Category Archives: Christmas

Oaxaca Celebrates Radish Night

by Ron Mader

Gabino Cué, Noche de Rábanos, Oaxaca

Oaxaca – It’s good to have a governor who appreciates Flickr and the spectacle that is Radish Night!

Web 2.0
— the second generation of web-based services that emphasize user generated content, online collaboration and sharing among users — is increasingly being used by Mexican leaders in political, business and social circles AND by travelers seeking information that provides depth to mainstream coverage. In 2011 we’ll explore more of the specific applications in addition to the Mexico Now workshops in Mazatlan, Sinaloa and the Responsible Tourism Fair in Oaxaca.

Recommended listening: an audio tour of the Oaxaca zócalo on Radish Morning.

City of Laredo Celebrates 12th Year of Facilitating Crossing for Mexican Citizens Returning Home for the Holidays

Paisano, Welcome to Laredo

LAREDO, Texas /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For 12 years, the City of Laredo has hosted a Paisano Rest Stop to help Mexican citizens returning home from throughout the U.S. have a smoother experience as they return home for the holidays. This unique bi-national project is offered only in Laredo, Texas. The City of Laredo Convention & Visitors Bureau works with the Mexican General Consulate to set-up the rest stop; however, there are many city, state and federal departments and agencies from both sides of the border who come together to provide this service to the paisanos.

This year, the Paisano Rest Stop will be set-up at IH-35 southbound, just off Mile Marker 13 and is set to begin Friday, December 18, at 12 noon and ends at 12 noon on Sunday, December 20, 2009. For 48 continuous hours, the rest stop is staffed with individuals from various agencies, to help review all documents necessary for travelers, as well as any goods or vehicles they may be taking into Mexico. Additionally information about bridge wait times and crossings is given, as well as directions, refreshments, restroom facilities and simply, an opportunity to rest and stretch their legs before continuing on their journey.

This unique binational effort welcomes these often weary travelers and gives them invaluable one stop shop of resources, among the many services provided they can also take advantage of:
  —  Tourism information, such as hotel listings and restaurants;
  —  U.S. Customs regulations for their return trip;
  —  Legitimate nationalization processing business listing;
  —  Complaint and crime reporting procedures with the Mexican Consulate
      and other local agencies;
  —  Volunteer mechanic on standby/on-call to make initial inspection and
      do minor car repairs;
  —  Mexican immigration regulations and forms;
  —  Free copies.

  All of this is done with a smile and of course, in their native language.

“The city of Laredo welcomes the paisanos,” said Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas. “We want their experience here to be positive, restful, and beneficial before they continue on their long journey into Mexico. That is why we host the Paisano Rest Stop to help facilitate their crossing experience and encourage all citizens in Laredo to help them feel welcome. Laredo, Texas does appreciate the work these Mexican citizens are doing in the United States,” Salinas concluded.
Motorists will see and hear signage and radio messages posted starting from San Antonio on south. Local, state and federal officials patrol the roadside on IH-35 South, to offer any assistance to paisanos who might need support of any kind, including security, traffic control support, and road side assistance.

For more information about the Paisano Rest Stop, paisanos should call the Laredo Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-381-3360 or visit

Many Mexicans Will Choose in 2008

by David Simmonds

I was scanning the wires today and was struck by two separate stories that oddly intersect, providing a glimpse into the immigration issue, not for the U.S., but for many Mexicans who will decide where they will attempt to work and live in the near future.

The first story is an International Herald Tribune piece announcing the minimum wage increase in Mexico, to take effect in 2008. Yes, the wage is increasing…about 4%, to less than $5.00 per day. That’s roughly $30.00 for a 40-plus-hour work week. The average wage for all workers comes in at about $11.50 per day. Think about that. I understand that Mexico is a cheaper place to live day-to-day than in the U.S. or Canada, but a meal at a a taco stand still costs about $3.00, as does a gallon of milk or a pound of bacon. You can easily blow through an average week’s wages just buying a few staples for the family, and forget about having anything left over for a little fun on the town or a day at the movies for the kids.

The second story, from the Associated Press, details the recently observed trend now taking place in Arizona, where employer-sanctions are about to become law for  those businesses that knowingly hire illegal workers. There are reports that many Mexicans are returning home, preferring to take their chances in their homeland rather than living in fear and uncertainty in a hostile foreign country that is increasingly shouting a shrill “go home”.

As most of us prepare for a week of traditional celebration, anticipating a reasonably comfortable year with our families and friends, many of our less fortunate neighbors will face a far heavier decision about their future. Perhaps it would be a good opportunity for us all to practice the righteous precepts that comprise the religious cultures of our time. A simple smile with direct eye contact, maybe a heartfelt “buenos dias”. It doesn’t take much to brighten a life…yours and theirs.

I don’t know who said it or where it came from, but Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men has a special meaning this year. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t come with qualifiers.