Synergy Spanish

This system teaches you Spanish, the easy way - not the academic way. With only 138 words you will be speaking Spanish.


The Best Vet in Mexicali!

Dr. Rafael, the best veterinarian anywhere; he's close to the border, speaks English and has lived in Arizona! Click

Mexican Auto Insurance

This company has been with us since 2008. They are the oldest and best established insurer for those of you travelling to Mexico.
Mexico Insurance

From Baja California’s famous Guadalupe Valley


Carbonite is a secure way to back up your computer. It is also a big help if you have to migrate to Windows 10. It is even a bigger help if your computer gets stolen or your house burns down or you files are locked out by Ransomeware. Be safe for pennies a day! Click for Carbonite info.

Amazon Mega-Warehouse in Mexico!

Amazon in Mexico

Amazon in Mexico

Forget that Amazon wants a new mega-warehouse in America. Now, Amazon is planning to open a mega-warehouse near Mexico City.

A giant 1-million-square-foot warehouse — 93,000 square meters — will be built in Tepotzotlán, about 35 miles north of the Mexico City.

This will triple the size of the Amazon’s current distribution space in Cuatitlán Izcalli, where the company has two dispatch centers.

The giant mega-warehouse is expected to be completed sometime next year. Its location will enable easy access to Mexico’s biggest consumer market but it could also be used to ship products to the United States.

This mega-site will be able to store about 15 million products including bulky items such as furniture. One million deliveries a day can be made and it will give jobs to 2,000 to 3,000 people in Mexico.

Now, American expats living in or visiting Mexico will have full access to Amazon products in Mexico.

Despite being relatively new in Mexico, Amazon has grown rapidly and is now the third largest online retailer in the country, with sales $253 million last year. Before the launch of its website in 2015 its presence in Mexico was limited to the sale of Kindle e-readers and e-books—items that could be easily downloaded online.

E-commerce has grown steadily over recent years in Mexico but matching the kind of success Amazon has had in the U.S. may be more difficult than in America.

Some consumers are skeptical about the safety and certainty of buying online while many others in Mexico don’t have credit cards, except for American expats. Currently, online shopping in Mexico accounts for just under 3% of total retail sales compared with more than 10% in the U.S.

However, those figures along with a population in excess of 120 million gives ample room for growth and some analysts say that Amazon is prepared to take a risk in order to compete with other online retailers such as Chinese-owned Alibaba, with whom the Mexican government just signed an agreement. Which is more good news for American expats.

Amazon, in Mexico, is expanding its product lines, offering faster delivery times and making purchasing as secure as possible in Mexico. Again, good news for American expats in Mexico!

El Chapo’s Successor?

Well, maybe no longer as the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has detained him.

The alleged Sinaloa drug-trafficker Dámaso López Serrano, alias “El Mini Lic”, son and successor of Dámaso López Núñez, “El Licenciado”, was delivered Thursday to the DEA in Calexico, California, a small town on the border with Mexicali, where he would have taken refuge in recent weeks.


“El Mini Lic”

“El Mini Lic”

During the last months, “El Mini Lic” was the control of the Sinaloa Cartel with the children of Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo”, and with Ismael Zambada García, “El Mayo”.

The latter was the one who would have threatened to kill him, according to various security sources in Baja California and the US Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP).

His father, “El Licenciado”, who was detained on May 3 in Mexico City, was the one who, according to information from the federal authorities, helped “El Chapo” to escape from prison in Mexico.

A few days later, on May 7, five Sinaloan men – who according to the Federal Government were escorts of “El Mini Lic” – were detained by the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) In the Tláhuac and Xochimilco delegations of the capital. However, on May 12, a Federal Judge released him and people wonder why.

Then, on May 24, elements of the Special Forces of Sedena and the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) of the PGR, arrested in El Dorado, Sinaloa, Pedro Alfonso Domínguez Moreno, alias “El Moreno 14”, alleged operator By López Serrano. At the time of his arrest he carried high-powered weapons engraved with the initials “FED”, which according to the authorities means “Special Forces of Damaso”.


In March 2013, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury Department identified Lopez Núñez as the chief lieutenant of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The US agency said that “The Licentiate” carried out an “outstanding task” in the drug trafficking activities of “El Chapo” Guzman and that “played an important role” in money laundering and in the international traffic of narcotics.

The OFAC said that Lopez Núñez, also known as “El Concesionario”, helped Guzmán Loera escape from prison in 2001, and “Since then he has become one of the main lieutenants of the Sinaloa Cartel, which is responsible for the shipments Of several tons of narcotics from Mexico to the United States, “declaring that the proceeds of their criminal activities amounted to about 280 million dollars.

According to the PGR, “The Licensee” is required in extradition by a Federal Court of Virginia in the United States. Dámaso “N”, as the authorities identify him officially, is “one of the main operators of narcotics and generator of violence in Sinaloa and southern Baja California Sur.”

Whatever the “Narcos” do, we see no evidence that they present a problem for tourists in Mexicali, or people in the beautiful little town of Calexico,

Sinaloa Cartel Airline Bigger than Aeroméxico

The air freight service operated by El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel could be considered bigger than Mexico’s largest airline.

Between 2006 and today, military officials have seized 599 airplanes and helicopters allegedly belonging to the Sinaloa Cartel. This dwarfs the fleet of 127 aircraft operated by Mexico’s largest airline, Aeroméxico. That’s nearly five times the size of Aeromexico’s fleet, although most of the Sinaloa Cartel’s aircraft are on the smaller size — Cessnas (the most popular), Gulfsteams and Pipers among others.

Of just under 600 confiscated planes, the federal government has been able to resell 105, the most popular makes being Cessna, Rockwell, Gulfstream, Piper and Beechcraft. The government has earned close to $5 million by selling off the cartel’s aircraft, but those were not the Sinaloa Cartel’s only aviation assets.

During the last decade, authorities have disabled over 4,500 clandestine airstrips located mainly in the rugged northeastern mountain ranges of the Golden Triangle, in the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango.

The cartel’s drug-running success in recent years has been largely attributed to its ultra-light aircraft, capable of carrying more than 1,100 pounds of cargo between the Golden Triangle and cities on the Mexico-United States border.

Over half of the 4,729 secret airstrips, whose runways ran from 500 to 1,000 meters in length, were located in Baja California and Sonora, with 1,025 and 1,564, respectively. There may be one on Highway 8 between Mexicali and Los Algodones. It consists of a dirt runway 1,100 meters long with a hanger, a gas truck, a cell phone tower (for easy night location) and several light airplanes (which we have seen practicing touch-downs). Since, however, this is so obvious, chances are it is just for those who like to have fun flying.

Most of the cartel’s planes were piloted by high-ranking officers of the Mexican Air Force. One of the pilots was arrested in April 2008 and extradited to the United States two years later, where he pleaded guilty to the charges against him in a Texas court.

Jorge Kessler

A Mexican and German national Jorge Arévalo Kessler, 44, studied aviation at a military school in Jalisco. He declared during his trial that greed made him one of the cartel’s highest ranking pilots.

Arévalo, along with two graduates from the Defense Secretariat aviation school, Alejandro Flores Cacho and Ricardo García Sánchez, began trafficking illegal drugs between South America and Mexico as early as 2003. The other two men remain fugitives.

Jorge Gustavo Arevalo-Kessler’s career flying planes for the Sinaloa Cartel’s private airline ended with an arrest in Mexico City and an admission of guilt before a U.S. federal judge.

German by birth, Arevalo-Kessler became a Mexican citizen and rose to the rank of captain in the Mexican air force, where he worked as an instructor and trained hundreds of pilots. His post-military career was quite different.

He received an offer to fly for Emirates Airlines and could have retired with a pension. Instead, he went to work for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and flew bundles of cash and cocaine to and from Venezuela, Panama and Mexico. “He has had so many privileges given to him because of his education and his ability to fly the planes,” U.S. District Judge Gray Miller said during Arevalo-Kessler’s sentencing. “I mean, he’s flown fighter pilot — or piloted fighter planes. He’s flown commercial jets, small and large. Unfortunately, like he said, he was blinded by the greed and got himself in the situation that he got himself into.”

He is the nephew of a long-time Mexican Secretary of Defense, and was the personal pilot of disgraced former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.

His American connections are visible too. When finally arrested, Arévalo Kessler was flying a former U.S. military plane that was part of the 1990’s Forest Service scandal,  involving planes intended for firefighting diverted into CIA covert drug running operations, the most spectacular result being the C-130 busted on a runway at Mexico City’s Intl Airport carrying cocaine worth $1 billion.

Kessler’s American connections are visible too. When finally arrested, Arévalo Kessler was flying a former U.S. military plane that was part of the 1990’s Forest Service scandal,  involving planes intended for firefighting diverted into CIA covert drug running operations, the most spectacular result being the C-130 busted on a runway at Mexico City’s International Airport carrying cocaine worth $1 billion.

Or maybe the most spectacular result was this: 14 firefighters burned to death in an out-of-control forest fire in Colorado in August of 1994. No planes were available to help. They’d all been leased out on more lucrative assignments.

Arevalo-Kessler received 11 years in federal prison on charges of conspiring to engage in money laundering. He only had a few words in response, according to a transcript of the 2011 trial which was unsealed last year.

“And all these black days, I have thinking I’m — I’m praying and I just asking the Lord to get — be near and speak with truth,” Arevalo-Kessler said. “And the only thing I want to let you know, Your Honor, is that I have time to think about what I did. What I did — I did was wrong. “

Baja California Sur murder rate up 433% in 1st quarter!

Baja California with Baja California Sur on the bottom (southern part of the peninsula)

Baja California with Baja California Sur on the bottom (southern part of the peninsula)

The murder rate in Baja California Sur in the first three months of 2017 have hot up by an alarming 433% over the same period last year as rival gangs fight to take over the territory. Don’t confuse Baja California Sur (the darker part of the peninsula on out map) with Baja California to the north (the lighter part of the peninsula on the map).

There were 27 intentional homicides during the first quarter of 2016 and a whopping 144 in the same period this year.

Statistics from the National Public Security System show that extortion and kidnapping are also increasing.

On June 7, state authorities found 18 bodies—13 men and five women—in a clandestine grave on a private property near the fashionable resort town of Los Cabos. It was the first time that such a discovery has been made in the tourism-oriented region.

“For us this is totally unusual,” said state Interior Secretary Álvaro de la Peña Angulo. “It’s something unprecedented in the history of Baja California Sur. The whole country has a very acute problem and without any doubt the Baja California peninsula from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas has been throughout history a springboard to transport drugs from south to north. That’s very attractive for criminals. They are not groups that are established in the state. They have arrived from other states like Sinaloa and Jalisco and from the north of the peninsula.”

He conceded that without a coordinated effort from federal forces, the escalating violence in Baja California Sur is going to be impossible to contain.

So far, visitor numbers have not been adversely affected in a region where tourism is vital to the local economy and domestic and international tourists spend approximately $668 million annually.

A relieved state Tourism Secretary indicated that it was business as usual despite the wave of violence—so far.

“There are confrontations that have occurred between criminal groups; it hasn’t affected the tourist zone or any visitors,” said Luis Genaro Ruíz.

However, some residents face a different reality.

One example is the case of Petra Muñoz Pulido, a journalist with 40 years’ experience.

Since 2014, she has participated in a federal government protection scheme for journalists after receiving a death threat via a banner hung from her home in La Paz, which she has been forced to convert into a virtual fortress.

“Before the most momentous thing that could happen was robbery, assault, a crash, a fire; that was what tormented us, but since a few years ago it turned into a fearful situation for all of us.” She now lives with security measures that one would never have thought possible.

Muñoz’ situation became even more complicated when her 31-year-old son, who worked with her on her political magazine Expreso, was abducted last December.

She believes police investigators carried out the kidnapping – an incredible possibility. However, she states that the state Attorney General’s office has made no progress in its investigation. She even fears that information that she provided to authorities may be counterproductive and could backfire on her.

“The authorities don’t want to talk about clandestine graves but there they are. I fear the information that I gave the Attorney General’s office to look for my son, may sink him further. I don’t want to think the worst but who are those people in the graves? The disappeared. There are many people missing and their families are afraid to report it.”

Interior Secretary Álvaro de la Peña Angulo confirms Petra Muñoz Pulido’s conclusion, stating, “It’s absolutely clear to us that all those people [in the graves] disappeared . . . people who sadly somehow disappeared from somewhere.”

A Canadian man was found brutally beaten to death on a beach between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo yesterday morning.

The state prosecutor’s office revealed that 50-year-old Marty Gary Atwood died from severe head trauma and a crushing skull fracture. His body was discovered on fashionable El Tule beach.

The sighting of a suspicious vessel off Cabo San Lucas on June 26 led to the seizure of nearly 4,000 pounds of cocaine by Mexican armed forces.

When the Navy went to investigate the boat, which was spotted in the early morning about 100 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, its crew dumped overboard 76 bags of white powder and fled the scene. The bags were gathered up by marines and transported to the naval facility in Los Cabos where they were confirmed to contain cocaine, estimated to be worth US $50 million in the United States market.

More than a ton of cocaine was seized by the Navy off the coast of Chiapas on June 21, which followed yet another seizure of 1540 pounds of cocaine in the same area on June 16.

Near the city of La Paz, back on March 12th, a group of 25 tourists, mostly foreigners, were enjoying a visit to Isla Espíritu Santo when they were accosted and robbed by three armed men.

The visitors, who had traveled to the island aboard three boats, were robbed of cash, cameras, phones, wallets and passports. They are very lucky to be alive.

Baja California Sur was ranked as the fourth least peaceful in the country in 2016, but with the rates crimes also on the rise—things are getting much much worse.

The difference between Baja California and Baja California Sur

Baja California is the northern part of the peninsula, and Baja California Sure is on the southern part. Baja California is on the border with the United States. The part of Baja California along the Pacific Coast is not all that safe. However, going inland to Tecate and Mexicali are the safest areas. The drive through Baja California’s beautiful wine producing Guadalupe Valley from Tecate to Ensenada is safe, with fantastic wine tasting opportunities along the way. Stick to this part of Baja California and you should be safe.

We have driven all the way from Mexicali to Tecate and then through the Guadalupe Valley to Ensenada and back to Mexicali in one (long) day. It is a beautiful ride and we recommend it.

Ocotillo California on US Hwy 8

There are very cheap rentals in Mexicali. I found a house for an American friend for only $400 a month. It was a proper house – two stories, three bedrooms, an office, a huge living room, a beautiful garden in the rear, and a parking space behind a locked gate to the property. For us, the best site to find rentals in Mexicali is

Once in Trovit, stick to the street that you will find yourself on when you enter into Mexicali. After a couple of miles going East, you will probably see some rentals and that is the safest area. If you go farther south in Mexicali you will hit some not-so-good neighborhoods which you should avoid.

Ocotillo Turn Off

Ocotillo Turn Off

Another option is to look in the US towns just north of the border – Calexico, El Centro, and Heber. Going West on Highway 8, about 30 miles from El Centro you will hit, on the right (North side), a town named Ocotillo.

At first glance, Ocotillo may not look too good, but it is very safe and inexpensive. I’ve been there and love the place. There is a trailer park called Jackson’s Hideaway where you can rent a nice trailer – TV and all for about $300 to $400 a month. On the second Thursday of each month a large truck arrives at the community center and it’s free food for all residents. Fresh stuff including chicken, steaks, you name it. The town has a church, a bar, and a restaurant.

There is also the Ocotillo Trailer Park and Motel – I don’t recommend it although it is near the center of town and not all that bad.

One of our readers wrote me:

MaryAnn, the first time I saw Jackson’s Hideaway I was visiting a friend who wintered there each year, moving his fifth wheel trailer between Oregon and the Anza-Borrego Desert on the snowbird route. I was in a little van which served me well for short trips but wasn’t all that comfortable on a long haul. I told my friend I’d considered heading into El Centro (30 miles east) to get a motel and he suggested Jackson’s have “something better.” He was right. About half of their spaces are occupied by trailers permanently installed on spaces–which they rent. Don’t think ‘trailer’ as much as ‘fully equipped cabin’ or maybe ‘motel room with kitchenette’. Clean linens, kitchenware, air conditioning, cable television…heck, even a coffee pot! And the rents aren’t much higher than the space rental for those, like my friend, who bring their own trailer.

And talk about quiet…noisiest thing in that neighborhood are the mourning doves that send up their mating calls at the crack of dawn. There aren’t any ‘services’ to speak of in Ocotillo itself (one bar, one so-so greasy spoon, one gas station) but El Centro is handy and has everything for shopping/dining. But the best feature of Jackson’s location is that it sits on the southeast corner of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with an almost inexhaustible supply of hiking and 4-wheeling trails.

I’ve become a regular visitor, and plan to return again and again.

Ocotillo has a fire department, a church, an airport, a gas station, a small market with a restaurant, a bar two community centers, and two water companies. Most of the properties are on about a quarter of an acre, and for only $28 you can get up to 40,000 gallons of the best water you have ever tasted. The water is natural and comes from two huge aquifers and is among the highest rated water in the U. S. – or anywhere.

Ocotillo had a population of 281 as of July 1, 2016 and an average house price of around $40,000. One property with a manufactured home and several other buildings with a truck, a motorcycle several tractors and two RV’s sold about a year ago for $7,000!

Sound interesting? You bet!

We love Baja California, but Puebla?

Jim and I always like to write about all the things that are great about Mexico. However, as in most countries, not everything is great. We prefer those areas in Mexico which are contiguous with the western United States border—in short, northern Baja California. As Jim likes to say, “Boy am I glad we moved to Mexicali, where else can you rent a beautiful 4 bedroom house with a 3-car garage for 500 bucks a month!”

Mexicali is super, along with the Guadalupe Wine Valley in Baja California on Highway 3 between Tecate and Ensenada. The beaches from the U.S. border to Ensenada are as good as Malibu and at a small fraction of the price of traveling or living there.

Fuel thefts of gas by location

Fuel thefts of gas by location

However, farther south and deeper in to Mexico, the state of Puebla and other locations are suffering from the huachicolero effect: the people are not buying fuel from gas stations anymore and they are even abandoning their traditional farming activities. Sorry, but my job is to keep you informed.

People who engage in the illegal theft and sale of fuel (gasoline or diesel) and adulterated alcoholic beverages in Mexico are called huachicoleros.

The word “huachicolero” is derived from “huachicol,” which is an alcoholic beverage adulterated with cane alcohol and other compounds. This word is also used to name the stolen fuel which can be equally adulterated.

An estimated 10,000 illegal fuel outlets have appeared so far this year in Mexico. They are selling discounted fuel stolen from Pemex, the Mexican petroleum company’s pipelines and severely affecting sales at established gas stations.

These clandestine gas stations sell on the streets, in automotive shops, at tianguis [markets] and even have home delivery systems. The sales of established gas stations have dropped by 50% throughout Puebla, and in towns like Esperanza and San Martín Texmelucan, by up to 70%.

Gas stations in the Red Triangle region of the state—where much of the pipeline theft takes place, conducted by thieves known as huachicoleros—used to sell 10,000 liters of fuel a day but now those figures have dropped to between 2,000 and 3,000 liters. Consequently, legal filling stations are on the brink of shutting down because sales aren’t enough to pay for their expenses.

Pemex and Mexico are losing millions, gas stations are closing, as they are being threatened by the huachicoleros.

It is impossible for an established gas station to sell stolen fuel because their inventory data is connected to Pemex and the federal taxation administration, SAT, allowing for easy detection of any irregular delivery of fuel.

While established fuel vendors see their sales plummet, a report by Pemex says the sale and distribution of stolen fuel has become the main productive activity in various Puebla communities.

Sources within the state oil company told the newspaper Reforma they have identified not only communities but whole municipalities that have abandoned traditional farming and livestock breeding to steal fuel, tapping into the 131 kilometers of pipelines that traverse the state. Selling stolen gas is proving to be a far more profitable activity than farming.

At least 17 municipalities are experiencing an economic boom as a result. One is San Matías Tlalancaleca, where 14 communities are now engaged delivering stolen fuel instead of milk.

The activity does have its drawbacks, continued the Pemex sources: disputes over control of the black market for stolen fuel have generated confrontations among locals, culminating in murder, vehicle theft and vendettas.

After last week’s confrontations between security forces and fuel thieves in Puebla, the leader of a local pipeline tapping gang has been forced to leave the town of Palmarito Tochapan, Quecholac.

De los Santos was employed as a municipal police officer in the neighboring state of Veracruz before relocating to Puebla and creating a network of fuel thieves, or huachicoleros, according to investigations by authorities.

Gustavo Martínez Jiménez, also known as “El Vieja,” was identified by residents of Palmarito as being responsible for the confrontation on May 3, 2017 with federal forces, where six civilians and four soldiers died. As a result, neighbors forced Gustavo Martínez Jiménez to leave town even throwing stones at his home.

Meanwhile, efforts are under way to contain and stop the increasing violence among gangs stealing fuel. The state of Puebla and the National Defense Secretariat have deployed a joint force of 3,000 soldiers and police officers.

State authorities reported that up until early May of this year an astounding 149 illegal pipeline taps had been located and over 2 million liters of stolen fuel had been recovered, along with 1,123 vehicles used to transport it.

So far, this year, 354 people have been arrested for their participation in fuel thefts.

Tapping pipelines and stealing the fuel in Puebla’s Red Triangle region is controlled by the Zetas and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) crime cartels, according to Pemex and government officials.

According to Pemex sources quoted by the newspaper Reforma, small bands of huachicoleros have focused on communities in the municipalities of Tepeaca, Acatzingo, Quecholac, Palmar de Bravo and Acajete.

The Red Triangle sees such a high incidence of fuel theft because of the large number of gasoline pipelines crossing it from the Gulf of Mexico to the central states of Mexico.

A Pemex official said on condition of anonymity that most of the thieves are Zetas and the confrontations witnessed in recent months are part of a turf war for total control of the region and the stolen gasoline black market.

He said members of the Zetas and the CJNG train people living in the Red Triangle municipalities in pipeline tapping and fuel distribution.

One of the local leaders in pipeline theft is known only by his nickname, El Bukanas. A former construction worker and farmer, he now controls the activity in Palmar de Bravo and has been tied to instances of kidnapping and homicide.

After a massive crackdown by federal and state forces last March, El Bukanas is believed to have fled to the neighboring state of Veracruz.

As tourists, these are not the folks you want to mess with—or even buy your gas from. Jim and I want you all to stay safe.

June 27, 2017 Update:

Fourteen months after the creation of seven military units dedicated to safeguarding Mexico’s petroleum pipelines from theft there is no sign that they have made any difference.

In March of last year Petróleos Mexicanos either paid for or donated seven facilities at which National Defense and Navy officials were to be deployed, where their sole mission was to be the protection of the state oil company’s infrastructure.

The facilities were strategically located in the states of Puebla, Baja California, Sinaloa, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacán and Veracruz.

The Puebla facility, for example, constantly monitors a Pemex storage and dispatch terminal, where officials can detect minute changes in the pipeline’s pressure caused by leaks or illegal taps, allowing them to respond immediately and investigate.

In spite of the increased surveillance, the number of illegal taps reported through 2016 and so far this year has continued to rise unabated.

Meanwhile, Puebla Governor José Antonio Gali Fayad has announced a second stage of the Zaragoza Shield security program, which has recovered 2.5 million liters of stolen fuel and resulted in the arrest of 450 people.Public Security Secretary Jesús Morales Rodríguez said 182 state and municipal police, 30 patrol cars and a helicopter have been assigned to the operation, which has a broad security mandate to combat home and vehicle robberies and muggings as well as pipeline theft.

Mexicali’s New 911 Number!

Mexico's logo for its new 911 number

Mexico’s logo for its new 911 number

Calexico Police Dispatcher Leopoldo Miramon reported that they’re having a lot of problems with the emergency 911 number. This has been caused by Mexicali’s implementation of its own 911 emergency number.

Here is an example: “911. Where is your emergency? Hello. Do you have an emergency? For instance, they hung up,” Miramon said as he hung up the phone.

Miramon said that may have been somebody from Mexicali calling Mexicali’s new 911 number and getting Calexico by mistake. And it’s happening a lot and creating a problem.

“They’ve extremely backed up the system itself. We only have three emergency lines at this time, which is enough for a small city like Calexico. However, now that Mexicali has converted over to the 911 system where they’re not using the old 066 number any longer, we get multiple calls,” Miramon said.

Lieutenant Gonzalo Gerardo explains it all began about three months ago when Mexico changed their emergency number. “If they’re in the proximity of the antenna, it’ll pick up their cell phone 911 and it comes to us here in Calexico,” Gerardo said.

This can affect Calexico residents as Mexicali is a large city of nearly a million residents and generates lots of 911 calls..

“So, at that point you’re going to tap all our 911 lines with calls from Mexicali. And if somebody from the U.S. is trying to get through with a medical call or something like that, it’s going to delay us answering their calls because we’re busy answering the 911s from Mexico,” Gerardo said.

The mix-up affects Mexicali residents as well. “They call 911, they hear us asking 911 in English, and they’ll hang up,” Miramon said, pointing to the call that had just come during our interview.

Police are working with telecommunication providers to solve the problem. Police ask the public to use 911 exclusively for emergencies or face negative consequences.

“It could be subject to arrest. And it’s happened in the past,” Miramon said.

Miramon went on to explain that if a person continues to use 911 for any other purpose than an emergency in progress, that person could face arrest. To keep 911 lines open for real emergencies is a matter of life and death, he said.

Still, the calls from Mexicali are apparently honest mistakes as the use of the 911 number is new to Mexicali.

As recently as November 15, 2016, a joint training session was carried out for the use of the new 911 emergency number in Mexicali between the Directorate of Private Security Services (DSSP) and the Control, Command, Communication and Computation Center (C4) in Mexicali.

The DSSP Director, César Román Díaz López, said that in coordination with C4’s Deputy Director of Operations, Sergio García Aceves carried out this training to provide emergency 911 training tools to entrepreneurs, which will allow them to help the public.

During the joint training session, 30 private security firms were explained the functions of the new 911 number and told to spread the word.

The private security firms were instructed that 911 is intended for emergency calls, where a person’s life or property may be at imminent risk; While 089 is for anonymous complaints requiring investigation, which are channeled to the corresponding authorities.

Baja California is among the 16 States of the Mexico to begin the transition to the new 911 number.

The use of 911 in Mexico is a blessing for visitors from the United States, as they have another tool for safety in Mexico.

You Can Learn Spanish Late in Life!

Learn Spanish

Learn Spanish

Question: Can you learn to speak Spanish later in life?

I am asked this quite often.

Here’s a typical question from my blog:

I am 65 years old and have wondered if it’s possible to become fluent in a new language at my age? – Lyn

Thanks for the question Lyn. When I started learning Spanish, I was pushing forty. And even at my ‘young’ age, it was a struggle to learn Spanish using the traditional methods.

That’s why I had to discover new methods of learning a language at any age…and these methods have not only worked for me, but they’ve also worked for thousands of my students.

I’m currently 52 and about to start my next language.

Now, I know, 52 is still very young, so let’s look at some other blog comments from my students your age and older.

I started learning Spanish at 65 years of age (now 68), and even my wife can’t believe how well I do when we go to Mexico…I make it an objective to speak only Spanish with the native speakers… – J Laurier

I have lived in Spain for 20 years & know a lot of words but only now since taking your course can I string sentences together. By the way, I am 82 years old. Thanks Marcus. Keep up the good work. – Mary

At the age of 74, I have tried other ways of learning but nothing has grabbed me like your teaching method. Spending two months in Spain to get away from the Northern European winter has become so much more enjoyable now that I can interact better with the native Spaniards. – Steve

You have helped me get a good start with your very carefully thought out methods which are as ‘clear’ as one can hope for. I’m almost 80 years old and I have no problem at all with your lessons. – John

I have taken many language courses in my youth and they were a real struggle! When you told me how easy yours was, I thought “Oh yeah” and at my age 76 I do not stand a chance, but what a surprise! It is easier and more exciting than I ever thought it would be, I cannot wait for the next lesson. – Ramon

At 65, you’re still a spring chicken when it comes to learning Spanish, when you do it the right way.

My oldest student so far was 96 and many of my students are in their 70s and 80s, just like the students who commented above.

Marcus Santamaria
Spanish Communication Coach

Mexican Peso Crashes as Peña Nieto Cancels Meeting with Trump

Dollar Mexican Peso Chart

Dollar Mexican Peso Chart

“Hey, lookee this,” said Jim hearing the news on TV. “Remember, when we first came here a dollar was worth eleven and a half pesos?”

“Yeah,” I answered.

“Well we’re getting a bit richer now as one dollar is now worth over twenty pesos,” said Jim.

“Geez, Jim, we’re gettin’ about double the pesos for our social security checks than when we came here!” I answered.

“MaryAnn, Seems the peso dropped a lot after Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, had his meeting canceled with Trump who said, ‘The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.'”

“Yeah, Jim that’s not just a super deal for us, but for all Americans living in Mexico.”

“And even for tourists,” answered Jim.

“Think Trump is gonna build the wall, Jim?”

“Shucks, what do I know about that—just happy to be gettin’ 21 pesos to the dollar, instead of 11, back when,” laughed Jim. Here, listen to this, “Peña Nieto said, “I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall.”

“Who knows,” I said, “Anyway wall or no wall we got our Sentri passes and can always make it to America in ten minutes.”

“You betcha,” answered Jim.


Mexican Cartels and ISIS

Shootout at U.S. Consulate Part of ISIS Terrorist Attack Plan for Inauguration

“Let me read you part of this here Judicial Watch report,” said Jim.

“Well OK,” I replied, not knowing what Jim was gonna read.

“Get this,” said Jim.

“Islamic terrorists are finding common ground with narcotics traffickers.
A deadly shootout at the construction site of the new American consulate occurred this week in a Mexican border town where Islamic terrorists and drug cartels plan to launch attacks against the U.S. during the period surrounding the presidential inauguration, accord ing to high-level government sources.

In the incident, a number of gunmen fired multiple rounds adjacent to the new U.S. consulate compound in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,which lies directly across from Laredo, Texas.

At least three Mexican soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush.

Law enforcement and intelligence sources say the barrage outside what’s soon to be the new U.S. consulate is connected to a broad operation between Islamic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to send President-elect Donald Trump a message by engaging in attacks at border ports.

“Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down, but Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings,” according to an official source. Another source said “Trump is causing a huge amount of fear in Mexico throughout all sectors; private, government, business, criminal, police….”

“Well that’s new,” I said. Jim continued.

“Nuevo Laredo is among the border towns that the terrorists and narcotraffickers plan to launch attacks in the U.S. and Mexico. Others include Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juárez. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported  that ISIS is operating a camp just west of Ciudad Juárez, around eight miles from El Paso. Sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector revealed that, during a joint operation, they discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” for Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation in El Paso that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Just last week Judicial Watch reported  that a Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border. Confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources said that, as part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”

The area where this week’s shootout originated is a 5.6-acre parcel just south of downtown Nuevo Laredo on Paseo Colon. The State Department predicts that by September the new U.S. consulate compound, which broke ground in mid-2015 and will cost $155 million, should be completed. It will have multiple buildings, including an office structure, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, support annex and other facilities for the consulate community. The primary function of consulates is helping and protecting Americans abroad.”

“Well that ain’t here in Mexicali, at least,” I answered.

“Yeah,” said Jim, “but them there liberals, like MSNBC and CNN are busy broadcasting fake news, the press ain’t interested in Mexico and most Americans ain’t aware of the threat.” Jim continued,

“Mexican drug cartels have burrowed dozens of tunnels in the last decade, outfitted them with rail and cart systems to whisk drugs under the U.S. border and, after being discovered by authorities, abandoned them.

But some of the illicit passageways live on.

At least six previously discovered border tunnels have been reactivated by Mexican trafficking groups in recent years, exposing a recurring large-scale smuggling threat, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

Now an estimated 20 large tunnels, constructed before and after 2007, remain largely intact on the Mexican side, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.When border fencing went up, traffickers moved underground. Since 2006 there have been 148 tunnels built, according to the DHS, most of them in Arizona and California.

The biggest underground threats now come from what border officials refer to as “super tunnels,” which cost millions of dollars to dig and feature sophisticated touches like lighting and ventilation systems that extend for hundreds of yards down wood-beamed passageways.

Most have been constructed in San Diego’s Otay Mesa region, 20 miles south of downtown San Diego.

In April 2014, U.S. and Mexican authorities were back in the same area. Traffickers had dug 700 yards from a window repair shop in Tijuana to another warehouse in San Diego.When U.S. agents toured the tunnel they noticed that one segment was lined with older-looking electrical wiring and wooden support beams. It also had two sets of ventilation and cart tracks.

The election day tunnel, they determined, had been reactivated — about 1,025 feet of it.

Two more tunnels have seen resumed activity under the Mexicali-Calexico border, 100 miles east of San Diego, according to Homeland Security Investigations.

“Hey, gimmie that there Judicial thing article, Jim,” I yelled.

“Take a look, MaryAnne” said Jim, laughing.