By RICARDO CASTILLO
Lozoya’s Very Staged Internment
What a hoax!
The elaborate circus staged in the wee hours of Friday, July 17, by the Fiscal General of the Republic (FGR) for the arrival in Mexico of extradited prisoner and former head of the state-run Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil company Emilio Lozoya Austin has a name: an outright farce.
Throngs of reporters who were waiting Lozoya’s arriva were fed no information regarding the arrestee, but at around 2 a.m., a convoy of four armored vans led by official motorcycles left the FGR facility at the, airport heading for the Mexico City North Side Penitentiary, the Reclusorio del Norte.
Many of the reporters took the bait and followed the convoy all the way to the penitentiary. The gates did not open and reporters took photos of a man wearing a cap, a mouth cover and bulletproof vest sitting in the back of one of the vans. It took the press 20 minutes to figure out the alleged prisoner was not Lozoya: It was a live decoy.
Meanwhile, at around 3 a.m., a helicopter took off from the facility actually carrying Lozoya to the Hospital Ángeles in the south of the city, where he was comfily treated for a stomach ailment and anemia.
Lozoya will now spend two weeks at the high-end private hospital, even though doctors at the North prison said they could treat whatever ailment he had, and the penitentiary in Madrid where he had been held for five months awaiting extradition stated that, when he left, Lozoya had a health check scan and there was nothing wrong with him.
In fact, thus far, Lozoya has not been charged with anything and Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal said that he is now considered as “a contributing witness,” the Mexican legalese term o say he’s a protected witness.
For all the commotion that the Lozoya extradition raised, it is now being deflated by the FGR, which did not even allow Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)know what’s going on,
On Friday morning, AMLO in Colima, told reporters that “Lozoya is under arrest at the North Penitentiary.”
Fiscal Pact Revision
AMLO felt the pinch caused initially by nine National Action Party (PAN) governors who have now since been joined by several more governors to demand a revision of the current federal fiscal plan.
While traveling last week through the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima, the president heard from the respective governors the same request time and time again.
“We are going to take into consideration this legitimate demand coming from state and municipal governments,” AMLO said in response, while at the same time pointing out that there has been an increase in resources sent to them.
The revision is now on the Senate floor, where several senators quipped: “It’s about time” since many states and municipalities have been left caught off guard by the pandemic.
AMLO agreed to come to terms with all the protesting governors.
INE Councilors Pre-selection
Twenty persons – 10 women and 10 men – were pre-selected by the Technical Evaluation Committee of the National Electoral Institute (INE) to be proposed to the Mexican Chamber of Deputies to fill four vacancies that will be left by outgoing INE councilors, who have completed their terms.
The 20 selectees were divided in four groups of five men and five women to facilitate the deputies votes.
Most of the original 360 applicants have had election organization experience in different states of the nation, while others have held jobs in governments.
The one disagreeing member of the Technical Evaluation Committee was law professor John Ackerman, who, according to an observer of the video meetings, “threw a pancho” (temper tantrum) and abandoned the meeting, claiming that the selections were “slanted” and there may have been a conflict of interest.
The seven members of the Committee issued a public statement lamenting “Dr. Ackerman’s attempt to disqualify the selections as there were no, as he claims, situations of conflicts of interest.”
The deputies will select the four new members of the INE on Wednesday, July 22.
Mexico City Gov’t to Conduct Testing
The Mexico City government signed collaboration agreements with the labs of government institutes Medical and Nutrition Sciences, Respiratory Ailments and Genomic Sciences to double the number of coronavirus testing kits they are producing, as well as to speed up the three-day delay to deliver results.
Eduardo Clark García Dobarganes of the Public Innovation Digital Agency said the objective is to apply up to 3,500 tests daily at a cost, to be paid by the city government, of 600 to 700 pesos each.
When the pandemic broke out the city could only do as many as 657 tests.
Customs and Ports to Military
On Friday, July 17, AMLO announced a the coastal resort of Manzanillo that he had made the decision to hand over the management of Mexico’s maritime ports to the Navy and land ports of entry to the Army in order to reduce “the introduction of drugs and contraband.”
Customs are alleged to be the most infamously corrupt offices within the federal government and AMLO said that he was “going to act by cleaning and regaining the entire customs system in the country.”
“This morning at the security meeting, we made the decision that all land and maritime customs houses will be under control of personnel of the Navy and Army,” AMLO said in his morning press conference.
Exactly how that transition process will come about has yet to be announced.
Bail for Duarte on Hold
Miami Federal Judge Lauren F. Lewis postponed until July 30 the hearing of former Chihuahua Governor César Duarte, who has been charged with embezzlement and corruption will be considered eligible, or not, for bail. The hearing was originally scheduled to be held on July 24.
Duarte is currently under arrest at the Miami Federal Detention Center.
The main witness against Duarte is current Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral, who has filed suits for “aggravated embezzlement and conspiracy” and who has claimed that Duarte had 11 different open investigation files and has recovered 446 million embezzled pesos.
Duarte took refuge in Miami and was “making a living” selling used auto parts when arrested.
…July 20, 2020