By RICARDO CASTILLO
AMLO: “I’m not an ornamental vase”
There must have been more to the matter than met the naked eye.
If not, why did Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) raise so much hell over it?
On Sunday, April 26, the Mexican Business Association and the investment department of the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) announced that they had struck a deal for a $12 billion loan to Mexico for reverse financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises to pull out of the financial crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
Most of the beneficiaries were suppliers to larger companies and their invoices would be sold on credit to the BID, which would bring much-needed cash flow to Mexico’s private sector.
So far, so good.
Among things mentioned in the original announcement was the “approval” of the loan by the Mexican Treasury Secretariat.
That fact alone hit a wrong note for AMLO.
On Monday, April 27, the president said he “did not like the crooked little ways” (“el modito,” to use the Spanish term AMLO used) in which BID Representative in Mexico Tomás Bermúdez hinted that the loan was supported and would be backed by the Treasury.
AMLO even went as far as to say that the decision to include the Treasury’s approval was taken without his authorization.
“I’m not a decorative flower vase on a table,” he told the negotiators during his daily press conference.
It was the talk of the rest of the day Monday, with finally both Mexican Business Association president Antonio del Valle and Bermúdez changing their story to make it clear that the finance program would not include government resources, and as such, does not require the Treasury’s approval, and that if the Treasury was mentioned it was because Mexico is part of the BID financing nations.
AMLO, however, saw the whole “scam” as an attempt to have his administration finance private debt to later be picked up as public debt in order to have, in the long run, “bankrupt banks, rich bankers,”
AMLO said this referring to another Fobaproa, the 1997 fund to rescue savings for which Mexico is still paying.
“As long as it doesn’t affect the government’s budget, however,” AMLO said, “they can go for it.”
New Customs Chief
On Tuesday, April 28, AMLO announced he would be submitting the name of Horacio Duarte to the Senate to approve him, or not, as the new head of Mexico’s General Customs Office of the Treasury Secretariat.
Duarte, said AMLO, is an honest man of integrity, who would take care of the Customs department “because that’s where corruption is at and we’re going to support him to clean up Customs.”
At the time of AMLO’s proposed appointment, Duarte was working as undersecretary at the Labor Secretariat.
Duarte will replace Ricardo Ahued, who returned to his seat at the Senate.
Duarte was the third official to be appointed to Customs during AMLO’s administration.
Walmart Could Get Fined
The Mexican Consumer Protection Attorney (Profeco) announced it has filed an administrative suit against 23 supermarket stores –13 of which belong to the Walmart chain and eight of which belong to the Bodega Aurrera group — for “unjustified” price hikes on eggs, tortillas, sugar, beans and cooking oil.
If they are found guilty, the corresponding fines will be between 169,000 pesos and 4.7 million pesos, depending on the case.
The two chains are established all over Mexico.
Heavily armed men wearing ski masks, riding in private vehicles and wielding a portrait of deceased terrorist Osama bin Ladin were reportedly seen in the southern Chihuahua municipalities of Parral, Santa Bárbara and Allende over the April 24 to April 26 weekend.
The men were said to be part of criminal organization New People, which belongs to the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
The men handed out bags with groceries to needy people in various neighborhoods, and the bags were gladly accepted by residents facing tough times as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
The bags reportedly also had Bin Ladin’s portrait printed on them.
Rules for Parties to Give Up Funding
The National Electoral Institute published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, April 28, a set of 10 regulations for political parties to give up part of the budget allotted to them by law to beneficence causes.
Among the requisites for releasing financing by the executive party president are proof that the decision was voted on by consensus at a meeting, that discounts are to be made on a monthly – not global – basis, that the parties must specify the amount of the budget they are giving up, that the parties are under obligation to meet regular operational and campaigning expenses, the surrendering monies does not exempt the parties from their political obligations and the given up amount must be returned to the Treasury to be applies to benefits.
The largest amount being returned is by National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, which this year will give up approximately 3.2 billion pesos to support the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.
Sports: Tech’s Alarcón Goes to Cowboys
Monterrey Institute of Technology offensive tackle Isaac Alarcón has been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys to participate in the upcoming 2020 season practice.
Alarcón has played for the Tech Wild Rams, helping them to win the 2019 National Organization of American Football (Onefa) championship.
He also participated as a selected player in the Aztec Bowl played between the United States and Mexico combines.
Alarcón said, “I don’t just want to be an American football player. I want to be an example for my country. And I want to bring hope to Mexicans.”
Alarcón will be playing under the aegis of the Cowboys’ new coach Mike McCarthy.
…April 29, 2020