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.

Money Laundering and Mismanagement in Calexico – Viva Mexico!

Money Laundering

No stinkin' badges

No stinkin’ badges

Rabobank’s Calexico branch was receiving so much cash that extra armored truck visits were required to haul off all the U.S. dollars being deposited.

This was due to huge deposits being made from businesses across the border in Mexicali. This all began way back in 2010.

The armored car trips, may be due to money laundering. Rabobank’s Calexico branch was closed earlier this year as U.S. investigators checked the bank for money laundering by the drug cartels.

For similar reasons, perhaps, the Calexico branches of Banamex and Bank of America were also closed.

Rabobank, a Dutch bank based in Utrecht had been involved in an interest-rate scandal a couple of years ago. Now Rabobank has decided that it accounts in California would be limited to U.S. residents.

One of the suspected money launderers made huge deposits into a Rabobank account linked to the relative of a Calexico bank official.

Back in 2011, the U.S. seized assets from Rabobank accounts belonging to suspected money launderers, so this has been going on for some time. One of the accounts was linked to a Mexican cocaine-trafficking operation. In September, assets were taken from the former owner of a Calexico-area car dealership right on Imperial Avenue who admitted to laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking.

With Rabobank, Banamex and Bank of America being forced out of Calexico, the city is left with only Wells Fargo and Union Bank – and who knows what is going on in those banks. But what difference is that going to make? The money launderers, can drive to the Rabobank branch in El Centro which is only a couple of miles north – and they can easily afford the gas.

The money laundering scandal follows on the scandal involving the Calexico police department where things are so bad that a new police chief had to be brought in from Los Angeles.


On top of all of that, California Joint Powers Insurance Authority Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Shull will recommend the cancellation of Calexico’s liability insurance coverage, workers’ compensation and building insurance programs. This is because Calexico has not taken care of its affairs properly.

Of particular concern is the high rate of turnover several of the city’s key executive management positions have seen in recent years, including city manager, finance director and police chief.

Part of the problem is that, in comparison to similar cities, Calexico has by far the highest dollar amount of workers’ compensation claims.

As such, Calexico stands to lose its insurance coverage on January 1, 2016 and Calexico would have to pay millions of dollars for unpaid claims.

Mexican exchange rules in Calexico

Mexican exchange rules in Calexico

Collapse of the Mexican Peso

The collapse of Calexico’s banks and police department is followed by the collapse of the Mexican peso and the imposition of money-laundering restrictions on purchase of Mexican pesos with dollars. We took a photo of the new money exchange rules at a money changer’s in Calexico. The guy was screaming at us since I guess they want to keep all this undercover.

Americans need not apply

If you are an American who does not speak Spanish, employers in Calexico might as well put up a sign, “Americans need not apply.” You can’t get hired in Calexico or the surrounding area if you don’t speak Spanish – but you do not have to speak English! There are plenty of people working at Walmart in Calexico and El Centro who don’t speak a word of English.

Viva Mexico!

So what’s the bottom line?

Feds say 179,027 criminal illegals are loose on U.S. streets, and, in addition, nearly 1 million immigrants have been ordered deported but remain free in the U.S., according to the Senate immigration subcommittee.

The level of criminal behavior by immigrants, not just illegal, but legal as well has become a key part of enforcing immigration, border fencing and birthright citizenship.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains and deports illegal immigrants, appears helpless to do anything about the situation, stating, “ICE is unable to statistically report on the number of aliens who have been arrested for criminal offenses.” This includes sanctuary cities of which only about half have expressed interest in cooperating with ICE.

To be exact, there are 918,369 immigrants living in the U.S. who have been ordered deported including the 179,027 who have criminal convictions.

100 essential Spanish Words

Learn Spanish

Learn Spanish

Here is a list of 100 commonly used Spanish words.

100 essential Spanish Words

To fast-track your path to speaking Spanish, it’s essential to start with the most commonly used Spanish words.

Don’t make the dumb mistake I made.

Some of the first words I learned in Spanish were plughole, dish drainer and rasp.

How often would you expect to use those words?

Not once did I use those words in a decade of living in a Spanish-speaking country.

Instead, you should spend your time on the words that come up in almost every conversation.

Think about something you want to say and see how long you can go without using words like “and,” “in” or “have.”

These are words that are used all the time.

In fact, the top 100 words make up 50 percent of the language.

En cambio (In other words), 50 percent of everything we say uses the 100 most common words over and over again.

Don’t waste your time and energy on words that you’ll rarely use (like plughole, dish drainer and rasp).

It’s a hundred times more effective if you start speaking the most common words first, and the best place to start is with the 100 words that make up 50 percent of the spoken language.

I missed years of fun, conversations and friendships by focusing on the wrong words. Don’t make this mistake too.

Start with these Spanish words you’ll use every day.

100 essential Spanish Words


Marcus Santamaria Spanish Communication Coach
Synergy Spanish



Great things happen when you can get by in Spanish

Learn Spanish

Learn Spanish

You pick up extra language without trying. As you speak with your amigos, you absorb words, phrases and everyday language.

I remember one time when my Mexican friend Roberto was excited about a gig his band had in Cafe Sevilla on 5th Avenue in San Diego.

He was really looking forward to singing his salsa music there in the USA.

He said the “gringos” were more fun to play for than the Mexicans.

They came for the music and to dance, whereas in Mexico they just came to “conquistar.”

I’d never heard the verb conquistar before other than to talk about the Spanish conquering Mexico. But the meaning was obvious….

“Lock up your daughters.”

Actually, some of the salsa dancers were more my age….

“Lock up your mothers.”

Just by having conversations, the words and extra meaning of words you know seep into your mind forever.

Like conquistar, which means to conquer but also to seduce, many Spanish verbs have extra meanings.

I’ll show you a couple more verbs with extra conversational meanings that are perfect for anyone who is on the road to speaking Spanish.

Before I do, I just want to remind you that you can celebrate the Independence Day of seven Spanish-speaking countries from September 15–18 by quickly and easily conquering Spanish.

Click here to experience your independence in Spanish

Here’s a verb you might use to describe how you speak Spanish.

defenderse = to defend oneself

As well to talk about defending yourself physically, you can also use this verb to express the idea of getting by in Spanish, for example,

Puedo defenderme en español.
I can get by in Spanish.

Me gustaría poder defenderme en español cuanto antes.
I would like to be able to get by in Spanish as soon as possible.

Here’s another handy verb for talking about your expanding Spanish skills.

dominar = to dominate

It also means to master a language.

Me gustaría dominar el español.
I would like to master the Spanish

Necesito dominar el español porque quiero vivir en Costa Rica.
I need to master the Spanish because I am going to live in Costa Rica.

When you can get by, you automatically acquire extra Spanish just by having conversations.

As you become conversational, you effortlessly pick up more language from your friends, in the shops and during your travels around the Spanish-speaking world.

Synergy Spanish is a fast track to conversational Spanish.

The three-step Synergy Verb, Brick Verb and Mortar Word system is so powerful, you can make as many as 88,000 phrases from just 138 words.

And now is the perfect time for you to defenderse en español with this Synergy Spanish Independence Day offer.

Click here to experience your independence in Spanish.


Marcus “Lock Up Your Mothers” Santamaria Spanish Communication Coach

3 Chord Spanish

Learn Spanish

Learn Spanish

In just 12 minutes and 36 seconds a beginner can use this simple three-chord pattern to speak future tense Spanish.

The free audio lesson below this article shows you how:

Thousands of great songs have just three chords. Songs we all know and love such as:

Twist and Shout
Johnny B. Goode
Sweet Home Alabama
Free Falling
Amazing Grace

I could list three-chord songs all day long.

In Spanish there is a similar three-step pattern that you can use to make thousands of phrases.

The best part of this three-step system is it uses language patterns that are common in English. You’ve been using them since you were a kid. They are totally ingrained. These patterns make speaking Spanish feel natural… like you were born to do it.

End Spanish intimidation and frustration. Feel more in control of the language.

There’s no easier way to get started in Spanish.

¡A propósito! (By the way!) These patterns are 100% authentic and grammatically correct Spanish. Using them keeps the grammar Nazis happy. More importantly it’s the same Spanish your amigos use all day everyday.

If you want to put Spanish you already know into flowing phrases, this is the best place to start.

It busts through all the roadblocks English speakers experience with learning Spanish.

This is your launch pad to a new life as a Spanish speaker.

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La mordida – The bribe

Learn Spanish

Learn Spanish

Once upon a time I bribed a Tijuana policeman.

I’m neither proud nor ashamed of the mordida (bribe). But that was just one of the run-ins I’ve had with Mexican police over the years.

There was another time that I saw police lights start flashing as soon as I pulled out of my office in Tijuana.

I pulled over.

El policía me dijo. The policeman said to me, “Your trunk is open.”

I closed it and said gracias, expecting that would be the end of the matter.

“El policía me dijo “es un delito.” The policeman said to me, “It’s a criminal offense.”

He started checking out my car very deliberately. It was clear he and his partner were after a bribe.

Then he started insulting my wife.

Now I was angry!

“We’ll have to go to the police station,” he said.

That was supposed to intimidate me, but I said,

Está bien. Respeto la ley. Vamos a la estación de policía. “It’s OK. I respect the law. Let’s go to the police station.”

I said it with authority and it shocked him.

Maybe he thought I knew someone because immediately he became polite.

I had neither authority nor contacts. I just didn’t like my family being pushed around and would rather have taken my chances at the station and kept my wife out of it.

When you are in a country without the language, you can feel very small at times.

It was good to have the language skills and the confidence to express myself as a man of honor and integrity.

You really can stand taller when you gain control of the local language.

If you live in a Spanish-speaking country or plan to visit one anytime soon, you really owe it to yourself to get up to speed with the language.


Marcus Santamaria Spanish Communication Coach
Synergy Spanish

Rush to purchase farmland in California’s Imperial Valley

Imperial Valley

Imperial Valley

Mexican agricultural workers cultivate romaine lettuce and other crops in California’s fertile Imperial Valley.

Thousands of Mexican workers cross the border legally before sunrise from Mexicali, Mexico into Calexico, CA, where they pick up work as agricultural day laborers in California’s fertile Imperial Valley. Although the Imperial Valley, irrigated from water diverted from the Colorado River, is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States, it has one of the highest unemployment rates in California, at more than 20%.

The Mexican farm workers earn about $9 an hour, which seems to be too low to attract local U.S. residents.

Farm land investments are starting to gain momentum as different businesses decide to invest due to the recent agriculture industry slump which drove land prices down.

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund or TIAA- CREF have raised a $3 billion funds for their second farmland investment business which is five hundred million more than what they expected! TIAA-CREF will use the fund in investing to North, South America and Australia. They also have commitments with the inventors such as Mexico State Investment Council and United Kingdom’s Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

TIAA-CREF has a solid track record with their investing record in farmlands which started in 2007. They now manage more than $5 billion in farmland assets world-wide. A new partnership made in the first quarter of the year has already raised $2 billion.

Homestead Capital USA LLC, a private-investment partnership led by former executives at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., joined the rush to farmland investment fund after raising $173 million. Two of the major investors are University of Alabama and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

According to National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, America’s farmland capital values stepped up with an average of 4.6% annually since 1990 – not a bad return on investments.

Paul Pittman, chief executive of Farmland Partners and a former investment banker, said that farmland industry can definitely bring profits but that “Farmland is the tortoise in a tortoise and hare race.”

Lunch with Senator John McCain

It was a quiet day and Jim was reading stuff on his laptop.

“Geez,” said Jim, “These here guys were caught with $457,000 in cash as they were comin’ across the border from Calexico into Mexicali.
“What happened to them,” I asked.

“A guy was drivin’ a Nissan Maxima with a young lady and they was stopped by the police – our guys the U.S. Border Patrol. The money was hid in the trunk—46 packages of cash. Wow!”

“Wonder what they’re gonna do with those folks?” I asked.

“Jail’em. And get this—they’s both American citizens from Los Angeles.”

“Wonder who that money was going to,” I said.

“Ain’t even gonna guess on that one. Ya know there’s a sign at the border that you can’t bring in no more than ten grand in cash. Some kind’a American currency control for them there IRS guys.”

Jim squinted at his laptop screen. “And here’s another one, MaryAnn. Some guy got stopped at the Salton Sea Border Patrol checkpoint hauling fifty pounds of meth hidden in his car—pretty decent vehicle, a 2013 Dodge Avenger. Geez, the stuff was worth around $505,000.”

“Lunch’s ready, Jim.”

“The guy with the meth was a Mexican citizen but, says here, he was a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.—his green card must’a been OK. Howse about that!”

“Lunch!” I shouted.

Jim walked over to the table, said down and said, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Bet the guy bringing the $450,000 gets a better lunch.”

“And the meth guy, too. Look they got McCain on the TV,” I said to distract him.

Jim smiled, “Yeah, bottom of his class at the Naval Academy and graduated because his dad was an Admiral. McCain’s the guy that voted against given’ body armor to our soldiers in the recruiting offices—and now five of our recruiting guys got killed. Thanks… McCain—bet’cha your havin’ a better lunch, too.”

El Chapo escapes from jail – again!

Forbes Billionaire Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo or “Shorty”, has escaped from a maximum security prison for a second time.

Guzman was last seen in the showers of the Altiplano jail late on Saturday night. Now, he is nowhere to be found.

He was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which  controls much of the flow of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine to the US.

El Chapo’s escape was discovered when officers checked his cell in the maximum security Altiplano prison, which is near Mexico City.

A search operation has been launched and flights have been suspended at a nearby Toluca airport.

El Chapo was arrested in Guatemala in 1993, but escaped from a Mexican high-security prison in 2001, hiding in a laundry basket after bribing prison officials.

The US has indicted him on federal drug trafficking charges. However, Mexico refuses to extradite him to the U.S. – because El Chapo is too big to jail.

El Chapo is too rich and the Mexican authorities are too corrupt to keep him in prison.

Since April 1, 100 Narco killings in Tijuana



Severed heads and body parts inside an icebox. Bodies hanging from street lights. Rivers of blood in the gutters. The shooting of a state agent at a busy intersection on a weekday afternoon. Grisly, visible crimes have come back to Tijuana in recent weeks, shattering the relative calm of 2014.

Since April 1, Tijuana has seen more than 100 murders, just about all coming from the city’s drug trade.

“There’s much lack of control in the world of small-scale drug traffickers,” said José María González, Baja California’s deputy attorney general for organized crime. “From the information that we have … the problems are at the lowest levels, among those fighting for street corners in the colonias, not among the midlevel and high-level commanders.”

Hey, is José María González defending the narco big guys, as he attributes much of the violence in the city to the flourishing Tijuana street market rather than to the big boys.

Once Tijuana was the uncontested territory of the Arellano Félix Organization. With that organization being beaten out by the Sinaloa drug cartel, formerly run by El Chapo Gusman, it is far more difficult to track a world of shifting alliances with small, semi-independent cells functioning at the base of an intricate organized crime pyramid.

“The cartels sell them crystal meth so that they can sell them in the colonias [parts of the town],” said Victor Clark, a human-rights activist in Tijuana who has studied the drug trade. “What we have is the corporatization of the Tijuana neighborhood drug trade.”

The Sinaloa drug cartel is now acknowledged to be the dominant drug organization in Baja California. “Absolutely, we believe that Sinaloa controls Tijuana,” said Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego.

The Sinaloa group’s alleged leaders in Baja California are two brothers well-known to U.S. authorities: Alfonso Arzate, known as “El Aquiles,” and René Arzate, or “La Rana.” Both are fugitives under indictment in San Diego federal court on drug trafficking charges.

In a statement this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office described Alfonso Arzate as “the alleged Tijuana plaza boss for the Sinaloa cartel” and René Arzate as “an enforcer for the cartel in Tijuana who is believed responsible for a significant amount of violence in the Tijuana.”

Just as the street-level trade is constantly shifting, so has the bigger picture. Groups from central Mexico, the Nueva Generación from Jalisco and Caballeros Templarios from Michoacan, have been quietly moving loads across the border with permission from Sinaloa. And remnants of the Arellano Félix Organization are still in town, seeking to reorganize.

Luis Manuel Toscano, also known as “El Mono [the monkey],” was shot to death on April 9 and believed to have headed street drug sales in Tijuana’s Zona Norte as well as the adjacent Tijuana River channel, which has been cleared by Tijuana police— according to our source.

Some of the former Arellano bosses are waiting and watching from down south in Guadalajara after serving federal sentences. Our source tells us, “They may not be calling themselves the Arellano Félix Organization anymore, but to them it’s still their plaza.”

One of the root causes of the problems is the corruption of the Tijuana police. Just try to drive an expensive vehicle through Tijuana and the police are ready to stop you for a bribe – usually about $85. Be ready, tourist friends.

“Geez,” said Jim, “We ain’t goin’ to drive over to Tijuana no more.”

“Or anywhere near,” I added.

The bad part of Mexican culture creeping into America

The U.S. Justice Department is launching a review of the Calexico Police Department amid an FBI investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by some officers.

Calexico Mayor John Moreno said the federal government was intervening at the city’s request in an effort to restore public confidence in the city of 40,000 people about 120 miles east of San Diego. “It’s one of many pieces of the puzzle that will put us on the right track,” he said.

The Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services called the exercise a “collaborative reform process” in a statement that gave no details on the scope of the review. City and federal officials scheduled a joint news conference Tuesday.

In Calexico, the FBI seized computer hard drives and documents from police department headquarters in October in what it said was an investigation involving several officers suspected of committing crimes while on duty. FBI spokesman Darrell Foxworth said Monday that the investigation was open.

The FBI raid came shortly after Michael Bostic, a former assistant police chief in Los Angeles, was named to lead the department on an interim basis and promised a turnaround.

Bostic said last month that an internal review found “rampant abuse of overtime,” complaints of threats and intimidation from officers and failure by officers to do required duties.

At least six officers on a force of about 35 have been fired, Moreno said… As the bad part of Mexican culture creeps into America.