Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
Pressure to Restart Work
Pressure on the Mexican government to get the economy going again is mounting from all sides.
Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer, who is responsible for determining which municipalities and industries can reopen, however, does not yet have an answer.
“In general there are approximately 990 municipalities applying to restart, but only about a third of them are ready,” he said on Tuesday, May 12.
“This something that we are still considering, but about a third of them will soon restart commercial activities.”
The United States government, which is pressuring the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to restart industrial activities now is, currently pondering a date.
Mexican Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez said that she is now in talks with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to try to coordinate Mexican auto parts industries to open up earlier than their U.S. counterparts in order to restart the supply chain and be on time for auto assembly in the United States.
Additional pressure is coming from all industries.
Fernando Alanís Ortega, president of the Mexican Mining Chamber (Camimex), said the industry is ready to reopen as early as Monday, May 18, because the sector has the advantage that miners can keep a safe distance from each other at work.
“The risk of contagion is very low,” he said.
But the stiffest pressure is coming not from any organized industrial chamber, but from street vendors, the so-called informal economy, made up of thousands of Mexicans who survive on a day-to-day basis, who are chanting: “We’d rather die of coronavirus than from starvation.”
San Miguel de Allende
One municipality that can surely qualify to restart operations as soon as Mexican health authorities decide to begin reopening the country is the gringo hub of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
The municipal administration, headed by Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal, reported that the city and environs have registered only nine cases of covid-19 infections, all of which have been medically resolved with no deaths.
The already 45-day lockdown of city activities, which has included stiff regulations for all restaurants in terms of hygiene and rigid social distancing, have been maintained.
Most of the San Miguel eateries, which survive off of tourism, are currently offering delivery services.
But, without people on the streets, the old colonial city looks a lot like the image it sells itself as, its chief tourist attraction: a colonial ghost town.
Baja Electoral Law Reversed
The Baja California electoral law that was voted into passage last year, extending to five years the period of governance for current Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla was overturned by Mexico’s Supreme Court.
Several political parties and organizations challenged the extension voted on by the Baja California electorate after in the July 2018 election Bonilla was voted in to serve only for two years.
Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar said that the extension was unanimously rejected by an 11-0 vote because it was a violation of the public vote, as well as Constitutional Article 105.
Zaldívar also said that the extension violated popular sovereignty and the International Human Rights Convention, which stipulates that elections be carried out freely with esplicit periodicity.
Zaldívar added that the three-year extension approved by the Baja California Congress was “a true electoral fraud and was against the Constitution.”
Baja California will have to hold gubernatorial elections in 2021- this time for a five-year stint.
Bonilla said that he did not agree with the Supreme Court decision but would abide by it.
Soldiers on Streets Five More Years
Through an executive order published in the Official Gazette on Friday, May 8, AMLO declared that the Mexican Army and Navy will remain on street security duty for five more years in order to allow for the newly formed National Guard (GN) to fully develop its infrastructure.
The National Guard was formed less than a year ago, but given Mexico’s high crime rate, it has been incapable of keeping up with its job of curbing violence.
The decision to keep Army and Navy soldiers on the streets will allow GN members to establish territorial domain and gain local support.
A rift between coalminers and the director of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has erupted in the northern state of Coahuila, where the nation’s largest coke coal deposits are located at.
Producers allege that the CFE failed to comply with previously agreed upon coal delivery contracts signed by former administrations.
The coal producers claim that Energy Secretary Manuel Bartlett even tried to modify agreements to acquire lower volumes of coal at reduced prices.
The miners have blockaded the Coahuila state central road at points such as Nueva Rosita and Sabinas, at the heart of Mexico’s 16,000-square-kilometers in size so-called coal belt.
For now, the CFE, plaintiffs claim, has stopped the purchase of at least 250,000 tons of the fuel, which provides electricity to carbon-electric plants in Nava and Piedras Negras, along the border with Eagle Pass, Texas.
Peso Remains Stable
The peso-dollar exchange has remained stable at around 24 pesos to the greenback, even as the fear caused by the prospect of a second wave of covid-19 infections threatens nations around the globe.
The peso quoted as low as 23.9 to the dollar on Tuesday, May 12.
Sports: Mexican Grand Prix Tickets
The Mexico Grand Prix is still slated to take place, with tryouts to be run on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, and the race itself to be held on Nov. 1, regardless of the present covid-19 curfew on all sports activities.
Organizers said that they have planned to print and sell event entry tickets between June 12 and Sept. 1, which will still give them leeway to sell the usually-sold-out event at the Rodríguez Brothers Auto Track.
Just last week, rumor had it that the Formula 1 race would be held without an audience, but with this announcement from Grand Prix organizers, that rumor is gone, assuring that, as usual, the Rodríguez Race Track will be filled to the brim.
…May 13, 2020