By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexican Embassy under Siege
The drama at the Mexican Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, continues to mount in what seems to be an inevitable crescendo.
Not only are there an unnecessarily large number of “guards” allegedly keeping an eye on the safety of those inside – including nine political asylum seekers – but there are also constantly flying drones overhead in order to take a peek at the interior of the compound, said Mexican Ambassador to Bolivia María Teresa Mercado Pérez, presenting videos of the drones.
Mexico has denounced the “out of proportion” surveillance before the United Nations, which is a clear violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
The drama over the weekend grew even more intense as former Bolivian President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga launched a broadside of insults against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), badmouthing him with offensive terms.
AMLO simply retorted: “I’m the president of Mexico, and I am not getting involved in cheap gossip.”
AMLO went on to say: “I will not pay attention to any provocation. We’re not going to stoop to bickering. It is not at our level. This is a diplomatic issue and we will wait for diplomatic answers and let the Foreign Relations Secretariat personnel do their job.”
At the National Palace press conference on Friday, Dec. 27, reporters insisted that Tuto Quiroga is an international delegate for the transition government of Bolivia.
“Yes of course, he is, but I’m not going to bite the bait of any provocation,” AMLO answered.
AMLO also said the nation is fully behind the Bolivia Embassy personnel, who have even tougher days ahead as the rental contract for the house it is located at will be up on Dec. 31, and plans are to move elsewhere.
The problem Ambassador Mercado Pérez is facing is how to move the nine Bolivian former government officials – four under arrest warrants from the Bolivian government – to a new location without suffering harassment.
New Year’s Eve promises to be at La Paz – which literally means The Peace – a hard day’s night.
During 2019, the Financial Investigations Unit (UIF), the watchdog branch of the Treasury Secretariat (Hacienda), blocked accounts worth 5.023 trillion pesos, as well as $52 million in dollar accounts, according to UIF head Santiago Nieto Castillo.
Among hundreds of former government officials now accused of “illicit enrichment” while holding a public office, the one that stands out the most is former top cop of the President Felipe Calderón administration (2006-2012) Genaro García Luna, now under arrest at a Federal Courthouse in Dallas, Texas, and awaiting transfer to Brooklyn, where he will stand trial under U.S. federal authorities.
García Luna, Nieto Castillo said, received at least 2 billion pesos in payments from several police departments, including that of the Interior Secretariat.
After stepping down as top cop, García Luna operated a surveillance company, which in 2008 received funds to buy espionage software and hardware, which was, when he quit the government, transferred to a Panama-based front company.
Nieto Castillo said that transfers of monies in 2013, 2017 and 2018 for 2.623 trillion pesos and $77 million from García Luna’s company sent resources to sellers in Israel, Letonia, Panama, China, the United States and Barbados.
For the moment, Nieto Castillo said he does not have any information of involvement with García Luna’s wrongdoings by former President Calderón or former President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Rural Normal Schools
Public Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma Barragán announced the reopening of teachers college in the town of Francisco I. Madero, Hidalgo, just north of Mexico City.
The teachers colleges or rural normal education centers have been a hotbed of inconformity, given both the anarchy and rowdiness of their students, who more often than not have turned to communism as the ideology to follow for farmers in Mexico.
On reopening the new normal school. called “El Mexe,” Moctezuma said that “it will serve as a pilot program to determine how education is to be in normal schools in the future, as well as establishing steps to strengthen teacher formation.
The school will preserve native “uses and customs” savvy, as well as traditions of the people the teachers are to serve.
This type of language in reference to rural education has been used in the past, so for Moctezuma, the adage “it is easier said than done” is now being applied in this “new” educational venture.