Secretaries of Tourism of the Americas Chose Tabasco for their 2008 Meeting

By MP News Staff

In order to contribute with the recovery of tourism activity in Tabasco, the secretaries of Tourism of the 23 American countries selected this Southeastern state of Mexico as the venue for their Meeting of the Commission of the Americas to be held in May 2008.

This decision of choosing Tabasco in October, was taken during the general assembly of the World Tourism Organization, celebrated recently in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

On the other hand, the works announced by Rodolfo Elizondo-Torres, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, plans to restore the infrastructure of the state with $9.1 million assigned by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, are under way.

The Mexican Government also contacted the leaders of business organizations of the nation to hold “different events, such as meetings and conventions” in Tabasco.

Meanwhile, the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (Mexican Tourism Promotion Board) began to use a $600,000 fund to stimulate travel to Tabasco.

What’s the news about The News?

by Ron Mader

Mexico City’s daily English newspaper The News resumed publication in late 2007 and has promised a website is in the offing, welcome news to those who are familiar with the paper.

For those not in Mexico City or one of the handful of Mexican cities that receive the dead tree version (Oaxaca gets a small ration that sells out quickly at 11am), there still is no online version of the daily.

Does it matter? The 2.0 version of The News provides insightful coverage of Mexico in English from a staff that is knowledgeable and willing to cover topics in depth. Highlights in this paper are the country’s is that the newspaper has one of the country’s best design and print jobs (along with Reforma and Record).

FLICKR SIGHTINGS

The News is a venerable institution and one that has its own degree of fame, including a Wikipedia entry and a number of sightings of the paper archived on Flickr:

The News
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agren/1639065735
http://www.flickr.com/photos/newcorrespondent/1618172483
http://www.flickr.com/photos/erlin1/2131437023

Mexico Makes a Stop in Miami

By: MP News Staff

Mexico opens the doors of imagination to airport visitors that pass through Miami

Miami, Florida – All a success, the Mexico Tourism Board’s campaign “Mexico: Beyond Your Expectations”, has been implemented by showcasing the country’s diverse offerings with a large display at Miami International Airport.

“A large amount of travelers have visited the display at the airport in Miami and have expressed an enormous amount of interest in the information being provided on Mexico”, said Teresa Villareal, Director of the Mexico Tourism Board in Miami.

The Colonial style displays have been installed near gates F and G in the airport which have the highest traffic and are neighbors to airline counters with the highest impact such as: Continental, Air Canada and others. The display located in walkway G is also the entrance of the airport’s new terminal, inaugurated less than two months ago.

With its great colors and a style that reflects a traditional Mexican estate, the displays include a 42 inch plasma screen TV playing beautiful images of Mexico and are operated by friendly models who are ready to provide visitors with information. Booth guests are also receiving giveaways such as pens, caps, postcards, luggage tags and coloring books with crayons, which have been very popular among parents with traveling children and motivate them to request additional information on Mexico.

Selecting Miami International Airport was without a doubt, a huge part of the success of the operation, since the airport carries about 3 million travelers on a monthly basis, a figure that has increased 11.6 % in the past year.

Certainly, this campaign will contribute in the positioning of Mexico in the United States, targeting a key audience of high purchasing power, during the adequate high season and to establish a strong presence of Mexico that passengers will surely remember.

A Great Colonial City Resource

by David Simmonds

Most Mexico travelers know about the better-known colonial towns of Mexico, many, but not all, built with silver-mining riches from the 16th to 18th centuries. Typically Spanish in style, some of the most popular are San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Taxco, Oaxaca, Puebla, Merida and Morelia. European architecture, religion and social systems were imported, while, unfortunately, much of the indigenous culture was literally buried and destroyed.

 Never-the-less, the magnificient well-preserved old towns provide a culturally rich history to the country that attracts visitors from around the world. What is less known are the thousands of historic towns that are not so well-known. These are the places that you would only find if you were driving around the country, veering off the toll-roads, or riding the second-class buses that go practically everywhere. This is the Mexico that so intrigued me on my first visits, and the Mexico that keeps me forever returning and searching for more.

Richard and Rosiland Perry have been exploring the back roads of Mexico since 1966 (beating me by 4 years) and have fashioned a life focused on cataloging their travels and discoveries. They have published several books quite unique from the standard guides, most notably two that I own, “Mexico’s Fortress Monasteries“, and “Blue Lakes and Silver Cities“, filled with line drawings by Richard depicting the architecture and people they encounter. I have searched, and there are no other books like this in publication. There are literally thousands of towns that were founded hundreds of years ago, cobble-stoned, built around maginificient churches that still anchor every town center. The Perrys have published several books that tell the story of many of these places. Learn more about these essential and valuable resources here http://www.colonial-mexico.com/index.html. You can also sign up for their email list and they will announce whenever they feature a new location on their web site.

Sometimes Segregation Works…

By Lola

OK, I totally knew I’d get your attention with that headline. Here’s what I’m referring to: a few days ago, USA Today published a story on how Mexico City debuted a fleet of “ladies only” buses with pink signs identifying them. And it was all thanks to the ever pervasive, annoying, downright degrading and unfettered GROPING that went on in every single system of public transportation. It had gotten so bad that platforms and even cars at el Metro were being segregated during rush hour to prevent nasty roaming hands—to little or no avail.

Now women can find a place to sit without a hand on their butt or hold onto the “ay carajito” strap without someone ensuring their boobs are still in place.

I was personally butt pinched and otherwise unabashedly “tested” for tenderness on the Metro and a public bus a couple of times. I was in my teens once and in my twenties the other. The first time around I was embarrassed as all get out, the next time I let the guy have it with some well-placed Puerto Rican adjectives that shall remain nameless. But my GRANDMOTHER can tell you that she was a healthy 50 years old when some dirty old man tried to caress her backside. She said that at the time she had been holding up a package so it wouldn’t get crushed and as she turned around to confront him, he cowered down “perdón! perdón!” thinking she was going to bean him with it. She never finished the story so I think she did. She was—is—a very feisty woman.

I say HUZZAH! and may there be many more steps towards the protection of one of our grandest natural resources: women.

Mexico And The Death Penalty

by David Simmonds

I’ll start this by saying that I was undecided about the merits of the death penalty in the U.S., until recently. Having no traditional religious faith, I am not burdened with the inconvenient hypocrisy exhibited by my many Christian friends who claim to live their lives based on the guidance of the Ten Commandments, most notably the one “thou shall not kill”. My understanding is that this edict is pretty clear, with no qualifiers, “buts”, or “unless whens”. But still, in my real world, I know how I would react if someone were to intentionally kill one of my kids or my wife. Having black and white opinions is never easy, much less rational.

One major dilemma is how we decide who gets gassed and who doesn’t. You have money, you live. If you’re poor and a minority, maybe not. Plus, with DNA technology now perfected, we’re finding that our trail-by-jury system doesn’t always get it right. Since 1973 nearly 150 people have been released from death row with new evidence proving their innocence. How many more innocent people have been executed? Could that happen to you? Yeah, its possible.

Now we’re reading and hearing about Marine corporal Cesar Laurean who is believed to have fled to Mexico, his birthplace, as a suspect in the murder of fellow Marine Maria Lauterbach in North Carolina. Editorial boards and talk radio callers have grabbed this one by the tail in indignant anger knowing that Mexico will not extradite anyone to the U.S., unless it is agreed that the death penalty will not be sought.  On December 9, 2005, then-President Fox declared, “Mexico shares the opinion that capital punishment is a violation of human rights. Today the death penalty has been abolished”, even though Mexico had not executed anyone since 1961. The constitution was amended at that time. Mexico is hardly alone, as 135 other countries have abolished the death penalty, including all of the European Union countries, as well as our northern neighbor, Canada. Indeed, the only countries which execute more people than the United States in a year are China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Congo…all of which are dictatorships (Iraq, I’m not sure what it is these days). That’s not a fraternal membership to be proud of.

 I could go on and on about the pros and cons; like Canada’s murder rate dropped 43% in 24 years after abolishing the death penalty, therefore it is not a deterrent. Or the issue of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations agreement from 1963 which obligates U.S. authorities to inform foreign detainees the right to contact the nearest consulate from their country, something the U.S routinely ignores, and merely apologizes for after the fact (execution) when it is pointed out to them.  

But the more direct point I’m trying to make is that Mexico has every right as a sovereign nation to decide their position on murder, and the penalties for committing it. They and most of the civilized world have abolished the death penalty. I’m not necessarily advocating that we do the same, but it is clearly about time to re-open the discussion. What needs to be acknowledged is that we are in no position to dictate to other countries on this matter. The age of imperial power and subjugation has mercifully ended…the U.S. seems to be the last country to figure this out.

Sindicatura…Driving In Mexico Tip

by David Simmonds

Tourism is down in Northern Baja, primarily along the 70-mile corridor from Tijuana to Ensenada. There have been a few well-publicized robberies and assaults in the past year and many SoCal regulars have decided to say “no gracias”. A long-time favorite destination has been Puerto Nuevo, or “Lobster Village”, a makeshift enclave of restaurants on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific south of Rosarito, where the signature dish is Baja-style, deep-fried lobster, chased with cold beer an tequila. Word is, their business is off by 80%. Some friends were just in Hussongs Cantina in Ensenada, maybe the best bar in Mexico (the world?), and they report that it was very tame. Hussongs did not gain it’s well-deserved reputation by being tame. I have some stories…never mind.

So it was surprising that it was just announced that the Mexican officials are reacting with a huge PR campaign, assuring everyone that they have brought in some well-armed help to patrol the highways and towns. There is huge money at stake, with ocean-front condo developments popping out of the ground like desert wildflowers in the spring. Even Donald (don’t -call-me-Don) Trump has his comical image and name attached to a project that has pre-sold a good percent of their units, even though it has now been learned that they haven’t actually obtained the building permit to start construction yet. Anyone want to bet it doesn’t get built for five years…if ever? Thanks, Don.

But getting to the point of this piece: there is an organization that you can join for $25.00 that will get you a SOS sticker for your car if you are driving in Mexico, as well as a few other packet items. The sticker loudly announces to the Mexican cops and officials that you are a member of Support Our Sindicatura. The Sindicatura is a Mexican government organization  whose purpose is to fight corruption among the police and other public officials. So you put one of these stickers on your car or truck and, reportedly, the shake-down cops will leave you alone. With “mordida” prices experiencing  rapid inflation in recent years (basically, whatever you have in your wallet), the $25.00 sticker is a smart investment. You can request a packet by writing to: Support of Sindicatura, 7349 Millikin Avenue #140-234, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. Or email sosindicatura@hotmail.com