By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexican Beaches Closed for Easter
Mexican marines and municipal police have full control of Acapulco beaches to impede tourists from doing what they do best every Easter weekend: Enjoy their vacations.
Guerrero Governor Hector Astudillo held a press conference on Tuesday, April 7, to “acknowledge the efforts being made by the persons participating in actions to keep a watch over beaches, and the supply centers which help us avoid looting and secure supplies for all.”
Also on Tuesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) pleaded with all beach lovers to stay away and not to have to be evicted by military police from those recreational zones.
“Stay home,” he said.
By the way, AMLO will also stay at home at the National Palace, where he is expected to spend the rest of the Easter week.
Anti-Covid-19 czar epidemiologist Hugo López-Gatell (pronounce Gatey) reminded all Mexicans that this time Easter is not a vacation period, but a contingency period, which can only be fought through maintaining the least possible contact with one other.
In the meantime, there’s music, and yearning absentees like truly yours can watch and sing “Cuando calienta el sol, aquí en la playa.”
Hopefully, we’ll all be there as soon as this quagmire is over.
Peso Floats, Inflation Is Down
The Mexican peso was being exchanged Tuesday, April 7, at 24.01 per dollar, down 77.09 centavos from Monday, April 6, representing a gain of 3.11 percent after being at 24.89 and even 25 pesos flat over the weekend.
The inflation for March, according to the National Institute for Geography and Statistics, (Inegi) dropped down to 3.24 percent from 3.70 percent, a .005 percent decrease, in February.
The news was welcome by the Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico), which is riding over rough economic seas trying to keep Mexican inflations rates down and celebrating that it did much better than the specialists had forecast.
Outside analysts had predicted that inflation would at best drop to 3.47 percent.
Lower gasoline prices seem to have done the trick.
No Cabinet Changes
Fake news columnists in Mexico City’s top dailies announced last week “the imminent castling” (as if politics were a chess game) of Interior (SeGob) Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, with Ebrard moving to the Interior and Sánchez Cordero to Foreign Relations.
It did not happen.
Also being forecast was the firing of Treasury (Hacienda) Secretary Arturo Herrera over “differences” he had with AMLO over budging priorities.
It did not happen either.
What did happen was the true news that there were no changes in the cabinet and on Sunday, April 5, in a meeting after his first 2020 quarterly report on his administration’s actions, AMLO met with the full cabinet to request that they lower their wages and cancel their Christmas bonuses for next December.
The move will save the administration over 3 billion pesos.
Herrera on the Crisis
Treasury Secretary Arturo Herrera also “met” in a virtual chat with members of the Chamber of Deputies to compare the variables of the 2009 AH1N1 economic crisis with the current one.
Herrera informed the deputies that the impact of the global economic deceleration will hit Mexico a lot harder that it did in 2009, when the gross domestic product plunged by 6.2 percent.
The Junta for Political Coordination (Jucopo), headed by Chamber President Laura Rojas, was also informed by Herrera that the government had negotiated with banks to stop them from charging loan interests for three months.
Herrera likewise told Jucopo deputies that not all the government trust funds will be considered as “extinct.”
He that that only those that were used in past administrations as secret funds (the secretary used the Spanish term “guardaditos,” which means cash stashed away almost in hiding) will be annulled.
And, he said that even if AMLO announced that there would be about 740 billion pesos in “guardaditos,” Hacienda is still adding up the amount.
The list of government trust funds, or fideicomisos, will be made public next week.
25 Billion Pesos For Small Business
Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero acknowledged in a press conference on Monday, April 6, that the administration was conscious that business chambers and their leaders were unhappy with the economic activation plan presented by AMLO during his quarterly report Sunday, April 5.
“I have read the letters, press releases and publications the business leaders have made,” she said.
“In effect, they were not very satisfied with the president’s report. There is discontent, definitely. They openly manifested it, but I can say that the president will be taking care of the owners of medium and small businesses, both in the formal and the informal sectors.”
She added the administration wields a 25 billion peso budget that will go “half for formal and half for informal impresarios, who are the real people creating jobs and moving the cash flow.”
“We as government are no substitute for them because they hire a lot of people,” Sánchez Cordero said.
“We have to support them. The government will not leave them adrift.”
Looting in the Time of Pandemic
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 contingency, three weeks ago, National Association of Self-Service and Department Stores (ANTAD) president Vicente Yáñez reported that there have been 53 “criminal acts,” mainly in Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Querétaro, Puebla, Veracruz, Coahuila and Oaxaca.
Yáñez underscored that these looters are not doing it “because they are hungry” since most of the articles stolen are not food, but electronics.
The ANTAD spokesman added that of those acts, 37 attacks were clearly done by gangs of thieves while 16 were acts of public lootings.
Yáñez called on the federal government to put a halt to the looting which he said is draining the financial resources of already-economically strained businesses.
Sports: Donovan Yearns for TJ Game
One of the great binational sports dreams over the years has been to have top-class soccer played on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border.
This “dream” was about to start coming true on March 28 with a friendly between the San Diego Loyal and the Tijuana Xolos (Xolos is short for xoloscuintles, the now-very rare but not extinct native Aztec hairless dogs) at the Chevron Torero Stadium in Tijuana.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the match did not happen.
San Diego Loyal manager and former top U.S. striker Landon Donovan, known in Mexican soccer circles (he played for León two seasons ago, already in retirement) as Captain America, said he badly wants the game to happen.
“Yes, we absolutely want it to happen,” Donovan told the newspaper El Sol de Tijuana.
“We will work with our good friends at Xolos later this year,” said the top-scoring former star of the LA Galaxy and Team USA.
Both sides expect that the existence of a professional soccer team in each city will bring about a local rivalry that may bring people to the stadiums and good soccer to the region.