By KYLIE MADRY
Do the Cabinet Shuffle
While the resignation of Mexico’s Security and Public Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo made headlines several weeks ago, more cabinet changes are coming, said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
To replace Durazo, AMLO proposed Rosa Icela Rodríguez, who had been appointed to oversee Mexico’s sea ports and merchant shipping in July, during his morning press conference Friday, Oct. 30. While Rodríguez has accepted the post, AMLO said, Deputy Secretary Ricardo Mejia will fill her role as she recovers from covid-19. Rodríguez is the first woman to serve as security secretary in Mexico’s history.
Both Durazo and David Monreal Ávila, general coordinator of livestock in the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (Sader), have resigned from their posts to run for governorship in the states of Sonora and Zacatecas, respectively.
Director of the National Commission for Physical Culture and Sports (Conade) Ana Gabriela Guevara, who is from Sonora, was also floated as a potential contender for the governorship.
In addition to the two federal resignations, eight state delegates and 11 regional directors resigned from their posts to run in the 2021 elections.
Former Odebrecht Director Denies Bribes to Mexican Presidents
In a shocking complaint filed in August, former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya Austin alleged receiving bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht on behalf of former Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderón.
Those allegations are false, the ex-director of Odebrecht México said through his lawyer in the first interview with Mexican press since the complaint was released.
Odebrecht shot into the international spotlight in 2015 when its CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, was arrested on charges of bribery to politicians across Latin America. Since then, he and dozens of other Odebrecht executives have been convicted.
In Mexico, Odebrecht’s operations were led by Luis Alberto de Meneses Weyll, the executive accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to former Mexican governments.
According to Lozoya, De Meneses Weyll paid him to deliver bribes to support Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign and to secure a contract for an ethanol plant under Calderón’s presidency. He confessed several years ago to doing just that, but has now retracted the statement.
No More Money for Federalist Alliance
The 10 Mexican governors who asked AMLO for more money won’t be getting it, the president announced in his morning press conference Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The Federalist Alliance, as the group has called itself, lashed out at the president last week, demanding cash from federal coffers – threatening to take “drastic action” if the governors don’t get it.
AMLO said Tuesday that the governors are “politicizing” the national budget, which the legislature is currently in talks to approve for 2021.
“It is not up to me, it’s up to the Constitution, it’s up to the law,” AMLO said.
“How am I going to transfer more resources to them? First, this is what is in the budget. Second, there is a distribution formula, we’d have to adjust to the legal framework.”
Wanted: 15,000 Vaccine Volunteers
The first covid-19 trial vaccines arrived to Mexico on Friday, Oct. 30, and now up to 15,000 volunteers are needed.
Mexico has signed on to be part of the CanSino Biologics study, joined by countries around the world.
CanSino, a Chinese lab, rolled out the first trials to members of the Chinese armed forces last week.
Mexico’s participants, from 12 states around the country, will make up 37 percent of the study’s total, according to EPIC Research Director Annette Ortiz Austin.
The trial begins this week, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Martha Delgado Peralta confirmed.
Cash-Strapped Interjet Takes Two-Day Break
Mexico’s third-largest airline, Interjet, abruptly canceled flights on Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
Almost 90 percent of the 2,960 affected passengers chose to reschedule their flights, Interjet announced Monday.
But the cancellations could be a signal of what’s to come for Interjet.
According to Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA), the state-run company that provides fuel to airlines, Interjet owes $55.7 million in fuel.
The employees union recently announced that they hadn’t been paid in over two months.
And the company can’t fill flights up fast enough. Simply put, Interjet is running on empty.
Buen Fin Gets a Christmas Bonus
Public servants will receive their Christmas bonus early this year to boost “Buen Fin” shopping, Mexico’s version of Black Friday.
AMLO announced the change during his Tuesday, Nov. 3, morning press conference, mentioning that changes would be enacted to prevent the spread of covid-19 during the historically packed weekend.
This year, Buen Fin will take place over 12 days, from Nov. 9 to 20.
“I am sure that we are not going to have any contagion problem,” the president said, asking shoppers and business owners to act responsibly, socially distancing and wearing masks, something AMLO notoriously does not do himself.
…Nov. 4, 2020