By KYLIE MADRY
Dr. AMLO’s In
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) reported testing negative for covid-19 Wednesday, Oct. 21, following positive cases among several of his cabinet members over the past week.
He threw in his two cents at his morning press conference, telling Mexicans to eat healthy to avoid catching the virus.
“Don’t eat in excess, don’t eat fatty foods, lower your salt intake, then sugar, and limit processed foods,” AMLO said.
It’s worth noting that in Mexico, around 70 percent of those killed by covid-19 had comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes or obesity – obviously an issue for a country that has struggled to promote healthy eating.
But medical specialists point out that these are not issues solved overnight, and going on a diet certainly won’t prevent you from catching covid.
Please, continue to wear a mask and social distance – especially for Mexico City residents, who could be entering “red light” restrictions again.
Senate Doesn’t Trust the Public Trusts
Despite widespread criticism from opposition parties and the public, AMLO’s party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), used its political muscle to get rid of 109 fideicomisos, or public trusts funding projects in the arts, sciences and more, on Wednesday, Oct. 22.
The party claimed the funds were rife with corruption, but decided to keep two fideicomisos in particular active: the funds for Mexico’s customs service and military weaponry purchases.
The vote was so controversial that it couldn’t even take place in the Senate chamber, as protestors had blocked the entrance.
Now, the money from the scrapped fideicomisos AMLO said will be used to tackle the pandemic, and that he’ll have his legal adviser audit the funds “to see if there are any irregularities.”
Wells Run Dry: Water Cuts and a U.S. Deal
Some of the Mexico City neighborhoods hit hardest by covid-19 are having to forego regular hand washing for two days this week.
Thursday and Friday, Oct. 22 and 23, neighbors of Iztapalapa in Mexico City and Nezahualcóyotl and Los Reyes La Paz, in Mexico State (Edoméx), will do what they’re long accustomed to: going without.
The National Water Commission (Conagua) announced the cut to the La Caldera water pumping station due to “corrective and preventative maintenance” just one day before, on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
These zones have long been plagued by water shortages thanks to the Conagua and the Mexico City Water System (Sacmex) failing to maintain a crumbling infrastructure that hasn’t grown with the population boom over the past 70 years.
In the north of the country, Mexico scrambled to deliver 208 million cubic meters of water to the United States via the Río Grande before the Saturday, Oct. 24, deadline dictated by a 1944 water treaty between the two countries.
In exchange the United States sends about four times as much water through the Colorado River, but experts and farmers in both countries have criticized the agreement, saying an 80-year-old treaty isn’t suitable for today’s agricultural climate.
Inflation Rate Ballooning
Mexico’s year-on-year inflation rate rose again in the first half of October, according to a report by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
The rate went up 4.09 percent in the first half of the month, higher than the 3.93 percent rise seen in the second half of September.
That’s more than experts were hoping for, according to a Reuters poll, which predicted a 4 percent rise.
The Bank of Mexico (Banxico) cut interest rates to 4.25 percent in September, and some analysts are expecting another cut at Banxico’s next monetary policy announcement on Nov. 12.
The rising inflation has largely been tied to an increase in electricity, gas, and fruit and vegetable prices.
Cienfuegos Can’t Run
A U.S. federal judge denied bail to Salvador Cienfuegos, Mexico’s former defense secretary, after he was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering at the Los Angeles International Airport on Oct. 15.
Cienfuegos did not appear at the 15-minute hearing, which took place Tuesday, Oct. 20.
At the hearing, his attorney offered Cienfuegos’ “life savings,” about $750,000, as bail.
The attorney said his client, who is 72, is at high risk of contracting covid-19 in prison.
The judge was unconvinced, saying Cienfuegos was instead at high risk of fleeing the country.
AMLO laughed at the news during his Tuesday press conference, saying Cienfuegos had “very important connections in Mexico, who could protect and hide him.”
…Oct. 23, 2020