By RICARDO CASTILLO
Presidential Turkey Might Just Fly
After several weeks of indecision, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has opted to hold a super lottery draw next Sept. 15 to “sell off” the onerous Dreamliner 757 deluxe transport presidential jet used by his predecessors Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, valued at $130 million.
During his daily morning press conference at the National Palace on Friday, Feb. 7, AMLO announced that “the decision has been made, after careful analysis, reflection and consultations, and taking into consideration a diversity of points of views and opinions, to raffle the plane, with the proceeds to be used for a humanitarian and important cause.”
AMLO explained that the plane itself would not be the main prize in the raffle, but that, instead, the National Lottery, now in charge of the draw, would print 6 million different numbers, known as “cachitos” or individual lottery tickets, to be sold at 500 pesos apiece.
Instead of the plane alone, as had previously been considered, there will be 100 prizes of 20 million pesos each. Should all the cachitos sell, they would bring in 3 billion pesos. Two billion pesos would go for cash prizes, while the remaining billion be considered proceeds to be applied to buy equipment for Mexico’s new free health system.
Under this plan, the plane would continue for sale on the international market, under the protection of the Mexican Army and Air Force.
Mexican National Works Bank (Banobras) Director Jorge Mendoza said that offers for the plane continue to trickle in.
“For the moment,” he said, “we are not closing any deal. We continue negotiating in hopes that we can close the sale” after the lottery draw.
Be that as it may, this turkey may just fly, sort of.
And Now the Vacation “Bridges”
No sooner had AMLO announced Mexico’s official holiday calendar for the coming year, in which assigned national days would be celebrated on the exact date they fall, then the country’s travel industry started crying foul and screaming “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
As it is, during the administration of former Mexican President Vicente Fox (2000-2006), there came the practice – pretty much in the U.S. style – of holding long weekends for national celebrations, known in Mexico as “puentes vacacionales” or vacation bridges, by adjusting the dates to coincide with Fridays or Mondays.
The new practice represented extra income for the Mexican travel industry, because now families tend to travel more over the holiday breaks.
The return of the practice of celebrating the holidays on the calendar day they actually fall could hurt the travel business badly because there will be no time to take a bridge.
AMLO wants more nationalism and less entertainment in México, so in answer to the deafening response from the travel trade, he said that “there are not going to be any financial losses.”
“On the contrary,” he said, “we lost a lot when we did away with civicism and ethics. We lost a lot as a society.”
AMLO went on to say: “We do this because we need to strengthen our memory on history,”
He also acknowledged that “I’ve seen so much opposition” on the web to the idea of cancelling the bridges.
Lozoya, Guilty as Charged
The Mexican Superior Court for Administrative Justice has confirmed that the sanction imposed on former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya Austin by the Public Function Secretariat is valid.
Lozoya was disqualified to work for the government for the next 10 years.
He became the first Pemex director ever to be disqualified.
Lozoya was found guilty of the “deviation” of 83 million pesos through a false front company scheme.
In reality, Lozoya should be in jail, but he’s been on the lam for nearly three years, and not even Interpol, with a worldwide warrant on hand, has been able to find him.
The demand by Mexican Fiscal General Alejandro Gertz Manero that what is being called in Spanish “femicidio” be removed from the nation’s legal language and simply be defined by courts and district attorneys as “aggravated homicide” is getting a public trial of its own.
Gertz Mancero pointed out that the courts are having “extreme difficulties in proving cases of femicide.”
Most of Mexico’s female legislators in the Chamber of Deputies want to impose the term “feminicidio” on the simple grounds that “it exists, but has never before been taken into consideration in a legal system that sustains that a murder is a murder and there are no gender differences.“
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is looking into the definition debate, calling for a slow revision of the term and also complying with the commitment of her city administration to support the defense of women and in particular the victims of femicide.
The problem still boils down to how to differentiate between a common homicide and the assassination of a woman and, specifically, how to typify the crime of “gender violence.”
For Mexico’s lawyers, it’s turning out to be a matter of easier said than done.
Baseball: Dominican Republic Is Caribbean Champ
In what turned to be an uneven match, the Dominican Republic league champions East Bulls rolled over the Venezuelan Cardinals by a score of 9-3, to win the six-nation competition of the Caribbean Series, also touted as the Little World Series for its genuine international representatives.
The star of the game was Abraham Almonte, who battered three hits to produce three runs and help push the Dominicans ahead in an unsurmountable race.
The semifinals were played on Thursday, Feb. 6, with the Dominicans defeating Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico.
Also participating in the Caribbean Series were the champions of the Colombian and Panama leagues, who were soon left out of competition.
This victory was particularly sweet for the Dominican manager, Lino Rivera (ironically, a Puerto Rican), who won his first championship after four other tries.