Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
Brutal Contradictions in 4T
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary (Semarnat) Victor Manuel Toledo Manzur in an apparently private gathering called on the public not to idealize Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) Fourth Transformation (4T) ideological program because, he said, there are within it “brutal contradictions” and “it does not exist” when it comes to protecting the environment.
The tape is now streaming on social media and the story was top news in several major national newspapers on Thursday, Aug. 6.
Toledo launched a frontal attack against the president’s chief of staff, Alfonso Romo, calling him the main obstacle to environmental programs and the energy transition.
Toledo also said that Romo hosted a breakfast between him and Mexico’s main copper mining entrepreneur Germán Larrea, in which he was pressured “to be more accessible” to Larrea in Semarnat’s investigation on the Cananea copper mine chemical poisoning of the Sonora River.
Toledo also launched an attack against Agriculture and Social Development Secretary Victor Villalobos for focusing more on agrobusiness than on agro-ecology by approving the use of banned pesticides.
In his brief barrage against presidential cabinet members, Toledo also acknowledged having “differences” with Energy Secretary Rocío Nahle; He did not go into detail.
Toledo, AMLO’s second Semarnat secretary, said in the tape: “We are making a great effort, but we are not in a government that is totally on our side and we should not idealize the 4T. The 4T is an administration of brutal contradictions and all of the (pro-environment) vision we hold is not shared within the cabinet nor in the president’s mind.”
AMLO has not yet responded to Toledo’s remarks.
Oaxaca Bans Sale of Junk Foods
The Oaxaca state assembly approved by majority an amendment to the Law of the Rights of Boys, Girls and Teenagers banning the sale of soft drinks and junkfood to minors.
National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Party Deputy Magaly López Domínguez proposed the bill, which seeks to protect the health of children and teens in the state against diabetes, hypertension and obesity, now the main linked cause of death in the current covid-19 pandemic.
Now, only adults in the state will be allowed to purchase soft drinks, potato chips and other unhealthy food products.
War on Fake Invoicing
Mexico’s Fiscal Attorney of the Federation (PFF) Carlos Romero Aranda said that government officials “at all levels” have simulated biddings and government permissions in “a criminal pact with factoring enterprises” worth over 350 billion pesos annually through fake invoicing to avoid paying taxes.
At a video conference gathering with Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral and Treasury Secretary Arturo Herrera on Wednesday, Aug. 5, Romero Aranda detailed how money flows into “inexistent ghost companies” from government sources for the purchase of goods and services that are never supplied.
The Treasury and PFF signed an agreement with Corral – the first of its kind – to have the Chihuahua government supply information to prevent the use of fake invoicing and detect ghost companies and straw representatives who carry out these fraudulent acts of tax evasion.
Never-Ending Lasting Pandemic
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, during a video conference with various governors and Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero on Monday, Aug. 3, said that while most state leaders have some idea “of national coordination” to confront the covid-19 pandemic in a united front, there are too many differences among them to achieve that goal.
Many Mexican governors have called for the resignation of presidential appointee covid-19 czar Hugo López-Gatell because of his repeated mistakes in handling the crisis, but during the video meeting it was clear that that is not going to happen.
On a related issue, Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa announced the partial reopening of the state’s economy.
“It will not be a total reopening like in other cities” as the contagion, continues to increase on a daily basis.
Puebla Business Coordination Council President Ignacio Alarcón announced that the partial restart of activities would include 150,000 companies with over a million employees.
“We are all ready to get back to work,” Alarcón said.
Visa México director Luz Adriana Ramírez said in a video conference that that due to the covid-19 pandemic, the use of credit and debit cards for purchases is increasing in Latin America as a whole, and particularly in Mexico.
At a conference to promote the use of debit cards by children and youths, Ramírez acknowledged an increase of debit and credit card payments in Mexico.
“This is highly relevant because we know Mexico is a cash-based country, but the pandemic has sped up significantly the use of digital payments,” as well as the use of contactless payments in which users don’t have to have contact with an ATM, she said.
A Check on Electoral Financing
The head of the Treasury Secretariat’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) Santiago Nieto Castillo announced the creation of “a fence” to prevent political parties or individual candidates from receiving funds from criminal organizations for their campaigns.
“We’ve established a relationship with the National Electoral Institute (INE) to avoid that candidates at a state level can receive financing from criminal groups dedicated to drug trafficking,” Nieto Castillo said.
“The fence will also prevent candidates from receiving funds from business groups outside the framework and amounts established by the law.”
He added that Mexico “has a strong electoral system, but one of the things that must be prevented from happening i illicit financing.”
…Aug. 7, 2020