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A news item last week in the Tijuana newspaper, Frontera, highlighted a fundamental problem in Mexican politics. It seems the city of Playas de Rosarito ordered construction stopped on a new funeral parlor that was only 15-days from its grand opening. City inspectors showed up at the almost completed funeral home and posted seals on the doors stopping all construction activities. The inspectors stated the reason for the closure is that the construction activity had “broken a sidewalk.”

The owner of the funeral home, Gerardo Arguilez, pointed out that the sidewalk was broken before he ever acquired the property. Furthermore, although the law required the City to give him a 3-day notice to correct the problem, they City inspectors ignored the law and stopped construction without notice.

Mr. Arquilez stated that he had started the process to acquire all the permits for the construction and operation of the funeral home last April. But only last week the City notified him that a use permit would not be granted. So what happened?

Mr Arquilez points out that the City routinely approves use permits for adult massage parlors and table dance bars…but not a funeral parlor? Well, it seems the City of Playas de Rosarito is currently in the process of granting a concession for a new town cemetery to be operated by another private operator who will have his own funeral parlor at the new cemetery. It appears that at a time when Rosarito desperately needs more jobs and economic activity, Mr. Arquilez’ funeral home is being stopped to help the competition.

Denise Eugenia Dresser Guerra is a Mexican political analyst, writer, and university professor. She is currently a faculty member of the Department of Political Science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. Ms. Dresser is outspoken about Crony Capitalism in Mexico.

Professor Dresser says Mexico is now a crony capitalism economy which fails to grow due to the manner in which it exercises and shares power. This is due to the discretionary and politicized regulations that rule the mafia republic, the economy of “buddies.” Mexico is trapped in an intricate web of privilege and veto powers that inhibit healthy competition. A network that operates on favors, concessions and regulatory protection provided by the government and demanded by the business elite as a condition for investment.

Ms. Dresser goes on to stress that Mexico’s economy fails to reach its full potential, that Mexico’s political system functions well for the benefit of the political parties, but very poorly for its citizens. The professor believes that Mexicans are victims of a dysfunctional economic system which forces its population to cross the border into the United States in search of the upward mobility that is not found in Mexico.

Comments
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While I don't know one way or the other about the basic information, I can't help but note that not one person in Rosarito, save the one making the accusations, is quoted. And the "professor" is an acknowledged critic who never says anything positive.

It smacks of something written by someone who can't be bothered to actually come to Rosarito and ask questions directly. It's quite possible that there are other reasons to deny the permit... but we'll never know from this reporter. Perhaps the permit was not for a mortuary that holds services open to the public? Perhaps there is no sidewalk... not just a broken sidewalk? Perhaps there is no parking? Perhaps it is adjacent to a residential neighborhood? But we'll never know... you would have to be in Rosarito to actually ask the questions.

This is a 'gossip' column, not a news article.

June 25, 2011

The article in Frontera was written by Carmen Gutiérrez, who covers Rosarito for the newspaper and lives there. There is a sidewalk in the photo that accompanies the newspaper article. The funeral home is on calle 5 de Mayo, which is a short one-block street that intersects with Rosarito's main street, Avenida Benito Juarez. It is directly across from the soccer fields in downtown Rosarito in a commercial area. The funeral home is a new branch of a chain of funeral homes, funeraria San Gabriel, that serves the public.

The fact of the concession for a new cemetery was covered in another Rosarito publication, Ecos de Rosarito, which is published by Hugo Torres, the former mayor of Rosarito and owner of the Rosarito Hotel.

Here is a link to the Frontera article in Spanish, which you are apparently incapable of reading, as it and a knowledge of Rosarito would have answered most of your comments.

http://www.frontera.info/EdicionEnLinea/Notas/Noticias/24062011/524439.aspx

June 26, 2011

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