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Gringo Gazette

Que Pasa in Baja?

Nearshoring Influences Ensenada’s Port. Hutchison Ports EIT in Ensenada, Baja California, is experiencing significant operational shifts due to nearshoring, as Asian manufacturing firms move closer to North American consumer markets. This trend has already impacted the terminal positively, with over 50% of the volume coming from maquiladora industries, according to Javier Rodríguez, the general manager at EIT.

The Multi-Use Terminal (TUM) at Hutchison Ports primarily serves businesses from northwestern Mexican cities like Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, and others extending to Ciudad Juárez, many of which directly connect to industrial markets in Southern California and Texas. In response to the increased demand from nearshoring and the general industry, the port is undergoing an expansion to enhance capacity and efficiency as part of its master plan.

This expansion, budgeted at 2.3 billion pesos, includes a 300-meter dock extension and the installation of advanced, sustainable technologies like a super post-Panamax crane and electric yard cranes. Set to increase static capacity to over 7,500 TEUs, these upgrades not only boost operational efficiency but also align with Hutchison Ports’ NET Zero strategy, aiming for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Progress on Tijuana’s Infrastructure. The Tijuana elevated viaduct project has achieved a 16.30% completion, announced Brigadier Engineer Constructor Raúl Manzano Vélez. He highlighted the placement of the first column, signaling noticeable progress ahead. Although the completion date remains unspecified, adjustments are being made to accommodate the terrain and residential areas without compromising existing homes.

During a phone call in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s morning conference, Manzano Vélez reported on related infrastructure efforts, including a 160-meter advancement in the tunnel between El Soler and Cañón del Matadero, and a 67% completion of the Otay II checkpoint and its access viaduct. The latter project, expected to be equipped by the end of the term, has 1,700 workers in two shifts working extended hours to meet deadlines.

Additionally, the rehabilitation and modernization of the San Antonio de Los Buenos wastewater treatment plant are underway, with 80% of the area cleared for new construction. This plant, set to treat about 33% of Tijuana’s wastewater, is on schedule to complete by September, promising to meet national standards for water quality.

Tijuana’s Tinted Windows Reform Stalled. Six months have passed since the Tijuana City Council approved a change to allow medium and low-intensity tinted windows for citizens, but the reform hasn’t been officially published yet, delaying its activation. Ex-councilwoman Georgina Arana Cruz, who championed the reform, pointed out the lack of publication in the State Official Gazette as the reason for the hold-up. Despite repeated inquiries to the Secretary-General of the Government and the mayor about the delay, Cruz has received no response. The reform aims to permit lower levels of tint for public use, reserving the darkest tints for police vehicles, to reduce extortion incidents which have even affected individuals with medical conditions requiring protection from sunlight. The publication has been further delayed by requests to clarify the definitions of tint levels, which remain unresolved.

Budget Cuts Impact Rosarito Projects. Rosarito will face a significant financial setback as it anticipates a reduction exceeding 30 million pesos in federal and state funding this year. This shortfall has forced the municipal government to cancel three planned infrastructure projects to balance the budget. The Treasury reported that a recent meeting with state finance officials confirmed the reduced allocation, which is 36 million pesos less than initially budgeted. Efforts to mitigate these cuts had already led to the cancellation of two other projects involving the refurbishment of local government and social services offices.

Additionally, the planned renovation of Bonfil Boulevard, which included sidewalk, lighting, and equipment upgrades worth 30 million pesos, has now been scrapped due to funding constraints and costly proposed changes by the local water commission. The municipality also faces new financial burdens, such as a 20 million pesos annual payroll tax and the loss of a 7 million pesos compensatory fund, prompting further budget adjustments, particularly in social and cultural expenditures.

Rosarito Beach Corridor Nears Completion Amid Permit Uncertainty. In Rosarito, a nearly completed corridor along the beachfront has sparked concerns, as municipal authorities have not confirmed whether the Quinta Pacífico development has the necessary permits for its construction. The project includes a nearly 3-meter-high retaining wall that was built over a year ago, disrupting pedestrian access, especially during high tides. This development led to numerous complaints, and it was revealed that the municipality was unaware of the construction permits, finding only a legal injunction filed by the developer, with no further legal progress reported.

The corridor, dubbed a “tourist corridor,” now features stairs and a cemented pathway delineating the beach area designated to the development. According to a security guard, the pathway restricts public access to the sand. Funded privately, the corridor’s execution and authorization remain ambiguous, raising questions about public use and oversight.

Baja Boosts Sport Fishing. During the “Day at the Docks” event in San Diego, an aquatic sports gathering, the Baja California Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Sepesca BC) promoted sport fishing opportunities in the region. Alma Rosa García Juárez, head of Sepesca BC, was invited by Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, to highlight Baja California as a prime location for both relaxation and fishing adventures.

At the event, García Juárez introduced the official sport fishing website for Baja California, www.bajasport.fishing, which features a comprehensive calendar, federal procedures, top fishing spots, and service providers in the region. She also announced that this year, 13 fishing tournaments are scheduled across various locations from El Carrizo Dam in Tecate to Cedros Island and Ensenada.

Highlights include the “Dos Mares” tournaments in San Felipe and San Quintín, offering over one million pesos in prizes, and the “Reinas del Mar,” the second women-only tournament in the state, to be held in Ensenada’s bay. Additionally, the successful “Baja Bluefin Tuna Tournament” is set for its second edition in Ensenada this May.

Baja is a Leader in Job Creation. Baja California ranked third nationally in job creation last March, adding 25,659 new jobs across various economic sectors, Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda announced. Citing data from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) for the first quarter, she emphasized that the state contributed 9.7% of the 264,959 jobs created nationwide during this period.

Highlighting efforts to improve living standards, nearly half of these new jobs were permanent positions, making up 47% of the total. Ávila Olmeda pointed out that the agricultural sector, particularly in Ensenada, was the largest job generator, followed by significant contributions from Tijuana and Mexicali.

Kurt Ignacio Honold Morales, head of the Secretary of Economy and Innovation (SEI), noted that agriculture continued to lead employment growth, followed by manufacturing and social services. He praised the impact of large enterprises in generating employment, reflecting a robust effort to bolster Baja California’s workforce and economic health.

Navigating Traffic Stops in Rosarito

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

BY LUISA ROSAS

For many expatriates in Rosarito, encountering a traffic stop can lead to confusion and concerns about whether they are experiencing a standard legal procedure or facing unjust demands. It’s crucial to understand both your rights and responsibilities under local traffic laws to navigate these situations confidently.

When Can a Police Officer Stop You? A police officer in Rosarito has the authority to stop you if you violate any traffic laws. This can include running a red light, stopping incompletely at stop signs, or driving in the wrong direction.

Required Documents. During a traffic stop, officers may request to see your driver’s license (a U.S. license is acceptable) and your vehicle registration. It’s important to note that transit police should not ask for residency documents, immigration forms, or proof of rent.

What Officers Should Not Do. Officers are not permitted to retain your identification or vehicle registration documents. You are not required to step out of your vehicle or undergo a search merely because you’ve violated a traffic law. Additionally, no officer should ask for or accept cash payments during a traffic stop.

Handling Fines and Towing. If your vehicle is towed due to parking violations or lack of a driver’s license, you should know where and how to pay any fines. Payments are processed through specific channels such as Rosarito City Hall or the local police station, and only by card when done directly with transit officers.

Avoiding Misunderstandings. If approached by an officer, remain calm and cooperative, and provide the requested documents. Ensure you understand the reason for the stop and any charges. If you suspect the demands are not standard procedure, politely ask to resolve the issue at the nearest police station or city hall.

Payment Methods and Extortion Warning. If an officer asks for a cash payment on the spot, this is not a standard procedure and could be considered an act of extortion. Legitimate fines should always be processed either through a digital transaction where a receipt is provided, or at an official payment location. Always ask for a receipt when paying any fines to ensure transparency.

Stay Informed. For any emergencies or further clarifications, expatriates can contact 911 or 661 612 0396 (9am to 3 pm). Knowing the local laws and the correct protocols can significantly reduce the risks of misunderstandings or being unfairly penalized.

Understanding these guidelines will help expatriates handle traffic stops appropriately, distinguishing between legitimate law enforcement and potential misuse of power.

Baja California Shines at Tourist Expo

BY ARCHER INGRAM

At the 2024 edition of the Tianguis Turístico in Acapulco, Guerrero, Baja California emerged as a notable winner, securing four awards from Mexico’s Tourism Secretary and the magazine México Desconocido. Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda announced the wins after attending Latin America’s premier tourism event, where Baja California was named the host for the 2025 edition. The awards included two for Tourism Product Innovation and two for Best of Mexico.

Bodega Santo Tomás in Ensenada clinched an award for Romance Tourism Innovation, while Rancho La Puerta in Tecate was recognized for Health and Wellness Tourism. Additionally, Tijuana’s Baja Culinary Fest won third place in the Gastronomic Festival category. Governor Ávila highlighted these achievements, emphasizing the state’s success in providing immersive experiences in food and wine, and its appeal for road trip enthusiasts.

Governor Ávila also stressed the importance of inclusive tourism, aiming to make it accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. This commitment was underscored by a new partnership with the International Organization for Social Tourism and a collaboration with Volaris airline to boost state connectivity and stimulate economic activity, aiming to improve quality of life across Baja California’s seven municipalities.

April 22, 2024 Edition

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Tragic Accident at San Miguel Toll Booth Leads to Delays and Fatalities

Ensenada, April 19, 2024 – A severe car accident occurred at the San Miguel toll booth on the toll road in Ensenada this Friday, causing significant delays and a fatality.

Early reports suggest that the accident was caused by a driver who, traveling from north to south, allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle, under the driver’s control, collided at high speed with the structure of the San Miguel toll booth.

Tragically, the collision resulted in the immediate death of the 27-year-old driver. Another individual was injured in the incident, although it remains unclear whether this person was a passenger in the same vehicle or was involved in one of the three other cars affected by the crash.

The accident led to extensive traffic jams, with wait times reaching up to three hours for vehicles attempting to pass through the toll booth. Given that this is a federal highway, the National Guard was on the scene to manage the aftermath of the crash. Unfortunately, they have not released any official statements regarding the details of the incident as of yet.

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Drivers are advised to stay informed and exercise caution when traveling through major toll points.

Photos by Patricia Lafarga. https://www.facebook.com/LafargaReportera

Make a Difference for Animals in Need

Red Barn Rescue, based in San Diego, CA, and extending its help to Baja, Mexico, serves as a safe haven for animals that have faced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. More than just a rescue, this nonprofit educates the public on important issues like the benefits of spaying and neutering and the joys of adopting a rescue animal.

The organization invites you to support their mission by attending a special fundraising event on April 29, 2024, from 3 PM to 6 PM at Hacienda K43. For a $25 USD donation, guests will enjoy a mini buffet featuring pizza, pasta, and salad, and receive a complimentary margarita or sangria.

This fun-filled afternoon offers a chance to meet fellow animal lovers, enjoy delicious food, and contribute to a cause that transforms lives—one animal at a time. Funds raised will help Red Barn Rescue continue their work, partnering with approved local fosters to provide nurturing temporary homes until each animal finds their forever family.

To learn more about the event or how you can help, visit Red Barn Rescue. Your support can lead to a brighter future for these deserving animals. Join us on April 29th to make a lasting impact in your community!

Set Sail or Fail: Guadalupe Island Regatta’s Wavy Third Edition!

Exciting news for sailing enthusiasts and adventure lovers! The third edition of the Guadalupe Island to Ensenada Regatta is set to sail on May 18th. This isn’t just any race; it’s a challenging offshore journey that stretches over 400 nautical miles and lasts between five to six days, depending on the weather.

Carlos Hussong González, a member of the Todos Santos Ocean Racing Club and a promoter of this maritime competition, shared that this year, they’re expecting around three sailboats to participate. He mentioned that this race is catching the eyes of international sailors each year, helping to solidify its status as a top-tier offshore sailing event. Offshore races, unlike coastal sailing where boats stay close to land, involve greater risks and demand intense technical skill and effort from the crew, making them a major draw in other parts of the world, both as a sport and a tourist attraction.

This edition of the race has the backing of the Mexican Sailing Federation and will feature international judges, which just adds to its prestige. Hussong González also highlighted the potential for local tourism, noting the huge sailing community in California, with over fifty thousand sailboats, suggesting a promising market for sailing events in Mexico.

The race starts and finishes in the city of Ensenada and promises to be an exhilarating challenge for everyone involved. So, if you’re into sailing or just love the thrill of a good race, this event might just be what you’re looking for!

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Alert on “Zombie Drug” Spreading in Baja

The Mexican Observatory on Mental Health and Addictions has issued an early warning about the rise of Xylazine, a veterinary drug, being mixed with Fentanyl and methamphetamine among addicts in Mexico. Known as the “zombie drug” in the United States, Xylazine is gaining popularity due to its potent, relaxing effects, similar to Fentanyl, and can be lethal in cases of overdose, leading to respiratory arrest.

Juan Manuel Quijada Gaitán, the National Commissioner of Mental Health and Addictions in Baja California, noted that while Xylazine use is still rare in Mexico, its presence has already been detected in our State. It remains a legal substance under the regulation of the Federal Commission against Health Risks (Cofepris) due to its veterinary applications. Like Fentanyl, it is used medically, primarily in veterinary practices, for its sedative properties that depress the central nervous system, akin to opioids.

The alert was triggered after consultations with prosecutors, health secretaries, forensic medical services, and associations such as Prevencasa in Tijuana and other rehabilitation centers. Gaitán expressed concern over the affordability of synthetic drugs like Xylazine and Fentanyl, which makes them accessible to those struggling with addiction. In the event of an overdose, it can be countered with naloxone.

Four Trucks Pulled from the Sands of Rosarito

In an unusual scene last weekend on the beaches of Rosarito, Baja California, authorities were called to rescue four stranded vehicles. Two of these vehicles, found partially submerged in the sea, attracted considerable attention from onlookers and required several hours of effort to be safely removed. The operation took place near the Mar y Sol condos, close to the Baja California Convention Center.

The vehicles involved included older models of Ford and Chevrolet trucks, one of which was notably stuck about 50 meters into the sea. Local police coordinated the rescue efforts, which included the use of contracted tow trucks to haul the vehicles out of their precarious positions. The trucks were described as two Ford pickups, one red and one grey, both from the early 2000s, a white Ford F-50 from 2000, and a brown Chevrolet Silverado from 1998.

The incident, while certainly unexpected, ended without any reported injuries, but it did leave many wondering how the vehicles ended up there in the first place. As of the latest updates, there was no clear information on whether the vehicles had been abandoned or if they had been driven onto the beach for some reason that led to them being caught by the tide. Additionally, it wasn’t immediately clear if the vehicles had been claimed by their owners or if any charges would be pressed related to the incident​.

Do you know how this vehicles ended up there? Comment below or on our facebook page.

SOURCES: El Imparcial, AFN Tijuana, Debate

Campaign Kickoff in Baja California: A Guide to the 2023-2024 Local Elections

As Baja California enters its official campaign period for the 2023-2024 local elections, political activity is picking up across the region. From now until May 29, candidates will compete for various positions within the state’s seven municipal governments—including mayors and city councils—as well as 25 seats in the State Congress. This election cycle, managed by the State Electoral Institute of Baja California (IEEBC), will determine 122 new local officials, such as council members, legal trustees, mayors, and local deputies.

This election is historic for San Quintín and San Felipe, which will choose their mayors via the ballot box for the first time. These elections are simultaneous with the Federal Electoral Process, where Mexicans will vote for federal lawmakers and the President.

Participants in this year’s election include nine political parties, a coalition, and an independent candidate aiming for the mayoral seat in San Quintín. Local dynamics are interesting, with some parties forming a coalition for select municipalities and others choosing to go solo after planned alliances dissolved.

The campaigns also emphasize gender parity, with regulations requiring parties to nominate a balanced lineup of male and female candidates for mayor across various competitive blocks. This measure aims to foster a more inclusive political environment.

New logistical features such as candidate photos on local ballots will debut, enhancing voter familiarity and engagement. Another significant update is the inclusion of specific mandates for parties to present candidates from underrepresented groups, including indigenous, Afro-Mexican communities, and LGBT+ individuals, promoting diversity in representation.

With the stage set for a dynamic election, the residents of Baja California are ready to influence the future of their local governance, making informed choices that will shape the region’s socio-political landscape in significant ways.

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