By RICARDO CASTILLO
Jacobson’s Hearsay Interview
Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson probably regrets giving an interview to reporter J. Jesús Esquivel that ran on Sunday, May 3, in Mexico’s weekly magazine Proceso.
Esquivel mangled the information so badly that Jacobson had to send a set of tweets to claim that she didn’t say what Esquivel said she said.
But then, that’s what she gets for talking to Proceso reporters who tend to always turn any interview against the interviewee.
Beyond that, there were notorious collateral damages.
The Proceso article made reference to how much the U.S. Embassy knew about the involvement former Public Security Secretary (under President Felipe Calderón) Genaro García Luna had with kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and, mainly, what Calderón knew about that?
Jacobson claimed in the interview that she said that she’d heard from embassy officers who had heard from Mexican informants.
In short, it was all hearsay, which is, of course, often unfounded and the equivalent of gossip, not serious enough for serious journalism.
But in the end, whoever claimed Proceso, a political gossip publication, did serious journalism?
What’s news, again, is the collateral damage not only to Calderón, but also to his hopes to launch his new political party – along with wife Margarita Zavala – called Free Mexico.
Will the National Electoral Institute authorize it to post candidates for the 2021 midterm elections? That’s pretty much in doubt now that the García Luna trial is going on in a Brooklyn Federal Court.
Calderón is trying his best to cleanse his name and is claiming he was unaware of García Luna’s alleged corruption-ridden six-year stint as security commissioner.
As for Calderón’s relationship with the U.S. Embassy, he is now remembered as the man who booted Ambassador Carlos Pascual out of Mexico, immediately following the WikiLeaks scandal.
AMLO, Trump and the Wall
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said that he will be meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump “in June or July.”
The purpose of the meeting will be the start of the revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
But is Trump thinking in tandem with AMLO? Perhaps what the U.S. president has in mind is the November presidential election.
Here is Trump’s May 4 tweet on the matter:
“Mexico is sadly experiencing very big coronavirus problems, and now California, get this, doesn’t want people coming over the southern border. A Classic! They are sooo lucky that I am their president. Border is very tight and the wall is rapidly being built!”
Peso Holds Steady
The Mexican peso seems to have weathered the recent oil prices slump storm and has stabilized at under 25 to the U.S. dollar.
On Tuesday, May 5, the official peso price was 23.81 to the dollar, down from the 24.06 traded on Monday, May 4, according to Bank of Mexico (Banxico) data.
Optimism stemmed from the fact that factories in California and Texas restarted operations on Monday while some other U.S. states may be joining production soon.
Duty-Free Sugar Exports
Mexico will be able to export up to 1.42 million metric tons of refined sugar to the United States during the remainder of the year.
The quantity represents, according to the Economy Secretariat, about 26 percent of the estimated national production.
On April 30, the U.S. Commerce Department published a notice in the Federal Register regarding the continuation of an extension the suspension agreements that had previously ruled against the import of Mexican sugar between 2014 and 2017 based on charges of dumping and subsidized production.
The extension of the suspension is for five more years.
New Oil Finds by Repsol
On Monday, May 4, the Spanish oil drilling company Repsol announced the discovery of two new crude wells along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline in the states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
These two new wells are in addition to four others discovered by the company so far this year.
The two wells are approximately 88 kilometers offshore and Repsol said that with the six wells – fuel to be delivered to the state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) under contracts – Mexico will add 650 million more barrels in potential production.
The new Polok-1 and Chiwol-1 wells have a depth of 2,620 and 1,850 meters, respectively, and the yield good liquid proprieties.
Their well’s oil columns are 200 meters deep each.
In the meantime, the price of Mexican crude per barrel for export closed Tuesday, May 5, at $18.17 per barrel, a 45 percent hike over Thursday, April 30, and apparently headed higher.
Covid-19 Curve Starts to Flatten
The coronavirus contagion curve in Mexico has diminished by nearly 75 percent in the past week, Undersecretary for Health Prevention and Promotion Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday, May 5, in his daily press conference.
“We’re managed to reduce contagion by between 60 and 75 percent thanks to the measures taken,” he said.
“There was a decrease in the number of cases on a state-by-state basis as soon as we began with the healthy social distancing program.”
At first, López-Gatell said, the number of cases doubled every two days and now duplication is happening every six days.
“We are flattening the curve,” he said.
“But let there be no misunderstandings; flattening the curve does not exactly mean totally flat, because that would imply we do not have an epidemic. It is just slowing down.”
López-Gatell said that expectations at the end of the pandemic – no date has been slated for an end as of yet – are that it will leave about 2,000 to 3,000 more Mexicans dead, with the total nearing 6,000 lost lives due to the infection.
As of Tuesday, May 5, the total number of dead was 2,200, “a figure we would not have had had we not applied safe social distancing procedures,” López-Gatell said.
Funeral for Folk Singer Chávez
The ashes of the famous Mexican folksinger, actor and composer Oscar Chávez were delivered to his wife Raquel Vázquez on Sunday, May 2.
Chavez, 85, passed away at a hospital after being interned with a coronavirus infection.
Chávez became a celebrity during the ’60s and ’70s with his political satire songs, chastising corrupt politicians, as well as for his renowned “Por Ti” (“Because of You”) ballad, in which he describes his jealous love for his first wife.
Chávez also sang songs celebrating Che Guevara, as well as to Macondo, Gabriel García Márquez’s imaginary city in his Nobel Prize-winning novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
His widow, a former classical dancer and choreographer, said that his ashes are at “home” but that she would hold a wake and a funeral at a later date for him, as “conditions are not suitable now” due to the covid-19 lockdown.
Chávez’s music remains popular among old-timers.