Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
AMLO and Calderón Exchange Barbs
A tit-for-tat rift between former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and the current one, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has been going on throughout the last week.
Accusations galore are flying.
AMLO started the verbal spat by saying that during the 2006-2012 Calderón mandate, persons now being accused in the United States of links to drug trafficking in Mexico were “awarded prizes.” Among those people accused are former Calderón Security Secretary Genaro García Luna and two of his closest collaborators, Luis Cárdenas Palomino and Ramón Pequeño, all of whom Calderón knew well and now stand accused of protecting Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa Drug Cartel, of course, for a lot of dollar-denominated cash in return.
Calderón felt so insulted by AMLO’s accusation that he had run “a narco state,” that he in turn tried to smear AMLO on the same issue by saying that he had never shaken hands with El Chapo’s mother, nor released his son Ovidio, who is wanted in the United States on drug trafficking and murder charges, from literal arrest for extradition to the United States.
“The former president got mad at me, but it’s not my fault,” AMLO quipped back.
“The issue is not with me, but with the U.S. judge. The fact that I said hello to Guzmán Loera’s mother, well, I’d say hello to her again, but not with a handshake as I did before (owing to the growing covid-19 pandemic). How could I not to say hello to an elderly woman?”
AMLO also said that he made the call to release El Chapo’s son because he “did not want to risk the lives of hundreds of people (who would have died in combat between the gang and the Army).”
” I am responsible for that act,” López Obrador said. “But he (Calderón) must tell us about what García Luna knows because he was he (security) secretary.”
Calderón has adamantly denied any knowledge of the criminal accusations the three former security officials – chiefs of police during their respective shifts – to which, AMLO has replied by saying that “if he had nothing to do with García Luna, as he claims, that he has nothing to worry about.”
In referring to the mounting political rift between the two, Mexico’s Fiscal General of the Republic said that Calderón is not under any investigation.
But this did not stop the former president of complaining in a radio interview of “political persecution” because his new political party México Libre (Free Mexico) is gaining popularity.
Federal Policemen Indicted
Late Monday, Aug. 10, a federal judge issued arrest warrants for two former officials of the now-defunct Federal Police for allegedly embezzling more than 2.6 billion pesos during the purchase of a sophisticated espionage program known as Rafael.
The warrants were issued for Frida Martínez Zamora and Jesús Orta Martínez for the period when they were working as heads of the Federal Police during the administration of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
At that time, they were working directly under Interior (Segob) Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.
Officials belonging to the Specialty Under-Secretariat for Organized Crime Investigation (Seido) presented the charges before a judge at the Almoloya de Juárez (El Altiplano prison) court system. The judge issued 19 arrest warrants for alleged organized criminal acts against government resources.
Up until Sunday, Aug. 9, Orta Martínez worked for Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who, upon hearing about the Seido charges, requested his immediate resignation.
Osorio Chong, now a senator for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), along with his wife Laura Ibernia Vargas Carrillo, has sought habeas corpus protections known as amparos.
As of Tuesday, Aug. 11, there had been only one arrest of a former Federal Police SeGob official.
No Amparo for Tamaulipas Governor
The Sixth Collegiate Tribunal on criminal issues in Mexico City denied habeas corpus protection to former Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernández Flores.
That decision now makes possible now Hernández Flores’ extradition to Texas, where that state’s attorney general wants him him to stand trial on charges of criminal organization and bank fraud.
Union Leaders Bribed
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has slapped the South Carolina-based loan company World Acceptance Corporation (WAC) with a $21.7 million fine for covering payment for violations of the Corrupt Practices Abroad Law for crooked deals WAC allegedly carried out in Mexico between 2010 and 2017.
WAC México i accused of paying bribes to government officials and union leaders who distributed loans among thousands of workers, only to make a mint in return.
The government officials and union leaders allegedly performed as debt collectors, SEC head of compliance Charles E. Cain said.
WAC operated out of Monterrey.
For the same alleged swindle, the Mexican National Banking Commission and Values (CNBV) slapped WAC with a fine of just 12,951 pesos mexicanos.
Officials on Lockdown
After recently appointed Mexico City Government Secretary José Alfonso Suárez del Real announced on Saturday, Aug. 8, that he had tested positive for covid-19, Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum announced she was going into quarantine for observation until Thursday, Aug. 13.
Also taking a leave of absence for quarantine purposes is National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Vice President at the Chamber of Deputies José Luis Rodríguez, who made public that he had met three different times with the city officials.
He still has to be tested, but said that he “will work from home” for as long as necessary.
Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, Mexican tourism has been falling to abysmal lows, dropping by 68.9 percent, according to the official government National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI).
Inegi Director Julio Santaella said that in the first semester of 2020, at least 10 million tourists did not show up in Mexico, causing a drop in tourism revenues of $4.8 billion and rampant unemployment in the sector.
…Aug. 12, 2020