Everything Remains The Same

By Lola

Talk about a “good ol’ boys” network. Talk about gross coverups. Talk about disgusting. Some of you might remember the brouhaha that ensued back in late 2005 when Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho exposed the sexual goings-on (of a pedophilic nature, no less) perpetrated by a group of politicians and businessmen. Basically, she got thrown in jail (briefly) and charged with libel for writing that these men were having indigent girls sent to their homes to satisfy their base appetites.

Well, this week the Supreme Court ruled on charges that the governor of Puebla, one of the gang, had conspired against her and had her jailed. There was proof in the form of a taped discussion of between the governor, the “honorable” Mario Marin, and a friend of Cancun businessman Jean Succar Kuri (also implicated in the traffic of young girls for pleasure) plotting to do just that. What more did the court need? Apparently, a LOT more. They actually found there was “insufficient proof” and dropped the case.

SICK. SICK. SICK. Which only goes to prove that the toppling of the PRI did absolutely nothing in the way of dealing with corruption and general depravity in the government and amongst those with power. Everything remains the same.

I am embarrassed and mortified with my fellow countrymen. Of course, not all government functionaries and rich folk are cut from the same cloth, but this is beyond the pale.

I guess young girls don’t qualify as “abused women” — I’m referring to the supposed commitment by the government to hand over millions to help support the cause (see “Mexico to spend nearly $4 bln to tackle violence against women” post). The news, by the way, wasn’t outrageous enough to merit a mention on CNN, as opposed to the fact that Wayne Newton was bullied by Johnny Carson. Ugh.

Read it and weep:

Mexico’s Supreme Court finds insufficient proof that governor conspired against journalist

What’s with the Bull?

 By: MP News Staff

Here at Mexico Premiere we like to do a LOT of surfing to find good info to share with our readers. Sometimes we stumble across some pretty amusing stuff. Rather than just quote from this piece, we thought we would just post it in its entirety. Enjoy!  Will Cloning Change Bullfighting in Mexico?

By Allan Wall

The bullfight, known in Spanish as the corrida de toros, the fiesta brava, or tauromaquia, is a famous facet of Mexican culture.

The corrida de toros is a ritualized spectacle, a dramatic struggle between man and beast, style and fury, intelligence and strength.

Ernest Hemingway, an aficionado of the corrida who actually practiced it in Spain, wrote that “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.”

Bullfighting is full of traditions, from the way its participants dress, to the order of the show, to the live music which accompanies it. Bullfighting has its own specialized vocabulary, some of it incomprehensible even to Spanish-speaking outsiders.

A good matador must do more than just kill a bull. Dispatching the bull is only part of it. It’s the way that he does it. The matador must display grace, courage, confidence and control, and must pace himself. If the matador fails to display these characteristics, to go too fast or too slow, the audience will become displeased.

The audience too is part of the spectacle, and can be quite demanding. If the matador does not live up to their expectations, some aficionados shout unflattering (and sometimes clever) epithets. (The term aficionado has entered English, but what it really meant in Spanish was a bullfighting fan.)

I’ve been to a bullfight from time to time, and there’s no other spectacle quite like it.

Bullfighting is also practiced in some other Spanish-speaking countries and in Spain, where it originated. Some famous matadors cross the Atlantic and fight in both Spain and Mexico.

Now, with the announcement of the first known cloning of a fighting bull, the corrida tradition moves into the world of contemporary genetic manipulation.

Zalamero is his name – the bull’s that is. Zalamero is one of those rare creatures who survives the bullring, and is now a 17-year old indultado.

What’s an indultado?

The vast majority of bulls meet their death in the ring, but every once in a while a bull, exceptional for his fighting spirit and bravado, is “pardoned” – granted an indulto, and allowed to live out his natural life.

In 1994, Zalamero fought in the biggest bullring in the world (capacity 52,000), the Plaza México in Mexico City.

An indultado bull is used for breeding, and Zalamero has already sired around 100 calves.

But Mexican rancher Jose Fernandez, Zalamero’s owner, has decided to take this one step further – and clone the bull. “We believe this animal deserves to keep reproducing himself,” said Fernandez.

The cloning is being carried out by ViaGen, a Texas livestock cloning company. Jose Cordoba, ViaGen’s director in Mexico, went to the ranch near Puebla, Mexico, and extracted ear and hoof samples from Zalamero. The actual cloning is being done in laboratories in Canada. If all goes according to plan, the clone calves are to be brought to Mexico in a year and a half.

You might call them NAFTA clones – taken from a Mexican bull and cloned in Canada under the auspices of a U.S. company.

Actually, cattle breeders have been using some form of genetic manipulation for thousands of years, using selective breeding to enhance desirable traits (especially to increase milk and meat production).

The bulls of the fiesta brava belong to a particular breed, descended from the wild cattle of ancient Spain. In Roman times these cattle were captured for use in the Colosseum.

In the same way that Holsteins (the black and white dairy cows) are bred to give much milk, so ganado bravo, the fighting cattle breed, are bred to be aggressive. Interestingly, a bull is said to inherit the aggressiveness from his mother, and nobility from his sire.

The value of effective breeding bulls has long been recognized, and the later introduction of artificial insemination made it possible for such bulls to sire even more offspring. Cloning takes cattle breeding to another level, but it is still in its infancy.

If cloning were to become widespread, how would that affect the bullfighting business? Will new rules have to be drafted so an old tradition can catch up with biotechnology?

At this point, all I can safely do is again quote Hemingway, who wrote that an artistically good bullfight requires “good bullfighters and good bulls; artistic bullfighters and poor bulls do not make interesting fights….”

Whatever biotechnology brings to the bullfight, the fiesta brava definitely requires good bulls in the bullring.

El Careyes Relaunches With Ultra-luxe Beach Vacations For The Entire Family

By MP News Staff

elcareyes14.jpgCOSTA CAREYES, Costalegre – Tucked away in a private cove along Mexico’s undulating Pacific Coast is a secret hideaway that for more than three decades has enchanted discerning travelers seeking ultra-chic yet low key beach vacations.

For years, the name El Careyes Beach Resort was uttered with hushed tones among Hollywood royalty and the jet set crowd. Now, recently relaunched as an independent hotel, the resort which was built in 1968 like a candy-colored Mediterranean village is bringing laidback luxury to the entire family.

El Careyes, named after the turtle species that reside in a nearby marine sanctuary, lies along a 200-km stretch of craggy Pacific coastal Mexico between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, known as the Costalegre, or “happy coast”. Remodeled in 2001, the 48-room resort recently stuck out on its own after more than five years as part of the Starwood Luxury Collection of elite worldwide properties.

elcareyes09.jpgShrouded by thick tropical jungle, the colorful Mediterranean-inspired buildings topped with traditional red tile roofs form a horseshoe around a serpentine infinity-edge swimming pool that snakes around a wide stone patio overlooking a golden sand beach. Ocean adventurers delight in sea kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and deep sea fishing, while land-lubbers explore the unique ecological zone on mountain bike, horseback or hiking excursions. Sports lovers also enjoy a tennis match, and championship golf just a short drive away.

elcareyes05.jpgContemporary Mexican décor compliments cozy guest rooms, which feature cool tile floors, colorful textiles adorning beds and sofas, an artwork collected from around the country. Many suites also boast open terraces with flower-strewn private Jacuzzi tubs overlooking the stunning cove where pelicans dive for their evening supper at dusk. Unmatched congenial service extends from the open air lobby, where check-in includes an icy, fresh welcome cocktail, to La Lantana poolside restaurant, where the atmosphere shifts seamlessly from casual beach to fine dining among intimate elegance once the sun sets on the ocean. Jewel-toned couches covered with pillows provide strategic sunset vantage points, and are an ideal place to start the evening with an aperitif or end the day with a night cap cocktail.

Special promotions valid until December 19, 2007 include:

•Family Escape—Enjoy a relaxing 3-night stay starting from $724 USD. Enjoy 20 percent off at La Lantana restaurant, daily American breakfast, and 10 percent off at the spa (massages not included) as well as a special welcome pack that includes a T-shirt, camera and soft toy. Two children under 11 years of age stay free when sharing their parents’ room. Rate does not include taxes and tips.

•Careyes Splash—Adventure lovers, get your adrenaline pumping with a 4-night stay, starting from $1,346 USD. Package includes one hour of sea kayaking, a two-hour snorkeling excursion, one hour of horseback riding, and a welcome amenity package from El Careyes that includes a T-shirt, camera and soft toy. Rate does not include taxes and tips.

•Careyes Romance—Slip into a romantic mood with a 3-night stay in a junior ocean view suite for $1,309 USD (taxes and tips included). Includes daily American breakfast and a gourmet dinner at La Lantana with a bottle of wine, and use of all Careyes services, from the games room, to tennis courts, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

El Careyes is a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, a carefully chosen collection of the most stylish and supremely comfortable small luxury hotels in Mexico. For more information and reservations call 800-728-9098 or visit www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com/thecareyes/.

On the Fence?

By: Lisa Coleman

Talking about a border fence doesn’t usually make popular dinner conversation… but, you’re going to be hearing more and more about this rather ridiculous idea. It is certainly fair to say that immigration (and all that it entails) is a tremendous problem, but a fence isn’t going to help matters. To quote my dear opinionated friend, David Simmonds, “This isn’t an illegal immigrant problem, it is an illegal employer problem.”  It’s sort of like everyone pointing the finger at Mexico for the US drug problem…. it’s just simple economics, supply and demand. Same thing works with the illegals. If we keep employing them, they will keep coming.

Nonetheless, the politicos in Washington think a fence will magically do the trick. This ten foot bandaid will only make matters worse, and everyone seems to be forgetting the collateral damage to this preposterous plan. The environment also has a stake in this game and the implications are devastating. An outfit known as the Borderlands Jaguar Detection project has kept cameras in a remote wilderness area near the Arizona-Mexico border since 2004. Their goal has been to study the Jaguar population that is making it’s way into the mountain wildlife corridors that straddle the border. These amazing creatures are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and are looking to become the unintentional victims if the Department of Homeland Security pushes forward.

This month, an 11-km steel fence has been errected through the Tumacacori mountains in Arizona’s Buenos Aires national wildlife refuge which directly affect the habitat of the endangered pronghorn antelope. “It is very close to where one jaguar has been known to live for at least 10 years,” says Michael Robinson, who monitors jaguars for the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD). Cutting the animals off from Mexico “is potentially catastrophic for the species’ recovery prospects in the northern part of its range.” The American Society of Mammalogists warns that jaguars can survive only if they are allowed to roam across the border. Steel fences would strand existing jaguars in the U.S., prevent others from increasing the nascent population, and limit the cat’s gene pool.

In Texas, the same problems are surfacing. A 110-km fence proposal would run near the Lower Rio Grande Valley national wildlife refuge. Restored for $100 million, it is North America’s most biologically diverse area, home to rare ocelots and half of U.S. bird species. “We estimate anywhere from 60 per cent to 75 per cent of the refuge will be either directly or indirectly impacted,” says Nancy Brown, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau of the Department of the Interior. According to published information on the topic, the fence could harm a $150 million-a-year ecotourism trade.

Not surprising, this fence project could bring is worth about $7.6 billion, a windfall to contractors. The sheer numbers seem to blur the logic of the hungry businessman and political climber. In a recent statement, Mexico’s Environmental Minister Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said the fence threatened shared ecosystems. Warning that Mexico might take the issue to the International Court of Justice, he advocated “green corridors,” without roads, for wildlife — a vision already entertained by various schemes. But George baby and his idiotic  Department of Homeland Security are ready to build that fence to prove some sort point which will only serve pertuate the folly of his presidency. Though Bush will be gone none too soon, it might be too late for the Jaguar and rest of the wildlife and ecosystems that happen to be in the way.

Mexican President Vows to Protect Sacred Butterfly Trees

Monarch butterflies congregateANGANGUEO, Michoacán, Mexico, November, 2007 (ENS) – President Felipe Calderon visited the Sierra Chincua monarch butterfly reserve in the mountains of central Mexico on Sunday to announce his plan to enhance and publicize the reserve.

Under the new program, the Calderon government will spend $4.6 million to buy additional equipment and advertising for the reserve, which is protected by Mexico and also internationally under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program.
Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, in Canada during the summer.

“This nature reserve annually receives millions of butterflies that come to spend the winter in our ancient sacred firs after a journey of over 4,000 kilometers from Canada to Mexico,” said President Calderon.

For the Purepecha Indians, said Calderon, “the butterflies’ stay meant the essence of the dead, because the butterflies used to arrive around the time of the Day of the Dead and for the Otomí and Mazahua, they represented the spirit of the harvest, because the harvest ended when the Monarch butterfly arrived.”

“These butterflies, which attract thousands of tourists, are regarded as one of Mexico’s natural wonders and this season, we hope to receive 230,000 tourists, which is actually quite few,” said the president.

About $36.4 million in government funding already comes to the butterfly reserve each year to support a team of park rangers who attempt to protect the trees favored by the butterflies from armed groups of lumber thieves.

The Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund say these efforts have resulted in a 48 percent drop in illegal logging, compared to last year. “We’re gaining ground in the fight against illegal logging,” Calderon said.

Monarch butterflies have one of the world’s most unusual migration patterns. Every September, millions of the black-and-orange insects fly 3,400 miles from their breeding grounds in the forests of eastern Canada and parts of the eastern United States to the mountains of Mexico where they seek the same locations their forebears once inhabited.
Monarch butterflies cluster on trees in the Mexican mountains. (Photo credit unknown)

There they gather in 10 to 13 colonies in the Oyamel fir, Abies religiosa, forests of Mexico. Oyamel firs grow only at high altitudes, between 2,400 and 3,600 meters above sea level.

MonarchIn late March, the monarchs return to U.S. and Canada where they breed up to five generations before heading back to Mexico. A typical butterfly will make just one migration during its lifetime. Some monarchs do not travel the entire migration route but reproduce and die along the way. Their offspring continue the flight.

President Calderon announced Sunday that his government is working with the United Nations to have the monarch butterfly area recognized as a World Heritage Site, a result “which we hope to achieve soon,” he said.

The World Heritage Convention is administered by UNESCO, lists 851 sites around the world that are protected as being of special natural value to all humankind.

President Calderon promised help for the community of Agangueo where the butterfly reserve is located. “We will be working very closely with the people of Agangueo, not only to help them solve their development problems, but also so that Angangueo can be reinforced as one of the magical towns of Mexico and attract more tourism,” he said.

Today, Mexico has over 670,000 hectares of nature reserves, said the president, “and we are advancing towards our goal of over three million hectares in nature reserves by the end of my government.”

The president met with Governor Elect of Michoacan Leonel Goday on Sunday after the state’s Electoral Institute submitted written proof that he had obtained a majority in the elections.

During the meeting, the president repeated his government’s willingness to work for the development of the state and raise the living standards of the residents of Michoacán.

Oaxaca Now

By David Simmonds

A while back I told you about a guy, Matt Plavnick, who lives in and writes about Oaxaca. He just sent me this piece ,where he provides some very insightful comments on Ceci Connolly’s article in the Washington Post, “Oaxaca, One Year Later.” Although Plavnick agrees with much of her on-assignment article, he takes great exception to how Connolly characterizes last year’s civil unrest and the terms she uses to describe it. Anyone who wants to know more about how Oaxaca looks and feels today from an observant resident should read Plavnick’s article by going here http://plavwriter.blogspot.com/

Another Tradition Bites The Dust… Power Meals, Here We Come

By Lola

I’ve always been a fan of the three-tequila comida. Seems to me a lot more than just business got done—camaraderie, friendship, conversation, ideas, laughter, good-natured discussions… It all ebbed and flowed quite nicely between courses and sips on a caballito filled with Guadalajara’s finest.

It seems, though, that with the Americanization of Mexico, this “time wasting” tradition—that so often ended in “…a bar crawl that led to a strip club or into the arms of a mistress in a pay-by-the-hour hotel…” is getting snipped in the bud in favor of “efficiency” and “clean-living”. I don’t believe they were always quite as decadent or quite the “orgy” as the knowledgeable Ms. Bremer seems to think they were in the following article—I do believe that somehow these “boozy” cronies that managed to keep Mexico’s business world afloat got something done. But that’s just me and my humble opinion of my fellow Mexicans.

Power omelettes kill Mexico’s boozy business lunch