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Veracruz

While attention is drawn to other places, right about now, Hurricane Katia has come ashore in the Mexican state of Veracruz. It is the second hurricane to hit Veracruz, this season. The previous was the first Hurricane of the season, Franklin, which formed on August 3rd, crossed the Yucatan and then plowed into Veracruz on Aug 10th. I recently took a weekend tour of the western part of Veracruz. It’s beauty lives up to the hype I had heard. We first went east to Puebla, which involved a gradual climb Tepoztlan, at about a mile in altitude, to another 2000 feet. Then we went down to 4,000 feet to the city of Xalapa. This “City of Flowers” has the backdrop of an extinct volcano, Pico de Orizaba, that is crowned with snow. Xalapa receives rain during what would be the dry season, in Tepoztlan, so it is very lush. I was struck by a spectacle. The trees reminded me of a mix of New England, Charleston and Tropics. Here were huge Sycamores and other types of deciduous trees I recognized from New England. But there was Spanish Moss on the Sycamores and Palm Trees. Stands of Bamboo looked to be far more robust than I had seen in Tepoztlan. Coffee grows robustly, sheltered by banana trees in plantations. Veracruz Coffee is my favorite, but NAFTA has limited its marketing in the U.S. Otherwise, it would contribute far more formidably to the Veracruz economy. As it is, my son-in-law, Carlos, hires construction workers to come from Veracruz, because it pays better than coffee cultivation. Carlos’ foreman owns an entire mountain, in Veracruz that would be ideal for growing coffee if the market were better.

Comments

4 Comments

Miriam

Hi, Paul. Although I rarely comment, I always enjoy reading your posts. I had no idea NAFTA limited importation of coffee from Veracruz. Why is that, if neither the US nor Canada produce coffee? (I love café veracruzana, too.)

One note. Pico de Orizaba is a dormant volcano, not extinct. It last erupted in 1846. With all the natural disasters happening recently – forest fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes – I’ve been thinking, “What’s next? A volcano erupting?” I certainly hope not.

Paul Gottschalk
Paul Gottschalk

Miriam. I need to research your question about why NAFTA limits the importation of Veracruz coffee. However, as a political scientist with background in political economy of developing nations, I have a hypothesis. Public Policy, to include Treaties on Trade, reflects influence of powerful economic interests. I a betting that American Corporations, importing coffee to the U.S., have holdings and investments in other coffee producing nations – not Mexico. I am not aware of any significant foreign investment in Veracruz. But I need to follow up to see if my guess is accurate.
Thanks for your point about Pico Orizaba. My information came from our tour guide, and I was a bit skeptical of a number of things he told us, to include this. I almost asked him “Are you sure it is not dormant?”

Miriam

Also, I meant to ask if you and your family (including your son-in-law’s family) are all OK? Our house in B. San Pedro seems to be OK, according to our neighbour who checked on it, but I guess we’ll find out if there are any cracks or minor damage next time we go down. I’m pretty sure we’ll find broken plates and crockery, as I have all that on open shelves… I’m so sad about all the damage to the churches and the ex-convent. A lot of rebuilding to be done, but even so Tepoztlán fared better than so many other towns in Morelos.

Paul Gottschalk
Paul Gottschalk

Miriam – yes we are fine and glad to hear all is well with you. There is certainly a lot of damage in Morelos, Mexico City and Puebla that has yet to be tallied. There are many buildings that are condemned, though still standing, and many who remain homeless. From what I have heard, this was a more severe earthquake, in overall extent of damage than the 1985 quake that hit Mexico City.


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