By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexican Constitution Day
Though officially sessions for both houses of the Mexican Congress kicked off on Saturday, Feb. 1, the first gathering to discuss legal issues will be on Mexico’s Constitution Day, Feb. 5.
By now, 14 months after he was sworn in, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has most of his campaign legislative agenda laid out, creating a myriad of hurdles for future administrations to try to regress the government structure to the past system, particularly so-called “neoliberal” economic policies. This is true particularly in regards to issues such as prioritizing Mexico’s 60 million poor, reinforcing minimum wages, increasing pensions for the elderly and establishing, once and for all, free medical care for all, which was not only the president’s creed, but stems out of visions from the 110-year-old Mexican Revolution.
Among some of the “fights” still to be fought, AMLO will have to seduce the Supreme Court to come over to his side on some issues, one of them being to put an end to the high-on-the-hog Mexican style of organizing elections by the way overpaid 11 members of the independent National Electoral Institute (INE), who cringe every time AMLO tongue lashes them for making more than the salary ceiling he established for himself. On this matter, he also wants to reduce the budget for political parties to participate in elections, because history has proven, much of it ends up being used for personal expenses.
In terms of wages, the Mexican Supreme Court also has a bone to pick with the president, because they, too, make more than he does, and all the old-timers on the court have voted that no law can be applied retroactively. So they have gotten to keep their 600,000 pesos a month salaries – plus benefits, of course.
And in terms of legal changes, this period, which will last through May 31, has to resolve a new set of laws for the Fiscal General of the Republic, plus approve several initiatives to upgrade the penitentiary system in order to further clamp down with sentences on organized crime.
Other bills hitting Congress this session will be the one on stiffening money laundering and meeting an international deadline on the issue by August since Mexico is part of an international network of watchdogs and must comply with its global commitments. And, of course, the objective will be to make money laundering in Mexico much more difficult than it currently is.
In the congressional agenda is also the legalization and regulation of marihuana, which will surely turn into a smoking debate…
All this will happen this session, without leaving out the minority parties proposals, which are being presenting to the Morena majority in hopes that they will be accepted, and approved.
Plus, there will be all those issues that pile up during the congressional spring break!
Alejandro Gertz Manero, Mexico’s fiscal general (FGR), is objecting to the now-common use of the word “feminicidio” (“femicide”), referring to female victims of homicides.
In fact, he’s asked to have it left out of a bill that is being drafted since the term homicide pretty much covers the crime, without meandering into gender issues and whether the murdered person is a man or a woman.
But lo and behold, the women in Congress insist that the term should be included in the new law because it describes a very specific crime aimed at women that has become common in Mexico, that is, men killing women for sexual kicks, and polls show it is a type of homicide that’s grown exponentially across the country.
The congresswomen want the term “feminicidio” specified in the law because, they said, “it reflects what is happening to women in Mexico.”
It is still a coin flip what will happen, and, by the way, the word femicide does not exist in dictionary English either, though now it appears to be assimilating into public language usage.
For the record, do an of our readers know how the word evolved?
Larrea Must Be Furious
The Mexican Supreme Court ruled against mining mogul Germán Larrea’s Grupo México last week, awarding the National Mining, Metals, Foundry and Similar Trades Union the right to be the sole union working at the San Martín (gold and silver) mine in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, bringing to an end a strike that lasted 12 full years.
No doubt, Larrea must be furious about the ruling, not just because he lost a longstanding struggle in which he held his ground, but also because the union is part of Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia’s growing confederate union movement.
And it is a union he inherited from his father.
Furthermore, this is not just a legal squabble, but a political issue, because Gómez Urrutia is after Larrea, and, for now, he seems to have caught him.
As of Feb. 12, the Senate will begin full time discussions on what is legally known in Mexico as subcontracting, but is equivalent to the English language term outsourcing.
The issue has been brought up by Senator Gómez Urrutia, who already filed a bill to regulate subcontracting and avoid “simulation” by outsourcing companies which, he said, deprives the Treasury from collecting 500 billion pesos in taxes from these activities.
Participants in the discussions will include the director of the Mexican Social Security Institute, Zoe Robledo, and the head of the Federal Investigation Unit – the Treasury’s tax evaders hunter – Santiago Nieto.
Pain at the Pump
As global oil prices continue to drop, so does the price of gasoline … but only in the United States.
But here in Mexico, it’s a different story.
American Automobile Association (AAA) spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said that the current price per gallon of gas is the United States is $2.47.
That translates into Mexican pesos to 12.40 pesos per liter for regular.
But regular gasoline is selling in Mexico these days at 20.17 per liter in tourist traps like San Miguel de Allende, according to the Monday report issued by the Federal Protection Agency (Profeco).
Sports: Quote of the Week
For sure, the Kansas City Chiefs Andy Reid couldn’t stop talking in interviews for hours after winning his first Super Bowl.
But in one interview, Reid was asked by a Fox Sports reporter about when during the season did he start feeling he and the team might have a chance of winning the Super Bowl.
“This all started in Mexico,” he said, in reference to the game the Chiefs played against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on Nov. 17, last year, when the Chiefs had trouble holding back the Chargers, but finally succeeded in winning 24-17.
“We learned then that in order to win, all you need to have is a brave heart, and we demonstrated that we did. I love you Mexico!”