By RICARDO CASTILLO
Outages Set Off Political Sparks
The electricity outages on Monday, Feb. 15, in six northern Mexican states may have been caused by the freezing temperatures affecting Texas, but they set off a new round of heated debates at Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies over President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO’s) Electricity Bill.
Beyond Texas’ pumped gas shortage, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) issued several I-told-you-so warnings blaming private clean energy suppliers for the power failure.
Responding were several industrial and business chambers claiming that the CFE’s limitations on private input into the grid is the problem, which has a possible solution with the CFE buying more privately produced electricity, they said. The CFE retorted with its now standard line, “Private energy may be cleaner, but it is not cheaper.”
The outage affected the Texas border states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Chihuahua, as well as Durango and Zacatecas, leaving some 4.5 million Mexicans in the dark.
On Tuesday, Feb. 16, AMLO said that the blackout had been resolved in 80 percent of the affected regions.
Still, this did not stop the debate over his controversial Electricity Bill, slated to be voted on by the Chamber of Deputies before the end of February and passed on to the Senate, which will also approve it, according to sources that have been deeply critical of the bill.
In the meantime, political passions at the Chamber of Deputies have been re-ignited.
Training Military Customs Officers
Mexico’s Tax Administration Service (SAT) and the Defense Secretariat announced the end of a training course for 110 tax collection and customs intelligence officials, among whom there are 29 Army and 15 Navy officers, the latter assigned to managing ports.
Customs Director Horacio Duarte Olivares said that coordination between SAT and the Army-Navy officials netted in 2020 a marked increase in contraband seizures, as well as the detection of tax evasion schemes.
“At customs” Duarte said, “we have carried out a titanic effort to prevent corruption.”
Mexican customs were generally considered in the past to be one of the most corrupt agencies within the nation’s government.
Ancira Remains Behind Bars
For the second time in a row, Mexican steel tycoon Alonso Ancira was denied for bail and the chance to spend his trial under house arrest.
Under an order issued by Judge Antonio González García from the North Mexico City Penitentiary courthouse, Alcira will continue under “preventive imprisonment,” given accusations against him for alleged money laundering of illicit funds obtained from the sale of the fertilizer manufacturer Agro Nitrogenados, for which Ancira received over $350 million, although the company is currently valued at $50 million at best.
Ancira’s lawyers complained that their client is ill and requires special treatment.
They also filed a complaint chargning that Alcira is being mistreated at the penitentiary.
Morena Governor Candidates
On Monday, Feb. 15, at least one part of the 2021 midterm elections was settled with the registration of nearly 100 different candidates for 15 governor seats up for grabs during the upcoming June 6 election.
The only party to present 15 different candidacies was the National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
Morena President Mario Delgado introduced a gender-balanced roster made up of seven women and eight men.
According to the pollster FactoMétrica, which issues a monthly regional report on the positioning of candidates in each of the states with elections for governor, asking whether “if the voting were to take place now, who would you vote for?”
FactoMétrica’s results indicated that Morena would sweep 13 of the 15 governor elections.
FactoMétrica is a Monterrey-based independent pollster, headed by businessman Gerardo Leal.
The only states that would go to a different party, according to the survey, would be Querétaro and Chihuahua, where the National Action Party (PAN) candidates (a man and a woman, respectively) would win by a landslide, the polling house said..
In all 15 states, political coalitions are faring in second and third places.
An unwarranted phenomena is taking place regarding the choice for Mexico’s federal deputy and municipal major candidates.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and PAN coalition is apparently not making some of its hopefuls happy, and they are moving to Morena.
Most noteworthy among the ship-abandoners is the San Luis Potosí candidate for governor, Mónica Rangel, who, until this week, was a lifetime militant of the PRI.
Also, current San Luis Potosi Municipal Mayor Xavier Nava Palacios, who arrived at the post through a PAN victory, will now seek reelection under the Morena banner.
Nava is also a former Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) state representative.
This party-switching pattern is also being seen in other states.
For example, in Guanajuato, a PAN bastion, Jéssica Cabal will seek the post of municipal mayor of Abasolo municipality under the Morena banner, along with federal deputy candidate Antonio Magdaleno, who recently abandoned PAN ranks to join Morena in the electoral fray.
Guanajuato PAN Pro-tempore President Eduardo López Mares whined in disgust at the move, saying that these party turncoats “showed no love for nor commitment to the PAN, and are now in search of their own personal interests.”
…Feb. 17, 2021