By RICARDO CASTILLO
García Luna Refuses Mexico’s Help
Shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Mexico’s former top cop Genaro García Luna appeared before Judge David Horan of the Dallas Federal Court on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
García Luna, who was the public security secretary under former Mexican President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), declined during his brief 10-minute court appearance his right to an audience in Dallas.
He also agreed to be transported to Brooklyn, New York, where he will continue clearing his legal status.
Judge Horan ordered García Luna to remain in a Dallas prison until his transfer to New York is programmed.
On the night of Monday, Dec. 16, the Spanish-language television newscast Univisión aired a report saying that García Luna had renounced his right to summon the help of Mexican diplomats.
“I don’t want to exercise that right,” he was quoted as saying, refusing all contact with the Mexican government.
The next move in his case will be his transfer to the New York Federal Court, where another judge will define what course of action to follow. García Luna is accused of conspiracy to traffic drugs from Mexico to the United States, among other felonies.
Sheinbaum Defends García Harfuch
Meantime, back in Mexico, the search within all federal security forces continues relentlessly because current National Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo has said that “it would have been impossible for García Luna to act alone” in helping drug traffickers, especially Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, to transport illegal drugs into the United States.
One of them who did work for the Federal Police Force when García Luna was commander-in-chief, current Mexico City Citizens’ Security Secretary Omar García Harfuch, has denied any involvement, claiming that in those days he was a “foot soldier” with no contacts with high brass.
García Harfuch has been adamantly defended by Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who said:
“He joined the Federal Police as trooper. He’s now 38-years-old and we’re talking about something that took place 12 years ago, when he first joined the Federal Police, like any other foot soldier. The highest rank he achieved then was as area director.”
But García Harfuch remains under the microscope because last week Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) called for a cleanup of people who had served under García Luna. The search continues.
Big To-do about Labor Attachés
The loud protest staged last week by Mexican Foreign Relations Undersecretary for North America and Chief Trade Negotiator for Mexico Jesús Seade Kuri regarding five labor “attachés” he considered would be “inspectors” was promptly cleared by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter to Seade.
Lighthizer explained that the five proposed attachés to be added to the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City “would not be ‘labor inspectors’ and would abide by all relevant Mexican laws.”
All other questions regarding labor matters, Lighthizer said, will be conducted by independent panelists as agreed upon in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and “not by the labor attachés.”
The explanation was satisfactory to Seade Kuri, who admitted he’d gotten confused by the terminology added by the U.S. House of Representatives on a last-minute basis.
Nevertheless, due to this misunderstanding, Seade Kuri became the favorite punching bag in financial social media circles over the weekend.
Minimum Wage Hike
AMLO announced a new minimum wage increase, the second during his mandate.
Members of the National Minimum Wage Commission (Conasami) agreed to increase the lowest salary from 102.68 pesos a day to 123.22 pesos a day as of Jan, 1, 2020, which signifies a hefty 20 percent hike on the so-called “mini-wage” for most of the nation.
For the six states along the U.S.-Mexico border, the minimum wage was hiked from 176.68 pesos a day to 185.86 pesos a day, a 5 percent increase.
“We have to go on increasing without affecting the employing companies as that would be counterproductive,” AMLO said. The new wages, however, will increase workers’ purchasing power because yearly inflation for 2019 stands at 2.96 percent.
“This increase also sends the message that the Mexican economy is solid,” AMLO said, despite forecasts that the Gross Domestic Product for this year will be at best 0.1 percent.
Maya Train Chugs Ahead
The indigenous communities along the tracks of the Maya Train went to vote on a referendum on Sunday, Dec. 15, on whether the AMLO administration should go on with the expansion of the existing 1,600 kilometers of tracks and increase the Tren Maya route to fully serve the five states of the Yucatan Peninsula: Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán.
Organizers counted a total of 100,940 people with voter identity credentials.
The referendum contained only one question: “Do you agree with the construction of the Maya Train integral project?”
An overwhelming majority of 93,142 voters, mostly of Maya descent, approved the construction, while 7,517 voted nay. There were 281 votes declared null.
Senator Lily Tellez on Way Out of Morena
The National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party’s Honesty and Justice Committee asked Morena Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal to remove from the group Sonora State Senator Lily Téllez, for not respecting the basic documents of the political party.
“The senator cannot nor should she belong to the representatives of this political party in the Senate given that she is not a protagonist of true change,” said the request of the committee, headed by Senator Héctor Díaz.
“It is evident that she does not share, respect or represent what is established in the Basic Documents of Morena.”
Téllez, an AMLO appointee to the post and not a registered member of Morena, has criticized Morena senators for voting in favor of abortion, voted against recently elected National Human Rights Commissioner Rosario Piedra Ibarra, and has badmouthed Morena’s new Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla, all acts considered going against the Morena tide.
As far as the committee is concerned, the former news announcer for TVAzteca has been ejected, but Monreal will have the final say.
Sports: Canelo as Candidate
The Boxing Writers American Association (BWAA) presented a select group of recent boxing greats as candidates for the “Best of the Decade” (2010-2020) award.
Red-headed current Mexican boxing star Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez is at the top of the list, along with such unquestionable greats as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Vladimir Klitschko and André Ward.
Canelo is the only one with five different titles in as many weight categories. He’s currently the world light-heavyweight champion for the World Boxing Organization, but he also holds titles by the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association in the middle and super middle weight categories.
Unlike now-undefeated retiree Mayweather or just-returned-to-boxing Pacquio, who are 51 and 40 years old, respectively, Canelo is under 30.
If is not chosen this time, he’s got time to wait for another decade.