By RICARDO CASTILLO
Covid-19 Protection Arriving
Mexico received the first plane load of medical materials from China on Wednesday, April 8, to supply its hospital personnel nationwide of much-needed protection while caring for patients infected with Covid-19.
Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that Mexico paid $56.481 million to acquire 180,000 pairs of globes, 16,174,000 surgery masks and 11.5 million KN95 face covers.
Also, the Aeroméxico plane that arrived from China carried 5,000 respirators (ventilators) manufactured by Guangzhou Powercon.
The load was the first of 10 planes to bring the medical equipment and supplies.
A second plane was due to arrive on Thursday, April 9, with more KN95 face covers.
Ebrard is expecting four flights a week as part of the “air bridge” established with China for direct cargo flights, “depending on how fast they deliver the equipment to us.”
The materials are being immediately distributed to Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) hospitals, where some of the medical personnel have been staging street demonstrations because they lack the tools to provide proper care to patients.
IMSS Director Zoé Robledo has admitted that the IMSS got caught off-guard by the pandemic.
Other hospitals that will be supplied as medical materials arrive are Security and Social Services of Government Workers Institute (ISSSTE), Pemex hospitals and Navy hospitals.
Delinquent Taxpayers List
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced on Wednesday, April 8, that he had sent a sealed confidential report to the Business Coordination Council (CCE) president Carlos Salazar Lomelín with the names of 15 persons and companies that owe the government 50 billion pesos in back taxes.
AMLO said that if Salazar Lomelín actually wants to help the government through the Covid-19 crisis, he could push the delinquent persons and companies — all CCE members — to pay up.
AMLO said that Salazar Lomelín could entice them to pay up the 50 billion with which the government could buy 40,000 ventilators for coronavirus victims and also finance small business loans.
“If he can help us collect even half of it, 25 billion, we’ll be thankful to him,” AMLO said during his daily morning press conference on Thursday April 9.
“What we can no longer do is condone the debt because it is against the law.”
AMLO said he did not mention any of the culprits by name, “because I can’t legally do so.”
Legal Suit against Governor Barbosa
The Mexican Supreme Court admitted a suit alleging a constitutional violation against Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta for his recent decision to remove the municipal chief of police and other officials and appoint new ones without consulting the municipal council.
In reality, Barbosa Huerta ousted five chiefs of police in the municipalities of Amozoc, San Martin Texmelucan, Juan Crisótomo Bonilla, Huejotzingo and the city of Puebla. It was only the Puebla municipality that filed the suit.
The suit is rare since seldom a municipality challenges a state government decision, and it will be of national interest to see how the Supreme Court decides on the constitutionality of the governor’s “arbitrary” decision.
Trust Fund Uncertainty
Pulse News Mexico published that the Mexican Treasury will announce on April 15 the complete list of federal government trust funds that will be declared “extinct.”
But waiting for the list seems to be too much as many government workers – through social media – are getting reports that their Fund for Capital Savings (Fonac) is in the unpublished list.
Both the Federation of Unions of State Workers (FSTE) and the Center for Economic and Budgetary have announced the Fonac will not be on the Treasury list.
Yet many of the workers are still nervous as they use Fonac savings for small purchases like school materials in August for their children and all occasional needs.
For sure, the announcement of the extinction of 308 trust funds, or fideicomisos, has sent shivers up the spines of many subsidized beneficiaries who are dreading the Treasury list.
Fonac, however, the ISSTE stated in press release, is not one of them.
But for sure, in Mexico fear does now ride on a burro, it now flies on the internet.
Gold Ingots Plane Heist
Several heavily armed men stole an unspecified amount of silver and gold alloy ingots from a mine at a remote Sonora mountains, National Gold Mines said Thursday, April 9.
The company, a subsidiary of the Canadian corporation Alamos Gold, said workers were ready to transport the ingots in a hired plane that was to take off from the company’s landing strip when another plane landed and five armed men got off.
In a matter of just 10 minutes, the plane took off again with the bandits, who flew away over the mountains where the mine, known as Mulatos de Sahuaripa, is located.
Federal authorities are investigating the heist and checking all the nearby landing strips, but seemingly, the gold and silver alloy ingots were flown away.
In the midst of the current Easter “non-vacations,” Mexicans are tops among people worldwide disobeying the stay-home mandate ordered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A study by Google covering 131 nations shows that Mexicans have disobeyed the unenforced “stay-at-home” mandate and are in public spaces, including beaches, recreational and market places, as well as at work. The study compares Mexico to similar nations, such as Argentina and Colombia, where the stay-home rate is estimated at about 85 percent.
Sports: Play Ball? Not Just Yet
The Triple-A Mexican Baseball League (LMB) was originally slated to start on Friday, April 10, but then the starting date was moved to May 11.
The bad news is that it’s now been postponed to start sometime in June.
League president Horacio de la Vega confirmed the stalling due to the fact that the government’s health officials are announcing that the worst time for the Covid-19 pandemic will peak in Mexico during the first two weeks of May.
De la Vega also announced that players and umpires will receive partial wages from the competing teams.
The LMB president also said that, given the postponement, the season may extend beyond its usual time, which normally concludes at the end of August or the beginning of September. If extended, however, the league may invade times already secured by the autumn/winter Mexican Pacific League (LMP), which starts in October.
De la Vega said he is discussing with LMP president Omar Carrizales the programming of games to avoid affecting each other with scheduling.