By RICARDO CASTILLO
A Birds Story
Birds of a feather flock together, says the old adage.
This week began with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, Jan. 11, visiting part of his “wonderful wall” in Alamo, a township just east to McAllen, along the Mexico-Texas border.
He took the occasion to praise Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) with niceties such as “he’s a man that really knows what’s going on, loves his country and also loves the United States.”
Trump recalled that AMLO placed 27,000 National Guard (GN) agents along the Guatemalan border to stop the massive flow of asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. “Nobody thought that would be possible but the number of migrants plummeted. He is a gentleman, my friend, President Obrador.”
In return, AMLO on Thursday, Jan. 14, announced that, during the next meeting with the Group of 20 (G20), he would accuse companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube of censorship for closing down Trump’s social media accounts.
“There can’t be any privately run organization in any nation or state deciding the right to free expression of ideas and turning into a censorship organism,” AMLO said.
He told reporters attending his daily press conference at the National Palace, “I am giving you an advance notice that in the first gathering I have with G20, I am going to bring this matter up.”
It will be interesting to gauge the reaction of the G20 world leaders.
According to Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal, AMLO is confronting “a head-on onslaught” from “political extremists,” who are now uniting with one objective: attack the president.”
In any case, there is no doubt that AMLO and Trump did what no one thought would be possible: They got along fine and ended up praising each other.
Security Law Toned Down
In a move clearly aimed at facilitating the work of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Mexico, the Mexican government’s Daily Gazette published on Thursday, Jan. 14, a toned-down version of its new security law.
The move was promoted by the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) after consultation with the Secretariat of Security and Citizens Protection, the Army and the Navy, to issue accreditation as “consulate officials” to “foreign agents” investigating drug traffickers in Mexico.
The stiff national security bill was approved by the Mexican Congress in December, which came after DEA agents in October arrested former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos.
General Cienfuegos was released after a one-month detention period and subsequently deported to Mexico.
Cienfuegos later confided to other top military brass that the DEA agents were angry after alleged fentanyl trafficker Ovidio Guzmán (son of incarcerated drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán) was set free on a decision made by López Obrador in October 2019.
After a review by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (FGR), Mexico dropped all charges against Cienfuegos late Thursday, Jan. 14.
Under revamped regulations, foreign agents will have the duty of informing their Mexican counterparts – within three days after they make contact – of the information they have collected.
GDP Growth Forecast
Economic recovery and an efficient vaccination campaign go in tandem to assure the nation’s future wellbeing, Finance Secretary Arturo Herrera told participants in the yearly outlook seminar of the Mexican Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM.)
“There’s currently a race against time in the Northern Hemisphere, where we are in the midst of winter to see if speeding up vaccination is possible to flatten the contagions curve,” he said.
“That’s what will determine the operational conditions of the economy.”
Herrera said that the Treasury is forecasting a 4.6 percent gross domestic product growth. “but clearly, if the vaccine is well deployed. it can improve the situation and Mexico could register a larger economic advancement.”
The finance secretary admitted that the number of poor in Mexico has been increasing, but said that, if, as planned, a sizeable part of the 130 million-strong population is vaccinated, people will be able to get out to work safely.
“It will all depend on the efficiency of vaccine distribution and application,” he said.
A group of National Action Party (PAN) senators filed an unconstitutionality suit with the Supreme Court to challenge the “militarization of ports” by the AMLO administration.
The suit, still to be admitted by the Supreme Court, was led by PAN Senator Mauricio Kuri, who managed to gather the signatures of 33 percent of the nation’s senators.
It challenges a law that was approved and that went into effect on Dec. 7, with the appointment of 15 Mexican Navy (Marina) officials to lead the administration of 14 top ports
The new law placed Marina Captain Ana Laura López Bautista at the helm of coordination of Mexico’s ports and merchant marine.
The challenging senators deemed this move “unconstitutional” since it takes port operations away from private management concerns.
Senator Kuri, however, may not stay long with the suit since he is a precandidate to run for governor of the state of Querétaro, a PAN bastion.
Women, For and Against “El Toro”
In the state capital of Guerrero, Chilpancingo, there were two “women-only” demonstration rallies to repudiate and support the pre-candidacy of Félix Salgado Macedonio (aka El Toro), who is running as the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) pick.
Salgado stands accused of, but not charged with, the rape of a woman while he was the editor of the Guerrero edition of leftwing daily La Jornada.
Early in the week a group of about 200 women staged a demonstration chanting and dancing the now famous song “The rapist is you” meaning Salgado Macedonio.
In response, some 2,000 marchers, mostly dressed in white and bused in from the “seven regions” of the state, also marched in Chilpancingo in favor of Salgado.
“We go with El Toro” and “We’ve got a candidate, it’s El Toro,” they chanted.
Morena Deputy Erika Valencia headed the pro-Salgado demonstration.
She told the women that Salgado is the object in “a dirty war” due to the fact that he’s way ahead of his opponents in the polls.
…Jan. 15, 2021