By RICARDO CASTILLO
Gags on Twitter and Facebook?
A bill to “regulate the performance of social networks” in Mexico is due to be introduced in Congress this week by Senator Ricardo Monreal.
The proposed bill would regulate social network companies like Twitter and Facebook on a national scale and would prevent them from censuring accounts of people or entities that they deem offensive.
Monreal, who is the chair of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) in the Senate, said Saturday, Feb. 6, that he had already met with the representatives of both companies to notify them of the upcoming bill.
He said that he made it clear to the social media platforms that the bill would not constitute censorship on behalf of the government, but would establish norms to protect personal data, avoid infringing on human rights and eliminate the preferential tax treatment they currently receive given their exponential growth and profitability.
Last year, Monreal pointed out, Facebook, with 85 million users, raked in $30 billion in profits, while Twitter, with 11 million subscribers, netted $2.6 billion in income.
Two Mexican nationals have been charged by the U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, Raymond P. Donovan, with conspiring to export 2.5 tons of methamphetamine and over 100,000 fentanyl capsules to the United States.
“Thanks to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the New York Police Department and the rest of our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) New York Strike Force partners, as well as the Mexican Navy, a major shipment of potentially lethal drugs was interdicted before it could addict, poison and potentially kill untold numbers of people in the United States,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
According to the statement, on or about Jan. 29, 2021, the Mexican Navy located and began tracking an outboard‑powered boat traveling from Las Arenitas, Sinaloa, northwest through the Gulf of California.
Several hours later, the Mexican Navy interdicted the vessel near Topolobampo, Sinaloa, and arrested cousins José Loreto Gastelum Torres and Freddy Gastelum Vega with the shipment. The DEA reportedly contributed with intelligence from its Mazatlán bureau.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, on Thursday, Feb. 4, the Mexican Army reported the seizure of 802 kilos of cocaine and 15 assault firearms.
A prior arrest in the southern Mexico City precinct of Tlalpan led to the discovery of the drug and the alleged perpatrators who were protecting the stash in the Nezahualcoyotl neighborhood.
Ancira Negotiates His Freedom
Defence lawyers for Mexican business tycoon Alonso Ancira, who was extradited last week from Spain to Mexico, announced over the weekend that they were negotiating the amount to be paid to the government for the damage allegedly inflicted on the state-run oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in 2014 with Alcira’s sale of the bankrupt fertilizer manufacturing plant Agro Nitrogenados.
Ancira is also charged with corruption for paying a $3.5 million bribe to former Pemex Director Emilio Lozoya, who is now under a witness protection program.
Last week, Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero – standing in for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who had contracted covid-19 – said Ancira could also get a protected witness status if a reimbursement of some $200 million is made to the government.
If no arrangementir reached, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) will proceed with the case against Ancira, now detained at the Mexico City North Penitentiary.
Ancira’s chief defense lawyer, José Luis Castañeda, said he is trying to negotiate the payment of the reimbursement over a four-year period.
Ancira is believed to be worth $800 million, but Castañeda said, “We’ll have to see how much the FGR asks for and how much my client is willing to shell out.”
Mexican Transportation and Communications Secretary (SCT) Jorge Arganis Díaz-Leal met with officials from the State of Mexico (Edoméx) to ask them to issue a right-of-way permit to that would allow the SCT to carry out the construction of the railway that will unite the yet-unfinished Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) with the suburban rapid train along the road to Querétaro.
Arganis told the Edoméx officials that the funding for the railroad construction to AIFA, as well as other roads in and out of the airport, are fully budgeted with the only impediment coming from State of Mexico judges who have not released the requested right-of-way permit.
With the electoral process underway, ambitions are sprouting in three different political parties due to the “hand-picked” choices for candidates for deputies inside the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the leftist Morena.
At the PRI, members of a political trend called Internal Democracy, headed by Christian Garfias, demanded the resignation of PRI President Alejandro Moreno for alleged “immoral behavior” as all the plurinominal candidacies, which assure a candidate will be part of the next Chamber of Deputies, were distributed among his friends.
One of the contested PRI plurinominal candidacies went to Pablo Gamboa, son of former Senator and PRI leader Emilio Gamboa.
Cronyism? It looks like it!
At the PAN, the same charge is being levied against the party’s president, Marko Cortés, for awarding a “pluri” to former First Lady Margarita Zavala and another one to former Interior Secretary Santiago Creel.
In protest, a sizeable number of those PANistas “left outside” are resigning from the party.
And at Morena, the party president, Mario Delgado, is tearing the party apart at the seams given the disagreement on candidates both for deputies and governors.
The candidacy of Felix Salgado Macedonio for governor of Guerrero is no doubt the most controversial since Salgado has been accused of sexual assault.
He is facing a lot of bad publicity from inside Morena.
Finally, the Mexico City crown jewel townhall of Cuauhtémoc – right smack at the heart of the city and with the National Palace and the Mayor’s Office within it – is spurring a three-way fight among Morena incumbents.
In one corner is still-Deputy Dolores Padierna, who last Saturday filed suit against contender Alejandro Rojas who badmouthed her on social networks and said she should be impeded from being the candidate for Cuauhtémoc, a post she held 20 years ago.
As if this clash were not enough, current Cuauhtémoc precinct leader Nestor Nuñez will run for reelection.
The Dominicans Are Champs
In the championship game of this year’s Caribbean Baseball Series, played in the Pacific port of Mazatlán, the team representing the Dominican Republic came out as the champions after beating Puerto Rico by a comfortable 4-1 lead.
Teams participating in the tournament, dubbed in the United States as the “Little World Series,” included Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
With this victory, the Dominicans netted their 21st championship.
…Feb. 8, 2021