Last week the Guerrero State Director of Health issued a warning that the popular Acapulco beach "Caletilla" was contaminated with high levels of fecal coliform. That got the mayor's attention, but, rather than post warning signs and order the beach off-limits until the water tests showed more positive results, the mayor marched down to the seaside with reporters in tow. He guaranteed that the water, far from being contaminated, had "curative powers".
Acapulco Mayor Félix Salgado (PRD) said the following (and I kid you not):
Mr. Secretary of Health, tell me, who has left Caletilla beach with his skin falling off?Last week, a similar health alert at Vera Cruz caused the mayor of that city, along with several other daring city officials, to take a public swim in those contaminated waters. Apparently their respective skins didn't peel off. Acapulco Mayor Salgado is, however, much too modest to repeat such a act in public. When invited by reporters to go for a swim in the sewage laden waters, he demurred, saying (and I still kid you not),
What's more, anyone who takes a swim in Caletilla does not get sick.
I invite the people to swim in Caletilla. You must be cautious at any beach but the preferred beach (at which to be cautious?) is Caletilla.
We knew all about the high levels of contamination at Caletilla beach, but we have capped off the flow of raw sewage.
I'm not going swimming because I see that is not the best way to hide the truth (huh?).Mayor Salgado, in an effort to prove that he is, in fact, a macho, macho man, or completely freaking nutzo, then marched his entourage over to a storm sewer where he proceeded to wash his face in the stream (it's been raining a lot all over the country). He said, and again, I kid you not,
I don't want to perform a protagonistic act like going in the water in a little bikini and then stating that it's not true (that the water is contaminated).
Mayor Salgado (yellow shirt, V for Vendetta sign) declines to take a swim. He won't even step into this water. Look at the water those two children are standing in.
"This water is quite clean, look, look, look . . . " as he splashed the water on his face.
Mayor Salgado washes his face in a storm sewer stream.
Two sisters who own a restraurant on the beach were waiting for the mayor. After they complained to him about either (I'm not 100% sure of this translation) the reduced flow of tourists or the reduced flow of affluent tourists, meaning that only the poorest tourists were still visiting the beach because of the publicity about the contamination, Mayor Salgado answered thusly, and I, well, you know the drill,
Mayor Salgado responded that the publicity would help tourists get to know the beach.It's not over yet.
Mayor Salgado then led reporters up a hillside to inspect the sewer line from the market which had been dumping the raw sewege into the water near the beach. He showed them the sewer line and how it had been capped off using, as he described it, "pure Mexican engineering".
In 2003, after the State Department of Health declined to publicize the high levels of fecal coliform contamination at this same beach, the federal Secretary of the Environment did it for him, and then got fired for his efforts. The feds named every single Pacific coast beach, from the Baja beaches to Huatulco, as having levels of fecal coliform and industrial pollution far higher than legal limits. The then mayor of Acapulco, Alberto López Rosas, marched down to the seashore and took a swim to demonstrate his cojones.
2006: Former Acapulco Mayor Alberto López Rosas visits
Pepe's Plastic Surgery Emporium and Tanning Salon
after his 2003 swim in a little bikini at Caletilla beach.
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.
TAGS: Acapulco, Mexico, Caletilla Beach, fecal coliform, contamination