By RICARDO CASTILLO
Hunting the Big Five
The Mexican Senate gave fast-track approval to a request from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to hold a popular consultation on whether to bring to trial five former presidents.
The Senate rushed the bill through over the Independence Day holidays (Tuesday, Sept. 15, and Wednesday, Sept. 16).
The proposal, which contains only the question of whether to approve or not the referendum, is now in the hands of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice, which immediately turned it over to Judge Luis María Aguilar Morales to review its constitutional validity.
If approved, the question would be included in the midterm elections on June 6, 2021.
The five presidents from 1988 through 2018 would stand separately accused of electoral frauds, complicity with organized criminal gangs, delivering tax money to private individuals and banks, and a diversity of acts of corruption.
Debate remains high over the constitutionality of the requested referendum, and several law professors at different universities have claimed that a popular consultation violates democratic human rights and due process.
Some have also claimed that a juridical trial must be regulated on technical reasons based on law and not through a popular vote.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, said again that he would vote no on the national consultation, but he still baffles people by wanting to carry it out.
Judge Aguilar Morales has 20 days as of Tuesday, Sept. 15, to turn in a report on the legal implications of such a public consultation.
If the proposal is approved, AMLO will then issue an executive order to the National Electoral Institute (INE) to include it in the electoral voting sheet.
Mexican Independence Fiestas
López Obrador led two main events commemorating Mexico’s the 210th Independence Day anniversary.
At 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, he shouted the famous “Cry of Dolores,” which marked the initiation of the war for independence from Spain.
Then on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 16, he paid homage to 58 health professionals, doctors and nurses, who have worked in government-owned hospitals.
They were each given Mexico’s highest medal of honor, the Miguel Hidalgo decoration, for their “heroism, bravery and dedication to caring for thousands of patients infected by the covid-19 pandemic.”
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero, while on the podium were Chamber of Deputies President Dulce María Sauri Riancho, Senate President Oscar Eduardo Ramírez and Supreme Court President Arturo Saldívar.
The event, held outside the main National Palace gate, finished with a limited parade that included a parachute drop, floats and military horseback riders, as well as military planes flying over the Zócalo square.
The public was not allowed to participate in order to comply with covid-19 safe distancing practices.
It Is Trump, Again
U.S. President Donald Trump once again threatened the Mexican government with penalties unless it does more to combat international drug trafficking gangs.
“Unless the Mexican government shows substantial progress,” Trump said, “Mexico may face a great risk if it is concluded that it has not complied in a demonstrative way with its international commitments for drug control.”
AMLO said he would not answer the threat since, to him, it was just part of the electoral discourse now underway in the United States.
“There’s nothing to fear,” he told reporters in his daily press conference on Thursday, Sept. 17.
“We have to be careful because of the elections in the United Stats, so it is best to wait. The election is still a month and a half away and the statement doesn’t merit an immediate strong response because our relationship with the United States is one of good standing.”
Super Bowl? Not Without Holy Whackamole
Michoacán avocado growers are improving their alliances with other business institutions.
As of last week, the Avocado Growers, Packers and Exporters Association (APEAM) joined the Michoacán Business Coordination Council (CCEM).
Michoacán Economic Development Secretary Jesús Melgoza Velázquez said that the APEAM joining the CCEM is “a show of solidarity among private businessmen, backed by the state authority.”
“We have worked a lot to make this alliance come to pass,” he said, “but it is the first of many more underway. We are applying a strategy that seeks to make the state economy more dynamic.”
Melgoza admitted that the covid-19 pandemic had badly battered employment in the state, noting athat through this joint venture among businesspersons, the state is teaming up to take advantage of “the kindness of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Trade Agreement (USMCA).”
The avocado farm industry hires about 400,000 persons in the state for the production of over a million tons of fruit each year, both for national consumption and world export.
Of that total, 200,000 tons are sold as guacamole, which is probably the favorite snack for Super Bowl fans.
Capital Flight Slows
The Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico) reported that after five continuous months in which foreign direct investment was in declining, in August the negative streak of private investors buying foreign debt subsided.
Banxico said that during August, investors bought a total of 13.303 billion pesos in government instruments, a 0.74 percent increase over July.
The total amount of debt bonds in the hands of foreign investors now stands at 1.81 trillion pesos.
…Sept. 18, 2020