo continue inviting vacationers to enjoy its beaches while hiding from them the fact that their health may be at risk, especially at the Playa Principal? How can we claim that Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa are safe and tranquil vacation destinations while violent crimes are on the rise and criminals continue enjoying impunity?
Lodging owners MUST get involved and insist on concrete action from our local, state and federal authorities. The clamor from the general populace has only caused at least one political candidate to run on an "anti-crime" promise, but no action at all has been detected by residents other than the increased military presence protecting the local naval base. Since lodging operators enjoy the greatest benefits of our tourism industry, they should be the first to insist that responsible authorities do their part to provide a safe and healthy environment for tourists to visit.

martes, mayo 03, 2005

No May Flowers

The burnings of plots of land for the summer crops of corn is an annual occurrence in Mexico, and the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa region of the State of Guerrero is no exception. Although such burnings are supposed to be illegal, apparently no "responsible authorities" enforce this law (as so many others laws go equally unenforced). El Cerro Viejo (the big hill behind Zihuatanejo seen in many picture post card photos) was partially burned yesterday afternoon and evening, and this morning the residents and visitors of Zihuatanejo awoke to a dense layer of smoke. In Ixtapa fires have been seen burning for days in Barrio Viejo (San José de Ixtapa) and the lands all the way up the sierra. Billowing clouds of smoke spread out across the hills and valleys and off into the ocean. While they do provide for colorful sunsets, they are also responsible not only for the air pollution but later the erosion that comes with the rains, removing what is left of any topsoil and making the land barren and arid. Mexico is actively promoting the desertification of our country by permitting these burnings to continue. Often the burnings aren't simply for agricultural purposes but also have a darker side, if that is possible. Each year tens of thousands of hectares of our forests are lost. Fires allow access to areas not only for loggers but also for squatters who steal our lands, and each year following local fires squatters occupy more lands cleared by those fires. Again, although squatting is illegal, no one enforces the law unless they see a political or economic benefit, such as running off other squatters in order to allow a new group of squatters who enjoy protection from certain powerful and influential politicians and caciques. Although our current mayor promised no more illegal invasions of lands would be tolerated, under his 3-year term we have seen more illegal invasions than in the ten previous years, many thanks to his campaign declaration that since he didn't put them there (though his and other political parties did) that he would not remove them. We have also seen other designated ecological zones have their land designations changed under this city administration, that was supposed to be ecologically friendly, in order to allow developers to cut roads and clear woodlands on what's left of our bayside hills for the building of new "megaprojects" for tourism and affluent "wannabe" residents, even though that was supposed to be the purpose for the existence of Ixtapa, leaving Zihuatanejo to its own natural growth. Zoning laws were quickly and quietly changed behind closed doors to accommodate developers. And thus the future of Zihuatanejo was sold out by the "government of change", the "government of the poor", the government that was supposed to replace the bad old corrupt politicians from the party that had governed Guerrero since the Revolución! No May flowers in Zihuatanejo this year, only smoke and fire and the continued rape of what should be paradise.

viernes, abril 22, 2005

Slow Season in Zihuatanejo

Playa La Ropa Playa La Ropa (click to enlarge photo) The slow season in Zihuatanejo is my favorite time of year, especially during the rainy season when tourists are scarce, the beaches are empty, the water is clear (except right after a big rain), the restaurants aren't crowded, the bars close earlier (meaning fewer drunks in boombox cars on the streets at night), and those of us who live and work here get to see each other and socialize after busting our humps during the high season. The slow summer season with its life-giving rains turns Zihuatanejo into a jungled paradise with blooming trees and shrubs covering verdant hillsides. Rivers and streams renew their flow and the afternoon rains keep everything fresh, cool and clean. For those who plan on being in Zihuatanejo during the summer rainy season be sure to check out the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa Weather page. There ain't no summertime blues in Zihuatanejo except blue water and blue sky!

jueves, abril 21, 2005

A Blog for Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Mexico

Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, MexicoAlthough I am already fairly occupied with a successful website about the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area of Mexico (see, I thought I would try setting up this blog site to see if it generates any interest and especially to see if it can be used to benefit the community in a positive way by helping to preserve and protect local culture, ecology, and a way of life that is under pressure from demands imposed upon it by migration, tourism, politics, population explosion, and unrestrained greed-driven development.

Most people in Zihuatanejo are now transplants from other cities and towns in Mexico, particularly Acapulco and Mexico City. Many were drawn here by the promise of jobs in a country where tens of thousands seek employment yearly by crossing into the USA, often risking their lives to do so at the hands of unscrupulous polleros who traffic in human misery. So most newcomers have no idea what way of life is being lost in Zihuatanejo. They have no idea who the original families are that made up the Zihuatanejo community for most of her recent history nor do they know much about Zihuatanejo's colorful history. So for these people who now constitute the majority of Zihuatanejo's inhabitants it is easier to get the attention of politicians who are always seeking more votes. That is one of the reasons why communities of land-stealing squatters have been allowed to proliferate on the hillsides that form a natural amphitheater around the bay of Zihuatanejo, and it is also a major reason why today the future of Zihuatanejo's tourism and way of life is at risk.

Between the moneyed interests and the political interests, the interests of the community as a whole appear to be getting lost. More people than ever are visiting Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, yet more and more they are people who spend less, complain more, and demand services that are not present in our area. A "Swim With The Dolphins" attraction in Ixtapa is a typical example of a so-called attraction owned by non-Zihuatanejo natives that frankly insults local principles and ethics. In a community of people who love the sea, enslaving dolphins to swim with humans in a tank is unconscionable and an affront to their view of how we should treat dolphins. Adding insult to injury, the dolphins are located next to an open-air discoteque with its loud thumping music constantly battering the dolphins super-sensitive hearing. But the business remains operating after over 5 years, with no real challenge to their continuing operation in sight.

Dolphinarium next to discotequeDolphinarium next to discoteque (click to enlarge photo)

Actions such as these only serve to foment bitterness among the community, which sooner or later will translate into open animosity between locals and tourists, particularly the United States citizens who represent a large part of the foreign tourists, if for no other reason than they appear wealthy, come from a country whose government is unpopular in Mexico, and they stand out in a crowd.

So far such antagonistic behavior is not obvious today, and visitors continue enjoying the exceptionally warm hospitality of the people of Zihuatanejo and the surrounding communities. Let's hope it shall always be so.

Hopefully by making potential visitors aware of local sentiments and culture, some of the growing pains of our community can be ameliorated. Who knows, perhaps someone will contribute some helpful ideas how Zihuatanejo can attain sustainable growth while preserving its natural beauty, its charm, and its cultural identity.


"Que la esclavitud se proscriba para siempre y lo mismo la distinción de castas, quedando todos iguales, y sólo distinguirá a un americano de otro el vicio y la virtud." El Benemérito don Benito Juárez - "Sentimientos de la Nación"