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.