By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexico-U.S. Border Shut for Nonessentials
U.S. President Donald Trump perhaps was not precise enough when he announced on Friday, March 20, that with the agreement of the Mexican government, he was “closing the border” as of midnight.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency had to come to the immediate rescue with a press release clarifying the the border would be closed to “nonessential travelers,” such as border crossers, short distance tourism and recreational visits to the United States.
“Legitimately documented travelers will not be subject to announced restrictions,” the press release said.
It also warned that Ports of Entry have “the necessary tools to identify foreigners along the border” who will automatically be returned “to Mexico or Canada.”
All exports from Mexico or Canada for commercial travel will be subject to normal surveillance, but allowed to go through after meeting the legal status.
In other words, the border checkpoints continues to be open for trade.
On the Mexican side of the border, the policy is pretty much the same, with a special eye on the detection of potential coronavirus-infected travelers.
AMLO Warns Mexican Not to Panic
While commemorating the birthday of nation’s political father, Benito Juárez on Saturday, March 21, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) pleaded once again with people not to panic over the presence of Covid-19 in the country, stressing that the government’s platforms to counteract the virus are ready to go.
In his memorial speech to Juárez, ALMO went on to say that all spaces at health clinics and hospitals were prepared for the pandemic with both personnel and drugs, plus the emergency DNIII plan, usually implemented by the Mexican Army and Navy, is in place. “We have all that’s needed” to battle against the virus.
“What’s most important is that there is organization,” AMLO said.
“There is leadership and governance in the nation. I tell all Mexicans to be confident and to not fall prey to manipulative propaganda. When information must be transmitted, it is I who is going to do it, with all clarity. Be attentive to whatever I say. The Mexican people should listen to their president, because I am never going to deceive you.”
AMLO reiterated his previous statements saying that the nation will not face economic difficulties, either due to the still-low-profile Covid-19 epidemic or to the plunge in international oil prices, which has made Mexican oil exports oil hit rock bottom.
“We are doing well in applying the plan according to the strategy we’ve been following for the past three months,” AMLO said, long before many other nations in the world. We’ve done it professionally, with the leadership of technicians and scientists, not of politicians, columnists or broadcast commentators, who have overnight become experts in the handling of the coronavirus.”
AMLO said that the diffusion of information on Covid-19 should be done responsibly.
And he added: “There is a government that protecting its people.”
Banxico Lowers Interest Rates
Confronted with a deteriorating economy and growth expectations and a potential inflationary surge, the Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico) cut the intra-banking interest rate, lowering it from 7 to 6.5 points.
This is the sixth time that Banxico has cut rates since January 2019.
Other motives for the surprise cut were the imminent economic threat of Covid-19, as well as the collapse of global oil prices.
After the ruling majority National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party at the Mexican Chamber of Deputies voted to approve a reelection package that has irked both AMLO and Senator Ricardo Monreal, it seems likely that the bill will not make it past the Senate.
Meanwhile, the use of a majority vote – in a session that was not attended by many minority deputies due to the Covid-19 curfew agglomerations – has come under fire, with critics using the same phrase that Morena deputies used to use during the time when the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) held the majority rule: “They are a bunch of gandallas,” to use the popular Mexican slang for jerks.
Nevertheless, the Deputies’ approved bill has been sent to the Senate. We’ll see what happens next.
Airport Management Corp.
AMLO announced that the ongoing construction of the new Mexican airport just north of Mexico City, which will be called Felipe Ángeles, will be managed by a newly created company called Aifa Anonymous Society of Variable Capital (Aifa, S.A. de C.V.)-
Aifa will operate under a civilian judicial entity in accordance with regular business accounting regulations.
The airport – which has advanced 7 percent in its construction – is being built by the Mexican Army. which will oversee its management once it goes into operation, sometime after 2022.
Aifa’s CEO will be Mexico’s defense undersecretary in turn and its board of directors will be the secretaries of Communications and Transport, Treasury and Tourism, as well as the Army Bank (Banjército) and two independent advisers.
Mexican health authorities on Thursday, March 19, presented a new fictional cartoon character named Susana Distancia.
The name was presented by Health Secretariat epidemiologist Ricardo Cortés Alcalá and its named “Susana”, or Susan, a blue and pink character Cortés Alcalá claims is “a social measure to prevent the propagation of transmissible ailments.”
The name Susana is a compound word for the words su, meaning your, and sana, meaning healthy, with, of course the word distancia, which means distance.
In short, the message is to keep your healthy distance during the Covid-19 crisis.
Nothing wrong with the campaign since there is nothing wrong in trying to make people more aware of safe practices, but some critics are questioning – in this case, the government – about just how corny you can get?