The Island must be recouperating from Cozumel Carnaval 2017, there has been no news to report worthy of repeating. The usual political fighting back and forth between the new administration and the supporters of the old administration is almost daily. The most significant happening is the new Mayor has filed a legal complaint against the old Mayor for mismanagement of funds. In this issue, I have the story of the destruction of Barco Carib’s Booth in Playa and The History of Cozumel.
In Playa del Carmen, the City Government brought in heavy machinery and bulldosed Barco Carib’s booth at the crack of dawn on Friday the 10th. The company reported that they were not given any form of notice and their computers, equiptment, and records were damaged and/or destroyed. Barcos Carib operate four Ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
The allegation is that the Barcos Carib has been operating illegally for several years. The company was created by Roberto Borge Angulo, the former governor of the state who is under investigation for allegedly stealing government funds and fraud while in office. Nothing has been proven, so everything to do with the legality of Barcos Carib is heresay at this point.
A Robinhood Story?
Ultra Mar and Mexico Waterjets have held a monopoly of Ferry Prices for years before Barcos Carib came on the scene. The poor of Cozumel found themselves prisoners of the island, unable to afford to pay some of the highest fare prices in Mexico. Even middleclass households found it impossible to vacation with a large family due to the fares. Many tourists in Playa del Carmen opted to stay there or head to other destinations when they saw the cost of the ferry.
Barcos Carib came on the scene and offered reasonable prices, local discounts, senior discounts, roundtrip discounts, and Holiday specials two years ago. Recently, the other two companies got the message and lowered their prices, and are actively campaigning to draw the business back from Barcos Carib. At the same time this campaign was started by the competition, suddenly Barcos Carib was not allowed to sell tickets out of their booths. The reason given was that they lacked permits. They have kept operating while attempting to go throught the procedure to straighten out the issue, selling their tickets to passengers as they board.
If the Company was created by stolen government funds, then he is our Robinhood by finally providing affordable fares. Something tells me this is a political move, and the minute they are successful in putting Barcos Carib out of business, those other two companies will once again raise the fares. My family will continuie to use Barcos Carib as long as they are running, I encourage my readers to please support them also.
History of Cozumel
The growth and decline of the Mayan civilization is an unforgettable part of the prehispanic history of Cozumel. Originally, the Mayans were established in Guatemala, fifteen centuries before Christ. Their culture and influence then extended to the entire south: Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. In 200 ac, they began to build cities in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The advanced Mayan culture hit its peak from the VII century until the IX century. They considered Cozumel to be a sacred sanctuary and called it “Cuzaam Luumi” which means land or place of the swallows. They later shortened these two words to “Cuzamil”. When the Spanish arrived, the name adapted phonetically from “Cuzamil” to “Cozumel”.
In the Mayan culture, every woman was obligated to travel to the island at least once in her life to worship Ixchel, goddess of fertility. Ixchel was the wife of Itzamna, the supreme Mayan lord of the skies of the night and of the day. The women, in general, before hitting puberty, would set on their peregrination to the island to ask Ixchel for fertility and for a joyful motherhood. To this date, in more than forty sites around the island, archeologists continue to unearth small dolls that were once sacrificed in the fertility rituals.
In the X century, the Mayan population began to decline. Experts speculate that the diminution is attributed to famine, plague, and civil disturbances within the culture. A primary influence was the aggressive Tolteca tribe that invaded from Campeche and throughout the west. They were natural warriors, in contrast to their Pacific predecessors. Many of the Mayans lost their life in the battle or were sacrificed, while some assimilated the conquering tribe. Around the XII century, the Tolteca cult (Feathered Serpent) dominated the Mayan culture.
Three centuries of confrontations between the two cultures ended in 1540 with the Spaniards invasion of the Yucatan Peninsula. In 1567, the last Mayan city, close to the Petén lake, was taken by the Spaniards, who put an end to the independence of an extraordinary culture. The Spanish arrived in Cozumel for the first time in 1518, before starting their conquest of the New World.
The first Spanish expedition to visit Cozumel was led by Juan de Grijalva on May 3rd, 1518 from Cuba. The following year Hernán Cortés stopped by the island on his way to Veracruz. The Grijalva and Cortés expeditions were both received peacefully by the Maya of Cozumel, unlike other expeditions on the mainland. Even after Cortés destroyed some of the Maya idols on Cozumel and replaced them with an image of the Virgin Mary, the native inhabitants of the island continued to help the Spanish resupply their ships with food and water so they could continue their voyages.When he left the island in 1530, the native civilization was in ruins. Unfortunately, one of the crew members of the ship had had smallpox, a disease that until this moment had not existed in America. The resulting epidemic killed thousands.
In 1518 there was a population of 20,000, but this was quickly reduced to 3000 by 1526, 300 by 1570, and by 1600 the island had been completely abandoned. The next two centuries passed by peacefully, with the exception of the Pirates who used Cozumel as a base of operations, including the infamous Henry Morgan and Jean Laffite.
In 1848, the people sought refuge from the “War of the Castes” on the Yucatan Peninsula, took refuge on the island. The small town of El Cedral, on the south side of Cozumel conducts the most important religious celebration of the Island. This annual event is said to have started over 150 years ago by Casimiro Cárdenas. Cárdenas was one of a group that fled to the island from the village of Sabán, on the mainland, after an attack during the War of the Castes. The attackers killed many of the villagers, but Cárdenas survived whilst clutching a small wooden cross.
Legend has it that Cárdenas vowed to start an annual festival wherever he settled, to honor the religious power of this crucifix. Today, the original Holy Cross Festival forms part of the wider Festival of El Cedral, which includes fairs, traditional feasts, rodeos, bullfights, music, and competitions. The celebrations last about 5 days in all and are held every year at the end of April or beginning of May.
This often violent battle, was an effort to recuperate the Mayan land of the creoles; it culminated with the surrendering of the Mayan villages before the government troops of Yucatan in 1910. Important agricultural reforms and the liberty of the Indians resulted in the revolution of 1910-1917. By 1970, the population of Cozumel reached 10 000. As of the census in 2011, are more than 100 000 people living on this paradisiacal island.
Cozumel Worship Services in English
I need reader input on additional church services. Bad news for our Catholic readers, the Priest that spoke English at San Miguel got transferred. I will make some inquiries as to how to get another English speaking Priest on the island, but in the meantime, no Mass in English.
Most of us that live here have the information important to us at our fingertips, it is very important to share with those that do not have access to the information. but visitors really need our help. Please help us help them!
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
30th Ave. at 10th Street North
Services in English every Sundays at 9 a.m.
Jesus es Rey Bible Church
Corner of Ave. 95 y Calle 39.
Services in English will be at 10 a.m.
Ola de Gracias
Non-denominational Christian Church
30th Ave. Between Calles 29 & 27 (next to the Jackpot Casino)
Sundays at 10 am
Wednesdays at 7 pm the services
Depending on Pastor either in Spanish translated into English
or in English Translated into Spanish.
Erik Lucy – English
Pastor Castillo – Spanish
Pastor Traconis – Blends both Languages
Chabad of Cozumel
5th Avenue between Juarez and first
Second Floor PLAZA DEL SOL close to the San Miguel Pier
US Phone +1 (305) 432-2406 or +1 (770) 666-5428
Mexico Cell Phone: +521 (987) 111-9715 or +521 (987) 117-9518
Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night: Sunset
Is your place of worship not listed? Please contact me with the information!
Cozumel Ladies Breakfast
The Cozumel Ladies Breakfast Wednesday, March 15 will meet at La Choza on Av 10 between Calle 3 and Salas on the left side of the road. Not sure where all the parking lots are; but there is usually street parking south of the restaurant and you can walk a bit.
Pictured: Breakfast at La Choza from our visits in December 2016.
Our group meets every Wednesday at 9 am. In addition to meeting wonderful Ladies from all over the world, the breakfast club is an excellent source of information gathering and networking. Breakfasts are informative and FUN! All Women are welcome to join us, even if you are just visiting our beautiful Island.