By RICARDO CASTILLO
Outsourcing Bill on Collision Course
The bill to “reform labor outsourcing” sent to the Chamber of Deputies by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) last week is definitely heading toward a collision course in Congress.
Mexican Labor Secretary Luisa María Alcalde complied the bill with the helping hand of the heads of the Mexican Treasury (Hacienda), the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), the Housing Institute (Infonavit) and the Federal Fiscal General (FGR).
The bill is expected to fast track in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.
Nevertheless, it will begin to face problems will once it gets to the Senate, where a similar bill was fully discussed last year but never approved.
As soon as the president signed the bill and sent it to the Chamber of Deputies, Mexican business organization leaders roared in protest because in this new version, in which their opinion was not taken into consideration.
Not strangely, the strongest voice came from Business Coordination Council (CCE) leader Carlos Salazar Lomelí, who decried it loudly, not so much because the bill introduced, but for AMLO’s unilateral presentation of it.
The outsourcing reform bill, according to its authors, is the result of 4,709 different investigations of Mexican companies using the outsourcing scheme to hire and lay off workers.
Authorities found there are at least 1,200 companies using the scheme, deemed illegal in accordance with the labor reform passed in 2012, at the beginning of the administration of then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, which never enforced the law and let the companies both exploit workers and avoid paying taxes.
AMLO’s bill seeks to straighten that up and give it teeth for enforcement.
But it will face strong opposition in the Mexican Senate.
Last year, Senate Majority leader Ricardo Monreal stalled a similar proposal to the political freezer, where it was put on ice indefinitely.
If approved, the new bill will affect the hiring habits of thousands of manufacturing companies, as well as tourism enterprises, which hire and lay off workers on a seasonal basis.
Industry leader Raúl Maillard Barquera, president of the labor committee of the National Manufacturers Confederation (Concamin), said that AMLO’s bill is more about collecting taxes than protecting workers’ rights.
The bill also faces potential challenges that it violates the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) labor rules.
No matter, expect the bill to be in full discussion in both houses of Congress as of now.
Without a glitch of a doubt, business organizations are licking their chops to put up a fight against this bill, since they consider it debatable.
Frena Exits Zócalo
The political movement National Front to Stop AMLO (Frena) announced that it would be suspending its 52-day occupation of Mexico City’s main square, the Zócalo, starting Monday, Nov. 16.
Frena’s leader, Gilberto Lozano, said in a voice WhatsApp on Saturday, Nov. 14, that this was “a temporary move,” because, he alleged, that he had inside sources that the protestors would be violently attacked this week.
Frena followers, he said, would meet again in the Zócalo to continue their efforts to remove AMLO from the National Palace, right across the street from the now-liberated Zócalo plaza.
Lozano blamed the federal and Mexico City governments for the move, alleging they are creating a mood of violence around the Frena occupation.
Political Police Blotter
A Nayarit state judge on Friday, Nov. 13, issued an arrest warrant against former Governor Roberto Sandoval Castañeda on charges of ilegal wealth sourcing, bribery, peculation and criminal association. Sandoval is also linked to alleged crimes of protecting a drug cartel in association with his former attorney general, Edgar Veytia, now in prison in the United States awaiting trial, and is also allegedly linked to charges of criminal gang protection in cooperation with former Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos.
Meanwhile, the Spanish government has issued an approval of a request by the Mexican government to extradite Alonso Ancira, wanted in Mexico for fraud against oil company Pemex. Now the only step left in the legal procedure is to have the Spanish Council of Ministers of the Executive, headed by Pedro Sánchez, to approve and set a date for the extradition procedure.
Mexican Army Captain José Martínez Crespo was jailed on Friday, Nov. 13, at Military Camp Number One in Mexico City for criminal association with the United Warriors Cartel in the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 normal college students in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014. Martínez Crespo was identified as the leader of a group of soldiers that held part of the group of students at gunpoint at a local hospital. The now-prisoner captain will be arraigned at a military prison. but judged by a civilian court.
A federal judge ordered the trial of José Alfredo Lara Ontiveros, accused to participating in the murder a year ago in Bavispe, Sonora, of nine binational (U.S.-Mexican) members of the Mormon Miller, Johnson and Longford families. He was identified and arrested last week in Ciudad Juárez, where Lara Ontiveros is known as a hitman for the criminal Juárez Cártel. He is the first shooter to have been jailed for the gruesome multiple murders of the families.
This coming Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Mexican Senate will continue discussion on a proposed law to decriminalize production, commercialization and consumption of marijuana. The Senate is now on the brink of approving the law, which will allow any individual user to carry up to 200 grams of marijuana without facing arrest.
Mountains of Cash for Political Parties
The National Electoral Institute (INE) approved Friday the distribution of 7.159 billion pesos among registered Mexican political parties.
The monies are for ordinary activities and for participation in the 2021 midterm elections.
The majority National Regeneration Movement (Morena) will get the lion’s share of the cash, with 2.195 billion pesos allocated to it, while the runner-up National Action Party (PAN) will get 1.213 billion pesos and the third-place Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will receive 1.143 billion pesos.
Smaller parties will get less. The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) will get 567.7 million pesos, the Labor Party (PT) 498.2 million pesos, the Green Party (PVEM) 542.4 million pesos and the Citizens’ Movement (MC) 523 million pesos.
Three new and recently registered parties will get 158.8 million each.
Balloons Fly High above Covid Worries
Despite growing numbers of covid-19 infections nationwide, the Guanajuato town of León hosted its 19th annual Hot-Air Balloon Festival (FIG) starting on Friday, Nov. 13.,
Nearly 100 ballooners from Mexico, the United States, Spain, Germany, Australia, Guatemala and Costa Rica participated in the three-day event, taking off in the early morning hours from the FIG Main Stage inside the Bosque Country Club.
Due to covid-19 pandemic protocols, this was the first time the FIG was held without public access, but the spectacle of hot-air balloons was broadcast live worldwide through social media.
…Nov. 16, 2020