Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mothers and Doctors
The Mexican Public Health Secretariat, the National Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the National Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) reported that the 9,600 female doctors on call due to the covid-19 spent Sunday, May 10, Mother’s Day, on duty.
The report was made by the nongovernmental organization Mom Doctors, which includes 13,500 members working for government and private hospitals throughout the nation.
They all deserve special recognition for their double sacrifices for society and humanity.
Pulse News Mexico salutes them all, along with all the medical workers who are helping to keep the country safe.
Foreign Press Attacks in Unison
Mexico’s covid-19 czar, Public Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell, questioned what he called the “synchronized” publication of four similar articles questioning the figures he reports on a daily basis regarding coronavirus infections and deaths.
The articles were published, all on Friday, May 8, by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the international edition of Spanish newspaper El País.
The international publications came in tandem with an attack from former Health Secretaries José Narro of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Julio Frenk of the National Action Party (PAN).
The correspondents for the respective international newspapers quoted both Narro and Frenk, but the interviews were carried out by local correspondents in Mexico City.
Narro was also interviewed by the national newspaper chain Organización Editorial Mexicana, which publishes 52 dailies, including El Sol de México in Mexico City, while Frenk was interviewed by the daily El Universal and not by the abovementioned international newspapers.
Both Narro and Frenk accused López-Gatell of “underreporting” the number of covd-19 cases, both of contagions and deaths, something López-Gatell flatly denied, saying that his reports are timely and accurate.
In a separate statement, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) accused both Narro and Frenk of acting as spokesmen for “political interests” and making accusations that in their terms in office (Frenk served under Fox and Narro under Peña Nieto) both inaugurated hundreds of non-operational hospitals leaving behind “a cemetery of abandoned hospitals and clinics.”
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau expressed concern on Friday, May 8. regarding about the reintegration of the broken supply chains between Mexico and the United States.
In a video conference organized by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Mexican Council for International Affairs (Comexi), Landau pointed out that the U.S. manufacturing industry expects to get restarted between May 11 and May 18, while the Mexican government has not made any announcement as to when it will restart binational trade operations.
Landau pointed out that a major problem in Mexico was that AMLO left all of the responsibility for the covid-19 pandemic to the Public Health Secretariat, and “basically, the authority to stop all nonessential activities.”
The result has been that the Health Secretariat came up “with a very narrow list of essential industries.” forcing the closure of many maquiladora in-bond assembly plants.
Many U.S. industries, Landau said, are complaining that although they may open up in the United States, they will have trouble sourcing from Mexico.
Currently, only about 30 percent on maquiladoras along the U.S.-Mexican border are operating.
“Third Call” Unheeded
Using the phrase “third call” (“tercera llamada”), which is traditionally used in Mexican theaters to announce that the curtain is going up and the play is about to begin, Business Coordinating Council president Carlos Salazar Lomelín made his third summons to López Obrador to modify his strategy for confronting Mexico’s impending economic crisis.
Mexican businesses have repeatedly sought government support to cushion the blow to their revenues that is being caused by the covid-19 lockdown.
But AMLO once again rejected the idea of the government intervening to save businesses in distress.
“If a company goes bankrupt, let the industrial sector be the one to rescue that company, because the state has to protect all its citizens” he said.
“It would be immoral to use state funds to rescue companies or financial institutions from bankruptcy.”
INE Files against Executive Order
The National Electoral Institute (INE) filed a suit with the Supreme Court on Friday, May 8, against a presidential decree reducing the air time with which radio and television concessionaires pay their taxes.
The INE argued that with the decree (an executive order), AMLO invalidated the institute’s authority to manage official air time, much of which is earmarked to promote political parties.
If the decree is approved, Mexico’s radio and television industries will no longer be able to broadcast as many as 6,340 promos for parties.
The decree is slated to go into effect on Friday, May 15.
Laughing All the Way to the Bank
The National Commission for the Protection and Users of Financial Services (Condusef), a branch of the Treasury Secretariat, announced that the nation’s banks netted a profit in the first quarter of 2020 of 46.484 billion pesos, an increase of 3.71 billion, or 7.1 percent, over the same period a year before.
The report was based on data from the National Banking Commission and accountings from private banks.
Kiko’s Home Searched
A house owned by former Baja California Governor Francisco “Kiko” Vega in that state’s capital, Mexicali, came under a search warrant issued by the state’s Superior Auditor, not only to “Kiko” but also to two of his administration’s officials, Antonio Valladolid and Bladimiro Hernández, charging them with a fraud of 1.586 billion pesos.
There were also charges presented regarding the property alleging that the former governor had not paid its water bill since 2015.
The three are charged with criminal organization to steal money from the state.
Current Baja California Jaime Bonilla said that also being investigated are monies allegedly missing from the Family Integration System, which were managed by Vega’s wife Brenda Ruacho.
Bonilla said the state wants to get its money back, “and no, this is not a witch hunt.”
Mexico’s National Meteorological Service (SMN) reported two separate devastating tornados over the weekend, one in the state of Nuevo León, which had winds ranging from 180 to 220 kilometers per hour, and another on the northern part of Puebla, in Zacatlán, with winds ranging from 135 to 175 kilometers an hour.
In its report, the SMN said: “Tornados in Mexico occur more frequently than believed but are not generally called tornados, They are known to Mexicans as water snakes, rain snake or whirl winds.”
There were sizeable damages as a result of both rain snakes.
…May 11, 2020