Popotla Seafood

7 Essential Eats in the Seafood Village of Popotla, Baja California

By Scott Koenig on August 27th, 2015

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Doña Lorena of Restaurant La Estrella with the day’s catch of pargo.

Baja California’s Eclectic Mecca of Mariscos

Popotla is often overlooked by north-of-the-border foodies in deference to culinary havens Tijuana to the north and Ensenada to the south. But this tiny, eclectic fishing village outside of Rosarito Beach is THE spot to find some of the freshest mariscos (seafood in Baja California — brought to shore daily by local fishermen and divers, and prepared and served at a variety of stands and restaurants.

Popotla can be overwhelming to the uninitiated, particularly during holidays and on Sundays when it’s swarming with hungry Bajacalifornianos. Dozens of families park their cars right on the beach and grill seafood while kids happily splash away in the surf.  There are churros, tamales tostilocos and a myriad of other culinary indulgences available from imaginatively fashioned food carts — one rig is tricked out to resemble a lowrider SUV, complete with a set of bull horns on the front. And if she’s not sleeping, one might catch a glimpse of Filomena, a local’s large pet pig and the unofficial mascot of Popotla.


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“El Ray” on the beach offers a variety of live shellfish, ready for preparation. 

Navigating Popotla’s seafood stands and markets

Friendly street hawkers converge from all sides in an attempt to lure visitors into their restaurants, guaranteeing the best menu and prices in town. But while all the restaurants and beach stands get their ingredients from the same source – the village’s fishermen and fishmongers – not all are equally adept or imaginative in their preparation.

Before settling into one of the restaurants for lunch, visitors venture down the hill toward the beach to enjoy Popotla’s local color, check out the catch of the day and sample some super fresh shellfish from the mariscos stands and tents that dot the shoreline. This is where Popotla’s beach vendors stock, shuck and prepare a variety of live bivalves for customers to happily slurp right on the beach.

Clams are available in abundance; pismo, chocolate, queen, pata de mula, geoduck and others are brought in by divers from local shores and as far south as Magdalena Bay. Local kumiai oysters and live erizo – sea urchin – are also available on a seasonal basis.

1. Prepared Pismo Clams @ El Ray

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Prepared pismo clam at the “El Ray” seafood stand. 

Pismo clams are found all along the Pacific coast in Alta and Baja California, with the highest concentrations just off shore in San Quintin to the south. Vendors clean the clams and the firm, flavorful white meat is diced and combined with Clamato, lime, chopped red onion, cucumber, tomato and cilantro and served on the half shell. El Ray at the end of the beach is one of the best stands for freshness and variety. Just look for the little blue boat that’s been converted to a raw bar.

2. Prepared Chocolate Clams @ Mariscos Mary

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Prepared chocolate clams at Mariscos “Mary”.

Chocolate clams – named for the dark brown color of their shells – aren’t harvested locally, but make the quick journey from central Baja to Popotla, arriving live and ready for preparation and consumption. The taste and texture of the tender white meat and the slightly firmer red meat are complemented by celery, onion, tomato and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. Halfway down the beach, you find a tent full of happy diners at Mariscos “Mary” enjoying a plate of almejas chocolatas.

3. Pata de Mula (Black Clams) @ Los Compadres de Sinaloa

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Pata de mula with lime at Los Compadres de Sinaloa. 

The dense pata de mula (mule leg, or black clam) is illegal to sell or serve in the United States due to its increased chance of carrying bacteria. For what it’s worth, the author has had them several times and has never gotten sick. It’s worth the risk for this bivalve delicacy, whose hearty flavor is enhanced with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a squirt of lime and a little salsa, if desired. Share a dozen or tow with your group in the popular beach popup tent Los Compadres de Sinaloa.

4. Sea Urchin @ El Ray

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Sea urchin served as a cocktail in the half shell at the “El Ray” seafood stand. 

When in season, erizo (sea urchin) can be found in surprising abundance at most of Popotla’s carts. Vendors open the live urchin, gently scoop out the desired golden roe, clean it and add it to a mix of Clamato, lime and a splash of Worcestershire sauce in a plastic cup or in the half shell. During the height of the season, harvested urchins may grow to the size of a beach volleyball.  El Ray’s blue wooden boat turned seafood cart is again a good spot for this delicacy.


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View of the Pacific from the deck of one of Popotla’s ramshackle restaurants.

Popotla’s restaurant scene: Ramshackle with a view                      

Once Popotla’s shellfish bounty has been sampled, it’s time to visit the beach’s fishmongers and choose lunch from the day’s catch. Grouper, red snapper, sea bass, lingcod, sculpin, corvina, halibut, pargo, yellowtail and others are available in-season, as are shark and manta ray. Simply pick a fish and the vendor – who accepts pesos or US dollars – will package it to go or deliver it directly to the restaurant of your choice.

Popotla’s ramshackle restaurants are perched above the beach on a rocky point overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Don’t expect a high-class dining room and be prepared for a blast of karoke or Norteño from a Sinaloan band during weekends. Do expect relaxed, yet steady service, panoramic views and some of the best seafood preparations you’ve ever tasted.

5. Pescado Zarandeado @ Restaurant Atotonilco

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Pescado zarandeado topped with cheese, octopus and shrimp at Restaurant Atotonilco. 

Restaurants prepare fish fried, fileted, sautéed, Veracruz style or – my favorite – zarandeado. Originating in the state of Sinaloa, pescado zarandeado involves butterflying the fish, marinating it in a mayonnaise and ancho chili preparation and grilling it in a basket over mesquite. Order with cheese, shrimp and/or octopus on top of the finished fish, if desired, for a serious seafood feast. One of our favorite preparations of this dish comes from Restaurant Atotonilco.

6. Ceviche @ Popotla Park Restaurant and Bar

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Fish ceviche of locally caught sea bass at Popotla Park Restaurant and Bar. 

Where there’s fresh fish anywhere in coastal Mexico, ceviche is on the menu. Popotla is no exception. Served Mexican style – cooked in lime and diced with tomato, onion and cilantro – ceviche here is served with tostadas and saltine crackers. Baja Californians like to add a little ketchup to their ceviche as well. Ceviche can also be made to order from fresh fish purchased from the shoreline vendors. The Popotla Park Restaurant and Bar – just south of the beach area on a cliff and an ocean view – offers a variety of ceviche and raw specialties.

7. Spider Crab @ Restraurant La Estrella

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Restaurant La Estrella serves fried spider crab with a lava rock, used to crack open its tough shell. 

No visit to Popotla is complete without trying the local spider crab. Referred to as the Marciano (Martian) by the locals, these large rugged crustaceans are only found in Baja California and a few other parts of the world. The local restaurants prepare them fried with butter and garlic. Once the shell is cracked open with a provided lava rock, the abundant meat is sweet, succulent and redolent of the sea. Diners buy live crabs from beach vendors for about $10-$15US each, and establishments like Doña Lorena’s Restaurant La Estrella prepare it in the classic way with a bit of diablo sauce, for a small fee.

Getting there:   

Popotla, like many of Baja California’s “hidden” gems, is found at the end of an innocuous dirt road just about 30 minutes south of the US border in San Diego. A dilapidated arch marks the road’s entrance, which runs along the south side of the large Baja Studios lot – where water scenes for the movies “Titanic,” “Master & Commander” and others were filmed. Unless you’re within driving distance, Popotla is best explored as part of a larger culinary agenda that may include Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe.


Read more on Popotla:



Undocumented Piñas and Putas

31 AUGUST 2015 (AFN) .- The Trade, Alcohol and Public Entertainment conducted an operation on First Street, the street Ruiz to Miramar, in Ensenada, in order to verify the bars of the tourist area , same that resulted in the breach of an establishment.

Lafarga Hans Appel, head of the agency, said that in coordination with Public Safety and Municipal Health Services, was reviewed in the bars open within the prescribed time and that no alcoholic beverages be sold to minors.

In addition. women engaged in sex work would meet the required health documents, and they were not operating “pullers” who besides giving a bad image to the city, have been identified as suspected drug dealers tourists.

He explained that the violation occurred because an establishment offering pina coladas with liquor without a permit, so a fine was imposed and confiscation of the proceeds was made; also a woman who works as a prostitute and did not have health card was sent.

Lafarga Appel said that such operations will continue performing in establishments so that they comply with the regulated and in turn preserve order in the municipality.

Shark Season

In a still from a new video, a paddleboarder watches as a great white shark swims nearby.
By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic

PUBLISHED WED JUL 01 13:06:00 EDT 2015

In clear footage shot above and below the water, paddleboarders in Southern California recorded a recent encounter with a group of juvenile great white sharks just off a popular beach.

Shot on June 26 at Sunset Beach in Orange County, the video was made by Courtney Hemerick and Joseph Truckles, who remained calm through the experience.

“I think where these guys were and what they were doing was probably fine,” says Gregory Skomal, a senior marine fisheries scientist and shark expert with the state of Massachusetts.

The 7-foot (2-meter) long sharks are juvenile great whites, which often congregate in protected bays and right off the surf zone along both U.S. coasts, particularly in California. The juveniles eat mostly fish, though they sometimes scavenge dead carcasses. When they grow up they become top predators, reaching sizes of up to 20 feet (6 meters) long and weights of up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). The adult fish dine on other sharks, seals, dolphins, and whatever else they can catch.

“The sharks in the video are probably checking the paddlers out, with a level of curiosity but also a level of caution because they don’t know what they are looking at,” says Skomal. (Learn about shark attacks on the rise in North Carolina.)

Since the animals often do feast on floating carcasses, they might have initially been attracted to the shapes at the surface. But such sharks “are very unlikely to bite,” says Skomal.

Such juveniles haven’t developed the skills for attacking larger prey. Adult great whites, on the other hand, are known to occasionally bite surfers and surfboards, exercising their roles as top predators in the ocean. One third to a halfof all shark attacks are attributed to great whites. For this reason, experts recommend against swimming or paddling near seal colonies, where adult great whites sometimes congregate.

Do Not Drink These Beers



Tijuana, BC- Much of the country is in a heat wave, so many turn to drinking a refreshing beer to try and balance the body temperature.

It is natural to have a fixation about the food we eat, the more at a time like this in which obesity in our country is blunt, as the concern of food components, but, ¿ really know what we drink?

The following list contains some of the most popular brands of beer consumers, this is due in large part by the shocking advertising of these drinks. That is why we leave the 5 brands of beer that should avoid drinking:

1. Newcastle Brown Ale

One of the peculiarities of this beer is its caramel color that brings out many other similar drinks, but this hue is due to dye that is added is made from ammonia, which is classified as a carcinogen. Although moderate drinking is a measure that can be used to prevent damage to alcoholic beverages, when you have carcinogenic ingredients it is difficult to reverse these effects.


2. Miller Lite

This popular American beer made from barley GMOs. Therefore one of its components is the GM maize. A list of health problems and environment, which has been taken hold, has drawn the GMO barley as one of the main culprits.


3. Coors Light

Another popular drinks in bars and by consumers of our region for its great deals in supermarkets, calls into question the quality of American beer. Coors Light contains transgenic corn syrup, and includes not only glucose, but it includes Toxic Bt and glyphosate, the latter is classified as “ultra carcinogen”.


4. Corona Extra

“In Mexico and the world is Corona beer,” the popular slogan that puts Mexico as one of the capitals of the best beers in the world, which no longer entirely true, but it is important to note that putting beer the country in high is one of the most harmful beers, this contain syrup transgenic maize and Propylene Glycol, which is a liquid-based clear oil which is based fiberglass, antifreeze, engine coolants and deicing also between components have hygroscopic, acetone and chloroform.


5. Guiness

The popular Irish beer lauded by many “connoisseurs” of beer, impressively is within this list, this contain ingredients that can be harmful to health, among them are, according to studies, fish tail and liver, and a syrup supposedly based on fructose, which was banned many years ago to be highly carcinogenic.


By Esteban Villagomez | Twitter:  @ EstebanVillaGo

Ensenada Flag Flies

After various tests conducted during last Friday, Mexico’s Navy was responsible for raising the monumental flag in the Plaza Ventana al Mar, at the end of the ceremony to declare as the first Green Cove Harbour Mexico.
The ceremony was then that Herman Journée, president of the ECO Logistic Chain Sustainable Foundation (Ecoslc) certification delivered Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, head of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT).
Beforehand, elements of the Navy argued for over an hour the native labarum; following the indication of the authorities, they entered the square and settled for the respective protocol.
Outside, citizens and officials were waiting for the flag waving on top; He recorded the most solemn moment with their cell phones.
At the conclusion of the formal ceremony, the flag waved in the sky and present sang the national anthem.
As has been documented by El Vigia, the native labarum sometimes has not been placed because the pulley system failure; one of the common problems is that often corrode, and it is necessary to wait for a specialized group of Mexican Army to give him maintenance.
Fix damage
As has been documented by El Vigia, the native labarum sometimes has not been placed because the pulley system failure; one of the common problems is that often corrode, and it is necessary to wait for a specialized group of Mexican Army to give him maintenance.
The ceremony was also attended Rafael Pacchiano Alaman, head of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat); Governor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid; and the mayor Gilberto Hirata.

Latino or Hispanic

I’m Latino. I’m Hispanic. And they’re different, so I drew a comic to explain.

On the Road in Mexico

On the Road in Mexico


Vi and I had been talking of taking a couple of weeks to cruise Mexico and in particular Baja California, but hadn’t, for all the reasons and tribulations that afflict humanity. Finally we just hopped into the CRV and went. Wing it, figure it out when we got there, wherever “there” was. Reason, planning, and common sense are much overrated. Too much to describe here: Arandas, Zacatecas, Aguas Calientes, León, Durango, Mazatlan, and finally Baja. A few notes, though.

Zacatecas is an old, old city built on what is almost a universal Mexican plan—central plaza with a government building and a church. Mexico is not yet a mass consumerist society with everything decided at corporate in New Jersey, and may never be, so town centers are distinctive and the churches all different and often lovely. It is a touristy city (Mexicans tourist: I think we saw three gringos, including me) and so has loud, bad music blaring from every bar and restaurant.


On a side street, however, we found a cantina of the old school from the turn of the previous century, small, convincingly itself, and homey. We ordered shots of Centenario Reposado, planning to stay half an hour. But then a few regulars came in—it was that sort of place—with guitars and we ended up leaving maybe four hours later. I am persuaded that Violeta knows the words of every song ever written and the melodies of the rest, so she happily sang along and there were many toasts.


I like the city. The streets are sometimes vertical because of the underlying hills, and paved with large flagstones that seem to hold up very well. It was not always so pleasant. The silver mines, once worked by brutally mistreated Indian slaves, are dark and cramped tunnels. Now they are a sort of horror-show tourist attraction. How people treat each other that way is a mystery to me. But that was then, and now isn’t.


The weirdest stretch of the trip was Highway 40 between Durango and Mazatlan. A problem for east-west travel in northern Mexico are the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. If you set out to find the absolutely godawful worst place on this planet or perhaps any other to build a highway, the Sierra Madre would be a contender. However, Mexico decided that it needed the highway, and was going to build the damned thing, whether it was possible or not. I looked at the territory—populated by huge, dry, spikey mountains with an uncountable infinity of ghastly valleys falling away to nowhere—and concluded that it couldn’t be done. Of course I was driving on it at the time which weakened my argument.


Says the Internet, 115 bridges, eight of them over 900 feet high, sixty-three tunnels with a combined length of almost ten miles. The Sinaloense Tunnel alone is nearly two miles along and the Baluarte Bridge, above, 1300 feet above the river bed and 3600 feet long. The thing is starkly insane. It’s there, though.


Mazatlan we took the ferry to Baja. I was expecting the it to be the size of a tennis court with a minor shelter for passengers. Waiting to drive aboard, we watched something like sixty eighteen-wheelers come off. Pretty fair tennis court. The reason is that there are only two ways continental Mexico can communicate with Baja except by air: Have a gynormous ferry or several, or drive waa-a-a-ay up to the US border and back down again. The things are huge with nice cabins for seventy bucks and a decent restaurant.

I was in Baja several hundred years ago, when it barely had roads. Now two highways, Routes 1 and 5, extend the length of the peninsula and except for a couple of patches are good. (In addition to a lot of good highways, Mexico has, especially in rural areas, roads that are allowed to fall into ruins. Occasionally driving is like crossing a rock quarry on ice skates. The reason, Violeta assures me, is usually that the local government stole the treasury.)

Baja is a marvel if you like dry, constantly changing desert, most of the world’s supply of cactus, brutal spectacular dry brown mountains and occasional startling glimpses of the blue, blue Sea of Cortez. If you don’t like these things, you  need to go somewhere else. Much of the road is gun-barrel straight and we sailed along at eighty miles per, almost no traffic, somebody on tabla and sitar on the cd deck. Through the mountains the curves would alarm a touring snake, but what the hell.


he cities along Baja, all few of them, have a Mediterranean feel, Mexico being a Latin country. Always the malecón, a cement boardwalk along the shore, restaurants where you can eat dead shrimp over a leisurelymichelada, which is an improbable drink made with beer, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce and some other things. In particular I recommend La Paz and Loreto.

The exception to the general pleasantness is Cabo San Lucas, which is the geographic equivalent of prostate cancer, mixing the charms of Atlantic City with Lauderdale during spring break, and a yacht basin full of very pricey boats owned by people who should be made into dog food. It’s the kind of place where you expect to see the Clintons. Go somewhere else. Anywhere else.


Having reached the US border, we crossed into the continental side and droe murderously long hours home. I guess we were vacationed-out. At one point we encountered one of those bad roads I mentioned, twenty-four miles at fifteen miles on roads where the government had definitely stolen the  the treasury. It goes with the territory.

The dogs were glad to see us and we, them.

(Ok, OK: speed bumps, not  topless beaches)


Ensenada El Niño 2015

It will grow “El Niño” 2015-2016

The importance of reviewing these events is to refresh your memory, that tends to fade with long periods of drought


It will grow "El Niño" 2015-2016

Images of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology assigned to NASA. Comparative 97-2015. The white areas are the higher temperatures, followed by red, orange, green, blue and purple.

By Jose Alfredo Cañas / COLLABORATION *
Ensenada, BC – Every day there is greater certainty that the weather phenomenon known as “El Niño” will have a significant magnitude and contributions The following comments are based on experience with previous events, and in the area of ​​previous reporting..
Therefore, we will refer to “El Niño” winter 1997-1998, which, when compared with that expected for the period 2015-2016 and taking reference to the images 97-98 to 2015-16, we realize the current has a greater potential.
Images of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology assigned to NASA. Comparative 97-2015.
The white areas are the higher temperatures, followed by red, orange, green, blue and purple.
The Topex-Poseidon and Jason 2 satellites were launched, the first in August 1992 in collaboration with the (NASA, for its acronym in English) and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES, for its acronym in French) and operated until all his life in October 2005. The Jason 2 satellite oceanography began work in December 2001.
Both satellite radar altimetry, detect increases in the sea level up to an inch precision, measuring therefore expansion or sea level rise, information which in turn sheds surface ocean temperatures, which can be used basis for predicting and / or monitoring of performance of “El Niño”.
With these satellites, scientists can also calculate the speed and direction of ocean currents and weather patterns develop.
No doubt there are now institutions and researchers who have fortunately instruments, methodology and sources of information to make weather forecasts, particularly in our city of Ensenada.
97-98 winter and hurricane “Nora”
The September 25, 1997, very early, Hurricane “Nora”, made landfall in Baja California, entering Turtle Bay with maximum winds of 140 kilometers per hour (km / h), returned to sea and returned to earth , crossed the peninsula transversely, and as a tropical storm, hit the north of San Felipe, causing heavy damage to boats that port continued over the Gulf of California, and Arizona was downgraded to a tropical depression even with winds of 40 km / h.
While passing through the town of Ensenada, left strong flood water in streams near El Rosario, unusual event for locals, because without rain, saw amazed how grew Avenue streams due to the tropical storm “Nora” , unloaded large amount of water in the Baja California mountains.
Hurricane “Nora”, thus became the only record that had reached the height of the 28th parallel, a situation facilitated by the high temperatures on the coast of Baja California, because of “El Niño” and other factors.
In the urban area of ​​Ensenada, the phenomenon of “El Niño”, leave heavy rains in winter 97-98, recorded in February 1998, the highest rainfall of the last 50 years, and in that same month, exceeding the 400 millimeters (mm), according to records of the Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (Cicese).
These rainfall in Ensenada, peaked at 555 mm, more than double the annual average. In that event, including the Carnival he was suspended the last days, which speaks for itself the intensity of the weather phenomenon.
Showers in the country
The annual precipitation for Baja California, according to the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the National Weather Service (NWS) – in the period from 1941 to 2005 was an average of 203.47 mm, the second lowest in the country only after Baja California Sur with 176.2 mm, contrasting with the states of Tabasco and greater precipitation with 405 mm 2000, Chiapas, with a thousand 968 mm, and Oaxaca, with 518.8 thousand mm.
Civil protection
The importance of reviewing these events is to refresh your memory, that tends to fade with long periods of drought, so it is considered urgent to activate the mechanisms of prevention and protection.
Among these is the Municipal Council of Civil Protection, which chairs the mayor, whose technical secretariat is the Town Clerk.
All around federal, state and municipal agencies like the Port Authority and the Port Authority of Ensenada and civilian agencies like the Red Cross, armed forces, and institutions of higher research and media group .
No need to invent much, just enough to update this committee in each municipality of Baja California that well before the start of the rainy season should be reactivated.
So the council can go dusting off the rules of this committee, and assist in their operation, and that depends minimize its impact on the population, and in the sea and air transport.
Authorities and citizens
Prevention is everyone, citizens can not desazolvar clean sewers or streams, but they can avoid obstructing; also check their homes, not just leaks and runoff, but moisture in walls that affect mainly children and the elderly. There is little time, but enough to make the improvements required by the housing and which has been postponed.
The municipal and state authority, through Civil Protection, have specific tasks, such as reviewing risk areas, prepare shelters and difundur information and guidance to citizens.
The media should be a determinant in spreading awareness and prevention factor and timely inform the public how the requirements and recommendations of the institutions designated as universities, research institutes and government.
Latest notes
The hurricane season in the Pacific concludes on November 30
Dolores reached hurricane to tropical storm as Tijuana and San Diego in July 2015.
The next image Jason 2 will appear around September 5, it will provide more certainty forecasts.
* The author acknowledges the assistance and review of Luis H. Mendoza Garcilazo, Cicese researcher, Division of Earth Sciences.

Ensenada Famous Flag Pole

The monumental flag will be a year without being hoisted on the Square Window to the Sea

The monumental flag, one of the distinctive national symbols of Ensenada, be a year without being hoisted on the Square Window to the Sea
The Watcher in October 2014 documented the lábaro was not placed during the patriotic celebrations of that year, or at half mast to mark the commemoration of October 2.
Now, despite four days until the start of the patriotic month, military officials have not appeared on the site to accommodate the flag.
As was documented at the time, one of the workers said that the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) had “no money” to repair the engine commonly used in raising ceremony area.
The fact was also criticized by Rafael Armando Gonzalez Miranda, who is known as “self-exile of 68” and often lead a ceremony at the Civic Plaza de la Patria to commemorate the student massacre. The man said that by law must be placed flag.
According to his testimony, on October 2 must be the flag at half mast, but “they forget,” that has occurred in the last three years, at least.
There is a decree
According to the Official Gazette, dated to December 20, 2011, it was decreed that the date of October 2 would be added to the other where the flag is hoisted at half mast.
“The date is added ‘October 2, Anniversary of the fallen in the struggle for democracy in the Plaza of Three Cultures in Tlatelolco in 1968’, subsection B) of Article 18 of the Law on the Shield, the Flag and the national anthem, “the statement said.

El Niño September





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