By RICARDO CASTILLO
AMLO’s New Year Message
The prospects for 2021 are looking good in the eyes of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as the nation’s treasury starts the new decade with a 65 billion peso surplus, thanks to stiff collections practices that have “wealthy tax evaders” climbing the walls.
To be clear, that does not mean that 2020 was a good year since Mexico’s economy slumped by as much as 9 percent, AMLO said in a video aired on his YouTube page over the year’s first weekend.
He also said that the nation has the sufficient resources to finance the vaccination against the coronavirus pandemic with free vaccinations for all Mexicans.
The president likewise said that the next batch of 50,000 Pfizer vaccines will arrive on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Vaccinations are currently being administered to is going to frontline medical workers- with seniors slated to begin receiving the vaccine at the end of January.
“It’s important that this be known in both Mexico and abroad,” AMLO said. “Beyond the heavy weight of our sorrows (due to the number of covid deaths), a new dawn is upon us and there is a (promising) future for Mexico.”
Fire Near Dos Bocas
An oil and gas pipeline caught fire on Thursday, Dec. 31, near the construction site of a new refinery at the Dos Bocas coves in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco.
Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) firefighters promptly put out the fire, blamed on a depressurization of the pipeline.
Allegations of foul play by administration opponents were quickly discarded.
Local anglers, however, fear the oil spill may affect surrounding underwater oyster beds.
Pemex laid out spill containment barriers.
A Puebla judge issued arrest warrants for five people allegedly guilty of the deaths of five others on Dec. 24, 2018, in a mysterious helicopter crash.
Two of the deceased were then-recently elected Puebla Governor Martha Erika Alonso and her husband, Senator Rafael Moreno Valle.
The five arrestees were the owner and four employees of a helicopter repair shop called Rotor Flight Services, all of whom were at the time in charge of servicing the chopper.
After two years of an international investigation, experts found that the helicopter – with the two pilots and another passenger – plummeted near the city of Puebla while on its way to Mexico City.
The five mechanics stand accused of negligent homicide, damages to a cornfield (where the helicopter crashed) and making false statements to investigators.
The conclusion of the accident’s investigation was that the crash was due to a faulty rotor shaft.
The pilots were given green light to fly by the mechanical shop.
For the last two years, the case has been smeared with allegations of political foul play since both the governor and her husband were salient members of the conservative National Action Party (PAN).
With the arrests of the maintenance crew, those allegations have been officially discarded.
Notwithstanding, there are still those who blame the current leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party for the incident, and relatives of the arraigned mechanics claim that they are being used as scapegoats.
Consulate Employees Laid Off
A group representing Mexico’s National Committee of Consulate Employees sent a letter to López Obrador on Thursday, Dec. 24, warning of the imminent layoff of at least 80 consulate employees directly hired by the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE).
The reason for the layoff was due to the U.S. State Department deciding not to renew their A2 work visas for 2021, a move applicable to all consular employees regardless of their nation of origin.
Bilateral consultations will get started with the new U.S. presidential administration to reconsider the A2 visas non-renewal.
On Monday, Dec. 28, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) reported a massive outage in several northern Mexican states, which left some 11 million persons without lights for about four hours.
The blackout affected the industrial city of Monterrey and parts of the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, and immediately led to a blame game among politicians.
However, CFE Director Manuel Bartlett Díaz stated that the outage on a grass fire in the Padilla municipality in Tamaulipas.
Electricity is now back to normal supply.
New Top Cop
The new Secretary of Security and Citizens Protection Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez made her debut at AMLO’s National Palace daily press conferences.
Rodríguez was appointed to the post by the president after former secretary, Alfonso Durazo, resigned to run for governor of the state of Sonora.
Before this post, Rosa Icela served as Mexico City’s government secretary and maritime ports administrator.
Dollar Sells for Under 20
The Mexican peso is keeping a steady course for 2021, and on Sunday, Jan. 3, was selling at the Mexico City airport at 20.11 pesos per dollar and being purchased at 19.60 to the dollar on average.
This is the best exchange rate for the otherwise-battered peso currency, which has been under pressure since 2016 as a reult of a myriad of political and economic turbulences.
…Jan. 4, 2021