7.5 Magnitud Quake Hits Oaxaca

–AP News Service

The U.S. Geological Survey put today’s quake at a preliminary magnitude 7.2 and said its epicenter was 33 miles (53 kilometers) northeast of Pinotepa in Oaxaca state. It had a depth of 15 miles (24 kilometers).

The quake was felt as far as Puerto Vallarta with reports of buildings swaying. Guests at the Grand Venetian Puerto Vallarta reported the building swaying as some guests evacuated. Others in the area reported beds shaking and lights swaying. No reports of damage or injury at this time.

This is the second earthquake felt in Puerto Vallarta in the last week.

Crowds of people gathered on Mexico City’s central Reforma Avenue as well as on streets in Oaxaca state’s capital, nearer the quake’s epicenter, which was in a rural area close to Mexico’s Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state.

“It was awful,” said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside. “It started to shake; the cars were going here and there. What do I do?”

She said she was still scared thinking of the Sept. 19 earthquake that caused 228 deaths in the capital and 141 more in nearby states. Many buildings in Mexico City are still damaged from that quake.

Mexican Civil Protection chief Luis Felipe Puente tweeted that there were no immediate reports of damages from the quake. The Oaxaca state government said via Twitter that only material damages were reported near Pinotepa and Santiago Jamiltepec, but that shelters were opened for those fleeing damaged homes.

The Mexico City Red Cross said via Twitter that the facade of a building collapsed in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood, which was hit hard on Sept. 19. A video included showed people walking through a dust cloud. But reporters at the scene later found no evidence of a collapse at the location given.

About an hour after the quake, a magnitude 5.8 aftershock also centered in Oaxaca caused tall buildings in Mexico City to briefly sway again.

USGS seismologist Paul Earle said Friday’s earthquake appeared to be a separate temblor, rather than an aftershock of a Sept. 8 earthquake also centered in Oaxaca, which registered a magnitude of 8.2. The Sept. 19 earthquake struck closer to Mexico City.

The Sept. 8 quake killed nearly 100 people in Oaxaca and neighboring Chiapas, but was centered about 273 miles (440 kilometers) southwest of Friday’s earthquake, Earle said.

In Mexico’s capital, frightened residents flooded into the streets in Condesa, including one unidentified woman wrapped in just a towel, but there were no immediate signs of damage.

“I’m scared,” said Rojas Huerta, recalling five months ago when buildings fell as she ran barefoot into the street. “The house is old.”

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Annual Valentine’s Day Brunch Reminder

Remember to mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 14, when EDR Las Hermanas communities will host the annual V-Day Brunch.

Time: 9:30 am –1 or 2 pm

Location: El Dorado Ranch. Los Viajeros North. 6100-3113 –Casa de las Tortugas Viejas. L&L’s place.

Directions:

  1. Enter through the main MOUNTAIN side gates of EDR (next to the Pemex on highway 5).
  2. Go straight up Saltito Road heading towards the mountains for approximately 3 Miles. Look for signage for the “Los Viajeros” solar communities.
  3. Look for sign that says Road 22 (cerro Feliz) on the right hand side of Saltito Road. Turn right on Road 22 (north). Cross the “inside” road or “frontage” road. Turn left immediately past the “inside” road.
  4. Look for sign that says Road 23 (cerro encantada). Turn right. Look for white motor home and rainbow flag. — sounds complicated… but, it’s not, honestly.

What to bring:

  • yourselves and something to drink if you don’t want coffee, Bloody Caesar, or Mimosas!
  • We will have ice and an ice chest for other beverages.
  • Sunscreen and a hat — if it’s going to be a sunny and a scorcher.
  • We should have plenty of chairs.
  • Books and videos if you want to be part of the book/video exchange.
  • IF you are desperate to make something for the brunch, or simply want to try out a new recipe on us, please feel free to bring it. Otherwise, we’ve got it covered.

If you or someone you know is NOT a property owner at EDR and planning to attend, PLEASE let me know ASAP so I can turn a list into the main gate. If this isn’t done, they will have to have the guard call me from the guard house: 687-307-6138 and tell the guard they are visiting Linda Whedbee, 6100-3113.PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH FAMILY SISTERS!!

Annual Valentine’s Day Brunch

Mark your calendars for the annual Las Hermanas Valentine’s Day Brunch to be held Wednesday, February 14. Same place: El Dorado Ranch, Los Viajeros North, 31-13, Crones’ Cantina off of Saltito Rd, on Road 23. Time: 9:30 until ? (Depending on heat and wind.).

This year we will be missing a few of our usuals, therefore we hope some of you can volunteer to add a favorite Brunch recipe to the table. If you can, could you please let us know in person, an IM or phone: (US) 970-213-1328, 970-98&-2929–or–(MX) 686-307-6138.

Sharron won’t be here this year. Lynda has graciously agreed to tend bar in her absence. We’ll have ice chests for ice and other beverages. No need to bring a chair. Well-behaved dogs are welcome–water will be provided.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask. Look forward to seeing everyone!

Solidarity with US Women’s Anniversary March

Live stream

https://www.facebook.com/wandercrones/videos/10211276759099270/

Solidarity Rally Today!

Don’t forget! Rally in solidarity with our sisters in the United States TODAY at 10 am at the Malecón in San Felipe. Meet at the San Felipe Sign. We have plenty of signs to share for the photo op. Wear whatever you can find to demonstrate solidarity. Pink pussy hats if you have one! Men supporters welcome.

Don’t be put off by the wind or the “artic blast” we are getting!!!!!

If possible… go for lunch afterwards!!!

See you there!!

Russian Interference in Mexican Elections?

Reuters–

The Russian government has launched a sophisticated campaign to influence Mexico’s 2018 presidential election and stir up division, a senior White House official said in a video clip published by Mexican newspaper Reforma.

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in a speech last month to the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation that there was already evidence of Russian meddling in Mexican elections set for July.

“We’ve seen that this is really a sophisticated effort to polarize democratic societies and pit communities within those societies against each other,” said McMaster in a previously unreported video clip from Dec. 15 that was posted on Twitter by a reporter with Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Saturday.

“You’ve seen, actually, initial signs of it in the Mexican presidential campaign already,” said McMaster, a former Army general. He did not elaborate in the clip on how Russia was seeking to influence the election.

Reforma published a story on Saturday on the comments, which have since been shared many times on social media.

President Donald Trump’s senior national security aide added in the clip that the U.S. government was concerned by Russia’s use of advanced cyber tools to push propaganda and disinformation.

A request for comment sent to McMaster’s office at the White House and a request for comment from the Russian government in Moscow were not immediately returned on Sunday.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations by U.S. intelligence officials and others of interfering in foreign elections.

In July, Mexico will elect a new president to succeed Enrique Pena Nieto, who is barred by law from seeking a second six-year term. Congressional seats plus some governors’ races will also be up for grabs.

According to opinion polls, the frontrunner in the presidential contest is the leftist former mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is running on an anti-corruption platform.

Lopez Obrador, a two-time runner-up for the presidency and a divisive figure in Mexican politics for over a decade, is seen by some analysts as the Kremlin’s favorite, given the positive coverage he has received from government-funded media outlets like Sputnik and Russia Today.

Both China and Russia are taking an increasing interest in Latin America as the United States, under Trump, has adopted a more protectionist stance and the future of the North America Free Trade Agreement looks uncertain.

Lopez Obrador has been a fierce critic of Pena Nieto’s sweeping energy overhaul, which was favored by U.S. officials and oil companies. He has said he would seek friendly relations with the U.S. government but would demand respect.

In 2016, Russia Today’s Spanish-language YouTube channel began running a weekly video blog entitled “The Battle for Mexico,” hosted by a prominent supporter of Lopez Obrador, according to David Salvo at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who has written about Russian attempts to influence politics in Latin America.

Pena Nieto’s office and the foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McMaster’s statement.

Some Mexican political commentators said that there was little reason yet to fear Russian involvement in the election.

“The point is that Washington hasn’t provided any solid proof for this,” said Marco Cancino, head of Mexico City-based consultancy Inteligencia Publica.

“So far, it’s just speculation.”

Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Noe Torres in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington and Jack Stubbs in Moscow, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Sign-Making Meeting For SF Women’s Solidarity Rally

There will be a brief meeting to connect and create signs for the SF Women’s March solidarity rally Saturday, January 13 at 2-3 p.m. at the Road Runner Cafe.  Come with ideas.  Bring poster board and magic markers, if you have them.  If not, they will be available.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call: 686-307-6138, or, comment below.

Rally in Solidarity with Women’s March

January 20, 2018

Please join us for the Women’s March in Solidarity with Our Sisters in the United States rally on Saturday , January 20, 2018. We will rally together in front of the San Felipe sign on the Malecon at 10 a.m. for an informal meet, greet, and show of solidarity photo op for FB, Instagram, and Twitter.  Pussy hats are welcome! There will be meeting on January 13th to create signs for the rally and an informal introductory meeting.  Location TBD.  Call: 686.307.6138 for more information.  Or, join Las Hermanas del Desierto, or, Nasty Baja Women on FB, or, go to: https://hermanasdeldesierto.wordpress.com/  for updates. Male supporters welcome.

Fuel and Tortilla Prices Going up?

(Reuters, January 4, 2018)

Mexico’s government on Wednesday denounced forecast price hikes by fuel retailers and tortilla makers, saying increases were unjustified as it sought to allay public concern about high inflation at the start of a presidential election year.

Prices for corn tortillas, the Mexican staple, are forecast to rise in the coming days by between nearly 11 and 21 percent, according to figures from the National Union of Industrial Mills and Tortillas.

Meanwhile, gasoline and diesel prices are seen by one retail association rising an average of about 7 percent this year due to tax changes, volatility of the peso currency and higher crude prices.

“That they say they are now going to hike prices is unjustified. We don’t see the market conditions for this to happen,” said Jose Rogelio Garza, a deputy economy minister.

The forecast from the Mexican Association of Gasoline Businesses (AMEGAS) was quickly dismissed as false in a statement by state-run oil company Pemex, but that did not stop complaints.

“My suppliers bring me the dough by car and if gasoline prices go up then obviously they are going to have to adjust their prices,” said Jorge Garcia, the owner of a Mexico City bakery.

The price of liquefied natural gas, used for cooking, rose by an average of 25 percent in 2017, while electricity rates have also inched up, according to government data.

“With increasing gas prices we’re going to have to make adjustments… I can’t work without gas,” said Garcia.

As inflation hovers near a 16-year high at just below 7 percent, officials insisted the forecast price spikes, which have triggered social media outrage and threats of protests, are not warranted.

“In 2018, variations in international fuel prices will continue to be cushioned,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, emphasizing a scheme that allows it to reduce a key excise tax applied to fuel sales.

With presidential elections looming in July, the government is especially sensitive to the possibility that protests could further erode its support among voters.

But beyond rhetoric, the government is mostly powerless to force the hands of gas station owners as its ability to set prices ended in late November after it finalized a gradual, nationwide fuel liberalization.

The move to market prices, part of sweeping 2013-2014 energy reform, ending a transitional period during which it still set maximum gasoline and diesel prices.

The fuel regulator, or CRE, said in a statement that prices in central Mexico for Pemex’s Magna gasoline, which makes up more than 80 percent of total sales, have only risen 1.3 percent compared to average prices at the end of November, an increase it described as stable.

The CRE reported that the average nationwide price on Tuesday for Magna stood at 16.13 pesos per liter.

That works out to about $3.15 per gallon at the current exchange rate.

For many years prior to the passage of the energy reform, fuel prices in Mexico were set by the government and were the same across the country.

Read before rolling into Baja — RV and towed-vehicle permits also new to Mexican officials

By Mike Madriaga,  San Diego Reader.

Oct. 20, 2017

When the Baja 1000 races roll around next month (November 14–18), some Americans crossing into Mexico might be in for a big surprise. Recently, travelers crossing through the San Ysidro, Otay, Tecate, and Mexicali borders in their RVs have reportedly been denied entrance into Mexico; others had the option of paying a new $52 fee.

Getting a permit through this Mexican national bank is possible, but “The process is long and confusing, and everything is in Spanish.”
“This is a new [temporary import permit] rule that just started being enforced for travelers going to Baja California,” said Jennifer Kramer from Discover Baja Travel Club. “[Until recently] Baja used to be a ‘free zone’ for vehicle importation permits [and were] exempt from regulations that are in place for U.S. citizens traveling into mainland Mexico.”
“Snow” and her husband drove down from Canada last month in their 40-foot motorhome that was pulling a 1997 Jeep Wrangler. Both of them are retired and during this time of year they stay warm at the tip of the peninsula.
“[We] only read about the new rules on RVs a matter of days prior to our scheduled crossing,” she said, “[and we] decided to wing it and try [to enter Mexico] without a [permit].”

 

They entered through Tecate and “they didn’t mention anything about the [permit, but] they asked for the ownership on both vehicles and checked that the [vehicle identification] numbers matched the vehicles on our ownership [papers], which matched our [registration] and passports.”
They crossed at Tecate without paying $104 (the cost of two permits plus a deposit for the Jeep) and drove the 1000 miles to their winter home in San José del Cabo.
Not all RVs enter into Baja California as easily, though. “[Worst case,] you will get turned away at the border crossing into Mexico and not be allowed into the country,” Kramer said, if the aduanas (Mexican customs) ask for your permit and you don’t have one.
Kramer’s parents started Discover Baja Travel Club 26 years ago, and she’s been involved with the company ever since. In the past five years she has been the marketing director for the company, which handles Mexican auto insurance, FMM tourist permits, temporary importation permits, and Mexican fishing licenses. “We stay up-to-date with everything happening in Baja and are often the first to let U.S. citizens know about new rules, regulations, and news.”
Kramer said the new towing rules started about a month ago and that “unfortunately the Mexican government doesn’t have anything in writing about the new regulations.” She said that through “multiple conversations with aduanas and immigration at all land ports of entry,” the new regulations are effective immediately and are as follows:
Motorhomes not towing anything are able to get a temporary import permit good for ten years. Motorhomes towing vehicles will need to get the ten-year permit on the motorhome and a six-month permit on the vehicle. The vehicle will have to leave the country within six months or the deposit will be forfeited.
Motorhomes towing accessories (for example, trailers that contain motorcycles or jet skis) will only be issued a six-month permit but will not have to make a deposit. Trucks towing fifth wheels and camper trailers will have to get two permits — a six-month permit for the truck and a ten-year permit on the trailer. A deposit will be required for the truck (depending on the value of the vehicle but normally ranges from $200 to $600) but will be refunded when you exit the country and return your permit.
Trucks towing utility trailers or toys do not need to get any permits. All boats over 14.7 ft. are required to get a ten-year permit. Many of the travelers are posting comments of disbelief on their social media forums regarding the new laws because many of them haven’t been told about the permits when entering into Baja in their RVs in the past couple of weeks. Others are saying, “I told you so” and posting both Kramer’s website and a link to a national bank of Mexico, Banjercito. A permit can be purchased for approximately $52 from Banjercito.
Kramer’s website can also handle the paperwork for an additional fee. “Many of our members prefer to have us handle their paperwork, as the rules are complicated,” she said. “The process is long and confusing, and everything is in Spanish.”
When I asked Snow what she and her hubby would do if they asked for their permits upon entering into Mexico, she said, “I was planning to be a dumb blonde gringa if that happened and hope we could do it on the spot.… I think maybe you can [purchase the permits] at the Banjercito [at the border] if needed.”
Kramer’s website also states another law that will affect a lot of visitors and businesses: “A vehicle [that’s not an RV] can no longer tow another vehicle into Mexico (i.e., a truck cannot tow a car into Mexico). If you need to tow another vehicle, we recommend that you have someone drive the second vehicle across the border if possible and then hook up to tow the vehicle once across the border.”
Regarding the racers and their families driving in with their RVs and loaded trailers come mid-November, “Usually the participants in the Baja 1000 get special permission to be a part of the event without getting [permits, along with other special treatment],” Kramer said.
Spectators for the Baja 1000’s 50th anniversary might not have such clout, though: they are advised to have all of the proper paperwork in order when crossing into Mexico.

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