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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of April 21, 2014

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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:
In Loving Memory: Eve Ackerman
Eve - As she would want to be remembered: DIVING!It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share with you the loss of Eve Ackerman on April 15, 2014 who passed away in Richmond, Virginia following a courageous battle with bone cancer.

A long time resident in Cozumel since 1990, Eve was a PADI Course Director and certified many of Cozumel's current Dive Instructors and Divemasters as well as thousands of Open Water Divers from around the world. This was Eve's Page on INSIDER that provides some insight into her teaching profession and the love she had for scuba diving.

Over the years, Eve worked with various dive organizations such as Pro-Dive, Aqua Safari and Galapagos Inn (now Scuba Club Cozumel) as well as conducted PADI Instructor Development Courses (IDC's) throughout the Caribbean and Pacific Rim. Eve's passion for ocean and ecology conservation lead to her many years of volunteer work in the Cozumel Marine Turtle Program and reef conservation efforts on the island.

For over 10 years Eve was a weekly contributor to the News in English section of Cozumelinsider translating articles of interest from sources throughout Mexico. In addition, she provided marine life and "around town" photos as well as research and investigation for other content provided on the website. As a website contributor, a dive buddy, a turtle brigade volunteer and a dear and loving friend, Eve will be immensely missed and forever remembered for her love of Cozumel and dedication to sharing the sport of scuba diving with others.

Eve - Passionate About Teaching DivingEve - Teaching Classes UnderwaterEve-In our hearts now-see you on the reefs DIVING!

PADI Course Director Eve with Cozumel IDC ClassEve's Years of Conservation Work in CozumelEve Releasing Baby Turtles in Cozumel

Cozumel: 20 Ships this Week
04/21 - Numbers begin to decrease for the season this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals will be 20 ships registered to dock for the fourth full week of April 2014. This is 7 less than the number of ships last week and just equal to the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With high season waning now, an estimated 60,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship arrivals leaving an estimated US$ 4.8 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." Although port officials have commented that this coming "low" season will not be as low as last year.

Once again this week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 10 ships dock at Puerta Maya, 6 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 4 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

This week begins with 4 ships docking on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 2 ships Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 5 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 3 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week

Note: In 2014, Cozumel is on target to host 3,134,000 passengers sailing on 1,067 ships, up 26% and 23%, respectively, from 2013.
Cozumel Among Top Three Safest Destinations in Mexico
After the recent developments in crime such as robberies and assaults that have been registered in other cities in Mexico, organized hoteliers say that the security of Cozumel is a fundamental point that cannot be neglected since it puts at risk the image of the island. Fortunately it continues being promoted as a safe place for visitors.

The President of Cozumel’s Hotel Association, Beatriz Tinajero Tarriba states that the issue of security is something fundamental to this destination. Therefore, there is coordination between the hoteliers so that this does not affect the visitors as in a recent case of a multiple thieves who were focusing on various hotels of Cozumel and other cities, but thanks to the cooperation of authorities, they were trapped.

In the same way, the hotel leader pointed out that what might happen in the city such as robberies, assaults, fights and other cases of violence, she is concerned with the issue of security among the population. However, she states that compared with other cities, Cozumel is a safe destination and has no problems for the image that it reflects to the tourists.

Finally, the official commented that it is a known fact that Cozumel is the third safest city southeast of Mexico City, after Mérida, Yucatan and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. The important thing has been to maintain a social order on the island, which allows the world to see, a location of tranquility and security to attract more visitors.
Cozumel Places Artificial Reefs at Chankanaab
A 1 meter high man-made reef could be placed at Chankanaab. Experts will test the feasibility of several of these monoliths, and only the Federal Attorney for protection to the environment (Profepa) and the Secretariat of environment and natural resources (Semarnat) can give approval. The attempt will be made in parts of the marine bed of the Eco park; otherwise it will cancel the proposal.

The project was born out of the local sculptor Carlos Pacheco who presented this idea in a nationwide television program and with international scope. The proposal is to create artificial reefs made of a single stone anchored and attached to the rock marina. So in a period of a month and a half to two months it is expected to be populated by organisms and marine flora. This project is endorsed by the University of Quintana Roo.

Jorge Alberto Martín Azueta, director of the FPMC, admitted the existence of the project, but its implementation will depend on the final determination of the authorities of the Semarnat and Profepa. Two pieces of these artificial reefs by this particular company were submerged along the North coast of the island over a week ago, and are under the supervision of the Cozumel Marine Park. Each piece measures about one meter with 20 centimeters high and width of 80 centimeters. The lime stones resemble sea sponges.

These rocks were anchored by drilling into the seabed to be sure that a hurricane cannot remove them. They don't want to run the risk of a hurricane hitting the island and by natural force throw rocks against natural reefs in the ecological park. It is expected that in approximately a month and a half to two months, these two rocks submerged will have marine life, with inlays of snails, minnows, or marine flora.
Cozumel Notices a Drop in Storefront Sales
In contrast to recent weeks, this past Wednesday, six cruise ships arrived to the port of Cozumel. Due to the high temperatures of a sunny, warm day, local businesses noticed a drop in visitors but beach clubs were at full swing. According to employees of different jewelry stores, crafts and other shops on the main avenue of the city, on Wednesday there were less than expected sales. This is a considerable difference than when ships dock on other maritime terminals. This seems to be due to the fact that operators are taking them on tours, to beaches or even to the Riviera Maya.

It is expected that this Wednesday an income of slightly more than $ 1.4 million dollars will been generated coming from the arrival of 18,000 cruise ship passengers.
Cozumel Implements Measures to Eradicate the Casuarina Trees
Faced with the threat that represents the Casuarina tree (an invasive species that affects flora and fauna of the Island) for the ecosystems of the island, the authorities of the National Commission of protected natural Areas (CONANP) will implement actions to eradicate this exotic and invasive species to avoid major impact on native flora and fauna.

The Coordinator of monitoring and surveillance of invasive species of the Marine Park, Abelardo Brito Bermúdez indicated that the casuarina tree, also known as dwarf pine or beach pine , is an invasive species that arrived on the island a few years ago and which has gradually grown in certain areas of the coast.

Brito Bermudez reported that this species has roots that are not buried deep but solidify the sand making it difficult for turtles to excavate and to lay their eggs. In addition, they affect the growth of mangrove and other plants.

The specialist said that soon a program will begin to eradicate this invasive species, beginning in the northern part between Passion Island and lagoon systems, where chemicals will be applied to dry the trees to then cut and remove them.

Finally the interviewee recommended that no Cozumel resident should take it upon themselves to cut down the trees of casuarina which are pine tree shaped. If not done properly, this could jeopardize the ecosystem of the island and could cause more damage and spread their seeds in other areas where they can easily grow more of these exotic and invasive trees.
Cozumel Permits Still Valid to Remove Black Coral
Craftsmen of black coral continue working with the only two remaining permits to remove this material that exist in Mexico. It is important to maintain this traditional work, which for many years has been the source of income for dozens of families on the island, said the President of the Union of craftsmen of black coral, David Calderon Uc.

The interviewee said that despite the incident in which an experienced diver lost his life because of a decompression incident when he was extracting this material, divers continue to work in the extraction and manufacturing of handicrafts of black coral. The two permissions come from the federal level so they are able to work legally with the so called 'black gold'.

Calderon Uc said that the risks are high for those who work in extraction of black coral as they have to dive at deeper depths than divers from other types of activity, however, he clarified that all black coral is extracted with federal permits and divers must comply with all security measures.

He pointed out that the illegal extraction of black coral is never going to end due to lack of supervision by the federal authorities, however, it is a known fact that there is enough black coral because in reality not much is removed. Every permit allows up to 50 kg per month for extraction without any problems, but if 15 kilos a month is found, it is considered a lot.

To conclude, the interviewee indicated that despite the low season record, artisans have done well with sale of black coral.
Cozumel Benefits from Functioning Recycling Program
Cozumelenan families, who are committed to the protection of the environment and health, have responded to the program of social "recycling trash for food," to clear their patios and neighborhoods. Over 263 tons of recyclable solid materials have been recycled so far this year. The program implemented by Governor Roberto Borge Angulo in coordination with the green party and solidarity of the Plan Quintana Roo 2011-2016, have instructed citizens in ways to keep clean cities and rural areas, combat mosquitos and transmitters of diseases, such as dengue and to reduce the backlog of feeding the inhabitants of villages and marginalized areas.

Every week hundreds of families flock to the point selected within the day of the social program, bringing with them recyclable solid materials such as: plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, rims and useless appliances. All of these items earn the families points and then the families can redeem their points earned in the "welfare market" to obtain a wide range of products such as fruit, vegetables, oil, rice, mayonnaise, powdered milk, jelly, tuna, pasta, soups, grocery and personal hygiene products.

So far this year, a total of 3,902 families committed to the protection of the ecological environment and their health, have responded to the call of the Governor Roberto Borge Angulo, to help keep the island clean since Cozumel is one of the main tourist destinations in Quintana Roo.
Cancun: Celebrates Being 44 !
Beginning Monday April 21st, Cancun will celebrate it's 44th birthday with a week long calendar of festivities and activities. With a theme of "Building Paradise" the celebration will run through April 27th and celebrates the actual founding of Cancun April 20, 1974. It should be noted however that it was not until April 10, 1975 that the municipality of Benito Juarez (Cancun) was actually first settled with residents.

Several awards ceremonies are scheduled for Monday, then the World Reporter's Colloquium begins on Tuesday focusing on "The Founding of Cities in Southeast Mexico." At the Center for the Arts will be a screening of a documentary of the same theme as well as a photographic exhibition. Then on Friday a wreath will be laid at Pioneer Monument followed by a parade that kicks off a weekend long cultural and arts festival being held in Las Palapas Park as well as the largest picnic in Cancun to be held in the Fonatur Park. All in celebration of the founding of this amazing city Cancun!
Tuesday April 22: Earth Day!
Every year on April 22, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From San Francisco to San Juan, Beijing to Brussels, Moscow to Marrakesh, people plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more—all on behalf of the environment.

Like Earth Days of the past, Earth Day 2014 will focus on the unique environmental challenges of our time. As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever. Earth Day 2014 will seek to do just that through its global theme: Green Cities. With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

As the global organizer behind Earth Day, Earth Day Network creates tools and resources for you to get involved with Earth Day in your community. Visit their website to see how you can participate!

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July 12, 2013 (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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