The other attacks on bars and discos in Cancún and Playa del Carmen

Translated by Fulano from an article in El Mexicano.

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MEXICO CITY – The attack early Sunday morning on the bar-discotheque Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen, where five people died, one Mexican woman and four foreigners, is not an isolated event according to the criminal history of Quintana Roo. Mainly, this is caused by the struggle between cartels looking to dominate drug sales.

There have been eight recorded attacks on bars and discotheques since 2010.

In September, 2010, a criminal group set fire to the Castillo del Mar bar in Cancún and eight people died, among them two pregnant women.

In March, 2013, several armed men entered the La Sirenita bar to kill deputy secretary for Union Conflicts of the Taxi Guild, Francisco Achach Castro, Seven people died.

In October, 2016, two Cancún bars were attacked at the same time. The first was La Oficina and two people were killed and another two wounded. The second was El Xtabay, where a man selling gum died from gunshots.

On September 27, 2016 the head waiter at the Black and White bar, located in Region 221, on avenida 20 de Noviembre, was killed by gunfire by a group of men as he left the bar to make a phone call.

On November 27, 2016 there was a gunfight at the Mandala Club, located in the Cancún hotel zone. The presumed hit men used silencers and shot at point blank range, so the attack was not noticed until two people fell dead another was wounded.

Last December 22, 2016 at avenida Xcaret at Kabah, in Cancún, two people attending a fair were threatened by two people, who then started to shoot and then fled. Authorities reported one person dead and two wounded.

On January 9, 2017 there was gunfire at the El Ejecutivo Bar by two presumed hit men who came on motorcycles and a vehicle. They all managed to flee. Two police guarding the location were wounded.

Early in the morning of Monday, January 16, 2017 a person was attacked inside the Blue Parrot bar, during the closure of the BMP Electronic Music Festival. This left five people dead, three of whom were security staff members.

According to information collected by El Universal, on the street is sold “pills, perico, acid and marijuana. I spent 4,000 pesos on perico and tachas, it is all at hand,” said one of the locals attending the event.

“Everyone is going around selling, there are about 200 drug dealer per event,” added another witness.

This Tuesday, an armed squad attacked the Cancún office of the state Attorney General, and two other sites simultaneously, with the result of one police officer and three attackers dead.

Loreto restaurants could close due to the increase in costs of fuel

Translated from an article in BCS Noticias.

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La Paz, Baja California Sur – Some Loreto restaurants could close or change business lines due to the increase in the cost of fuel, which has caused increases in transportation for supplies, according to the Loreto Hotel Association.

“Although some prices are stable, we know that starting with the new year, all our providers have started to send price lists with increases,” said Norman Beatriz García, president of the association.

The restaurant entrepreneur admitted that, “we cannot pass on all the price increases to our customers, or we will be left with no customers,” she said in an interview with BCS Noticias. “Profits are dropping more and more,” she maintained.

Due to this, some restaurants “will have to close or change business lines,” she warned.

Loreto faces the problem of poor local production, which means that most of the products “are shipped in from La Paz or Los Cabos, so the cost of freight is going to increase for us,” she said.

In Loreto and Mulege, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the maximum price for a liter of gasoline for January will be 18.33 pesos (US$3.30 per gallon at 21 pesos to the dollar), meanwhile the price of diesel is 17.67 pesos (US$3.18), the highest prices in the state.

Increase the menu prices “makes us less competitive” and will make Loreto an even more expensive destination. “Loreto is not a cheap destination, getting here is not cheap,” she stated.

“We have to adapt, better to adapt our menus adn try to find new methods as we cannot increase prices,” she insisted.

Do you rent a home in Baja California?

By Fulano

Does your lease require your rent be paid in dollars?  Boy, do I have news for you. Read about one of the best kept secrets in Baja California.

Every state in Mexico has its own laws, including a Civil Code (Codigo Civil) which defines the laws by which people can legally conduct business, among many other legal concerns. Many expatriates have sat by the sidelines and watched the peso slide from around 10:1 some ten years ago to the current exchange rate of close to 21:1, while they continued to pay their rent in the dollar amount specified in the lease. It is commonly believed that for a lease which specifies rent in dollars, it is unhinged from any movements in the dollar-peso exchange rate.

Not true!

Even if your home lease specifies that rent shall be paid in dollars, the Civil Code of Baja California says otherwise. Article 2273 of the Civil Code for the State of Baja California states:

The rent or lease price may be a sum of money or anything else equivalent, provided it is a sum certain and determined.

The agreed rent for leasing a house intended for your residence should be defined in national currency. In the case where it is defined in foreign currency, it shall be understood to be payable in the equivalent amount in local currency at the exchange rate prevailing on the date the respective contract was concluded.

The above provisions are of public order and social interest and, therefore cannot be waived.

This means, if you have a lease which requires the rent be paid in dollars, you can legally look to the peso exchange rate in existence at the date the lease was executed, and pay a fixed rent in the equivalent amount in pesos. This following graphic is an example of a 4-year home lease signed on January, 1, 2013 for $1,000 dollars per month. It shows the amount the tenant should have paid if Article 2273 was followed:

Do you have to pay your landlord in Mexico in dollars? No, you do not. Aside from Article 2273 of the Civil Code for the State of Baja California, which specifically says rent can be paid in the equivalent amount in local currency, there is also Article 8 of the Monetary Law of the United Mexican States, which says:

Foreign currency shall not be legal tender in the Republic, except in those cases where the law expressly determines otherwise. Payment obligations in foreign currency contracted for within our outside the Republic, to be fulfilled in it, will be settled by delivering the equivalent sum in national currency, at the exchange rate which exists at the place and time payment is made.

Well that summarizes the law for Baja California. Now, getting your landlord to go along with it is entirely another matter!

Water at the La Paz Malecón contaminated

Translated by Fulano from an article in BCS Noticias.

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La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS).- The operations director at the Citizens Observation Network, Alberto Guillén, said hat after a study of the bacteria levels in the waters at the La Paz Malecón, they indicated more than 6,000 enterococcus, where the health limit is 200. These bacteria present on the coast at the Malecón could cause serious health problems for those who swim in the area.

He said the high presence of these bacteria in direct contact with the human skin can cause skin infections in the eyes, ears and mouth, and if the water is swallowed, it can caused grave gastro-intestinal illnesses.

Street vendors extort motorists in San Ysidro

Translated by Fulano from an article in Zeta Tijuana.

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Pretending they are security authorities, informal vendors trick people who by mistake end up in the Sentri Lane to cross the border. Every day, about 30 drivers who do not have the Sentri pass are victims.

Such is the case of Ricardo Saucedo, a resident of Baja California Sur, who on Sunday, December 3, while using his GPS system on his cell phone, ended up in the Sentri Lane, in spite of not having a Sentri pass.

At that moment, some illegal merchants, pretending they were border security guards, who even “had a badge,” and wearing burgundy and with a badge, told him to continue ahead in the same lane to help him exit it. Ricardo ended up a few meters from the access module, and in US territory.

The man and his wife were closed in between retaining walls and cones to identify the lanes that the illegal merchants had placed.

He had no way out. The fake guards then offered to move the cones so he could change lanes to the Ready Lane, in return for 8,500 pesos (US$425), and that way he could avoid paying a fine of up to $5,000 to the US government.

The extortioners told him that the security cameras at the border crossing would detect he had no Sentri card and he would have to face US justice, risking his right to enter the US.

Ricardo pulled his car to the left, to not block the lane, and went to an ATM to remove 6,000 pesos, and along with that and 1,500 peso and US$50 dollars from his wife, paid the bribe. Then the blanket vendor moved the cones to allow him to pass.

In a poll by ZETA at the busiest border crossing in the world, drivers as well as Tijuana municipal police, said that this type of extortion happens daily, “at least two cases of this are reported every week,” said a police officer named Arredondo, who opted to not state his full name for fear of reprisals.

Old animosities between Gringos ends in murder

Translated by Fulano from an article in El Mexicano.

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SAN FELIPE – And old argument between two American residents ended in murder, when this morning there was a verbal fight at first, and then in another encounter one of the participants shot at Rodney William Rhoden, 38 years old.

The police were alerted via the emergency phone number, that two residents in the Villa de Las Palmas subdivision were fighting, and one of the participants, Darrell “N,” 70 years old, shot the man who is now dead.

Witnesses to the events told the police that Darrell argued with the dead man, he then left the location of the incident in his vehicle, a Dodge pick-up, headed towards downtown San Felipe. A few minutes later he returned, parked and returned to argue in the middle of the street. Next, Darrell pulled out a .22 caliber revolver and shot until the gun was empty.

Rodney William Rhoden had a bullet wound in his left side, in the abdomen, and was transported by the Red Cross from the Villas de Las Palmas project, south of the city, before the pier, to the health center, where he died.

After the attack, Darrell “N,” got back in his vehicle and headed back towards downtown San Felipe, and was intercepted at the entrance to the pier by the police as his vehicle matched the description. They found the firearm in the pocket of the shorts he was wearing.

The murderer and his victim had problems derived from the purchase of an automobile and both has accused the other of harassment and had filed complaints with the public minister. Instead of waiting for the authorities to resolve the matter, they both took an aggressive posture, according to what the neighbors said, as they were both residents of Villas de las Palmas, and lived across from each other.

How appreciation of the dollar hurts Americans owning homes in Mexico

Capital gains tax laws in Mexico require that tax is owed on the profit you receive when you sell your Mexican home or property. The current capital gains tax is computed two ways, and the seller gets to choose which computation to use, depending upon his circumstances:

  1. 25% tax on the gross sales amount; or
  2. 35% tax on the net profit

Let’s say you bought your house in Mexico on January 1, 2012 for US$100,000, and the exchange rate on that date was 13 pesos to the dollar. So, as far as Mexico’s tax agency is concerned, you paid 1,300,000 pesos for your house. Suppose you sold that house on December 31, 2016 for US$100,000. Obviously, there was no economic profit on your investment. Let’s say the exchange rate on the day you closed that sale was 20 pesos to the dollar. As far as Mexico is concerned, you sold that house for 2,000,000 pesos.

So how much tax do you owe Mexico on that sale? Let’s look at a simplified example:

  1. 25% of the gross sales amount. That would be 25% of 2,000,000 pesos, or a tax of 500,000 pesos, US$25,000; or
  1. 35% of your gain. Your taxable gain is the 2,000,000 peso sales price, less your 1,300,000 peso cost, times 35%. That works out to a taxable gain of 700,000 pesos, which when taxed at 35%, creates a tax bill of 245,000 pesos, or US$12,250. The notario handling your home sale will take that out of your sales proceeds and send it in. Imagine paying a US$12,250 capital gains tax on a sale where you did not make any economic profit. All this is because the peso has depreciated against the dollar while you owned your Mexican house.

If you and your home were in the United States, you would owe zero income taxes, as there was no taxable gain on the sale. In the example, you bought the home for $100,000 and sold it for $100,000.

There is also a United States federal income tax exemption on the first $250,000 of gain on the sale of a personal residence held for 5 years which was your principle residence for two of those five years; $500,000 for a married couple. Mexico has a similar rule, but which will not apply to most Americans. In Mexico, if you are a Mexican citizen, or a permanent resident, there is a tax exemption on your primary residence. In order to get this exemption, you must have used the house as your permanent residence for 3 years (5 years before 2015). The land area cannot be more than three times the building footprint, and it cannot have been used for commercial purposes, e.g. not rented out, even for a short period. Basically, you will have to sign a sworn oath under penalty of perjury that you are a resident of Mexico for tax purposes. If you have not filed any Mexican tax returns, don’t expect to qualify for this exemption. Notarios (notary public), who handle these transactions, are personally responsible for any taxes they failed to collect on the sale. It is difficult to find a notario who will not collect taxes from a foreigner when a house is sold.

Is that all? No it gets better (or worse, depending upon your point of view). If you pay a salesman a commission to sell your home, you also owe a 16% IVA (sales tax) on the commission you paid. In Mexico, sales taxes are collected on goods and services.

30% of Rosarito’s population lives in illegal settlements

Translated by Fulano from an article in

PLAYAS DE ROSARITO – Around 30% of the more than 100,000 inhabitants in Rosarito are in illegal homes which have no possibility of getting public services because of their lack of legal documentation on their properties.

The preceding was a part of the diagnosis carried out by the Municipal Development Planning Committee, said the agency director, Manuel Ochoa Magallón, who says urgent action is needed at the three levels of government to regularize the ownership of the land.

The problem is more pronounced in the southern part of Rosarito, one of the areas with greatest growth in the past years. There sub-dividers have illegally sold properties, without concluding the legal processes for a real estate deed.

In many of the new Rosarito colonias, there are properties which are still ejido land, and where no public investment, neither state nor municipal, can be carried out.

Ochoa Magallón was sworn in as director of Copladem this Wednesday morning during a meeting, where he announced the start of public meetings to develop the Municipal Development Plan, which will start this Friday in Primo Tapia, and Thursdays, December 22 in downtown.

Water war in the Guadalupe Valley

Translated by Fulano from an article in JornadaBC

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Ejido El Porvenir, December 12, 2016 – There is a war in the Guadalupe Valley. It is a water war. Hidden behind the glamorous boom of the Mexican Napa Valley, large vineyards and ejidos are fighting, each time with more rancor, access to the vital liquid.

The table is not even. No more than 18 wine producers use more than 50% of the water resources in the region. Meanwhile the communities even lack drinking water. Thirsting for justice, desperate, the farm workers who have worked these lands for three generations, and some 1,000 Kumeyaay, who inhabited this territory for at least 4,000 years, threaten to take other measures.

Here in El Porvenir, says Marco Antonio Orozco, adviser to the Ejido Union of Northern Ensenada, there is not even one drop of water in the homes. The residents have been battling for months with this problem. This is in spite of the national water laws give a priority to those who have rights to the liquid, and those first in line are human settlements. The community which has no water has the first rights.

Crossing with fear from San Diego into Tijuana

Translated by Fulano from an article in

TIJUANA, Baja California – Crime is one of the main problems impacting pedestrians at the Tijuana and San Ysidro crossing, reports a study carried out by students at the Baja California Autonomous University.

“When first returning to Tijuana a sense of security is felt, as the building is guarded by Army personnel, however, when a person faces what they describe as the place where the street vendors gather, along with deported persons,” said the project coordinator, Amparo López Vizcarra.

He stressed that the lack of security adds to the lack of an adequate infrastructure, public lighting, and the unorganized mob of street vendors.

“Even though the image in the nearby area in the new San Ysidro entrance called PedWest has improved, no attention has been put on safety and public lighting,” he said.

To obtain the results of the survey, they consulted with 655 users at both entrances in San Ysidro and the exits in Tijuana.

The Image and Tourist Certainty Project at the pedestrian crossing is in its preliminary phase, said the person responsible for the project, Adriana Ríos Vázquez.

The first stage was from August through November, with the participation of 20 students, 15 from the School of Tourism and five from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.