Puerto Vallarta draws many US visitors - some of whom stay for longer than they should
The issue of undocumented Mexican migrants in America is widely reported. But what about the thousands of Americans living illegally south of the border? Mexico Direct looks at why they come, and why Mexicans aren't yet making an issue about it.
When Jessica departed the US early in 2011, she left a country where illegal immigration is rarely off the political agenda.
Little did she imagine she herself would become an 'alien' - in Mexico.
She came to Puerto Vallarta, a tourist resort on the Pacific coast, to work legally for a Mexican company. She took a second job to earn extra money, first in an internet cafe and then a restaurant.
But her employers - also Americans - never filled in the paperwork to make her second job legal.
"I insisted, but they told me it wasn't necessary, that they would pay me in cash every night and it was fine," she tells the BBC.
"It was clearly illegal for me to work there, but I did not take the authorities in Mexico seriously. My employers then found themselves in legal trouble and I feared I could face deportation, so I quit."
Last year about 1,000 US citizens were questioned over irregularities in their immigration status, according to Mexican authorities. They face a modest fine - up to $50 - if officials find them working without a permit or living in Mexico without proper documents.
Those who lose their visas or are asked to leave the country and then discovered to be overstaying are fined up to $400.
But the National Migration Institute in Mexico has no idea just how many Americans are living or working illegally in Mexico.
There are no advocacy groups defending American aliens in Mexico. Mexican politicians haven't raised it as a major issue - a far cry from the controversy around illegal migration on the other side of the border.
With thousands of people from Central America crossing into Mexico illegally every year, and the threat from drug gangs and human traffickers on their way to the US, the presence of undocumented Americans is considered little more than a minor issue for Mexico's immigration services.
No one really knows how many of them there are in Mexico.”
Some are Americans tourists who decide to extend their stay in Mexico without notifying the authorities, or students who wish to earn extra money teaching English in Mexico City. Others just fall in love with the Latin American lifestyle.
"No one really knows how many of them there are in Mexico. They are usually people who live for a while in Mexico and then return home. They do not stay indefinitely," says Monica Mora, an expert on American migration in Mexico.
The country is posting one of the world's highest growth rates in wind energy, and almost all of it is concentrated in the narrow waist of Mexico known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where winds from the Pacific meet winds from the Gulf of Mexico, spawning places so wind-blown that one town's formal name is simply "Windy."
The largely indigenous residents of the Isthmus complain that the wind farms take control of their land, affect fish and livestock with their vibrations, chop up birds and pit residents against each other for the damage or royalty payments. They also claim they see few of the profits from such projects.
President Felipe Calderon has made the inauguration of wind parks one of the main focuses of his administration's ambitious pledge to cut Mexico's carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and on Tuesday — as he has done before — he stopped by the state of Oaxaca to inaugurate a new clutch of wind turbines, praising the extra income they provide for some farmers.
"Yes, you can fight poverty and protect the environment at the same time. This is a clear example," Calderon said at the opening ceremony.
But as in the past, he did so under tight security, as local protesters threatened to mar the inauguration. The president's office normally publishes a detailed schedule of his planned activities, but didn't do so with Tuesday's inauguration, keeping it under wraps until the event took place.
So far in 2012, Mexico has posted a startling 119 percent increase in installed wind-power capacity, more than doubling the 519 megawatts it had last year, the highest annual growth rate listed in the magazine Wind Power Monthly's "Windicator" index. Mexico had only 6 megawatts when Calderon took office in 2006.
While Mexico, with a total of around 1.3 gigawatts of wind power, is still a tiny part of the world's estimated 244 gigawatt capacity, it offers an insight into what happens when the industry focuses overwhelmingly on large farms dominated by large companies that are concentrated in a small, desirable area.
It has been mainly Spanish firms like Iberdrola, Union Fenosa and Gamesa, and U.S. firms like Sempra Energy, that have built the huge wind towers that now crowd the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, leaving the local population feeling invaded. Only 4 of Mexico's 17 wind farms are located outside the isthmus.
It raises the question of whether bigger is always better.
"We are asking these multinationals to please get out of these places," said Irma Ordonez, an activist from the Zapotec Indian town of Ixtepec, Oaxaca. "They want to steal our land, and not pay us what they should."
"When they come in they promise and promise things, that they're going to give us jobs, to our farmers and our towns, but they don't give us anything," said Ordonez, who traveled to Mexico City in October to protest outside the offices of a Mitsubishi Corp.
Industry sources say the distrust is unmerited, given the potential benefits to the poverty-stricken farming and fishing towns on the isthmus.
The latest battle focuses on a huge, 396-megawatt off-shore wind farm planned for a narrow spit of land in a lagoon near the village of San Dionisio del Mar, Oaxaca.
A source close to the project, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the project had been approved by village assemblies, would have little impact on fishing activities in the lagoon and would contribute an amount equal to about half the township's annual budget in coming years in compensation and royalties.
But opponents and supporters engaged in a tense standoff outside the town in October, when a group of men blocked roads to prevent a planned demonstration against the wind farm.
Saul Celaya, a Huave Indian farmer and San Dionisio resident, said the lagoon project would damage mangrove swamps where fish, shrimp and other sea life breeds, and scare off the fish that locals depend on.
"Just when they were doing soil studies, there was a mass die-off of fish," Celaya said, adding that projects opponents "are being intimidated, they're afraid to leave their houses, they're threatened."
The industry source denied the company was intimidating anyone, but acknowledged the project had suffered some delays due to disputes within the community.
Others say it didn't have to be this way, big corporations pitting villagers against villagers. There are proposals to have local towns start their own wind farms, so that they could decide where they would be situated and where profits should go.
Rodrigo Penalosa, an activist who supports the town of Ixtepec's proposed 100-megwatt community wind farm, noted that "the community has already approved it. The problem is that the (government) Federal Electricity Commission won't allow the community project to get access to the network.... but it does allow the multinationals access."
Sergio Oceransky, whose Yansa Group is trying to help kick-start the community wind project, said the commission is asking for financial guarantees of millions of dollars "that no community in Mexico could meet."
"These are requirements that are basically designed to ensure that only projects presented by multinationals can compete," said Oceransky, who claims that such guarantees are not required by federal law.
The commission did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
With a limited transmission capacity for the projects, and the last lots of line capacity being auctioned off, the situation is becoming critical; what could be a sterling example of alternative energy production is threatening to become a permanent political dispute in southern Mexico.
The next administration rightful any decision on tax adjustments for next year, said Deputy Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Gerardo Rodriguez Regordosa.
Asked about speculation there about a possible increase in the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) of 16 to 22 percent in 2013, said that any such decision will be for the new government.
Interviewed at the launch of the future of yellow corn in Mexican Derivatives Exchange (MexDer), clarified that the outgoing administration work belongs only in the preliminary economic package for next year and put it to consider the transition team.
Thus, the official said the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), the development of this package is the responsibility of the new administration, which will have to send its proposal to Congress by December 15th.
On whether the proposed economic package contemplate tax increases, he said. 'That is for the new administration, any decision of any similar nature will correspond to how they want to address them'.
'It's not up to us now as outgoing administration and we are working only armed himself assumptions or underlying precepts for assembly of the draft, "he added He mentioned that in terms of the Income Tax (ISR), the law itself considers this tax and a reduction in the rate of 30 to 29 percent, and is an element that is being considered as part of discussions of the draft armed .
On whether the outgoing authorities of the Ministry of Finance have any recommendations on taxation to the transition team of President-elect reiterated that they only contribute in building the economic package blueprint 'else and corresponds to the new administration. "
Regarding Mexico has the lowest tax revenues in the OECD, as today released the body Regordosa Rodriguez said the tax structure in Mexico has been strengthened in recent years, particularly with the two most recent fiscal reforms , which were made in 2007 and 2009.
He argued that if income were considered Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) as part of the tax revenue base, then the comparison of Mexico's federal revenue is not 'bad' at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD )
'The problem is when incorporating local tax and social security contributions, is where Mexico and was compared poorly against OECD countries, the clearest example is the property tax that is levied in Mexico 0.22 percent of GDP , while the OECD average is 2.0 percent, "he said.
[readon1 url="http://www.prensaglobal.com/notas/29536.html"]Source:www.prensaglobal.com – Oct 25, 2012 Translation by Suyapa Ajuria[/readon1]
Many of the members of the 59th Legislature to end, have promoted a waste not to be accepted or allowed as a society, that the evident impunity and impudence to loot the coffers of Congress, money that belongs to the people, in addition to authorize an unsustainable payroll costing over 20 million dollars per month when in 2010, was covered by less than half of that amount, sentenced Youth Alliance representatives, saying that reach the Administrative Office of parties to bring impeachment proceedings against the tortfeasors legislators:
".. , We decided as a first action, urging outgoing deputies showing shame and political will to clarify efficiently, is going strong with the financial situation in Congress ... as a second action, impeachment against outgoing deputies and especially against people fincando responsibilities and specific commissions, management committee chaired by Raul Vargas Lopez and those who were vocal in their time, including the congressman today and Omar Enrique Hernandez Aubry and those who agreed in the dark in the Political Coordination Board chaired by Robert Marrufo as general secretary, Jose Manuel Correa Cesena and in particular by the cynicism and nepotism that has had deputies and especially by representing them, now a senator, José María Martínez, three of his four brothers are working in Congress, it's a shame ... "
They point out that this action aims to express the total rejection outgoing deputies proceed unpunished and their prey. Likewise require the new legislature will report how many assistants, specifying work and resume function, and can not allow more that Congress continue as an employment agency for families that truly make an effective plan of austerity and transparency. Also reported that it is inadmissible that the union leader of Congress, Irene Trejo, is receiving 96,000 pesos monthly, almost like a deputy.
[readon1 url="http://www.prensaglobal.com/notas/29530.html"]Source:www.prensaglobal.com - Oct 25,2012 Translation by Suyapa Ajuria[/readon1]
Trash, tons of it. With some 25 million people, greater Mexico City struggles every day with mountains of garbage, even more now that the main dump has been closed. Recycling hasn't caught on yet in the country, and some still keep up the old habit of throwing their trash in the street. So waste management has been a crisis in the capital for years.
But now, city officials – and younger, trendy Mexicans with a green thumb - are trying to change that.
On March 2012, the Mexico City Department of Environment launched a new program, a barter market - or "Mercado de Trueque" - in the heart of Chapultepec, the city's largest park. The first Sunday of every month, people can trade recyclables for fresh produce grown by local farmers. They can chat directly with farmers and growers, "count" the value of their plastic bottles, glass and cans, and be reminded of indigenous agriculture practices inherited from Pre-Columbian times. From Oaxaca to the Catwalk Watch Video Tower of London's Locks Changed After Security Breach Watch Video Pakistani Girl Shot By Taliban Continues to Inspire Through Recovery Watch Video
The initiative follows other green efforts launched by the city's leftist government, like a successful bike-sharing program and increased public transportation. While thousands of market-goers happily gather at dawn in a long a line that snakes through the park, some wish there were more markets of this kind held in different neighborhoods across the city, to meet growing demand.
The "Mercado de Trueque" only recycles a small fraction of the capital's daily waste. Still, it's an avant-garde model to be followed across the country and around the world. As its proud organizers say, "If a megalopolis like Mexico City – long infamous for its pollution levels – can achieve that, other cities can."
Eventually, the real success for the market would be if Mexicans keep and spread the good habit of recycling, with no incentive - food or plants - in exchange.
[readon1 url="http://www.vallartatoday.com"]Source:www.vallartatoday.com - Translation by Suyapa Ajuria Nov. 13, 2012[/readon1]
In the framework of the international day of youth, that the government of the people is celebrated on august 12, nayaritas convenes youth to participate as trainers in the program "Nayarit Mi Espacio Seguro"
50 youth ones will be selected to carry out this workshop, who will provide their knowledge in different sports; disciplines, cultural, artistic, educational and activities, from august to december 2014.
"The Governor Roberto Sandoval aims to contribute to improving the quality of life of all young people in the state, therefore promotes programs to promote social values and that foster a culture of participation with responsible expression", said the owner of the nayarit institute (injuve), Othniel Perez Figueroa
The official invited all stakeholders to come to the offices of the injuve, located on the street country club number 11, in the colony versailles, either call (311) 133 27 92 or entering the injuve facebook page and review requirements to participate in the program "Nayarit Mi Espacio Seguro"
with an investment of 750 thousand pesos for the development of a program, the Government of the people, in conjunction with the federal Government committed to these projects to make young people participate more and increase their quality of life.
A successful medical days have been free, served to families in the north of the state, which are possible thanks to the work of Margarita Sánchez Flores Nayarit Senator
Senator Margarita Sánchez Flores has launched free medical conferences with the aim of providing specialist care to nayaritas families with need mainly in remote communities of the state.
This is to prevent and diagnose early disease that may afflict the family members, so we're taking care services in nutrition, detection of hypertension, diabetes, psychology, optometry and even haircut for personal hygiene said the senator.
With over 921 thousand consultations provided by specialists and 230 haircuts , families who have benefited from medical days are the municipalities of Santiago Ixcuintla, Ruiz, Tuxpan, Rosamorada, Acaponeta and Huajicori. However these days reach all towns in Nayarit.
Meanwhile, more than 800 thousand poor nayaritas with low vision, are been improved daily life with free new glasses that can provide thanks to the tireless work and efforts of Margarita in the Senate.
At work health prevention is not resting, this weekend will continue with the medical days in the municipalities of Compostela and Ixtlan del Rio, where all residents are invited to receive consultations and benefits at no cost.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's Senate passed a bill Thursday banning large cash transactions as part of an effort to fight money laundering that experts estimate may amount to around $10 billion per year in Mexico.
The bill forbids buyers and sellers from giving or accepting cash payments of over a half million pesos ($38,750) for real-estate purchases. It also forbids cash purchases of more than 200,000 pesos ($15,500) for automobiles or items like jewelry and lottery tickets.
The fact that the law took two years to move through Congress illustrates the sensitive nature of such rules in a society where small businesses and retailers, as well as gangsters, have long conducted many of their transactions in cash.
In 2010, President Felipe Calderon originally proposed rules to bar all cash real estate purchases as well as cash purchases of cars, planes and other goods for amounts exceeding 100,000 pesos ($7,700). But congress watered down that proposal.
Sen. Roberto Gil, of Calderon's conservative National Action Party, said the legislation now going to Calderon for his signature into law "has achieved a healthy and reasonable balance between the need to inhibit the use of cash and the normal development of our country's economic activity."
The law would also require notaries, brokers and dealers to report the forms of payment in purchases above the $38,750 limit. Similar reporting would be required for credit card payments when monthly balances exceed 50,000 pesos ($3,875).
Mexico implemented strict limits on cash dollar transactions in 2010 that limited the amount of dollars a person could exchange to about $1,500 a month in most cases. Those limits hurt travelers, as more banks decided to get out of the cash dollar exchange businesses, leaving less competition and higher spreads among the few remaining players.
Some people have predicted a similar downturn in some economic sectors, such as real estate, once the peso cash ban is enacted. The bill would take effect 90 days after it is signed into law and published.
"We know some sectors of the economy are worried, like the auto industry and the jewelry industry," said Sen. Alejandro Encinas of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. But he added that "as long as we don't effectively combat money laundering and dismantle the financial power of organized crime, the problem of violence and drug trafficking won't disappear from our country."
Despite the potential pain, legislators said it was the only way to fight drug cartels.
"There is no way to go after organized crime, if not to hit their finances," said Sen. Cristina Diaz Salazar, a member of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Roberto Sandoval Castañeda,The Governor of the People, delivered economic stimulus by a total amount close to 12 million pesos, personnel support and assistance to the education of sections 20 and 49 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE ) for his career ranging from 10 to 35 years of service.
"This stimulus is the recognition of men and women who have pledged their lives, their time, their work and their passion for Nayarit; this makes me feel proud of my roots Governor, proud of my workers and an ally of the unions working for the good of Nayarit; commend and invite you to continue working in unity for the good of Nayarit", the president said during the celebration of the Educational Assistant.
He also assured that in the remainder of his administration will continue raising the flag of education as part of their responsibility in the Government of the People; the Nayarit have a government and a syndicate of teachers working in the same way, which is to improve the quality of education of children from Nayarit, he said.
"Building agreements is to build a healthy Nayarit, so we are showing nayaritas peace and civility. The support of President Enrique Peña Nieto has been very strong. Want a better education, but also wants the teachers and all staff to have a better paid. Congratulations, and thank you for inviting me to continue to have many years of prestige!"Said before hundreds of workers in the education sector.
Accompanied by his wife, Ana Lilia Lopez de Sandoval, who acknowledged having learned to appreciate the challenges and understand the complications involved in work in the classroom and in the management of resources for this sector, Roberto Sandoval said that his administration is intended that any school, however remote the community to which he belongs, lacks the infrastructure necessary for proper operation.
Meanwhile, the leader of Section 20 of SNTE, Antonio Carrillo, stressed the importance of the presence of the Governor of the People at the ceremony in which the efforts of the workers of education is recognized.
"It makes me glad to accompany us; after six years of not having the presence of a ruler-highlighted-is extraordinary to come to encourage, to be near the workers who make an effort every day, staff support to education, contributing to the system behind desktop in different areas. "
After living with the workers, the president reiterated that the three remaining years of his administration's efforts will focus on improving the living conditions of workers and, therefore, improve the quality educational of Nayarit.
The Government of the People, through the Forestry Commission Nayarit (COFONAY), private sector and society in general, successfully conducted the "Social Reforestation", on the right bank of the River Mololoa and skirts mount located on the side of the Rancho Quevedeño in Tepic.
In this environmental event about 700 species of trees and palm Amapas Washington were planted. It is noteworthy that Government personnel trained citizens in how to carry out the planting and care that must have these trees so they can grow and have long life.
Finally, by the COFONAY to private companies and individuals in general who have participated for the interest of preserving the environment and perform actions on behalf of nature thanked
Nayaritas citizens presented his approval by the realization in tepic of the 2014 Centrobasket international male tournament, from August 1 to August 7, event involving teams from puerto rico, Dominican Republic, cuba, panama, costa rica, bahamas, Virgin Islands, el salvador, jamaica and mexico, being the national team that won the Championship, after defeat in the hard-fought game to its similar boricua.
The excellent condition of the Auditorium of people, building that housed the selective tournament to the world of rio de Janeiro and for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, were also recognized by those who attended the event managed by the Governor's people, Roberto Sandoval, and also praised aspects such as the Organization and the security that was provided during the time it lasted the sporting competition.
Fred maldonado, who attended various matches of the tournament, said: "it went very well, it is an experience, more than anything; We do not always have events as well. We were all out there, like my in-laws from sinaloa were here also. they are very amateur basketball. I thought it was extraordinary, another level, equal is have to give all the boys coming. very good coordination, there were many elements of security; "made me felt very safe".
At the same time, Nicolas garcia said that within the centrobasket 2014 Games were of excellent standard, and since people packed the Auditorium of people was worth every one of the matches and the event in general.
In a December article published by Foreign Policy, Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging-market equities and global macroeconomics at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, names seven countries as “breakout nations.” He argues that these states have experienced more major economic growth in recent years than the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and therefore should receive particular attention from the international community. For Sharma, the nations to watch are the Philippines, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Poland, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. Experts on Latin America will quickly notice that there is not one Latin America nation on Sharma’s list.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and there is no requirement that a list of breakout economies must include a nation from each region of the world. Sharma also doesn’t mention any country from the Caribbean, Oceania, or the Middle East. Nevertheless, several Latin American nations, such as Peru, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia, have enjoyed major economic growth within the past decade, comparable to some of Sharma’s nations, and they deserve to be mentioned for the sake of a comprehensive picture of emerging economic powers. Growing and growing
Over the past decade, Latin American nations have experienced significant economic growth, with the four aforementioned states serving as the region’s own “breakout nations” (although they are each, to some extent, eclipsed by booming Brazil). For example, Colombia’s economy grew by 4.9 percent in 2012’s second trimester in comparison to the same period in 2011.
The sectors that enjoyed the most growth were construction, mining and finance. In addition, the U.S. Congress ratified a free trade agreement with Colombia in October 2011 which will further promote a favorable economic relationship between the two nations.
Meanwhile, Peru’s economy grew by 6.5 percent in 2012’s third trimester, in large part thanks to manufacturing and agricultural production. Stability within this Andean nation has also translated into an increase in international tourism, a critical source of revenue for small businesses in tourist regions like Cuzco. Chile continues to have South America’s strongest economy, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2 percent. Finally, Mexico has enjoyed a developing economy as well; according to CEPAL it will grow 4.0 percent in 2013 thanks to improvements in the U.S., its vital trade partner. Some optimistic analysts predict that Mexico could surpass the Brazilian economy by 2022. Just like Ruchir Sharma highlights how countries like Indonesia and Turkey will become trillion-dollar economies, the economic growth of states like Mexico—home to the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim—is a positive development, demonstrating that there are economic powerhouses in the region other than Brazil.
Latin America’s growth has also translated into strengthening trade relations with extra-hemispheric nations, which see the potential for successful investment in the region. For example, Colombian minister Diaz-Granados recently explained that trade between Colombia and Spain surpassed $2 billion, a significant growth compared to 2011. In addition, both Colombia and Peru are also close to signing a free trade agreement with the European Union. Finally, commerce with Asian states is expected to grow as Peru and Chile, along with the U.S., are part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a project currently in the negotiation stage that aims to strengthen trade relations between the major Pacific economies. Extra-hemispheric nations that are also TPP members include economic powerhouses like Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. Regarding Latin America, more investments and external trade is generally regarded as a sign that the region in general has become an attractive commercial partner. Ruchir Sharma and security issues
One topic that is not deeply discussed in Sharma’s commentary is security, although he does acknowledge, when talking about Sri Lanka, that violence affects an economy’s performance. Sadly, several of Sharma’s nations as well as Latin American states continue to face security issues that may hinder their growth in the coming years. For example, the Mexican government and security forces have battled powerful drug-funded organizations such as the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartels for years. Apart from the thousands of lives that have been lost in this drug war, many in gruesome manners, there is concern than the Mexican economy has become somewhat dependent on the millions made from the illegal drug economy. Meanwhile, the Colombian government is currently in negotiations with the FARC guerrilla movement to end a conflict that has lasted for decades. Similarly, the Peruvian government continues to battle drug trafficking (the U.S. government claims Peru is now the world’s major cocaine producer, not Colombia) as well as the last remnants of the Shining Path terrorist organization.
Chile is the only country that has not had to face violent domestic movements, though the government has faced major protests by dissatisfied sections of the population, such as secondary and university students, in recent years.
However, the security issues faced by these Latin American states are similar to most of those on Sharma’s list. For example, Turkey has waged a war against the PKK, a violent Kurdish nationalist organization, for years. The Turkish economy may suffer if Ankara becomes more embroiled in the Syrian civil war. Meanwhile, Nigeria continues to suffer from corrupt leaders—as Sharma highlights—and violence, particularly from a group known as Boko Haram, which has waged war against the government since 2009. On December 2, 10 Christians were killed in Northeast Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram in the latest security incident. Put simply: Sharma’s rising stars and several Latin American states face similar internal security threats. Even Thailand, usually regarded as a stable nation, has seen a rise in insurgency in recent years (as Sharma points out as well). The one stable country in Sharma’s list is Poland, which does not face insurgent internal violence. The Latino breakout nations
Ruchir Sharma’s list of breakout nations in Foreign Policy, while generally comprehensive, is incomplete. In spite of internal security issues and other problems like corruption scandals and environmental problems, countries like Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile have flourished, particularly during the past decade. The fact that Lima, Mexico City and Bogota in particular, have managed to thrive in spite of guerrilla movements and drug-related violence is nothing short of remarkable. Hence, these nations are worthy of any list that has the title “breakout nations.”