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Cabo Pulmo National Park. Authorities are keeping an eye out for fish poachers in Cabo Pulmo National Park.

La Paz beaches reopen as coronavirus cases reach 8,000 in Baja Sur

Meanwhile, seven new hotels are set to open in the municipality

The Mayor of La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS), Rubén Muñoz, paints a relatively rosy portrait of the capital city whose beaches opened Friday as the coronavirus continues its hold on Southern Baja. 

The number of hospital beds in use has been decreasing for the past month, and some neighborhoods are coronavirus-free. However, the number of cases continues to grow slightly across the state, reaching a total of 8,000 accumulated cases with 127 new diagnoses registered today alone, as well as three deaths. BCS and Mexico City are the states with the highest rate of infection.

But financially, the city is poised for a rebound with seven new hotels set to open. 

Within the city, Grupo Hábitat will open a hotel called Casa de las Perlas, and the new Hampton Inn should provide 250 jobs. 

The Pueblo Mágico of Todos Santos will see three new hotels, one by Ernesto Coppel of Pueblo Bonito, an 80-room beach hotel from Habitas and a third boutique hotel. 

A new hotel is also being built in the El Sargento/La Ventana area on the Sea of Cortés.

In addition, the mayor declared that for the third month in a row, La Paz is the safest city in Mexico although no source was provided for that claim.

He also announced that funds were approved to go forward with a solar energy park, which will cover 85% of consumption and make La Paz the first municipality to sell energy to the Federal Electricity Commission when the park begins operating next year, Al Cabo Noticias reports. 

Free range?

Government officials in Comondú are weighing whether to impose sanctions on ranchers who allow their cattle to roam the streets of Ciudad Constitución in violation of Article 70 of the municipal code, which allows the city to impose fines of up to 5,000 pesos (US $232) or a 36-hour jail sentence for those found to be in violation.  

Cows and horses roam through neighborhoods ruining gardens and knocking over trash cans, not to mention the damage they can cause to motorists if they wander onto the trans-peninsular highway, and municipal authorities say they’ve had enough. 

Cattle on the highway in Comondú.
Cattle on the highway in Comondú.

Violators have been warned, BCS Noticias reports.

Fish poachers

Cabo Pulmo National Park is a true gem of the Baja Peninsula, a marine reserve with a living coral reef that famed explorer and conservationist Jaques Cousteau called “the world’s aquarium.”

Aquatic activities within the park, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, are regulated to preserve the flora and fauna and fishing of any kind is prohibited, BCS Noticias reports.

So far this year there have been four reported cases of illegal fishing, mostly with a rod and reel but there are others who spearfish clandestinely along the reefs. 

Park director Carlos Godínez Reyes says he has implemented a surveillance system and regular patrols. He uses radar to track all boats within the park’s boundaries, which are especially vulnerable at night when most of the poaching takes place. 

If irregular activity is detected, Godínez will dispatch guards to investigate. Tips also come from community members who value the pristine setting, which has turned into a lucrative tourism draw for the town, and they seek to keep it that way. 

A Herculean effort

Known as Baja Sur’s Hercules, 23-year-old Raúl Enrique Manríquez Collins, a member of Mexico’s weightlifting team, took fourth place in the first-ever International Online Weightlifting Cup organized by Uzbekistan.

The event was held August 28 through 30 and featured 109 athletes who competed through Zoom and a livestream on YouTube. Manríquez joined in from the state’s sports facilities in La Paz. 

Manríquez entered the 109-kilo-and-up weight class and lifted a total of 360 kilos. He was bested by Armenia’s Varazdat Lalayan who lifted 425 kilos, Andrew Witte from the United States with 390 kilos and Spain’s Velazco Ruiz, who managed 374 kilos.

Manríquez says he has not been able to train with the intensity he would like during the pandemic and admitted that he did not give his best performance. 

Weightlifter Raúl Manríquez.
Weightlifter Raúl Manríquez.

He and his local coach, Horacio Maldonado Arce, are looking to get back up to speed in order to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Metropolimx reports.  

Baja’s Hercules took third place at last year’s International Weightlifting Foundation World Cup. He is 1.86 meters tall and weighs 165 kilos.

Shaken not stirred

Residents of La Paz experienced a series of earthquakes over the past few days that have some people on edge, Metropolimx reports. Wednesday night a temblor registering 4.1 on the Richter scale was recorded, and a total of nine small quakes have occurred between September 1 and 3, a phenomenon known as a seismic swarm. Most of the quakes have been imperceptible, and they may continue to occur for the next several weeks or months, scientists say. 

Missing

A biker from Argentina who rode his motorcycle down the peninsula from Dallas has been missing since August 28. Marcelo Lucero was last seen by acquaintances around 2:30 in the morning as the group set out from the town of Santiago north of San José del Cabo toward nearby El Chorro hot springs. 

Marcelo Lucero, last seen August 28.
Marcelo Lucero, last seen August 28.

Lucero lagged behind the rest of the group and has not been seen since. 

Civil Protection had been in contact with his relatives to give them information about the eight-day search which was conducted by firefighters, the National Guard, the army, the navy and Los Cabos police. Divers were even brought in but had no luck.

Authorities are not ruling out an accident or a possible kidnapping, El Debate reports, but called off the search as of today with no leads. 

Bookworm alert

BCS has made a portion of the Pablo L. Martínez Historical Archives available to download for free, which is great news for history buffs who read in Spanish. Documents, books, maps, photos and videos can now be easily accessed online free of charge.

Tomes like Baja California’s Accession Act to the Federal Republic of Mexico or the Jesuit Chronicles of Antigua California are just two of the 86 books available for download. Maps can also be useful in resolving land disputes, Cristopher Amador Cervantes of the Southern Californian Institute of Culture said.  

Mexico News Daily

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