By RICARDO CASTILLO
Covid-19, Imported From Italy
Mexican Public Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell informed the public on Sunday, March 1, that there are now five confirmed cases of Covid-19 (also known as novel coronavirus), plus 11 suspected cases.
Hence, he said, the nation is not in a state of emergency.
López-Gatell said that the outbreak of the virus in Mexico will be short lived.
All of the Mexicans with coronavirus had previously visited Italy, including the last case of a 20-year-old woman in Torreón, in the northern state of Coahuila.
She is being treated in isolation at a hospital.
This latest case in Torreón prompted U.S.President Donald Trump to announce the his administration is considering shuttering the border with Mexico.
In response, the Mexican Foreign Relations Secretariat announced it has not received notice of any move to limit access to Mexicans.
Seven Parties Submit Registration Docs
Only seven parties out of over 100 hopefuls filed documents with Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) on the deadline day, Friday, Feb. 28.
INE President Lorenzo Córdova Vianello said that the next step is for the institute to make a thorough evaluation of each registration and determine if these party permits are granted.
This announcement will be made at the end of June.
The organizations that submitted registration papers are: the Social Force for Mexico, led by Senator Pedro Haces; the Social Progressive Networks, headed by Elba Esther Gordillo and Fernando Gonzalez; Join Us, of the R-5 Movement, headed by former National Action Party (PAN) leader Manuel Espino; the Social Encounter Party, led by Jorge Arturo Argüelles; the Freedom and Democratic Responsibility Party, led by former First Lady Margarita Zavala; the Alternative Foundation, led by former Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) leader César Augusto Santiago; and the Mexico Promoter Social Group, linked to Alfonso Cepeda, leader of the National Education Workers Union.
Of the seven parties that submitted documents, only that of Zavala is an open conservative opposition to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
The appointment of John Ackerman as a member of the Technical Evaluation Committee (CTE) by Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies has been challenged by representatives of three different political parties.
The CTE is slated to evaluate applicants to fill the posts of four members of the INE who will be leaving in April.
Ackerman, a law professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), was separately questioned by the Citizens’ Movement and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), which filed a complaint with the Electoral Tribunal, claiming that Ackerman does not meet the requisite of impartiality since he holds a teaching position at the Political Formation Institute of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party.
The PRD also filed for a trial of National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) President Rosario Piedra Ibarra by the Electoral Tribunal for suggesting Ackerman’s appointment as part of the CTE.
But that may not be the last challenge.
National Action Party (PAN) President Marko Cortés said on Saturday, Feb. 29, that his party is preparing its own challenge to Ackerman’s appointment.
Ackerman, a U.S. expat who has been living in Mexico for many years, said that he holds an honorary position at Morena party’s Political Formation Institute and that his work on the seven-member CTE will be to revise the hundreds of curricula vitae filed by applicants.
He also said that he represents himself, not Morena, in the also-honorary post.
U.S. Bans Sandoval
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday, Feb. 28, the following:
“Roberto Sandoval Castañeda, former governor of the Mexican state of Nayarit, misappropriated state assets and took bribes from narcotics traffickers. Today, I publicly designate him, making him ineligible for entry into the United States. We remain #UnitedAgainstCorruption with our partners.”
Pompeo also prohibited the entry to U.S. territory for Sandoval’s wife Ana Lilia López, his daughter Lidy Alejandra Sandoval López and his son Pablo Roberto Sandoval López.
In December, the U.S. Treasury Department pointed out evidence indicating that Sandoval had received payments from the notorious New Generation Jalisco Cartel.
“The Department will continue to use its authority to promote the responsibility of corrupt actors at a world level and near our border, particularly if that corruption is related to drug trafficking,” Pompeo added.
The Mexican Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) sent a diplomatic note to the Organization of American States (OAS) to request a third report on Bolivia’s 2019 elections.
The note specifically requested a clearing-up of existing differences between an analyses of the election carried out by the OAS, which concluded there had been mischievous handlings of the election.
A different study, however, carried out by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers indicated that there are no statistics to prove that there was fraud in the election, which had awarded then-incumbent Evo Morales the presidency again.
The OAS, however, has discredited the results of the MIT researchers, saying there are falsehoods in their study which distort the results of the audit the OAS published on Dec. 4, 2019.
Live AIDS Show
A group of HIV-infected patients at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) last week vandalized the gates of the main building on Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue, demanding immediate access to medicine.
Beyond the protest and the agressive misbehavior of the protesting patients breaking glass gates and shouting obscenities, a few of them cut themselves and spread their contaminated blood on the entrance of the IMSS building, in a potentially dangerous display of gross theatrics.
IMSS Director Zoe Robledo referred the patients to the IMSS-VIH Interactive Platform, which states that the IMSS has delivered AIDS medicine to 96.5 of HV patients, with only 3.5 percent of the prescriptions not filled.
Banxico: No Recession
Contradicting the accepted definition of four consecutive negative quarters signify that an economy is in recession, Banco de México (Banxico) Assistant Governor Jonathan Heath explainer:
“A recession has three essential characteristics: duration, diffusion and depth. When four quarters in a row duration are confirmed (with a minimum of two) there is a recession. However, the four (quarterly) rates are of only -0.1 percent each, which does not qualify for the depth criteria.”
Heath maintained that the diffusion criteria has been met, which implies that not all economic sectors registered a contraction.
Sports: Nadal is Champ, Again
There was one surprise at the 20th Mexican Open Tennis Tournament as world Number Two-ranked Rafael Nadal steamrolled over the U.S. rookie Taylor Fritz 6-3 and 6-2.
This is the third time Nadal has won the tournament, also known as the Acapulco Open, played for the last time at the Princess Hotel.
Nadal now has a record of 85-37 in championship competitions.
The women’s title went to Britain’s Heather Watson, who defeated also rookie 17-year old Leylah Fernández, a Canadian with Ecuadorean and Philippine parents.
The only surprise was that, for the first time in the history of the tourney, there is a Mexican champion.
In women’s doubles, Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos partnered with American Desirae Krawczyk to win the championship.
There’s always a first time.