By RICARDO CASTILLO
Jalisco Skids Deeper in Debt
As pressure grows on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) “to make use” of credits available from international funding organizations, the president becomes more adamant and intrinsic about pushing the nation into further debt.
Much of that pressure is coming from opposition state governors, who convened last week in Parras, Coahuila, to demand funds from the federal government.
Of the six governors, Social Encounter Party (MC) Enrique Alfaro managed to narrowly convince the Jalisco State Congress to approve a whopping loan worth 6.2 billion pesos “to attend the covid-19 crisis.“
Alfaro did not have enough votes at the beginning, but did some arm-twisting and finally got individual support from various parties.
This has worried AMLO, who has pleaded with the convening governors from the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Jalisco and Michoacan to “not engage in accumulating debt and rather tighten up your belts and be austere in your administrations.”
Alfaro had already received a 5.2 billion-peso loan, plus an extra billion to pay over 12 months.
The problem the federal government sees is that, since arriving in power on Dec. 1, 2019, until now, Alfaro has accumulated a 22 billion-peso debt.
Other governors, however, are pulling strings in order to get loans from eager lenders – mostly commercial banks, for now – for whatever limit their respective state budget permits.
Practical history has it that much of those funds are allegedly spent with, to use the Mexican journalism word, “opacity,” meaning, at the end of the term, nobody knows what the governor did with them.
The worst case scenario is that of the state of Coahuila, whose former governor, Humberto Moreira (2005-2011), left the state with a pending 36 billion-peso debt, which is still being paid off.
Jalisco’s Alfaro, who has voiced an interest in running for president in 2024, is heading in the so-called Moreira Syndrome of acquiring a mega debt and leaving the state in dire straits to garner the funds just to service the obligation.
Blaming the Wrong Culprit
Many a Mexican cartoonist, particularly the ones who dislike AMLO, tend to blame everything that goes wrong in Mexico on the president.
Such is the recent case in which the interim president of the majority National Regeneration Movement (Morena), Alfonso Ramírez Cuellar, proposed for Congress to vote in a bill to have the National Institute for Geography and Statistics (Inegi) inspect the fortunes of Mexicans who live in nice homes and apparently have sufficient funds to live well.
The first to oppose the bill was none other than AMLO.
He was also backed by Morena Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal, who burst forever Ramirez Cuellar’s dream of sending the Inegi in as finance inspectors, noting that such an act would be unconstitutional, for starters.
The fact is that the Ramirez Cuellar proposal was shot down.
Protection for Clean Energy
Judge Rodrigo de la Peza of the First District on Administrative Matters Specializing in Competitiveness, Radio Broadcasting and Telecommunications awarded a permanent habeas corpus to 13 wind and solar electricity producing companies.
These documents (amparos) provide protection for the companies amparos) against the edict issued by the National Energy Control Center (Cenace) demanding that they suspend activities.
The 13 join 10 more companies that had previously received temporary amparos against the Cenace injunction, making a total of 23 out of 44 companies registered to produce clean energy in Mexico.
The Mexico City.based judge allows the plaintiff companies to continue testing in order to supply the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) with power.
The question now will be whether the CFE will abide by contracts signed under the administration of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Niet and buy electricity from them?
That’s another legal battle that will be coming up.
Slim, the Poor Man
During the first quarter of 2020, many of the companies owned by Mexico’s Número Uno tycoon, Carlos Slim, took a beating, with losses galore due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Slim’s phone company América Móvil, conglomerate Grupo Carso, mining concern Frisco, among others, reported heavy losses, worth 24.5 percent of Slim’s wealth, now estimated at around $64 billion.
Walmart Caught Redhanded
Tax-evading supermarket chain Walmart de México made public on Monday, May 25, the fact that it had paid the Tax Administration System (SAT) 8.79 billion pesos in back taxes.
Walmart said in a report to the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa de Valores) that the amount “included the revision on the sale of the restaurant chain Vies, as well as other substantial fiscal concerns.”
In February, the SAT sent Walmart a bill for 10.559 billion pesos in back taxes.
Apparently, Walmart negotiated to pay somewhat less than the total alleged debt.
Mexican exports in April tallied a total of $23.384 billion, down 40.93 percent from the figure for the same period last year, according to a report published by the Inegi on Monday, May 25.
This was the steepest drop in 34 years.
In 1986, Mexican exports fell by 41.96 percent.
The current figure includes oil and maquiladora industry exports.
Imports into Mexico also fell, to $26.472 billion, representing 30 percent.
Still, Mexico registered a $635 billion trade balance surplus with the United States during that period.
Cyber Criminals Nabbed
Social Wellbeing Secretary María Luisa Albores said that the recently created federal government organization she leads has managed to “neutralize” 259 internet sites from which scams and frauds were being carried out in the name of the wellbeing programs she oversees.
An investigation, Albores said, was with the support of the National Guard and the Finance Intelligence Unit (UIF), showing “team work to neutralize the websites that were used to gather information and personal data theft.”
Arboles explained that the sites advertised on fake pages, offering wellbeing cards plus a 25,000-peso loan just by making a deposit in a real bank account.
Albores also pointed out that the covid-19 confinement has increased the incidence of cyber crime.
Sports: Morelia May Move to Mazatlán
It was Tuesday, May 26, “a matter of hours” before Morelia Monarchs soccer club owner Ricardo Salinas Pliego made the official announcement that the Monarchs would move to Mazatlán.
According to a news item published in El Sol de Morelia, Salinas Pliego had “blackmailed” previous Michoacán state governors into paying for the team to stay in the Michoacán state capital.
The current administration, led by Governor Silvano Aureoles was offering a 40 million-peso subsidy for the club to stay.
But sources in Sinaloa state capital Culiacán claim that Sinaloa Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppet offered Salinas 90 million pesos to move the franchise to Mazatlán.
Salinas is said to be pondering the offer.
…May 27, 2020