Cozumel News Vol 16

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The Cozumel News in English




Each week we select articles from local newspapers that amuse or interest us and then translate them into English. We wish to stress that these translations are literal --English versions of exactly what was originally written in Spanish by reporters for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario. It should also be mentioned that we cannot always verify the facts in the stories we publish here. We leave that job to the newspaper that originally published the article. We appreciate hearing from our readers so please feel free to E-Mail US your questions, suggestions and comments. You may also wish to consider starting a discussion on any topic below that interests you by posting on the Living on Cozumel Forum.

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The Cozumel News in English, Vol 27

April 3-15, 2005

We would like to give special thanks for the very kind assistance of Israel Sanchez, a professional translator who has volunteered to help us with the more difficult passages. (Thanks, Izzy!). The simpler stuff was translated by the editors.

An Editorial by Antonio Rea Barrios for El Cozumeleño

This last Sunday the waterway safety materials were finally delivered -- buoys, signal lights and various other equipment that will be useful for signposting and controlling the navigation routes of Cozumel's National Marine Park.

And just to show you how slow these government people are, Ernesto Zedillo decreed emergency measures to have water signals placed in the marine park all the way back to 1999, after the Cruise Ship Leeward trashed the "Cuevones" reef in Cancun.

Six years and a president later the equipment -- and nothing more -- is only just now arriving. And, of course, there will have to be another account of the money that Zedillo turned in--something like one million dollars with which the then director of the park said that he would buy a boat. (Whenever the director, Alvira Carvajal, was asked about the park money he always answered that he bought a boat every time.)

And at the park, curiously, only there was in all that time one boat and when I questioned him about this he changed his story to motors for the boat. However, that's all over now and at least the material was finally delivered.

Now see what has happened. Within just a few days of the official delivery of the safety equipment (Waa HOO!!) we are faced with two new accidents involving the marine park. One accident involved, it is worth saying, one of the most important men in the country who was murdered by his own fancy yacht this past Tuesday when a sea swell threw him against its propellers.

It was an accident certainly caused at least in part by precisely the lack of signposting that the aquavía was supposed to solve but also by the lack of vigilance in navigating in the diving zone.

The other involved the entry of the cruiseship Inspiration into an environmental zone causing suffocation to one of the island's most accessible reefs in an area that the Marine Park is supposed to protect. It's an old and sad environmental abuse story that has happened more than once since the much opposed construction of the cruiseship piere here.

But this time it was different since there were witnesses and the highly respected Aquasafari was involved (as opposed to one of the small, informal operations that lack permits and always vanish when somebody has to take responsibility). So trouble has been stirred up and people are paying attention. This has not escaped the notice of the local media which is like a little island within the island and make one wonder how many more of such incidents have taken place without ever getting reported.

A sudden and suspicious wave of enthusiasm has been noted on the part of Cozumel harbor master's office which this week launched a highly publicized safety campaign with much talk of life jackets, security certificates, radios, safety lights and the like.

The authorities will of course say that this campaign has to do with special operations for the big Semana Santa holiday but I think it is more of a case of the old saying: " In Cozumel nothing happens until something happens" and this is why. The wind was unusually strong that day which made the water extremely choppy. The water conditions were so dangerous that if we had an effective Port Authority, one of those that are more than a mere bureaucratic office, an Office like those that a place with a significant boat traffic such as this deserves, maybe warnings could've been issued and the proper measures taken.

Also the park keepers would have been able to use their boats or the little aquatic motos that were ordered some time ago to head out to the tourist zones with loudspeakers and direct people of the risks to which they are exposing themselves. But in the typical lazy and sluggish way of these insitutions (the marine park and the captainship) the new water cycles and loudspeakers are used for nothing else except yapping among themselves.

.Maybe these types of accidents are not entirely unavoidable, but the least that can be done is to provide people with the proper warning, or keep help boats nearby. It is time to keep the crew in charge of those chores busy instead of allowing them to embed themselves in their office chairs, or even in the comfort of their homes after leaving work as early as 2:00 pm. No wonder we are still a country lagging behind with procrastination and many excuses.

These sort of incidents are not rare unfortunately. The memory of the Death of British Singer Kirstie McColl in the year 2000 is still fresh and her family still portrays the Island as the scum of the earth on British TV stations.

In addition, just a week ago, the Cruise Ship Inspiration almost trampled a group of divers led by Aqua Safari when the boat drifted while trying to dock, coming over only a few feet of water. The incident brought in mind the warnings issued in regards to the operations at Puerta Maya pier and the health of Paradise reef. This no longer was a mock drill, but a wake up call to revamp the safety conditions of the area.

Everyone has their opinion in this matter, but what is obvious is the lack of credibility of the Port Authority, whose reaction was summarized as barely raising their eye brows, losing the trust and respect of all the operations in the island who feel affected. We beg the pardon of the Captain of Port Authority, but when a representative of the law whose presence should be routine is only seen during the times of the stout cows, and harassing the poor with the whip of the law....Well.

El Semanario de Cozumel

Adjustings and maintenance of the submarine cable located at the seaside park known as La Caletita have concluded and the risk that it will fail or need further repair soon are greatly minimized manifests the Superintendent of the zone's Federal Electric Commission, Carlos Castillo Xicotencatl.

Regarding the submarine cable adjustments the Ing. Castillo Xicotencatl said that with this kind of maintenance work insures an average of 20 years of service life on the two extension cables which each can transport 20 mega watts or a total of 40, when the need of the island is at this point only around 30 mega watts.

He added that the cable supervision is carried out every 5 years by a diver who is expert in the maintenance of this type of energy source. The diver checks the extension cables carefully for signs of abrasion damage due to salt water or rubbing against rocks during wave action

This submarine cable will supply electic energy to the municipality during the next 20 years as an addition to the generating plants which exist on the the island itself. "With all this, there will be light enough for all Cozumeleños homes ," he guaranteed.

These generating plants are located in the industrial zone, the main station Chankanaab and serve as a backup in the event of any fault in the submarine cable. Otherwise, however, Cozumel's homes will be supplied by the electricity that arrives via the submarine cable, he mentioned

He made a comment that from the close of last year into the beginnings of this year, Cozumeleños are no longer bothered as much by blackouts and is not expected that it will go back to the old ways now that the faults he was presenting have been corrected.

Of course this will not last forever, but there should not be any incidents in the upcoming year. Ideally, the Island should acquire its own power generators which would free it from its dependency on the power coming from Playa del Carmen.

Novedades de Quintana Roo


To celebrate the Eighteenth anniversary of the Museum of the Island and the Parks and Musuems Foundation free passes to the parks will be given away for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the present month (April). People who wish to apply for these should go to the Park office next door to the Pemex gas station on Avenida 30 and Juarez .

The San Gervasio's archeological zone will be open for the free passes from 10 AM on Friday mornings this month. Chankanaab park will admit the free passes on Saturdays beginning at 10 AM and Sundays the same will be true for Punta Sur National Park.

The Park Foundation planned this event because it was determined that many families of the locality do not know these areas because of the distance and the lack of vehicles that exist .
In each of the zones there will be a person that chats about the history of the place and also its importance as a natural and archeological zone

The strollers can also become acquainted with the life and development of the birds of the Punta Sur zone as well as see the crocodiles and diverse other species that live there. .

El Semanario de Cozumel

The road on the east sice of the island continues to be a risk for the thousands of tourists that move around this zone, according to the President of the Car Renters Association, Martin Aké Solis.
And vehicle rental businesses have an obligation to warn their clients about this situation, he asserted.

The president of the vehicle renters association of in this city indicated than the east side of the island can be a risk for vacationers at any season. This is largely because of many tourists who feel the need to pass other vehicles and don't take into account that the road over there is narrow and little.

He represented that the renters of vehicles have the obligation to inform of this situation when they hire out vehicles.They should also be reminded to use the safety belt for autos and helmets for those renting mopeds, he recommended

The representative of the vechicle rental agencies emphasized that tourists should be reminded to respect the traffic signs and the speed limites -- which are generally 40 kilometers per hour in the city and 60 on the outskirts. But that additional care and a safe speed should be maintained on the eastern road because of it narrows greatly from what one will find on other paved roads on the island.

Tourists have given very good results, he stated, and it is no longer
common to encounter tourists' accidents in this zone. More small accidents are seen in the city where tourists may be unfamiliar with the signals and rules.

New Hotel Construction Lambasted by Watch-Dog Association. Town Council Denies giving Permissions
Novedades de Quintana Roo


The Professional Association of Cozumel Architects and Engineers has protested the inconformity they find in the plans for construction of a new hotel of 15 floors in an area where this size of building is banned by POET (Plan de Ordenamiento Ecologico Terriorial).

The plan only allows 7 stories structures in the northern zone due to the proximity with the international airport's landing strips. The representation of the Town Council affirms that they have not given the permissions nor t will give them in the future because it is not legal according to the POET regulations.

"We only examined the request but did not approve it" said the alderman of for the Urban and Ecology Commission, Gilberto Mena Aguilar.

When challenged about this issue, he brushed aside the accusation that the town council may have given permissions for this project. And he added that, furthermore the businessmen responsible for the proposed construction had not completed the delivery of the documentation that were asked for.

However, at the aforementioned zone where the old Principe hotel was recently been demolished, the area appears to be preparing for construction all the same with heavy machinery are waiting on the site already waiting to begin.

Yesterday in a press conference with the leaders of twelve organizations, associations and chambers that form a group known as the Coordinating Entrepreneurial Group ( JCE ),They pronounced themselves in favor of the investments in Cozumel but against those that violate existing laws and regulations.

The next of presidents of the Association of Architects and Engineers, Carlos Pomol Gómez and Juan Manuel Góngora Cordero,both masters of quality construction issued a negative opinion in regard to the businessmen that intend to construct the so-called hotel Torres Cozumel-Carib , located at the road San Miguel, beach San Juan, kilometer 3,5 of the hotel north zone.
And although it was commonly known that the businessmen's project would be refused by municipal and environmental authorities, work was initiated some days ago beginning with the introduction of heavy machinery obviously intended for new construction.

In addition to other violations, the new work's building plan does not include the required parking lot that is basic for construction in this zone, the experts explained.


El Semanario de Cozumel

The ANOOAT plans to make a proposal to the Mexican Merchant Marine Headquarters that they only permit local boats and staff to maneuver in Cozumel's marine park. Captains that come from other places, they explain, do not know the currents and this can cause accidents like the one which killed an important Guadalajaran businesman last week.

Gustavo Maldonado Saldaña, President of the Cozumel dive shops association (ANOOAT) stated that he doesn't expect bad publicity for Cozumel as a result of this accident and the fact that a local dive guide was in the water with them. He suggested that the problem, perhaps had more to do with the captain's bad maneuvers because he didn't know the currents in that part of the island. But that, by an large, this was just a very unfortunate accident.

He manifested that in the last five years there have only been three deaths caused by boat propellers. And it should not be forgotten that over two thousand peoples dive here every day for an average of four thousand daily immersions.



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