While we observed that much of northern Baja – especially inland and along remote Pacific coasts – was rugged and authentically Mexican and forgotten, further south along the Sea of Cortez, Baja has become something else. America has found it and, has thus, irrevocably changed it. The closer we got to Mulege, the more billboards we saw reading “Oceanfront Property!” or “Own a Piece of Paradise!” all in English. Here, the beaches became cluttered with enormous homes or RV settlements, all full of ex-pats. And in the face of this presence, the true Mexico seemed to be fading away into the margins. The RV enclaves offered their own restaurants and dance clubs so residents could eat hamburgers and listen to Jimmy Buffett or Beyonce. In Mulege, Americans who had been living in the town for over 15 years didn’t speak a lick of Spanish and found gringo hangouts to stick to where the familiar was still available. And the gringos here are big drinkers. The bars were full of them by noon, and we saw signs around town for AA meetings offered in English. One Alaska native proudly announced that Mulege was “a small drinking village with a fishing problem.” One tourist shop was selling a t-shirt featuring a man in a sombrero saying, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’d be happy to take a look.” What must the locals think of us? In trying to escape our problems, we’ve only brought them with us, inflicting them on another people, thus diluting their culture in the process. Why is it that, whenever we try to run away from something, we always rebuild it in our new surroundings? I don’t want to sound hypocritical here: I understand that I’m a gringo vacationing in Baja by virtue of the privileged life I lead. I understand that I’m here without a grasp of the Spanish language and not much knowledge of the culture. However, I’d like to believe that if I were to live here, I would do my best to respect what came before. I would learn Spanish. I would not build an ostentatious home. I would not solely spend my money on the offerings of other gringos. I would not isolate myself from the culture. I would not dilute it with my own desires and problems. I’d like to think I’d find my own niche within the culture rather than making a point to stand apart from it.
According to an article in El Sudcaliforniano, Ejido 20 de Noviembre, which has struggled for over 30 years to regain the 5 hectares of land of the Hotel Serenidad and its airstrip, has won a judgement by the Agrarian Court in Laz Paz.
The attorney for the ejido, Richard Velazquez, said the Agrarian Court has also ordered the losing party to pay a little over $1 million pesos ($85,000) to the ejido for the unauthorized use of ejido property.
Elements of the Mexican Army arrested four Mulege municipal police last Friday, and since last Thursday, a commander of the Baja California Sur Ministerial police, Sergio Castro Dominguez, has gone “missing.”
The four arrested Mulege policemen were transferred to Tijuana to face federal authorities for their presumed involvement in criminal activities.
Posted by bajabuddha February 3, 2011
So, the saga continues……….. First off, please read my original post “THEIVES ABOUND ON BAHIA CONCEPCION” to this whole blog.
I’d posted my epistle about the fact that SOMEBODY KNOWS WHO, and lo! and behold, once the dust settled a little, the truth is even stranger than fiction, and the story right out of a Michael Chrighton novel.
My buddy had his motorcycle ripped off at our beach; he went directly to La Policia Municipal in Mulege and reported it on the day of the robbery, did all the necessary things to get wheels turning. He spent many hours the next few days delivering and posting fliers offering a fairly substantial reward (recompensa) for the return of his bike, including in Loreto and AT the Loreto Municpal Police station. No Officer or Detective came to the beach to investigate or take any evidence whatsoever.
After several days of interfacing with locals and friends (La Gente Mexicanos) of the area, we found out some fascinating facts. The theif is not only well-known, but the WHOLE DAMNED TOWN KNOWS WHO IT IS !! The day after his robbery, he apparently crashed the stolen bike into a cow, and broke an arm, (oh, sorry, not his neck… not enough for me) but his family spread the story he fell off a horse. Now the plot thickens. Through friends WE found out he was in a hospital in La Paz with injuries from “the horse” accident. He is well-known for car theft and theft of all kinds, it’s his way of making his living, probably the single most notorious theif of the ENTIRE AREA, been in jail and released several times. Even busted for stealing a motorcycle in Sta. Rosalia earier this year. All the local people I talked to confirmed this guy is just a BAD GUY and probably the one that has hit everything lately, including stealing my outboard and another outboard this last Spring, and probably the theft at Playa Coyote this summer, as well as several others recently. And THE WHOLE TOWN knows, EVERYBODY knows INCLUDING THE LOCAL POLICIA knows ‘Koki’ (I know his real name, but will withhold it for reasons of possible libel). Heaven forbid there were any kick-backs to allow the theiving to continue.
“So, how much you sell it for?”
“Ten thousand pesos.”
”Good, you give me half and I don’t arrest you!”
Naw, that would NEVER HAPPEN IN MULEGE. Or Loreto for that matter.
The local Policia Municipal didn’t make ANY EFFORT WHATSOEVER to notify my friend that the bike was in CUSTODY IN LORETO and the crime was apparently solved, the bike found and impounded on the 12th, just two days after the robbery… once my friend learned that his bike was found TEN DAYS LATER, and he reported it to the Mulege Policia, they CONFIRMED the bike was in custody, and told him they had photos of the bike but couldn’t show them to him for security reasons… we find out the perpetrator’s pic is in the local NEWSPAPER (periodico) and the story of the thief ‘falling off a horse AT ONE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING is there too !! However, NO ARREST OR CHARGES ARE FILED ! So yes, crime is solved. Yes, the exact motorcycle is in Loreto, the U.S. registration confirms it IS the motorcyle that was stolen. The person that crashed the bike is known to be a convicted theif, jailed for the exact same crimes, and multiple ones. Now the same person is free and roaming about Mulege as if nothing has happened.
Once my friend started the recovery process for his bike the red-tape, the ‘paperwork’ snafu and run-around with appointments with officials showing up late and fees for re-registering the motorcycle onto Mexican registration, and fees for certified translators and multiple trips into town (although the Policia can’t afford gas out to our Playa to at least notify that the bike was indeed found) are right out of the Twilight Zone. Three trips into town just to start the paperwork and recovery process only to find there’s two trips to Sta. Rosalia to get the Federale’s approval and ‘rubber stamp’, because they also were involved, before a trip to Loreto can be made to recover the stolen property IF all the neccessary paperwork is done, and IF the proper person is there in Loreto to handle the forms and process the paperwork, because he just so happens to be out of town on vacation until the middle of next week, and couldn’t be reached by phone or email. On top of all that, there is a citation issued on the bike for being crashed and left on the side of the road which my friend is responsible for and must pay before the bike can be released, even though it was reported stolen two days before the crash.
Then comes a trip to Loreto on the 31st, 3 full weeks after the robbery. We track down and locate the bike at the local impound lot, and after talking with the Policia Municipales in two different stations, everyone knows about it, and we’re run around all afternoon with what turns out to be ‘clandestine’ meetings with two local M.P. officers at 6:00 p.m. that evening to ‘view the bike’, and at that time were asked to pay the ‘recompensa’ (reward) we’d offered for the return of the bike. ‘Mordida’ I believe it’s called down here. My friend had personally posted reward posters AT THE POLICE STATION in Loreto only two days after the theft, the Policia had done absolutely NOTHING to notify him of their posession of the bike; the Mulege Policia had promised on the first day of reporting the theft the report would go out on the internet to Loreto, Cd. Constitution, both to Municipalities, and the Federales as well. We find EVERYONE knows about it, NOBODY lifts a finger to notify the victim, the bike sits for THREE WEEKS, HE finds it HIMSELF by personal leg-work and inside information, and now THE POLICIA WANT THE REWARD for (not) doing what they’re paid to do in the first place. I DON’T F-ING THINK SO !!
My GOD, Mulege !!! You want tourism? You want economical growth??? I have news for you, NOT WITH THIS KIND OF HORSE MANURE !! I hope this gets translated and sent on to those who are ”in the know” about how business works. The true business owners of Mulege need to band together and stand up to the local so-called Policia and Oficiales of El Gobierno and tell them they are defacating in their own nests. As I said before, the gringo community does in the most part fuel the economy of this area, and especially after the major hurricanes, 5 in 6 years, the aid from El Norte has been there, as have the rotarian clinic and private and public charities….. NO, we don’t do this for any recompense, but damnit, TIT FOR TAT.
THIS IS INSULTING IN A BROAD HUMANITARIAN SENSE.
Bottom line…. happy endings, he got his bike back albeit a little worse for wear (there are serious damages, and need of extensive repair from the accident and from breaking into the ignition set). In order to recover his bike he had to pay a Federal citation for the wrecked bike left on the side of the road, and three weeks of storage charges incurred while EVERYONE SAT ON THEIR THUMBS BUT HIM, and all on ‘Mexican Standard Time’. Yes, it’s how it’s always been down here. I’m personally not surprised in the least; however I’m totally appalled at the audacity of the municipal cops and their lack of action WHEN IT WAS TOTALLY APPARENT THE CRIME WAS SOLVED, THE PROPERTY RECOVERED AND THE THIEF NOT IN CUSTODY. Bad enough when it is any gray area, this is open and shut case. C’mon, MULEGE !! I used to complain when I would hear a long-time Gringo resident disrespect local people and customs. I still do. The longer I spend down here the more I understand where these rooted feelings emanate from.
Because Santa Rosalia has not paid Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE – the Mexican federal power company) the 12 million pesos ($985,000) power bill, the power to all three of the pumps that supply water to the municipalities has been shut off. Last year, in 2010, CFE cut off the power four times for the 3,200 users. There has been no estimate given of when the water will be turned back on.
In another article, there is a discussion on raising the water and sewer rates in Santa Rosalia and Mulegé, as the monthly cost of power to run the pumps is 2.4 million pesos and they are only collecting 1.4 million pesos a month from customers.
It happened again, a motorcycle was stolen from Playa La Perla during the night. It is a 2002 Suzuki DR-650, blue tank and fenders with white panels under the seat, and has a distinctive dent in the gas tank on the left-front side. My friend is offering a $500 REWARD for the return of his bike. You can contact me at this site or Steve or Dave at Playa La Perla.
I don’t know what the answer is to this problem. This is the THIRD rip-off of this area (there were two robberies on Playa Requeson in November) as well as others on the Bahia… my boat motor was stolen here last March. The economy of Baja STINKS right now, people are hurting, and desperate times breed desparate measures, but damnit, YOU CAN’T POOP IN YOUR OWN NEST !! I DO believe LA GENTE OF MULEGE need to step up and turn in the theives, because I truly believe SOMEONE KNOWS WHO IS DOING THESE CRIMES, and it’s just going to bite everyone in the butt. The Policia aren’t able to handle this, they can’t even afford gas for their vehicles to come out and investigate.
My faith is being sorely tested here; I’ve been coming since ’95 to Mulege exclusively. The town and people are wonderful, but SOMEONE MUST STEP UP AND STOP THIS. It’s not the cartels, it’s not anything to do with the mainland problems. The lack of tourism in general is a result of the press, and my posting will not help that matter either, but I am compelled to speak out and warn the people who are camping and living here. SOMEONE KNOWS!
Well, of course someone knows who stole it. But no Mexican is going to turn in another Mexican to help a Gringo. You want to have a cop investigate? Maybe you can have these shit-faced Mulegé cops work on that case?
When the cops tell you they have no gas, that is their way of telling you they aren’t going to do jack shit about the robbery. Maybe you don’t know, but local police do not investigate crimes in Mexico. It is not their job. Your friends will have to do what Pierce did and pay some state police officer to look into your case. But it will probably cost you more than that motorcycle was worth, and they may not find it anyway. If Governor Narciso Agúndez’ motorcycle was stolen, you can bet your last Pacifico the whole police force would be out looking for it. But your friends are just pinche Gringos who are on the bottom of the food chain in Mexico.
Sooner or later, you’ll figure out that neither the town nor the people are all that wonderful. Just because they smile at you does not mean they like you. They like your money, honey. The lack of tourism is a direct result of the constant crime, the constant mordidas and the crappy way anyone who owns or rents any property there is treated by landlords and the government.
A Mulegé fisherman, named Marcos Candelario Osuna, 64-years of age, stopped his pick-up on the way back from “El Manglito” fish camp to collect some firewood. As he was collecting, he heard a shot and felt pain in his buttocks and saw blood. He was able to drive to his home, and then he was taken to the hospital where a bullet was removed from his right buttock.
As I mentioned in a prior blog, Colectivo Pericú, is a group of bloggers in Baja California Sur who pull no punches when it comes to exposing the corruption and excesses of the government down there. They blogged about some ridiculous events occurring in Mulegé.
As I have already written, the municipalities in Baja California Sur are on the verge of bankruptcy. Wages and bills are going unpaid, and services are being cut. Mulegé has been especially hard-hit, having been overrun by three hurricanes in the last four years.
Now Colectivo Pericú writes about the strange goings on with Mulegé’s town treasurer, Santa Apodaca Peralta. She hired a financial advisor to the municipality. His name is Miguel Millán López, and he just happens to be Santa’s husband. His job before being hired on as the town’s financial advisor was telephone lineman for Teléfonos de México.
It gets better, or worse, depending on your point-of-view. With the approval of Mulegé’s mayor, José Murillo, Santo’s purchased a brand new Caterpillar D6N bulldozer for $201,000, all cash. And where did she purchase the bulldozer? Why from her brother-in-law, José Luis Millán López.
There is something I have been wanting to say for a long time. Americans are the most generous people on the planet. There is no country that is even a close second to the generosity we show. But sometimes giving so freely to others can be misguided, even harmful. Whenever there is a disaster in Mexico, Americans line up to donate money and supplies. Even in normal times, there is a flood of charity money flowing south to orphanages, food banks, etc. Americans donate fire engines, ambulances, lifeguard towers, police equipment, medical equipment and medicines…the list is endless. And all the generosity in the world will not prevent the cops in Ciudad Constitucíon from stopping every gringo-plated car and extorting money for a bogus traffic violation.
Take Mulegé as an example. After each hurricane, money and supplies for recovery were donated. But what really is happening is that every dollar a gringo donates to the municipality only frees-up a dollar the politicians can steal. The situation never really improves. Even today the water supply is Mulegé is still sporadic, with broken pumps. Many Americans had disaster insurance on their Mulegé homes, and after the hurricane destroyed their homes, the Mexican insurance companies refused to pay them even one centavo, on the most flimsy, nebulous and capricious grounds. What Mexico does not need is American charity. Mexico needs tough love. Mexico needs to be told it has to clean up its government and stop wasting so much of its resources on corruption, nepotism and mediocrity. Mexico is rotten at the core. It has a cancer. Mexico is disintegrating. It needs radical surgery to survive.
Since Americans have no say in the internal affairs of Mexico, the only thing we can do is vote with our feet and our wallets. Stay away from Mexico until the Mexicans decide to fix their country. When something is free, it has no value. Charity is free. If you want a people to value something, it has to be something that is worked for and earned.