the promise of new jobs

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Escrito por ZihuaRob desde ( el día domingo, 08 de julio, 2007 a las 21:33:18 horas :

"What about the people who need jobs?"

That is an excellent point to bring up since it is with this very same promise that politicians ask for votes.

My view is that protecting and preserving the cohesiveness and core values of a community should be the principle function of local government, and rationally planning for the sustainable growth of that community should be among their principle tasks. Nevertheless, nowadays amid the ruins of our unresponsive political system where public servants serve themselves instead of the public, communities are more often trampled upon and torn apart owing to the lies, interests and excesses of politicians. "Government planning" has become synonymous with self-serving interests by the influential and political elite, and the true repercussions of their actions are often invisible to the general public until years later, if ever. "Tourist development" is a common rallying cry supposedly to provide jobs for the poor and bring economic prosperity to the general populace, but in my experience from living in tourist resort areas in the US Virgin Islands, Florida and here is that more often than not what it does is enrich public servants, developers, union leaders and other mostly non-local business interests at the expense of the local population, including the community and its ecology.

There really is no need for this pier. We do not need more cruise ships. We don't even need all the ones we have now. And our own humble municipal pier has worked just fine for all these decades since it was built.

We don't need new megaprojects and hotels. We don't even fill the lodgings we have available except perhaps for three or four weeks a year: Christmas/New Years and Semana Santa.

Almost every major construction project here has brought their workers here from other states then unceremoniously abandoned them after completing the project, thus adding to our burden of low-skilled, poorly educated, non-taxpaying population for whom the municipal government with its scarce resources must then seek to provide housing and services at the expense of the local taxpayers. During the past 5 years alone we have watched our population of squatters more than double on potentially valuable hillside lands previously zoned as protected ecological zones mostly with a view of the bay, increasing our city's population by about one-third, all because unscrupulous politicians seeking to enlist their votes for upcoming elections bring them here, mostly from neglected rural towns as well as from Acapulco where land-squatting is a generations-old family enterprise for many. During that same period lawlessness, pollution and crime have skyrocketed, and frankly Zihuatanejo isn't the same place it was ten years ago, and the local community is not happy about it at all.

I believe that our state government has purposefully neglected the agricultural sector of our state with the intention of driving folks to the cities where their voting blocs are more valuable to populist politicians and their parties (more lucrative to be a politican in a big city than a small town, right?), and our educational sector has been allowed to fail in order to keep them poor and more easily manipulate them. Even much of our "social unrest" is not what it seems but is instead an attempt by a few to manipulate large sections of uneducated poor people in order to receive payoffs and political appointments (aka cooptation) from governments, effectively living off the misery of others. This is a well-known ploy in this region and other poor regions such as in the neighboring state of Oaxaca, and our self-serving paternalistic governments lend themselves to it.

In the case at hand the new pier project is more likely than not simply a pretense to sell large quantities of overpriced cement and assign a government contract to a company most likely with a public servant or other influential person among its owners in order for the public servants involved in its assignment and oversight to receive kickbacks and bribes. That's how governments do business here in Guerrero. They have no intention of helping the poor to improve their situation or even planning for the sustainable growth of our region. What they do is ruin a place, squeezing all possible profits from it, then move on, leaving the mess behind with other up-and-coming politicians who promise during their election campaigns to fix the mess, though we have yet to see them do so anywhere in our state. So while Acapulco continues deteriorating, the same process is being repeated here in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. And the worst part is that our "responsible authorities" continue counting on many of those poor to take their problems across the border to the USA, el otro lado as we call it, except they just can't seem to leave here fast enough any more thanks to the population explosion and more dangerous conditions for crossing the border from increased border security.

Personally I think more resources need to be spent on improving rural education and making our agricultural sector more competitive as well as promoting local investment in alternative clean industries. That would be some of the best-spent money our government could invest instead of assigning funds for building unnecessary projects that reek of cronyism, incompetence and corruption.

Well, that's my rant for the day and possibly for the entire week. Hope I didn't drive anyone off to some other feel-good tourism-only website by talking about local political-related matters. ;~)

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