the yucatan

The stingless bees of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are famous for more than their gentle dispositions. These ancient pollinators are prized for their healing honey and their deep connection to Mayan culture.

Heifer has worked with farmers in the Yucatán to revive stingless bees and to reinvigorate the cultural memory surrounding them. Jason Woods, World Ark’s Senior Editor, travelled to Mexico to learn more about these unusual pollinators and to meet the farmers who raise them. Read his full article in the summer edition of the World Ark Magazine!

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i had the pleasure of meeting dr. carlos cabrera, of the yucatan peninsula, mexico, at a planned parenthood-hosted event showcasing the work of brazos abiertos (open arms).

many residents of the yucatan come to the united states as migrant workers, and some return to the yucatan with hiv.  the vision of brazos abiertos is “to be the catalyst for change where knowledge, prevention, and treatment of aids replace fear, discrimination, prejudice, and death for those infected." 

there are many mayans in the yucatan; many don’t speak spanish, and because of this, face discrimination when attempting to access health services.  men who have sex with men (msm) face further discrimination.  brazos abiertos has found that because yucatan mayans are "curious” and “like to participate in community events,” an open hiv testing model (public testing) works very well for them.  however, once someone has a reactive/positive hiv test, they usually face much discrimination.  dr. cabrera told us of:

  • the president of the human rights commission of the state of yucatan declaring, in 2001, that hiv-infected individuals should be isolated and “shot to kill” if they crossed hospital security lines,
  • job applicants often being forced to be tested for hiv, despite it being a violation of the law,
  • the local “charity” hospital having only one bed available for those dying of aids-related complications; there’s a sign above the bed that reads, “sida” (aids), and
  • stories shared of families discriminating hiv-positive individuals, post-disclosure, making them live in backyard pig pens, and only feeding them when they feed the pigs: once a day.

whew.  thank goodness for the work of dr. cabrera & brazos abiertos.

random tidbit: look for dr. cabrera in “the daily show” skit above.


(Tercera de tres partes)
A pesar de que el incensario carece del pendiente oyohualli (posiblemente roto), este ornamento se observa en el dios mono aullador del Posclásico maya que representa a Venus en el Códice de Dresde. El escribano de Mayapán combina rasgos de la iconografía del Posclásico y Clásico mayas con conceptos de la Mixteca-Puebla y del Centro de México. Tales combinaciones son evidentes en otros incensarios modelados, en las pinturas murales y en las esculturas de piedra encontradas en Mayapán. El sitio parece compartir el concepto del Clásico maya de que el animal más vinculado con el arte de la escritura y la pintura es el mono aullador. El complejo de imágenes simiescas asociado con el escribano de Mayapán establece un puente importante entre el escribano hombre-mono del Clásico maya y el concepto azteca según el cual los monos son representativos de las artes. Este vínculo común refleja los conceptos mesoamericanos sobre la historia natural y el comportamiento animal. Al igual que los seres humanos, los monos tienen pulgares oponibles y gran destreza manual, rasgos que hacen de esas criaturas los representantes naturales de artistas y escribanos en el reino animal.
IMAGEN: El Escribano de Mayapán.
Foto: Phil Hofstetter
Esta publicación es un fragmento del artículo “El Escribano de Mayapán, Yucatán”, de los autores Carlos Peraza Lope y Susan Milbrath, y se publicó íntegramente en la edición regular de Arqueología Mexicana, núm. 104, titulada La sexualidad en Mesoamérica. Mitología y simbolismo

The eastern coastline of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a mecca for tourists, may have been walloped by a tsunami between 1,500 and 900 years ago, says a new study. There are several lines of evidence for an ancient tsunami, foremost a large, wedge-shaped berm about 15 feet above sea level paved with washing machine-sized stones, said the researchers. Set back in places more than a quarter of a mile from shore, the berm stretches for at least 30 miles, alternating between rocky headlands and crescent beaches as it tracks the outline of the Caribbean coast near the plush resorts of Playa del Carmen and Cancun.