By RICARDO CASTILLO
Curtain up, the “L” Show Is On
Finally, Mexico’s Fiscal General of the Republic (FGR) ordered the start of the trial of former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya Austin on two separate charges.
The charges will be dealt with in separate hearings.
On Tuesday, July 28, Federal Judge José Artemio Zúñiga Mendoza opened the first of the hearings at 9:35 a.m. to inform prisoner Emilio “L” of the charges levied against him.
For starters, the federal government is charging him with corruption on the purchase of fertilizer plant Agro Nitrogenados at an alleged overprice of over $200 million from steel mill Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) owner Alonso Ancira. Allegedly, “L” received a $3.4 million dollar kickback for the sale.
On Wednesday, July 29, prisoner “L” will continue to be informed of charges of corruption in a series of alleged kickbacks from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for hefty money-losing contracts with Pemex.
In both cases, “L” also faces charges of money laundering and criminal organization activities, as he allegedly used his sister, his mother and his wife to triangulate financial deposits internationally. The three women are slated for related trials.
Notably, while Zúñiga Mendoza issued his information for the prisoner from his Mexico City North Side Penitentiary court, the prisoner remained in therapy at the Hospital Ángeles.
The two communicated via live video-conferencing, which is now a legal way of carrying out a trial in Mexico.
Lozoya is said to have undergone a minor esophagus surgical intervention and has shown signs of anemia from several months of detention in a Madrid, Spain, jail while waiting extradition.
Prior to the start of the trial, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), during his daily press conference at the National Palace, called on Mexican public to follow Lozoya’s trial closely because “it is about corruption in Mexico.”
AMLO said that it will no doubt “shake up Mexico’s so-called political society.”
On Monday, July 27, AMLO devoted the entirety of his daily press conference to demonizing the Boeing 787 Dreamliner presidential plane as an example of the “excesses of the past,” claiming former Mexican presidents lived high on the hog while wasting people’s money in luxuries.
AMLO said he resented the fact that the plane was named after one of Mexico’s founding father, José María Morelos y Pavón, who was a poor priest that led the independence movement without the privileges of luxuries.
“Instead, a more fitting name would have been Agustín de Iturbide, Antonio López de Santa Ana, Porfirio Díaz or Carlos Salinas de Gortari,” AMLO said, disparagingly.
The last name on the list, of course, is a living former president with whom AMLO has an ongoing ideological battle going.
“This airplane is an insult to the people of Mexico, who undergo so much need and even poverty,” AMLO said, while standing next to the plane in the Presidential Hangar.
“Look at this opulence. It makes a normal person feel small.”
The plane has been for sale to the highest bidder since AMLO took office in December 2018.
New Ports Coordinator
Recently appointed Communications and Transportation Secretary Jorge Arganis Díaz Leal swore in Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez as the new coordinator of ports and merchant marines.
Rodríguez Velázquez, a journalist-cum-politician, was born in the state of San Luis Potosí, which is landlocked.
She said she comes into the “give a hard shove” to the increase of merchant marine in the nation. She was appointed after working as the political coordinator for several years for current Mexico City head of government Claudia Sheinbaum and is seen as an honest administrator.
Previously, she served as head of the Institute for the Elderly from 2009 to 2012, coordinator of the Mexico City political cabinet under Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, and supervisor of the city’s 71 public security territories.
She will now work directly with the Navy to provide seabound security.
The Mexican Chamber of Deputies held an extraordinary assembly on Tuesday, July 28 ,to discuss and legislate pending issues its members consider of importance.
Themes on the agenda were the establishment of a new Fiscal (Tax) Council, a new bill of wages to protect the rights of women, and a new bill of Acquisitions by the Federal Government to facilitate the purchase of pharmaceuticals abroad.
Outsourcing, Not so Cheap
The recently released 2019 Economic Census Data by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (Inegi) stated that companies which have increased their use of outsourced personnel, representing 15.5 of total employment in the country, pay more per worker than they would have had they hired directly.
According to an Inegi census, 4.1 million people are hired as outsourced employees by companies other than the one they actually work for, costing hiring companies 140,270 pesos a year more per worker.
This figure is in contrast to the average wages of the 16.3 million employees that depend on the company they work for, whose medium annual income is 128,258 pesos per person a year, a difference of 9 percent between the two groups.
The widest payment differences, the census says, are in agriculture, electricity, water and gas, health services and hospitality industry.
Cuban Doctors Go Home
The 558 Cuban doctors that were intended to help medics in Mexico City take care of covid-19 pandemic patients returned to Havana on Saturday, July 25, where they were received as national heroes.
In Mexico, however, throngs of doctors protested their presence and cost as Mexico City Health Secretary Olivia López Arellano said the city paid the Cuban government $6,255,792 for their help.
Allegedly the Cuban doctors received salaries of about 20,000 pesos a month, compared to the 8,000 to 10,000 pesos a month paid to Mexican public health physicians.
It is not known how much the Cuban government paid them for working on covid-19 patients in Mexico.
The Mexican peso has continued to regain lost ground against the U.S. dollar.
On Tuesday, July 28, the official Central Bank of Mexico sell quote was 22 pesos flat to the dollar, with a gain of 26 centavos from the day before.
The bank said the buy quote was at 21.99, with the peso staying steady on a 21.90 to 22.10 trading range.
Sports: New Pitching Record
Cleveland Indians southpaw pitcher Oliver Pérez beat a record in major league baseball on Sunday, July 26, becoming the first pitcher to last 18 seasons in a row.
Oliver Pérez went to the mount in the seventh inning in a match against the Kansas City Royals, marking his 18th season in the majors.
With this outing, he broke records previously established during 17 campaigns by Aurelio Rodriguez, Fernando Valenzuela and Juan Gabriel Castro.
At the same time, Pérez joins the Indians Mexican presence once-batting great Bobby Avila, who had a .354 average during the 1954 American League 1954 season.
…July 29, 2020