We’re not sure why it took so long, but in the January 27 issue, Reforma, the much respected ‘New York Times of Mexico,’ took SAT/AGACE, the Mexican IRS, to task over the impounding of 338 foreign-owned boats, almost all of which remain impounded after two months.
The headline in the Mexico City newspaper roughly translates to "Mexican IRS makes a shipwreck of nautical tourism." Similar articles appeared in El Norte, the most influential newspaper in Monterrey, the business capital of Mexico, and a number of other important state and local newspapers in Mexico. They additionally reported that SAT officials were scaring foreign boat owners over a $50 permit. It actually wasn’t over not having a permit, as almost all boats did, but they sure were scaring boat owners, no matter if they had a permit or not.
"This is probably the knockout blow [to the SAT program]," said one marina official. After all, everybody in Mexico knows that tourism and foreign investment are lifebloods of the Mexican economy.
SAT reportedly wrote back to Reforma to say they had now released 88 of the 338 boats, more than 40 of them at Riviera Nayarit Marina in La Cruz. This was yet another bullet in their foot, as the marina reported that no such number of boats had been released. Furthermore, they reported that AGACE officials in Guadalajara had just called them to say they would call again on Wednesday to confirm they would be coming down to the marina on Thursday to release all the impounded boats. We’re pretty confident that’s going to happen, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
We have no news when boats at other marinas in Mexico might be released, but after all the critical front page stories in Mexico, we think it’s a matter of days rather than weeks. Then will come the uphill battle of regaining the confidence of foreign boat owners and investors. Mexico needs to engage in a serious outreach program.