Jun 24, 2006

Catemaco Darien Gap

The continent of America does not exist. The Darien Gap, an impassable wilderness on the border between Columbia and Panama separates the continent into a northern and southern half.

And despite years of Gringo economic colonization of anything south of the US borders, that gap has persisted, allegededly to prevent South American cattle illnesses, and probably South American emigration to the US fatherland.

Catemaco has its own Darien Gap. Laguna Catemaco is an almost 50 kilometer circle, primarily surrounded by cattle ranches, rich vacation home owners from San Andres Tuxtla and PEMEX colonies, a gringo eploiter of the local fauna, various ram shackle communities and the shores of beautiful downtown Catemaco. To circumnavigate those 50 kilometers is now a 90 kilometer trip because of a gap between the villages of Las Margaritas and Bajos de Mimiahua/El Porvenir. The gap effectively blocks off convenient access to the southern interior Los Tuxtlas and its potential economic impact of visitors/buyers/traders from the municipios of Soteapan and Hueyapan, almost 1/4 of Catemaco´s surface area, and a pottential short cut to the Minatitlan airport. A bridging road of the Gap has been frequently proposed but has been affected by the mañana syndrome.

Despite recent proposals and announcements, the gap road again is in abeyance, possibly because of local misguided ecologists' attempts to divert the road in order to protect a scraggly area of second growth trees.

The potentials of a Laguna Catemaco circumnavigation road are huge. Cattle growers and agriculturists would have better access. Tourists would be enthralled by a road that does not require two hours to get there and 2 hours back on the same road. Merchants would be thrilled with new markets and the Mexican environmental protection agency, PROFEPA, might actually use the road to see what´s really going on in the backyards of beautiful Catemaco. Sports fans by the hundreds would probably scramble to do 50 KM runs, bike rides or walks. And local inhabitants would be pleased to take a Sunday drive around THEIR laguna.