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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of August 18, 2014

Beginning in December 2002, Insider was proudly the first website to provide readers the Cozumel News in English.

Articles are slected from local newspapers which we feel will be of interest to our diverse audience. These articles are then translated into English. We cannot always investigate the veracity of a particular article but offer these translations as a reflection of the Cozumel community news just as reporters write it for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario and many other sources.

We appreciate hearing from our readers and welcome your questions, suggestions and comments. Please send them to:

Note: All translated articles are the property of Cozumel Insider and cannot be used, displayed or reproduced without express written permission from Cozumel Insider.

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EDITOR's NOTE: Tourism is a large part of the economic engine that runs ALL of Mexico so it’s normal for everyone to try to protect that engine at all costs. But given the fact that over 83,541 people (a/o 12/31/11 per El Diario report of 08/04/12) were killed in this country, 30,000 are missing and 20,000 children were orphaned while Calderon was in office (20006 - 20012) and fighting the drug cartels, it is simply imprudent to bury one’s head in the sand and keep expecting travelers to believe the “it’s safe” story about Mexico. The Pina Nieto administration has not changed course concerning the cartels but instead modified its approach concerning the reporting of such government activities. Little information is available now via official channels other than statistics with regard to criminal activity within Mexico

Some of the news related items shared here attempt to illustrate common themes which I think are extremely important for part time islanders or travelers to understand now:

1) These are not the sleepy fishing villages of days gone by - Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel tout themselves as "world class" tourism destinations with over 3 million visitors each annually and as such will attract their proportionate amounts of crime.

2) There IS rising crime in these areas (so be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings) yet the majority of crime goes unreported so there is no real way to have confidence in the few statistics that are released for this area.

3) Local/state police/judges, are for the most part, corrupt and usually complicit with criminal activity so they are not necessarily going to help you…especially if you are a foreigner. These "public servants" are only looking for a way to extort you (REALIZE you are on your OWN if anything should happen).

NEWS Archives:
Cozumel Arrivals: 14 Ships this Week
08/17 - Numbers remain low this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals drop to 14 ships registered to dock for the third full week of August 2014. This is two less than the number of ships last week and 6 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With summer now on the wane, an estimated 42,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship arrivals leaving an estimated US$ 3.4 million dollars behind in the local economy.

High season for cruise ship arrivals typically runs from November 15 - April 15 each year with the remaining 7 months of the year considered "low season."

Once again this week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 9 ships dock at Puerta Maya, 3 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 2 arrival and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

This week begins with 3 ships docking on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 2 ships Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 2 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 1 ship in port and Sunday will see -0- ships.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel Begins Preparation for Half Ironman 70.3
30 people have been given the task of preparing the island’s bicycle paths in time for the September MetLife 70.3 Ironman. Workers will not only clean and repair the asphalt on the bicycle route that circles the island, but also ensure that the route’s perimeters will also be free of overhanging branches and weeds which can also be a source of potential danger for triathlon competitors. The project is being overseen by the Municipal Department of Urban Services.

The MetLife 70.3 Ironman is scheduled to take place on September 21, 2014. This international event is one of the first that marks what has now become known as “triathlon season” in Cozumel. This will be the third year that Cozumel has hosted this event. Both previous years have been sold-out events; in fact, last year’s event was attended by more than 1,500 athletes and their families cheering them on.
Loggerhead Turtle Selects Unusual Place to Lay Eggs
Shortly after midnight last Wednesday a loggerhead turtle deposited 138 eggs south of the Downtown Cozumel Pier. The Director of environment and ecology of the municipality of Cozumel stated that is not rare for the turtles return to lay their eggs in the same place where they were born decades earlier.

Dozens of onlookers came to observe the process as the female turtle looked for her perfect spot to lay eggs. Public security personnel secured the area and made it a safe zone for the turtle to complete her reproduction process. Ultimately the turtle dug her nest, deposited her eggs and covered it before returning to the sea. However, since there is very little distance between the sea wall and the water's edge in this downtown area, the nest would have been destroyed by seawater penetration had it been left there. So a young turtle program volunteer assisted in collecting the eggs and said that they would be transferred to the beach of San Martín, where there is a large number of nests this year and that they would be secure and safe. The entire process lasted nearly two hours until the turtle returned to the sea on her own.

The latest count of nests in this turtle season is 912 green turtle nests and 434 loggerhead.
Cozumel Authorities Ask to Not Feed the WIldlife
Local citizens and visitors to Cozumel are asked to not feed wildlife, such as the Chen Rio crocodile. This poses a health risk to the animal and for those who participate in this practice since it could cause an attack to the tourist. Some people are charging money so that visitors can take photographs near the wildlife.

A Social Network revealed a photograph which shows a seller of seashells on the beach of Chen Rio who also runs a business dedicated to feeding the crocodile that lives in a small lagoon on the beach and charges tourists for taking photographs. Biologist Christopher González Baca pointed out that such actions affect the health of wild animals and asks for the support of citizens to not participate in this action.

He also pointed out how the fact of bringing tourists to the lake to find this crocodile represents a risk for the safety of the visitor. When it has no food it could become confused and attack a human.

The specialist said that feeding of wildlife such as the crocodile, coatis, raccoons and fish species could affect the all over health of animals and he hopes that federal authorities will punish those who engage in such anomaly.
Cozumel's Wind Tower Project Officially Cancelled
Cancellation of the project of the wind towers in Cozumel has been confirmed. The promoters have not returned to pursue the project in the offices of Semarnat since more than one year ago. Therefore, according to the State, this project has been terminated. On his recent visit to Cozumel, the current delegate of Semarnat in the State, Raúl González Castilla, confirms that indeed this project of the wind towers is cancelled.

"The petitioner withdrew the request with the intention to re-analyze the project and re-enter it before Semarnat with modifications, but it has been more than one year with no news of this initiative" stated the official.

As we recall, ‘Power Group’ drew up the plan to install towers to generate wind energy on the other side of the island but there were disagreements including international criticism due to the projected location in the unspoiled part of the island. It is clear that the investors can re-enter any requests at any time. This is a right that they have but it would imply a new series of studies and analysis according to the law. The voice of the people is useful in projects but definitely Semarnat is there to uphold the law.

The official commented that representatives have never returned to the Semarnat offices to reactivate the project. The last thing they had was a refusal due to several environmental inconsistencies which they had not been able to meet.
Cozumel's Continuing Problem with Horse and Carriages
Cozumel’s Department of Ecology is still not in control of the activities of horse and carriages, but according to the director, Eliot Reyes Novelo, he will begin to intensify surveillance. Social networks received several complaints by locals who reported abuse to the horses used to pull the carriages. Despite the evidence where a citizen shared a photo as a horse fell as a result of excess labor and high temperatures, the official revealed that he does not have the power to prevent the owners of horses and vehicles to stop operating.

He acknowledged that “80% percent of the animal control regulations are in effect and he is awaiting the approval of the establishment to provide new guidelines that ensure the health of the horses. However, he cannot force to the concessions to stop working. He said that at this time he will oversee the health status of animals in accordance with the rules that already exist. A certified Veterinarian was hired to regulate the actions of these horses, the municipal slaughterhouse and animal control center.

Currently there are 16 granted concessions to seven people, one of them, José Julio Azcorra Méndez boasts 10 permits and supposedly has 25 more. The Municipality indicates the schedule to use the carriages, in what areas and even how many people can climb aboard. (Maximum 5) Although there is no weight limit specified. Dealers must also carry out a report on the state of the animals and revise the conditions in which they are kept when not in use.
Cozumel is Strict on Urban Image
There are 2,300 establishments registered with the coordination of urban image which comply with the regulations regarding standards and guidelines in terms of signs, ads and spectacular advertising. A sweep was made through the city to detect people whose ads are outside the regulation of the Department of Urban Development.

The information was provided by the head of the Department, Wilberth Escalante Graniel, urging owners to adjust their situation or there will be sanctions that could also result in the removal of such signs or ads. The official explained that all commercial or service businesses have the obligation to apply for a permit to label, advertise or promote with signs but must meet the current guidelines on the regulation of Urban image. The most relevant dimension must not exceed 30% of the total area of the settlement or façade. Neon signs are completely prohibited.

There are several establishments which do not meet standards mainly due to ignorance, but could find it necessary to pay fines by law up to 90 times the minimum wage. Although so far this year, no fines have been issued of this nature.
Playa Del Carmen Launces Pet Sterilization Campaign
Last week, Playa Del Carmen began a massive campaign of sterilization of dogs and cats by the group “VIDAS” (veterinary international engaged in healthy animals). This is the twelfth consecutive year that this activity is provided and on behalf of the community as a measure of prevention of proliferation of these animals. The sterilization surgeries were totally free of cost.

Leticia Mora Acevedo, Director of ”Centro de Bienestar Animal Municipal” (Cebiam), said that a campaign of this kind is to limit excessive reproduction. For example, in the streets of Playa del Carmen, there are a lot of dogs without an owner or abandoned which cause problems as they litter or defecate in the street, others are run over and many are mistreated. One of the advantages of sterilization of dogs is to perform this procedure so that health risks can be reduced. In the case of females to avoided mammary cancer and in the case of males to prevent prostate cancer. The result is to provide all over better health for the animals and human population alike.
Preservation of Jaguars on the Mainland
The Ministry of ecology and environment (SEMA) seeks to develop a strategy for the protection and preservation of the jaguar. This species lives in the reserve of the sea turtle sanctuary and Marina called Xcacel-Xcacelito on the mainland. A Committee will be created to protect this majestic species in order to provide a safe haven.

The head of SEMA, Rafael Muñoz Terab, said that many owners of the ranches where the Jaguars live and roam freely have become accustomed to seeing these carnivores as a threat to their communities. Therefore, the Jaguars have had to find safer areas and moved in around the sea turtle sanctuary area.

The official stated that the biggest challenge is to change the negative perception about the behavior of the species so that the future communities will learn to coexist with these animals. It is intended by this Committee, to involve the owners of the premises, and society in general, where the cats are found so that through workshops, the residents will be taught by specialists as to promote the care, protection and conservation of this species of cats. These Jaguars are considered the largest in the Americas and that due to poaching and loss of habitat, they are now in danger of extinction.

It should be noted that with the collaboration of tourists, volunteers from the camps and reserve personnel, as well as the analysis of footprints and excreta, the presence of different size Jaguars has been established at the entrance of Xcacel and by the area of a cenote. Night sightings have demonstrated that when jaguar becomes aware of human presence it becomes evasive and it walks away.
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August 13, 2014 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
Because we are continually asked about travel safety in Mexico and Cozumel, INSIDER always maintains the most recent, complete version of the U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warning HERE on our website for traveler convenience.

The good news continues to be that there are currently no regional security warnings in place that cover Quintana Roo, Cancun, Cozumel or Costa Maya so make vacation plans now to get here for some fun in the sun!

The Mexico Travel Warning dated July 12, 2013 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.
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