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Posted by Gringo Frio from 22.214.171.124 (209-112-221-163-cdsl-rb1.sol.acsalaska.net) on viernes, septiembre 26, 2003 at 01:25:57 :
In Reply to: local economics... in plain language posted by ZihuaRob from 126.96.36.199 (dup-200-65-183-45.prodigy.net.mx) on jueves, septiembre 25, 2003 at 22:12:43 :
Well Spoken! Realizing I am out of my depth in the specifics of your pier expansion and cruise ships in Zihuatanejo specifically, I read through many of the past messages and excellent discussions. I'm getting ready for only my second trip to Zihuatanejo. Well, third, but one didn't count. I'm jaded but this place has serious addiction potential and I'd rather not be swimming through high-carb sewage and dead fish on my next trip.
The pier and the dredging do sound monstrously irresponsible. They will indeed destroy any remaining harbor ecosystem. I don't know the current health of the bay (the sole "reef" at Las Gatas is not in good shape)but changing (or blocking) all the currents, adding tons of silt, and introducing unregulated cruise ship discharge are improvements that not even Exxon would recommend.
Other than running a tanker aground, you really don't need to do much else to ensure that the bay is eternally screwed. And it sounds like some of the onshore developers are "doing their part" to make sure that the beaches mirror the bay. Good work, guys!
I do believe that it is NOT the "ships" that are the problem, but the way they are operated and the business model -- which is directly dependant on what the government(s) there allow. I also believe that small to medium sized ships could very easily contribute to Zihuatanejo's economy. I'm not talking about the bird of paradise singing "Joy to the World" every morning but simply more economic benefits, more smiling tourists, and maybe a few people with at least average intelligence that don't think Mexicos is and "should be" the world's largest Dollar Store. Call me a dreamer.
A ship of 2,000 with a dredge in front of it to get in and a dredge behind it to get it out is not my (or obviously your) idea of sustainable development! Neither are super-highways. You can always remove cruise-ships. Once the monster highway goes in, it only gets bigger. Like a snake. The changes are slower, but they are absolutely irreversible. Take a look at those fat corridors connecting points on any road map. Big highways will change Zihuatanejo in ways that a constant stream of cruise ships never will. Think not? Here's a fairly recent example of a "cute little town" now connected by a major corridor: Ensenada-Tijuana.
But, as usual, after the many good explanations of what cruise ships do and don't do for Mexico I'll revise my previous and rather rosy and naive hypothesis (the picture is better in Alaska -- and they DO get spanked with regularity -- although it's a constant tug of war involving federal [Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, on and on] state, borough, and city governments, small businesses, cruise, airline, and travel industries,environmental orgs,etc.)
Now I see well the point that Zihuatanejo is not ready for such big ship traffic or such a big pier. That would be Acapulco, I suppose? And a great place to keep it. (And isn't there a prohibition there about trying to stuff such great big nasty ships into such a cute little harbor? Mi Dios! It's downright indecent! Perhaps someone could ask the preening politicians to address 'phallic symbolism' as they strut about on the pier they are trying to extend.)
I enjoyed your primer on local (and national) economics, Rob. I will admit that although I didn't (initially) give a fig who won the last US Presidential election (my dog didn't even see the rabbit) I went absolutely ape-sh*t when Fox upset the tamale cart! 3 capital letters I always hated in the Mexican alphabet lost a lot of their color overnight. Yes, it's a long haul. And yes, it isn't getting any easier.
I like words like "empowered and emboldened and determined and self-determination" too --but we know they mean different things in different places. In Mexico, they mean Sisyphean effort. Sometimes the rock rolls into the harbor. Thank God for that dredge, eh? (I'm a cynic but I wish all of you who are actually doing something about this the best! :-)
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