Mexico News Roundup
By KYLIE MADRY
AMLO’s Moneybags Brother Has Chutzpah
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues his assault on freedom of the press in his country, this time with his brother filing a suit against the journalist who published videos of him receiving large sums of money from a Chiapas politician.
The videos, taken in 2015, made waves when journalist Carlos Loret de Mola presented them in August on his internet show Latinus. According to the journalist, the same politician AMLO’s brother Pío López Obrador was meeting with, David León Romero, had the videos recorded.
León and López Obrador are seen in the videos talking about “monthly contributions,” which would add up to millions of pesos over the year and a half that the two met. In one video, León slides a stuffed manila envelope to López Obrador over the table at a restaurant (apparently, an under-the-table deal would have been too discreet). Ironic, too, as León was destined to take the lead as the anti-corruption czar of a newly formed public medical agency, until the videos came out.
In López Obrador’s complaint to the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) against Loret, he claims that the journalist violated his privacy by publishing the videos, and requested that Loret be fined and jailed for up to 12 years.
In a video published to his Twitter account, Loret says, “To sue a journalist, and ask that he be jailed, escalates the constant attacks against the press by the government and by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.”
AMLO Throws a Party for His Party
AMLO’s pet project has a birthday date: The president announced Sunday, Oct. 18, that his Dos Bocas refinery would open on July 1, 2022, to celebrate four years of his political party’s victory.
The president has bet big on oil since taking office, vowing to overturn decades of “neoliberal” policies that he claims have led to the downfall of Mexico’s national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). While he’s slashed budgets for other public services, AMLO has pumped more money into Pemex’s coffers, saying in September 2019 that Mexico “will sow oil … and reap self-sufficiency.”
The new Dos Bocas refinery in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, where AMLO is from, will also be joined by six existing Pemex refineries in need of repairs to produce an ambitious 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, under AMLO’s plan. Officials inside and outside of Pemex have expressed doubt over the plan, with one former official saying “it makes no sense at all.”
Mexican Immigration to U.S. Hits 10-Year High
The economic crisis due to the covid-19 pandemic has caused a drastic increase in Mexican immigration to the United States – hitting a 10-year high, according to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau.
The ambassador, who was nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump in March 2019, dropped the news in a lecture to university students Friday, Oct. 16. “It’s very important to try to find ways to promote legal, orderly migration, especially for workers who go and come back,” he said.
It’s also important to note that the embassy suspended temporary work visa interviews back in March, only allowing visa renewals to take place.
Landau has developed a reputation among Mexicans for his Twitter antics – garnering him fans and critics alike. In his lecture Friday, he stressed the importance of the relationship between Mexico and the United States, particularly due to migration and trade.
“The covid-19 pandemic has made clear the need to shorten and protect supply chains, it emphasized the importance of staying close to home, to bring new investments to North America and to promote bringing investments that left for other parts of the world back,” he said.
Maternal Death Rate Skyrockets
Covid hasn’t just affected Mexico’s migration rate, but the country’s maternal death rate as well. According to an Oct. 2 report by the Public Health Secretariat, Mexico has lost almost a decade of gains made against maternal deaths in just the past few months.
Compared with the statistics from 2019, the maternal death rate has risen by almost 50 percent. But not all of the deaths are due to covid-19: Only one in five of the deaths can be attributed to the illness, while the rest come from “traditional” causes such as hypertensive disease or obstetric hemorrhaging. These typically only occur among Mexico’s poorest women, who lack quality medical attention when giving birth.
But, many more are foregoing regular checkups throughout their pregnancies this year. Prenatal consultations were scheduled half as much as normal for the first six months of 2020, the Health Secretariat said, increasing the risk of complications throughout pregnancy and upon delivery.
…Oct. 21, 2020