The writer Humberto Felix Berum wrote an account titled Tijuana the Horrible (“Tijuana la Horrible”) in which he describes the way by which the custom of describing Tijuana as a prostitution zone, the figurative Sodom and Gomorrah of the Baja peninsula. During the twentieth century this reputation was spewed out of movie theatres, television, and through word of mouth. Tijuana came to be known as the ideal place for the darkest aspect of human nature to go wild (and to this day for some it still is).
How do we become innovators?
The legend surrounding the creation of Tijuana Innovadora (TI), it is said, was that the event was born out of a courageous inpulse. Jose Galicot, the event’s founder and promoter, was undergoing heart surgery to get a pacemaker implanted, and discovered that the pacemaker was made in Tijuana. Accordingly, this is where the idea of showing the world what Tijuana has to offer was born.
In terms of regional, national, and international economics, there is no doubt that Tijuana is a city of vast importance. The goal of the TI event is use the good aspects the city has to offer as a launch pad. With that in mind, an event that is designed to show-off the best the city has to offer must take into consideration local public input and not just use locals as sideline spectators of the international spokespeople that are merely out and about in the city for a couple of hours and rightly (but very simply) manage to say that the are impressed by “the infrastructure”. There is a great need to bring more equilibrium between the invited spokespersons and local spokespersons.
Just like most large-scale events, Tijuana Innovadora takes place at the city's cultural center, CECUT, which has become more of a convention center than a cultural center. It would be quite a stretch for event organizers to take the many international speakers who will be in attendance to different corners of the city outside of the VIP zone (that is, the CECUT). Tijuana Innovadora needs a better way to connect with Tijuana’s general population, or else, with each annual edition the event will diminish in success and will be taken over by business chambers, government agencies, and a handful of universities.
A Transparent Tijuana Innovadora
Although transparency laws in Mexico require that government information be published and accessible to the public, and this is always one of the topics of great importance amongst most business chambers, it would be quite logical that Tijuana Innovadora would take on this responsibility as well. If the event has already taken on the badge of being the platform by which economic and business promotion in Tijuana takes place, and they also receive government funding, it would be quite logical that the event should publish and be transparent about the funding it receives. This would not only bring the event social legitimacy but also allow it to be long lived and not get lost in the shadows.
A Historical Tijuana Innovadora
Every city, and every country must embrace the present in order to understand its past. It is true that Tijuana was born out of the cradle of tourism during the Prohibition Era and the alcohol Dry Laws caused our city to become the hotspot for cantinas, casinos, and other night time attractions. That time in history came to an end and Tijuana has had to transform its economic activities. The history of this city is characteristic because of just this permanent transformation.
We must be wary of of these “saving grace angels”, these self-proclaimed city redeemers, because their idea of “cleaning up the image” of the city (as described in the back story of the Tijuana Innovadora), along with their personal epiphanies, can end up so caught up in their own words and expelled out of the supposed paradise they envisioned creating to the beat of “si se puede” - yes we can! Tijuana doesn’t need redeemers.
Binomio (1+4) digital journalism, is a Tijuana-San Diego electronic magazine covering political, social, economic, and cultural topics.