By RICARDO CASTILLO
Inside the Closed Dinner
Does the name Patricia Armendáriz ring a bell? Most likely not.
But, she was the only business woman invited by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to join him at last week’s White House meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Armendáriz, who runs a highly successful savings, loans and investments organization called Financiera Sustentable (Sustainable Financing), reportedly sat at the table of honor dinner at the White House dinner with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau.
She was also the only person to offer an insider’s account of the closed-door dinner that began at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until after 10 p.m.
She said that Trump, as host, opened up discussions by telling his U.S. guests “prepare your question, because it’s time to invest,” meaning in Mexico.
Armendáriz told reporters that all of the U.S. entrepreneurs present delivered a short speech, with Sempra Energy CEO Jeffrey Martin talking about his company’s $1.9 billion investment in Mexico with confidence that the investment was safe-and-sound and with less bureaucratic hassle than investments in Asian nations.
Her “report” contrasted with the view held by some of AMLO’s detractors, who have been discrediting Mexico as a sound investment haven under the current administration.
After 10 p.m., Armendáriz told daily La Jornada that the businessmen gathered in small groups with AMLO, joining in chats while sipping scotch.
During his Friday, July 10, press conference at the National Palace, Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez read a letter to AMLO from Business Coordination Council (CCE) President Carlos Salazar Lomelín, who recently said AMLO “slammed the door on us”, referring to the Mexican business community.
The letter said; “These are moments of responsibility and unity, due to which we reaffirm our disposition to collaborate with you.”
Salazar was not invited by AMLO to join the entourage for the summit. Ouch!
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary (SRE) Marcelo Ebrard announced that the Mexican government would request Canada for the extradition of the former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, Tomás Zerón de Lucio, wanted in Mexico for allegedly tampering with the investigation of the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa normal school students in 2014.
“We are doing something similar to what with did in the case of (former Chihuahua Governor) César Duarte Jáquez, in Tomás Zerón’s case,” Ebrard said.
“Part of our job as the Secretariat of Foreign Relations is to guarantee that, where there are cases of this nature, the extradition is carried out.”
Zerón now joins the short list of former Mexican public officials’ extradition.
The one case that has already been won by the SRE is that of former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya, whose extradition has been approved by a Spanish court. He should be flown to Mexico any time now.
In related news, AMLO met with the parents of the missing students on Friday, July 10, for the sixth time since he took office in December 2018. They discussed the progress of the investigations.
In addition, the Fiscal General of the Republic was awarded 10 arrest warrants by judges against members of the Federal Ministerial Police for their alleged participation in torture sessions against suspects in the kidnapping of the missing students. At least 25 more federal police officers may be arraigned.
Getting Back to Normal “Too Fast”
On Saturday, July 11, Mexico’s covid-19 czar Hugo López-Gatell said that the coronavirus pandemic traffic light would remain in red and orange for most of the nation because recent attempts at reopening the economy have produced increased contagion.
“There are no yellow or green lights at this moment,” he said.
According to Mexican Health Secretariat data published on Saturday, July 11, the total accumulated number of infected people in Mexico as that time was 295,268, with a whopping 6,094 cases reported between Friday and Saturday alone.
Lopez Gatell blamed the increase on an “accelerated reopening” of movement to persons, which is affecting some places in Mexico more than others.
For instance, he said, the data from Durango and Zacatecas shows the number of infected persons has increased by as much as 55 percent during Epidemic Week 21 (last week), while new cases have decreased in the state of Chihuahua.
López Gatell also took back a statement he made that was considered controversial by several state governors – particularly of the minority National Action Party – blaming governors for the new surge of covid-19 cases.
“Who is to blame for covid-19? No one in particular,” he said. “Nobody is responsible.”
Each state governor has his own approach to dealing with the pandemic.
Working from Home
The MX Internet Association carried out a poll among its members who have been working at home over the past three months because of the pandemic.
The 2,500 person-poll showed that people working at home believed that they had more work than usual during that time.
A large 90 percent of the work-from-homers said that they now prefer working from home and 70 percent said they feel more productive.
The result of the poll is that the trend to work at home is a definite one and that confinement has changed work habits dramatically, perhaps on a permanent basis.
…July 13, 2020