lunes, noviembre 27, 2006

Wake Up and Smell the Frangipani

Someone asked recently on my message board about extending the shoreline walkway that currently runs from the downtown beach to Playa La Madera. I'm sure they weren't expecting the reply I gave, but I thought it would be an important point to post here as well.
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More and more each day Zihuatanejo is being made into a caricature of what it really is, all in the name of "tourism".

Part of what Zihuatanejo is all about is nature and exercise. One used to have to be in reasonably good health to visit here since getting around always involved a lot of walking up and down hills and along footpaths. Now that is no longer true, as is painfully obvious, and in the process we are literally paving paradise to put up parking lots... and roads and walkways to new and mostly luxury lodgings owned by foreigners. Has the standard of living benefitted? Well, I can now buy Dr. Pepper at the supermarket, but the supermarket is putting the hundreds of families who depend on the local produce and farmers' markets out of business. And added to that are the thousands of unskilled and uneducated people who move here looking for free land we don't want to give them and job opportunities that they aren't qualified to fill.

The walkway that sort of makes sense is the one to Playa La Madera called El Andador del Pescador, although it was unnecessary, and visitors and residents had no difficulty getting back and forth decades and even centuries before it was built. It is actually a longer walk than if one walks the "old" route from the museum to the footbridge across from La Mordida pizza and burger joint. And many of us used to always simply cross the lagoon mouth at the beach before it was turned into a polluted canal, and walk along either the dirt path or the top of the rocks on the other side, depending which part of La Madera we wished to reach. Everyone used to walk to the Chololo and the Kau-Kan when they were the first discoteques, both on the beach at La Madera. A few sad-looking mangroves on the other side of the canal from the museum are all that remain of the large and scenic estuary that was stupidly obliterated to build new neighborhoods and a shorter road to La Ropa.

When my wife's parents first visited La Ropa's beach they used to have to get there by canoe from their house on the beach next to the present-day basketball court on the Playa Principal. Eventually the Catalina Hotel built the road out to their location at La Ropa, and later it was extended around behind much of what is left(!) of the coconut grove at La Ropa to reach the Capricho del Rey at the far end of La Ropa Beach. Later that route was shortened by going straight through the coconut grove, which is now being cut down for new luxury homes... mostly owned by foreigners. As soon as that road was paved La Ropa saw endless vehicles speeding through the coconut grove bringing noise, dust and a lot of their garbage to what was once a serene and pristine masterpiece of nature and local social culture.

Along the cliffsides surrounding the bay we used to have thousands of fragrant frangipani trees. With the building of the walkway from downtown to La Madera most of those along that portion have disappeared, some from the construction, some from vandalism and careless people. Frangipani tree in bloom at Playa La MaderaSimilarly, at Puerto Mio most of the frangipani is gone due to rapacious development for... you guessed it... more luxury homes that are now extending out past Playa Contramar to the northwestern coast of the bay.

In the above photo a frangipani clings to the cliff beside the ruins of what was the popular Chololo disco at La Madera Beach. The damaged walkway seen in the photo has been rebuilt "bigger and better".

At La Ropa Beach we already had one incident a couple of years ago where La Casa Que Canta blasted the rocks of the natural pool called El Pozo del Eslabón to try to keep locals from hanging out at the beginning part of the beach where it has been suggested the walkway should be extended to. Needless to say there was a large local outcry after a local child cut his feet on the sharp rocks Casa Que Canta left in the natural pool and cemented along the rocks there. I guess from a foreigner's point of view it might be desireable to build a walkway since it would inevitably lead to more luxury homes owned by foreigners, but from a Mexican's point of view it seems tragic to lose any more than what's already been lost. Part of the attraction of La Ropa is (or was) its relative isolation from the hustle and bustle of downtown, and Las Gatas is in an even more vulnerable position to lose its culture and identity if a walkway or road were ever built to reach there.

So please, enjoy the walk over hill and dale, be healthy, enjoy the scent of the frangipani when it blooms, and love Zihuatanejo for what it is. =)

martes, noviembre 21, 2006

New Day - Old Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo sunrise
The rainy season looks to be over, though the hillsides are still a lush green, and the nightly temperatures have cooled to that perfect sleeping temperature that still makes sleeping under the sheets optional yet cozy. The crisp morning air now seems to make colors brighter, beginning with lava-like reds against a backdrop of deep-space blue. Yet the dawn moves fast at this latitude, and the rich twilight colors fade quickly into the brightness of full morning sunlight as the glowing orb peeks over the hillsides, their long shadows receding in what seems like only a brief moment. And the next thing you know it's a new day in old Zihuatanejo.
Sunrise over Zihuatanejo Bay
Sunrise over Zihuatanejo Bay

viernes, agosto 25, 2006

Saving Zihuatanejo

Regarding the large hotels in Ixtapa, while they do provide employment for many locals, they also import the majority of their better paid employees and tend to give more menial jobs and definitely underpaid jobs to locals. They pretty consistently receive huge tax breaks and return very little except for wages and a lot of refuse to the local economy (refuse we also can't seem to properly dispose of). So they don't really need my help and I don't really care to promote them, and my listing their websites in my Directory of Ixtapa Hotels is more of a courtesy to visitors than to help those hotels find guests. Some of them don't even seem interested in making money but instead losing money so as not to pay taxes for huge profits generated elsewhere, such as places like Cancún. I much prefer to promote smaller hotels, guest inns and rentals in our region, especially those owned and operated by local families. Many born locals are still looking for the more adventurous less demanding tourists that put Zihuatanejo on the tourist map to begin with, while our mostly non-local tourism authorities seek any warm body with a few bucks to spend, an approach to tourism that I definitely don't agree with and that I see as only contributing to the proliferation of all types of growing problems that we seem unable to cope with much less resolve. Those same authorities seek more and more cruise ships and megaprojects as well as the approval of casinos. Maybe some of you agree with this type of tourism development, but I and many locals don't and hope we can reverse these ugly trends before our paradise is truly lost forever. Many of us still believe the old Zihuatanejo with its green hills, clear waters, unspoiled natural attractions, simple culture and its respectful repeat visitors, those who didn't need a bar on every corner or a swim-with-the-imprisoned-dolphins "attraction" or the proliferation of "table-dance" entertainment (Ixtapa is getting a new one right in front of Ixtapa Palace) is worth preserving and is more beneficial for future generations of visitors and locals alike.

So if visitors are really seeking to save money then I can simply recommend they do business with locally owned and operated lodgings. The locals are definitely friendly, especially much more so than the faceless "hospitality" corporations and their Machiavellian money-generating enterprises.

I don't mean to offend anyone, and please forgive me if I come across a bit too strong on this. Just my two centavos worth.

¡Viva Zihuatanejo!

sábado, agosto 12, 2006

The Peje Effect


My personal opinion of the Peje Effect is that it was always the electoral strategy of the PRD to block the reforms proposed by Presidente Fox (while offering no viable alternatives and even though in later interviews Diputados of the PRD/PRI bloc commented they were actually in favor of the reforms but had to follow their respective parties' orders) in order to purposefully cause or allow deteriorating conditions throughout the country so that they could label the Fox Presidency a failure. IMHO, and in the opinions of many people I have spoken with about it, those Diputados are traitors to the people of Mexico by their dereliction of duty and with their eye only on personal gain, not the well-being of the country. They intentionally ignored the "will of the people", i.e. the Fox mandate, and fomented social discontent in order to claim to represent the "poor masses", who also are largely the least educated and most gullible part of the electorate. This was part of the old priista strategy of keeping the electorate ignorant and thus under control by handing out dispensas and populist social programs that actually kept the poor poor. So although I do not agree with many of the principles of the PAN, they appear to be the lesser evil as well as the least cynical and most competent of the three major parties, particularly at the national level. I see the PRD as the most cynical party and just as corrupt if not more than the PRI from which they split and to whose cause now run some of the most notorious dinosaurios along with many inept, corrupt priistas who simply live off the public dole. Between the infamous videoscandals showing el Peje's closest associates accepting millions of pesos in suitcases (the money has never been accounted for, the officials accepting it are out of jail, and the only person still in a jail of the same DF government Peje left to run for the Presidency is the person who filmed the videos and paid the bribes), and the incompetence of the perredista governments at the state and local levels to alleviate, much less improve, ANY of our increasing problems (i.e. education, housing, jobs, PUBLIC SECURITY, ecology, pollution, public sanitation, organized crime, land invasions, corruption, lawlessness, etc) it is only asking for more trouble to vote for PRD candidates. Next to the PRD, even the priistas look acceptable. Now we have the renegade perredista presidential candidate fomenting insurrection under the guise of civil disobedience, but it goes much further than that and includes the current violence in Oaxaca as well as the past violence in San Juan de Atenco. We also have el Peje declaring himself the President of Mexico even though he lost the election in the most transparent elections in the country's history. His is the story of a delusional demagogical fanatic seeking power at any and all costs. He represents the absolute worst of politicians, especially in this time when what we need most is national unity to overcome problems neglected for generations. One thing is for certain: if the elections were annulled and held again today el Peje wouldn't even come close to almost winning, but would instead lose by a decisive vote against him. He completely blew the opportunity and sympathetic respect his voter turnout gave him. It has become apparent to many more people, including his former supporters, just how BAD he would've been for our country. Imagine having a President who shows contemptuous disrespect for the laws and institutions of the country he runs. In most countries such a situation has led to dictatorships. It's one thing to seek institutional and/or constitutional reform through congressional legislation (something President Fox attempted as per his electoral mandate but was frustrated by the PRD/PRI bloc), another to overthrow those institutions using mobs in the streets (something AMLO has attempted since he knew he lost the election the night of July 2).

sábado, julio 29, 2006

Patzcuaro... Patzcuaro...

Enchanting land and perfect climate

My mother and I both celebrate our birthdays at the beginning of June. Hers is on the 5th and mine is on the 7th. This year for our birthdays my brother, Wood, came to visit us from Gainesville, Florida. He arrived on June 2nd... and that evening it started to rain. It rained pretty much non-stop for about 3 days, so that when the sun finally did come out the humidity and the heat together made it seem much hotter than usual, like being in a steam bath. Now I had been hinting to my mother for quite some time that for my birthday I'd like for us all to go to Pátzcuaro, Michoacán together, and when the heat set in I again brought it up. Well lo and behold the idea took root and my mother made it a reality! (Click on the photos to enlarge them.) Plaza don Vasco de Quiroga in PatzcuaroSo on June 8th we loaded up her brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee, and my mother, my brother, Lupita and I were soon on the road to the sierra of Michoacán and Pátzcuaro! The Autopista Siglo XXI is in excellent shape for the most part, though it does have a few whoop-dee-doos if you drive at high speeds like my mother does (ahem). But it was a beautiful drive up into the high sierra and across the desert and cactus region called Tierra Caliente where the temperature was hotter than on the coast we had just left. I took some good videos as we bounced along the way listening to Gladys Knight and the Pips. ;~) Walkway uphill in PatzcuaroOnce we started seeing pine trees the temperature also began to drop, and by the time we got to Pátzcuaro it was cool and utterly refreshing. It even started to drizzle ever so lightly, but not even enough to get wet or be a bother. Patzcuaro skyline Here are some views of the Pátzcuaro skyline taken just after we arrived.

Patzcuaro SkylinePatzcuaro skyline
Pátzcuaro is an ancient place where it seems time runs on a different standard. Old buildings, old streets, old customs all blend together to take one to a place where the past is the present.
Ancient street in PatzcuaroChurch tower and entranceAncient doorways of a church in Patzcuaro

The rich history of Pátzcuaro can be sensed in every doorway, every building, every street. My mother and me trying to keep up with the daily grind on our laptopsWe stayed at a very comfortable and truly enchanting Bed & Breakfast called La Casa Encantada located on Calle Dr. Coss #15 just a block and a half from the Plaza Don Vasco de Quiroga. They offer free wireless internet access, among their other wonderful amenities, and so it is possible to work and do the e-mail thing for those of us who just can't completely ignore our businesses for even a day. There is secure parking in an old remodeled villa courtyard practically across the street. For other meals besides the delicious breakfasts at La Casa Encantada, Pátzcuaro offers quite a variety of places. One delightful reastaurant very convenient to La Casa Encantada at less than a half block towards the main plaza, Plaza Don Vasco Quiroga, is called Mistongo where we had our first meal after arriving. I enjoyed a delicious white fish, typical of the region, and started to feel some of the magic of Pátzcuaro seeping in with every bite.

Wood and MotherLupita and me

Everything in Pátzcuaro closes at 10:00 PM. We managed to find one funky hole-in-the-wall café just off the main plaza where we enjoyed coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate before turning in for the night. Lupita, Mother and Wood at one of the small market plazasThe next day we strolled around town for a while early in the morning, taking in some of the markets with their interesting locally made handcrafts. One place we came across on the Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra was a hotel called El Refugio, newly refurbished from an old palatial building. Then we decided to explore the region and see if we could find the pyramid at Tzintzuntzán. Pyramid at TzintzuntzanLupita standing next to one of the yacatasLocated about 17 km from Pátzcuaro, this pyramid is the original center of the local culture and civilization, and it is topped with 5 structures called yácatas, which were temples. It is quite impressive to walk around this ancient structure and see the ruins of the buildings that are part of this site. In photos it is difficult to appreciate the massive size of this pyramid, which like most Mexican pyramids is actually one built on top of another, each dating back further into history. Yours truly beside a yacataOne thing I found interesting were small carvings in some of the stones of the yácatas, almost like signatures of the stonemasons. Among them were circles, spirals, and some that looked like the "f" hole of a violin. A couple are visible above my head in the photo to the left. Below are shown part of one of the yácatas (left) and the town of Tzintzuntzán fronting el Lago de Pátzcuaro (right). There was a marvelous breeze atop the pyramid, and even with the bright sunshine, it was a very pleasant and comfortable place to be.

Part of one of the yacatas at TzintzuntzanThe town of Tzintzuntzan

La Plaza Principal and Monumento de la America in QuirogaAfter our visit to the well preserved and well maintained archaeological site at Tzintzuntzán, we drove on to the town of Quiroga at the eastern end of el Lago de Pátzcuaro where we had delicious carnitas for lunch at a historic restaurant on the Plaza Principal with its Monumento de la América. Brothers in PatzcuaroAfter lunch we went to a store just a couple of blocks away that specialized in leather goods where my brother bought himself a rather nifty leather jacket, which he got a chance to wear that evening in Pátzcuaro when the temperatures cooled once again. Our last evening in Pátzcuaro we went to a very interesting restaurant called Cha Cha Cha, another converted old villa, where we all enjoyed excellent service and portions so large that it was a challenge, if not impossible, to finish them. A painting on the wall next to our table depicting Zihuatanejo's Playa Principal made us feel right at home. Our last day, before driving back to the coast (just in time to watch the opening match of the 2006 World Cup) we wanted to visit a guest inn that friends of ours had recently remodeled from a former 18th century guest inn and stables. Mesón de San Antonio is an absolutely adorable inn near the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud.

Wood at Meson de San AntonioCourtyard at Meson de San Antonio

Our last stop was to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, steeped itself in history and built on top of the prehispanic remnants of a cué, similar to a yácata. Lupita in front of the door to la Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud Here Lupita appears dwarfed by the Basílica's doors. Interior of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Salud A wedding ceremony takes place inside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud. The entire time we were in Pátzcuaro the weather was absolutely perfect, and even during the daytime I don't recall once breaking out in a sweat even when huffing up steep hills at the high altitude of 2,140 meters above sea level. Time and time again since our return to Zihuatanejo, especially during the summer heat of las canicas (the 40 hottest days of the year) Lupita and I look at each other and say "Pátzcuaro... Pátzcuaro...", wishing to be back in that enchanting region with its superbly refreshing climate.

sábado, mayo 13, 2006

Help & Hope on the Horizon

Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico The daily despair of seeing our once beautiful and pristine bay fouled by the discharges of the inadequate water treatment plants and runoff from denuded hillsides has received a slight reprieve in the form of renewed and growing support among local businesses and professionals aligning themselves with the causes of the environmentalists and locals who have been struggling for years against the corrupt and inept political machinery that has allowed 45 squatter communities along with several luxury tourist developments of dubious origin and benefit to occupy and deforest our bay's hillsides and degrade our cherished ecological zones. Environmentalists, representatives of the Colleges of Architects and Engineers, legal consultants for the Cámara Nacional de Comercio (Canaco - the National Chamber of Commerce), and 3 local town councilpersons have uncovered serious legal defects in the recently approved zoning changes made to the Plan Director de Desarrollo Urbano (urban development master plan). The zoning changes would permit the regularización of the 45 squatter communities that have sprouted up like mushrooms over the past 15 years, thanks to unscrupulous political parties promising cheap land in exchange for votes. The zoning changes would also allow the development of megaprojects such as Cerro del Vigía on the eastern side of the bay and a similar project, Montecristo, on the western side of the bay. Upon scrutinizing the legal document changing the zoning for these areas it was discovered that it contains such serious irregularities as to render the document illegal and unconstitutional. For starters, it was pointed out that modifications to the Plan Director de Desarrollo Urbano are supposedly only permitted once every three years. Since it was last modified in 2004 by the previous municipal administration, the current document violates the law. But even more alarming is that the document supposedly authorizing the zoning changes is dated September 30, 2005 and signed by the current mayor Silvano Blanco. The problem is that Silvano Blanco was NOT sworn in as the mayor at that time, he was simply the mayor-elect and thus did not have the competent authority required. Legal consultants also mentioned that other necessary signatures required by law were also missing from the document even though it has already been published in the official State Gazette, one of the requirements for implementing any new or modified law. So since the state government supposedly approved the document, suggesting they actually reviewed and scrutinized it (though in practice they rarely ever read or study such documents), it would appear that there has been connivance between at least two levels of government (both coincidentally governed by the same political party) to implement an unconstitutional zoning change that would reap huge political (if not also economical) benefits for the party in power during the upcoming federal and state elections. Personally, I am encouraged and gladdened by this recent development. However, I have no illusions that the political party in power at both the state and municipal levels will do everything they can to try to stifle the opposition and to conceal their allegedly illegal actions as they have done in other similar circumstances. Now it is up to us, the citizens, to support this initiative to reestablish and protect our ecological zones. Obviously the city must grow to accommodate its growing population, but it makes inherently more sense for the city planners to plan its growth horizontally towards Pantla and Coacoyul, not vertically towards our hilltops and ecological zones where the cost of providing services with already insufficient resources will not only cancel out the possibility of providing improved municipal services for the taxpayers and long-established businesses and residents, but such horizontal growth will continue contributing to the overall deterioration of the environment, including the bay, which is our principal tourist attraction, thus denying future generations a secure and healthy environmental heritage and jeapordizing our principal economic activity.

viernes, marzo 17, 2006

The Big Bad Change

Cerro del Vigía proceeds at full blast with the destruction of what the native Zihuatanejo community still considers its ecological zone. It appears that any legal impediments (and I use the term "legal" very loosely since this is arguably the biggest land theft scam and act of corruption by public officials across the political spectrum in the history of Zihuatanejo) were overcome for the time being since heavy equipment can be seen operating there daily. I believe this was one of the stupidest developments ever permitted here and certainly the most treasonous act ever perpetrated by local public officials, obviously with help and proper persuasion from higher-ups and other "influentials".
The Monte Cristo development between Puerto Mío and Playa La Majahua is obviously hot on the propaganda trail, trying to appeal to the Blasting new roads at Playa Contramarpseudo-ecologists with flowery images and sounds and feel-good concepts. One has only to take a look at blasted out fragile hills surrounding Playa Contramar and their view-blocking stone wall they have built along the Carretera Escénica La Majahua to know that preserving ecology is the farthest thing from their minds and has nothing to do with what is happening there.
And now a new concern is the quiet plan to develop Las Salinas lagoon, a lagoon we would rather save and preserve as the last natural area adjacent to downtown, a place where mangroves and birds and green spaces should be protected for future generations. But first we have to fix the pollution problem.
And we aren't ever going to be able to get a handle on the pollution problem unless we have a moratorium on new construction and rationally regulate land use in favor of restoring the health of the bay and the ecosystem of the surrounding hillsides. Otherwise the bay will become a sludgepot in a few years and the denuded hillsides will be so ugly that no one will want to come here anyway.
These may be the final few years that many of our regular visitors will still wish vacation here. Already too many of our former repeat vacationers have stopped coming here altogether. But it appears that they must not be the most desirable market, since we continue doing everything to drive them away in favor of the investors in megaprojects.
Though local officials have certainly been complicit in worsening the situation, there is also pressure from state and federal officials who have their own special interests to look after. The revival of the development at Playa La Majahua came on the heels of the release of former Presidente Salinas' brother, Raúl, from prison. He was allegedly one of the original investors. The road at La Majahua is the only place I have ever seen a black jaguar (often mistakenly called a black panther) in the wild. Unfortunately with the development there and the lack of corriders for wildlife allowing them to cross beneath the coastal highway I doubt anyone will ever see one there again.
But don't it always go to show that you don't know what you've got till it's gone...
(Photo courtesy of Roberto! Robertson)

lunes, febrero 27, 2006

The Pollution Problem

Local government is still not part of the solution regarding our water pollution problems. Our water treatment plants in Zihuatanejo, even if they could run at full capacity (which I don't believe they do and neither do the other local ecologists) are still woefully inadequate to deal with the existing population and tourism infrastructure, yet on the one hand the hills are being bulldozed for new major development on both "arms" of the bay as well as being overrun by squatters on the other hand. It is certainly a recipe for disaster given the current chaotic lack of planning and inadequate infrastructure. Raw sewage from clandestine drain next to La Boquita CanalLast year I published photos of the raw sewage entering the bay via the clandestine sewer next to the museum that flows into the mouth of the canal where it meets the bay. It caused a stir among local officials, who at first claimed it was storm runoff (never mind the fact there was no rain at the time) and later they simply closed the valve. Well, it's been opened again and raw sewage is once again flowing directly into the bay from that same source. It certainly is appalling and unacceptable, but the responsible public officials act like they don't know about it and even less like they care. The Las Salinas Lagoon west of downtown is also a source of pollution with many open sewers flowing directly into it as well as inadequately treated water from the "El Limón" water treatment plant, and the government is talking about dredging it, which would of course spell disaster for the rest of the bay if it is not done properly by closing off the lagoon and trucking out the sludge. I am not hopeful that the more expensive and work-intensive procedure will be followed. Unfortunately what local ecological organizations exist have thrown their hats in with one of the political parties, thus alienating themselves from the mainstream population and popular grassroots support (most Mexicans do not identify with any political party). They were snubbed by the previous city administration (the same party to which they had allied themselves), and the current administration removed Ecology from a city department to a sub-department of City Development! D-uhh... a slight conflict of interests there... and the population is crying foul, but the party in power was elected on a populist platform, and after winning the elections they have effectively turned their backs on the electorate and proceeded (like so many other politicians) to concern themselves with consolidating power and enriching themselves, NOT representing the common interests of the community at large. So we see no help coming from local politicians in power at the municipal level. Even less from the state government that, after almost a year in office, has yet to initiate one single public project! Local government seems to be following suit since after two months in office they also have yet to initiate any public projects. On the contrary, it seems that the politicians and their appointed public servants are only contributing to the problem through neglect, corruption and ineptitude. Instead of initiating a building moratorium and repairing and upgrading our woefully inadequate infrastructure, local and state and federal authorities seem hellbent on attracting more megaprojects since they see this as a way to obtain juicy kickbacks and payoffs. Often these megaprojects have influential investors who belong to Mexico's political and power elite. I am not hopeful that we can save our bay from becoming further polluted and unswimmable until it first becomes worse than it is and perhaps the tourists stop coming. It's a time bomb ticking away, but the bomb squad is busy plundering the store and playing king-of-the-hill.

jueves, febrero 09, 2006

The New Zihuatanejo

I don't know what happened to my previous post about the crime wave and the New Zihuatanejo, but it was an angry message expressing my discontent with the municipal authorities and denouncing the pollution, land thievery, chaotic development, ecocide, corruption, and general deterioration in the condition of our bay, beaches and environment. In short, I was angry about the deteriorating conditions, including the increase in narco-related murders and the use of hand-grenades in attacks against police. Anyway, the day after I wrote it there was a supposed grenade attack on the house of the municipal director of public security at a home he rents in Ixtapa not far from my mother's home. The current director is an unpopular political appointee named by the mayor, but in reality he was handpicked by the state's secretary of the government (who is arguably the second most powerful public servant in the state). Two grenades were thrown over the wall of the director's house just minutes after he had left around 10:00 at night. Strange coincidence! Unfortunately he forgot to let the policeman guarding his residence in on the plan and the policeman was hurt. It is noteworthy that the house was the home of an alleged narco who was murdered there last year and found floating dead in his pool. The son of the home's owner was also murdered in a shooting in broad daylight at the lagoon "Las Salinas" near a police station and the Navy base, but no one was apprehended in either murder. Maybe that has something to do with how a police chief can afford to rent a million dollar luxury home? Just have the owners offed? Local perception is that this event was not what it appeared to be, but instead was staged, probably by the intended "victim" himself, to make it appear that he is a target of the narcos instead of one of their collaborators, thus enhancing his credibility, with the added bonus of making him appear brave by continuing to reside in the same house. Several strange facts of this event are what lead to this perception, including the history of the house's previous occupant. First, the fact that the director had left just before the event at a late hour on . It wasn't reported if he had family living with him who also accompanied him, which would be stranger still at that hour of the night, but other than the policeman there was no one else on the property or in the home. Also, it was reported that when the Mexican army's explosive experts, who were inspecting the scene of the event and gathering evidence, tried to enter the bedroom of the director since it overlooked the area of the explosions, they were prohibited by local officials. Most strange was the report 2 weeks ago of the arrest of 9 gunmen in 4 cars apprehended by the police and army at a checkpoint in Ixtapa. The director allegedly tried to release 2 of the gunmen, but an anonymous call by one of his policemen alerted the army who rushed to the police station to demand the presentation of all 9 detainees to the judge for charges. Fortunately the army got its way. However, two of the 4 vehicles seem to have disappeared, too. We can only hope the military steps in and takes over local public security and that the government finally gets serious and purges all the corrupt police and judges so that Mexicans stand a chance in the fight against organized crime.