By RICARDO CASTILLO
Weathering a Perfect Storm
Over the past few days, representatives of all o Mexico’s major banks have held separate press conferences previous to the annual Mexico Banks Association Convention, now being held in Acapulco.
Each of the interviewed representatives showed acceptance for the policies of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
This is an indicator that when the president addresses the convention on Friday, March 13, as a keynote speaker, the nation’s bank directors will be pretty much in tune with his proposals, including opening up checking accounts for whatever loans the government may need and for whatever purpose, as well as for private developers.
One thing that has been made clear over the past 15 months is that AMLO may be a left-wing politician, but in practice he has done nothing that smacks of hard core socialism. This means there will be a continuity, without any radical move to the left.
This is what is needed now that the nation – and banks – are confronting the perfect storm involving the coronavirus pandemic, the world stock markets going bearish and the drop of oil prices.
But can the government and banks withstand it all?
The challenge ahead will be to remain steady and find a way to pull out of this economic storm – which can be devastating to the nation if not weathered correctly — and that’s what today’s get together in Aca is about.
Predictably, the outcome will be similar to the old political cry: United we stand, divided us fall!
Little Susie Woke up
At long last, the U.S. drug interdiction agencies have come out of their seemingly eternal siesta.
Two U.S. Embassy conducted in Spanish on Wednesday, March 11, announced a crackdown being carried out against the powerful Mexican drug trafficking Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) and the arrest of 750 members in different parts of the United States, as well as the confiscation of $20 million in cash and 20 tons in drugs.
The announcement of the bust came also with info to Mexican security and anti-money laundering czars Alfonso Durazo and Santiago Nieto as to the location of four different front businesses belonging to the CJNG in the states of Jalisco and Colima.
Nieto immediately froze the accounts of those four apparently legal businesses.
The $10 million reward for info leading to the capture of CJNG’s top kingpin Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, remains on.
Now is the time to start dismantling this savagery-ridden cartel at home.
The ball is in Public Security Secretary Durazo’s court.
In a side comment on Durazo, AMLO ordered him to fire from the Security Secretariat all remaining officers linked to former Secretary Genaro García Luna, soon to go on trial at a New York Federal Court.
There is suspicion that they may still be linked to the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
The Guanajuato Cartel
And while I am on the subject of cartels, about 50 members of the Santa Rosa de Lima criminal organization native to the state of Guanajuato – home for thousands of US and Canada expats and one of the nation’s epicenters for violence, representing 15 percent of all murders last year, according to government statistics – went on two road rampages this week, burning vehicles and vandalizing whatever was inside.
The group operates mostly along the road from Celaya to Salamanca.
Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said that the Santa Rosa cartel is hearing steps on the ceiling as a still loose noose is circling its top leader, José Antonio Yepes, nicknamed El Marro (The Sledgehammer).
Fake news media reports announced that he had been nabbed by the State Judicial Police, but it was really a confusion as the man arrested, after a shootout, was his father, now being held without an arrest warrant. He did not participate in the shootout, but was obviously under gunmen protection.
El Marro, formerly a huachicolero (fuel thief) at the Pemex Salamanca Refinery, threatened to take revenge “against civilians is my refinery is not returned to me” when AMLO declared war on fuel theft. He’s kept his word and his gang – bitter enemies of the CJGN over the territory – has wreaked havoc with extortions, kidnappings and murders, particularly in the industrious and industrial city of Celaya.
El Marro, however, is still at large.
The Federal Electoral Tribunal approved the candidacy of National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) law professor John Ackerman to serve as a member of a National Electoral Institute (INE) technical committee to select potential candidates to replace four INE councilors who will be leaving office in April, after having served the time limit of nine years.
Ackerman’s approval came after a bitter fight because he was proposed by Human Rights Commission (CDH) President Rosario Piedra, with many CDH officials quitting on her with bitter comments as to her performance.
All the same, Ackerman is in to participate in the honorary committee to interview the 360 candidates for INE councilors.
AHMSA, Emergency Zone
Monclova, in the northern state of Coahuila, where the steel-smelting company Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) is based, may soon be declared an emergency zone, since two of its three blast furnaces have gone cold due to company duress.
The jobs of 20,000 workers are in peril.
The request for the emergency declaration will be presented by Morena Senator Armando Guadiana and Institutional Revolutionary Party Senator Verónica Martínez, who have been notified by local government officials that the money to operate the company has run out.
The problem began when the company owner, Alfonso Ancira, was jailed in Spain – at the Mexican government’s request – for participating in organized criminal activities, along with former Pemex Director Emilio Lozoya Austin.
Both are now fighting extradition to Mexico.
Sports: Soccer Team Cancels Tour
Once the U.S. Major League Soccer announced Wednesday, March 11, it was suspending its normal season for one month due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mexican Soccer Federation followed suit and canceled a tour to the United States for Soccer Team Mexico, which was to play friendlies against the Czech Republic and Greece.
Both matches were to be played at Charlotte, North Carolina, and Arlington, Texas, on March 26 and 29, respectively.
Another friendly match for Soccer Team Mexico, slated for May 30 in Denver against Colombia, remains scheduled, for now.