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).