Things That Matter

This Firefly Forest Is A One Of A Kind Destination And It’s Just Outside Mexico City

Have you ever travelled somewhere on the advice of someone else? No advertising, no nothing – just the idea of a great experience? Well, the little town of Nanacamilpa in Mexico has had so many tourists stop by, it’s stoppedadvertising its main tourist draw to try to slow the flow of people into the hamlet. And, do you know why there are so many people coming to Nanacamilpa? Fireflies.

There’s more to this story than just bugs.

Instagram / @mexicotravelchannel

What Nanacamilpa promises is more than just seeing some insects in action. Well okay, actually, that’s exactly what it promises. Past the farmland that borders Nanacamilpa is a blanket of forest – and that’s where the fireflies can be found. It’s hard using just words to bring justice to the event that is firefly viewing. But suffice to say that if it’s the middle of the night, and all you’ve got for light is the night sky above you, seeing these tiny critters seemingly suspended and glowing all around you is an otherworldly experience.

If you plan on visiting the fireflies, you’ll need to follow a few important rules.

Instagram / @axlrz

Generally speaking, there is an etiquette for viewing fireflies. No talking, and no use of lights. That’s right, you’re not to use your phone while you’re out chilling with the fireflies: no taking selfies for the clout. Whether visitors obey these rules is another story – they’re only really enforced by requests from the local tour guides that take groups out to see the fireflies. And while, for the moment, the presence of people haven’t seemed to bother the fireflies too much, it remains to be seen what the long term impacts of this environmental tourism will have on the Nanacamilpa firefly population. 

Where the locals are concerned, the fireflies have had quite a positive impact on the community.

Instagram / @mexicosorprendente

If you were to visit Nanacamilpa just five years ago, you would have found the place pretty much empty. The only people in the area would have been locals. Nowadays, roughly 100,000 tourists visit between mid-June to mid-August to catch a glimpse of the area’s friendly fireflies, which has served as a windfall for what was previously a chronically poor region. In just 2013 alone, 51,000 visitors came to Nanacamilpa. Two years later, that number jumped to 77,000 – and most visitors were coming through the July-August period.

Firefly tourism has completely changed the lives of nearby residents forever.

Instagram / @fido.travel

In fact, for a while there, the locals struggled to keep up with the influx of travelers. 2013 saw food shortages in the Nanacamilpa restaurants, and any accommodation in the area had been completely booked out. This was fixed pretty quickly, though – hotels began appearing around town, and even in the forest. And, registered tour operators burgeoned from the four existing in 2012 to 33 in 2019. Which is just as well – last year saw 91,000 visitors to the fireflies! They’ve now become the state’s second most important draw, behind cultural tourism. Needless to say, business is booming, and firefly tourism has changed the lives of Nanacamilpa locals for the better.

But, there is a downside to this influx of tourists. 

Instagram / @solracmarban

It’s never so cut and dry with these kinds of things. As much as it’s great that Nanacamilpa is seeing money come its way, environmental scientists have expressed concerns about the impact visitors might have on the fireflies. However, there’s so much that’s unknown about the fireflies, that it’s hard to make any concrete judgments about what’s best for the little glowing bugs. It’s yet to even be determined what kind of impact light and chemical pollution has on the fireflies – or if they have an effect on them, at all.

Sadly, with so many visitors, the firefly population is under threat.

Instagram / @enmodoavionmx

That being said, there is a major threat to the Nanacamilpa firefly population that everyone should know about: the female fireflies … can’t fly. We know – it’s in the name, firefly. Anyway, obviously both females and males are needed for the fireflies to continue populating the region with their glowing butts. The risk in the females being unable to fly is that it’s a lot easier for unsuspecting visitors to accidentally step on the tiny fireflies. Even worse – without the ability to fly, they don’t have the capacity to easily escape from harm.

It’s not all bad news, though. Firefly tourism has become important in other countries, such as Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia. It’s entirely possible that, even though different variations of fireflies live there, they may have developed their own model for balancing conservation with tourism. Let’s just hope that something more substantial can be implemented in Nanacamilpa to protect the fireflies, before it’s too late.

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

Things That Matter

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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