Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexican Steel King Tanked, Again
Spanish police on Saturday, Nov. 8, arrested Mexican citizen Alonso Ancira Elizondo in the island resort of Palma de Mallorca.
Ancira, head of the steel foundry Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA), now faces extradition to Mexico.
He was free on bond but the court, known as the National Audience of Spain, rejected a habeas corpus (amparo) plea submitted by his lawyers.
The Mexican fiscal general on charges of corruption and tax fraud, is requesting that Ancira, who was first arrested in Mallorca on May 2019 on money laundering charges related to a sale his company made to the state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) of an allegedly worthless fertilizer manufacturing plant, be sent home as soon as possible.
Legal sources in Spain claim that Ancira, nicknamed in Mexico as the “King of Steel,” will remain in jail until he is extradited sometime next year.
No Biden Recognition, Yet
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said Saturday, Nov. 7, while visiting flooded Villahermosa, Tabasco, that he will wait until “legal matters” in the United States are settled regarding the election of Joe Biden as president before formally acknowledging his win.
“We don’t want to be imprudent, we don’t want to act lightly, and we don’t want to be respectful of the self-determination of other nations,” AMLO said.
He added that current U.S. President Donald Trump “has been most respectful with us.”
AMLO said that he met Biden during a 2010 visit in which he delivered a letter to him explaining the nature of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party.
AMLO said that his relations with Biden are good but that he would congratulate the U.S. president-elect once the Electoral College officially declares him the winner.
Senate Writes to Landau
The Mexican Senate Political Coordination Junta (Jucopo) sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau on Wednesday, Nov. 4, soliciting information on the charges in the United States against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos.
“What were the reasons for not informing Mexican authorities regarding the subject of a potential arrest, taking into consideration the importance this type of investigation according to the current legal framework for information exchange?” the Jucopo asked.
Previously, Landau acknowledged that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials involved in the arrest carried out in Los Angeles has informed him of it.
The ambassador said he was forbidden to disclose it because of legal secrecy rules in the United States, which were the decision of a grand jury.
The letter was signed by Senators Ricardo Montreal of Morena, Mauricio Kuri of the National Action Party (PASN) and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
The senators also wanted to know who were the witnesses against Cienfuegos and what was their legal status, among other sensitive trial-related details.
Cienfuegos in Brooklyn
Speaking of Cienfuegos, he was transferred from Los Angeles to Brooklyn last week.
He had his first court appearance on Thursday, Nov. 5, from his cell via a video conference. Cienfuegos is temporarily quarantined due to covid-19.
The interview was full of transmission glitches and was rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14.
The head of the defense lawyers team, Edward Sapone, complained that the case is being guarded as top secret and “we have not received even one page of alleged evidence.”
Sapone also warned that Cienfuegos’ trial “is going to be a long one.”
Botín: Invest in Mexico
The president of the Spanish Santander banking system, Ana Botín-Sanz de Sautuola O’Shea, said during an international bank meet, “I’m surprised that the United States does not look south to invest. There is a fantastic opportunity in Mexico, consumption is growing.” in spite of the covid-19-provoked crisis.
In tandem with Botín’s recommendation came comments from BlackRock investment fund director Larry Fink, who agreed with her on profitmaking opportunities “not just in Mexico, but Latin America in general”
“For us. it is a haven with 600 million people, 300 without a banking account,” he said, “and we’re witnessing an increase in digital banking across the region.”
Mariasun Skips Town
Mexico’s wealthiest woman, María Asunción Aramburuzavala, known as Mariasun for short, is reportedly taking her capital out of Mexico and fleeing north to the United States.
The former wife of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza, who served here from 2000 to 2008, inherited a fortune through the Modelo brewing company, bottlers of the world-famous Corona beer.
She sold Modelo to Heineken in 2012 for a hefty profit of more than $20 billion.
Her reasons for disinvesting in Mexico are that she made a mint with various business ventures under former Mexican Presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, but under AMLO, her business successes have been brought to a standstill since he demands that investors show high performance and low capital gains.
This does not mean that Aramburuzavala has a bad relationship with López Obrador.
Between 2000 and 2005, she was involved with the revamping of the once-rundown city center in a project cooperated by Carlos Slim, the nation’s wealthiest man, when AMLO was the mayor.
However, López Obrador is now asking her to pay higher taxes.
Railroad operator Kansas City Southern Mexico (KCSM) filed a complaint with the Mexican Fiscal General claiming a group of 20 union teachers demanding back pay from the state government has blocked the railroad track leading out of the Pacific Ocean port of Lázaro Cárdenas.
“This blockade prevents us from having operational and train movement programming,” the complaint read.
Thus far, at least 240 laden trains have been stalled, some of which have been robbed.
“This is causing us hefty losses,” a KCSM press release said.
…Nov. 9, 2020