By KYLIE MADRY
Foreign Meds to Flood In
Mexico’s medicine shortage will come to an end, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced at his morning press conference Thursday, Oct. 29.
The country signed a deal with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for 32 billion pesos to buy medicine from outside of Mexico, which, until a few months ago, had been impossible.
Recently, the country has been facing shortages and alleged robberies of badly needed treatments, like pediatric cancer medications, and parents of children with cancer have launched protests across the country to get the care their kids need.
A representative of the Pan American Health Organization reported that cancer medicines, as well as the covid-19 vaccine, would be distributed as part of the agreement.
According to the agreement, the 384 types of treatment purchased will begin to be distributed in January or April of next year. The announcement comes one day after the Mexican legislature’s decision to take 33 billion pesos destined for treatment of rare diseases out of the Health Fund in order to purchase covid-19 vaccines.
With Senate Approval, Mexico’s Ports Militarize
The militarization of Mexico’s seaports received the rubber stamp of approval from the Senate Wednesday, Oct. 28, coming a month after the bill was passed through the house.
Now all that’s left is AMLO’s signature to make the move official, allowing the Marine Secretariat to take control of customs and ports, a role formerly held by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT).
AMLO announced the plan in July, with personnel changes coming shortly after.
The handoff is part of AMLO’s war on corruption, saying that with ports and customs in the hands of the Marines, drug and weapons smuggling would be snuffed out.
Critics have called the switch “unconstitutional” and a “militarization” of the job, which customs head Horacio Duarte Olivares has denied.
Day of the Dead Becomes Day of Mourning
What are typically days of celebration will take on a sad note this year, as Mexico’s Day of the Dead will be turned into days of mourning for those lost to covid-19.
AMLO made the decree earlier this month, applicable Saturday, Oct. 31, Sunday, Nov. 1, and Monday, Nov. 2.
The Mexican flag will be flown at half-mast those days, as a sign of respect to “every one of the Mexicans who have lost their lives in the past year due to (covid-19),” according to the decree.
AMLO also announced that the government will install an altar in front of the National Palace, with the hopes that families of loved ones lost to covid-19 will participate.
This is Mexico’s second national mourning during the pandemic, after a month-long period declared by the president earlier this year.
In Wake of Covid Deaths, Cremations Skyrocket
As to be expected in the midst of a pandemic, both burials and cremations have shot up in Mexico, according to statistics released by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
Interestingly enough, cremations went up 76.8 percent in the first six months of 2020, while burials only rose 20 percent.
The increase in cremations could be due to several factors, including cost and fear of covid-19 transmission from a body.
Costs of both cremations and burials rose in the past year, according to Inegi, with the average cremation now costing 17,852 pesos, up from 16,800 pesos last year, and the average burial costing 27,180 pesos, up from 25,920.
Some cities also reached 100 percent burial capacity this year, including Acapulco, Campeche and Mexicali. Others, like Mexico City and Colima, expanded cemeteries.
Superama Gets a Facelift
Walmart Mexico and Central America announced that Superama, a grocery store chain that it owns, will gradually become Walmart Express.
As soon as November, Walmart announced Wednesday, Oct. 28, Superama stores in “strategic” locations across Mexico would be converted to Walmart Express stores.
This is the mega-company’s latest move in Mexico, where it also operates Walmart, Sam’s Club and Bodega Aurrerá chains, along with the 93 Superama locations.
…Oct. 30, 2020