By Maribel Correa
language barrier faced by the English-speaking residents of Playa del
Carmen tends to create a gap in local political activism and
understanding. It can be a struggle to integrate into the cultural and
political ambiance without a strong grasp of the political and legal
terminology in any given language. In this series of interviews with
some of our newly elected local government officials, we attempt to
bridge that gap by detailing the positions they hold within the
municipal infrastructure of Solidaridad and by putting a face on these
Our first interview is with Luis Ernesto López, the new Director of Culture for Solidaridad
Where are you originally from, and how long have you been in Playa del Carmen?
I'm originally from Mexico City, and in February I'll have been in Playa for 14 years.
What brought you to Playa?
had a project in Mexico City: a music group that was on the rise but
fell apart due to conflict of interest from two of its members. My
personal way of moving forward from an emotional setback is replacement.
If something I care about ends, I look for something else to distract
my mind and get to work. I came to Playa del Carmen on a friend's
invitation. Even though I didn't know much about the city back then, I
still decided to come on a day's notice. I arrived with my bass, an
amplifier and a thousand pesos.
What do you love most about the Riviera Maya?
quality of life is definitely what I like the most. I believe it's
something that attracts everyone: the ability to commute to work in 5
minutes, to get around town by bike, the cultural diversity, etc. It's a
melting pot. There are no well-defined economic or cultural classes. It's
a city made by dreamers; we're people that are always looking to move
forward, so we have many possibilities for growth. There are also many
possibilities and opportunities to contribute because Playa is a
relatively new city.
What are your favorite hobbies outside of work?
a tough question to answer because my hobby has become my work! Another
is music and being with my family, conversation, I love communication.
like to know about your professional career. What did you study and what made
you choose it?
Music came to me when I was 6 years
old, through my dad. My dad is one of the most passionate
musicians I've met. In reality he's not in the music business; he's a physical
therapist, but he has a collection of instruments that he loves. It was my dad who really gave me that
love of music. From that moment I realized that I wanted to be a musician... but
as we grow up there's a certain ingredient that destroys childhood and turns us
into a ruined adult: that ingredient is fear. All the fears that came to me
were the classic comments like "You can't make a living off of music" or
"Artists starve to death", etc.
When I got out of high school I went
in search of a music school, but I found out the maximum entry age was 15 years
old, and I was 18. And so I was very disappointed and that's when I began to
study journalism. One day, a friend invited me to a party,
and on the way there I ran into a very large music school that had no age
requirement, and I was accepted. That was what changed my life. I studied music, specializing in the
What was your first job?
Working at MixUp, a music and record store.
Explayarte is my baby. It was my way
of thanking this school that opened its doors to me without conditions like
age. With some sacrifices but with no suffering. I'm still a part of
Explayarte, but no longer in the operations area because I have a spectacular
business partner who is doing excellent work. The school helped me to see the
cultural needs of Playa del Carmen. This project is a great opportunity to
contribute something to the city. David Sánchez is the new General Director
at Explayarte. The activities I do today as the
Director of Culture aren't so different from what I do at the school. The only
thing that has changed is the magnitude: now I'm at a city level.
Aguamala was my education as a
musician; it has very talented people and musical geniuses. The demands of the group are what have
helped me to grow as a musician, but at both Explayarte and Aguamala I have
completed my cycle in the operations area. However, they will never leave my
mind or my heart.
What are the challenges you have seen in developing your career in Playa del Carmen?
How has your family helped you to reach where you are today?
think the most difficult part of developing anything is being
consistent. There are always so many stumbling blocks in the road, needs
and things that can make you stray from your path. I've fallen, but
that has made me value what I have and always turns me back toward the
What suggestions would you give to someone who wants a career like yours?
Consistency, and to not limit your goals. Considering your dream to be a given is the only way to make it a reality.
How do you go from being a musician to working for the government?
always been a part of the cultural scene in Playa del Carmen, but
everything came together with the play Les Miserables, when the
Municipal President was in the audience. The next day, he contacted me
and my business partner. The first thing he asked was if the actors in
the play were from Playa del Carmen. When we said yes, he was pleasantly
surprised and couldn't believe there was so much talent in the city.
that's where it all began: first with consulting, and next we presented
a project for cultural development in Playa. He read it and loved it.
family has been my foundation. Moral support is more important that
anything. It's the drive that always pushes you forward. My immediate
family, my parents, my siblings and my significant other. Also my son,
who is 13. He has always been my motivation to set a good example.What do you think sets you apart from other politicians?
Everyone has their own personality and goals. I don't think there's something that sets me apart from the rest.What are your short term goals with your new position?
I want to find out all the existing plans and try to improve them. I
want to make the direction of culture a magnet for big players in Playa
del Carmen's art and culture scene. Our project is called Ciudad de
Artistas (City of Artists), focusing on what we can all do as artists
regardless of our profession or job. We need to remind the population
that it has a goal and a purpose in the evolution of society. Supporting
our artists, getting their names out there and making them a source of
pride for Playenses. We need to promote all of our artistic heritage to
make it an outstanding example, stimulating art so that society's
emotional intelligence can grow.How will you achieve these goals?
I need to get to know my team and explore their strengths. Listen to
each of them. That's what we're here for. We're public servants. There
will be an image change. We'll work on getting word out through all
media so the people can see the fun and quality that's out there. Let
everyone know their options and make it attractive for everybody.How do you think these changes will affect Playa del Carmen society?
interests me most is emotional health; that's where everything else
begins. I would also like Playa del Carmen to appear on the list of the
happiest cities in the world.If you could choose again, what career path would you choose?
The same one. It's a question I've never asked myself because I love what I do.How would you like to see Playa del Carmen in 5 years?
Cultural Center full! More art schools. Society more involved with
culture. Positive evolution in society's development at the same level
as the city's commercial development. This project belongs to all of us,
but there are so few of us compared to the total population. We need to
spread the philosophy of emotional growth throughout the population,
grow as a healthy society... we all create change. We want to be given the
opportunity to approach you all and see that these changes can be made.
Correa, originally from Torreón, northern Mexico, came to Playa del
Carmen 6 years ago to learn more about hotel administration. She speaks 3
languages: English, French and Spanish. Maribel loves culture and art,
and she's passionate about traveling and learning more about local
culture. Maribel works for BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors.