By RICARDO CASTILLO
Happy Birthday, Carlos Slim
Just as Mexico’s and Latin America’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim, was gearing up to celebrate his 80th birthday on Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) delivered a special gift that surely the tycoon did not appreciate: a fine for nearly 1.39 billion pesos.
The fine applied directly to mismanagement of accounting info for the fiscal year of 2017 for his company Teléfonos del Noroeste (TelNor), which services Sonora and the Baja California peninsula.
The fine was also issued because “TelNor did not make available to the IFT and concession holders 60 percent of the information it should have reported in the (IFT’s) Electronic Management System, in relation to the infrastructure of poles and underground wiring.”
The fine represented the equivalent to 6 percent of TelNor’s income for 2017.
Slim answered through a press release by his umbrella phone company América Móvil as well as TelNor, that the IFT finewas “arbitrary, illegal and out of proportion,” adding that his corporation will fight it in court.
Bilateral Trade Ties
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard traveled to Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 28, in representation of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), to attend the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), even though the Canadian legislature was still discussing whether to sign the document.
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the USMCA on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Also on Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Louis Ross Jr. was in Mexico to meet with Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez Colín, with whom he signed a Memorandum of Understanding on intellectual property protection since, apparently, there might be loopholes in the already-drafted USMCA.
The MoU was drafted in tandem with the Mexican Institute for Intellectual Properties (IMPI.)
PRI Governors Back Imsabi
The 12 Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governors lunched on Monday, Jan. 27, at the National Palace with AMLO.
Among the top issues discussed during the luncheon was the approval by all 12 of the incorporation of their states into the Institute of Health and Wellbeing platform, which replaced the Popular Security health system.
All 12 have operational hospitals in their states.
“We all agreed to continue working together for the good of the people,” AMLO wrote in his Twitter account.
“We coincided in that one thing is the parties, which as their name portrays, are apart, and something else is the government, which is there to serve all.”
Details of the protocol and hospital management are expected to be signed this week.
The meeting was attended by Hidalgo Governor Omar Fayad Meneses, Oaxacan Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, State of Mexico Governor Alfredo del Mazo and Coahuila Governor Miguel Riquelme Solís, among others.
Return of the Basket Weavers
The Mexico City government once again called upon residents to stop using plastic bags in exchange for the use of woven palm, burlap and wicker baskets.
These long-forgotten containers once made the basket-weaving industry thrive in Mexico.
And in a clear return to the past, the Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum’s administration is organizing the First Basket Fair, with handcrafted works by some 200 weavers from different states.
The fair will open on Jan. 30 at the Monument of the Revolution, with container basket prices ranging from 15 to 350 pesos.
Question: Have Mexican basketweavers considered a non-disposable model for dog poop?
My wife would buy one.
Quarantined in China
One of two Mexicans currently under quarantine in Wuhan, China, Reydesel Morales of Chihuahua City, is communicating both through the Internet and by phone to Mexico.
In a radio interview, he said he went to Wuhan for a job interview when the quarantine struck.
Now stranded until the quarantine is lifted, Morales said he feels “discriminated against” because what might have been a routine show-your-passport arrival may turn into a nightmare because he is being asked not to come back to Mexico if he is suspect of contamination. Indeed a Catch 22 quagmire!
Morales is spending his quarantine at a hotel and is in touch with the Mexican Embassy in Beijing.
Many legal questions arose Tuesday, Jan. 28, over the presentation made by AMLO of the proposed lottery ticket design that would be used in the still-to-be-confirmed raffle of the presidential jet AMLO does not want.
The bill, or “cachito” (in Mexican Spanish, “cacho” means part, and “cachito” little part of or piece, a single bill in lotter) is still a proposal since AMLO will make a definite announcement if the raffle goes next Feb. 15.
But as of Tuesday, he announced that if it does take place, the lottery day would be May 5, Cinco de Mayo, an official Mexican holiday marking the Battle of Puebla.
One of the biggest legal problems springing up is that the Mexican lottery is a strictly cash raffle, with a “Premio Mayor” or “el gordo,” the big prize, but on the side, many tickets get small prizes and those whose number coincides with the last digit of the Premio Mayor, get a refund (reintegro) on the ticket.
These considerations are not in the raffle of the 757 Dreamliner plane.
AMLO stammered – he often does – thinking about how to match up the regular lottery to this unusual one-prize one of the plane, in which revenuea will go fully to the health sector.
The Mother is Coming
Just as Mexican migration authorities are shipping Hondurans back home as fast as humanly possible, in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a new caravan known as the Mother of All Caravans is forming.
This caravan is expected to leave Honduras on Friday, Jan. 31, to arrive at the Mexican border as soon as it can make it.
Its members have hopes that the Mexican government will let them through to make the trek to the U.S. border.
They, too, will be shipped back.
Sports: Australian Open
Mexican tennis star Santiago González and British player Ken Skupski qualified for the quarterfinal stage of the Australian Open in doubles.
González and Skupski Sunday defeated Austin Krajicek and Franco Skugor 6-3 and 6-4 to move on to the next round of play.
Their quarterfinal match was slated for Tuesday, Jan. 28, against Ma Purcell and Luke Saville.
Sports: Conade Counter Suits
National Sports Commissioner (Conade) Ana Gabriela Guevara said Monday. Jan. 27, that the 15 million peso suit awarded to plaintiff fencing suitor Paola Pliego would be appealed in court.
Still, Guevara said, “way down deep, the fencing sport woman is right because she was the victim of an arbitrary action – but we are on the side of Conade as much as possible.”
The lab inside Congaed facilities was found guilty and Guevara said Pliego “should have sued the lab” because it was found that there were several doping accusations against sportsmen – in soccer, mainly – that were found to have been tampered with.
Guevara also said that Conade doesn’t have the money to pay Pliego.
Pacifica Baseball Finals
The fifth game of the Triple A Mexican Pacific Baseball League looked like a continuity of games three and four, in which the visiting Culiacán Tomateros (Tomato Growers) were blanked twice by the local Mazatlán Venados (Deer).
The third game looked pretty much of the same as the Tomateros went into the eighth inning losing 0-1 after having piled 26 scoreless innings. Indeed the Venados pitching had proved, up until then, invulnerable.
Tomateros first-at-bat Rico Noel, however, managed to turn the tide by producing a run for the visitors with a single. Then Noel managed to steal third base and scored a second run on a sacrifice fly by Ramiro Peña for the 2-1 lead.
In the ninth, Culiacán closing pitcher Daniel Duarte admitted a hit and, at one out, he was pulled from the mound by manager Benjamin Hill and replaced by Panamanian Alberto Baldonado. Baldonado issued a walk, then the manager ordered him to walk the next batter to occupy first, and then Baldonado awarded another walk for the two a piece running score.
In the tenth inning, Noel managed a second single to push the 3-2 lead which sent the Tomateros back home to Culiacán with a 3-2 lead.
The sixth game will be played Wednesday at Culiacán and if the Tomateros lose, the series will extend into a seventh game.
If not, they’ll be celebrating the championship and get ready to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the champion team will represent Mexico in the Caribbean League, also known as the “Little World Series,” to be played as of Feb. 1.