By RICARDO CASTILLO
Electricity Reform Bill
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Sunday, Feb. 21, pleaded with Congress to pass his electricity reform bill.
“I hope next week the (electricity) reform I presented to Congress will be approved to help strengthen the (state-owned) Federal Electricity Commission (CFE),” he said.
AMLO spoke about the electricity bill in two acts he participated in over the weekend during his visit to Baja California Sur.
In one of those acts, he inaugurated a new road- and in the other, he launched four new gas turbine electricity production units belonging to the CFE.
The bill was approval by the Chamber of Deputies’ Energy Committee on Friday, Feb. 19, by a 22 to 10 vote, and is slated to hit the floor for debate and approval on next Tuesday, Feb. 23, in accordance with the “preferential treatment” (fast track) it is being granted at the president’s request, specially by his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party.
“The approval of the bill will mean that we will not undergo any more energy crises,” AMLO said.
“There will be no outages, and also something else. During Mexico’s neoliberal period (1982-2018), there were annual electricity price hikes, year-after-year. Since my administration took office, there have been no increases in the price of electricity.”
Asked about last week’s massive outage along the Texas border Mexican states, AMLO said “we solved that problem in five days,” after Texas gas suppliers increased the price of gas by “as much as 5,000 percent,” forcing the CFE to resort to a cheap and abundant resource: carbon fuel oil.
“I ordered the CFE to purchase all of the fuel oil that (the state-run oil company) Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) had produced and to operate electricity producing plants with it,” he said.
“We need legislators to act accordingly, thinking about the Mexican people and not about the companies that have devoted themselves to plundering Mexico… The use of fuel oil will prevent any more electrical outages and full service has been restored to the affected areas.”
During his visit to Baja California Sur, AMLO was flanked at all times by Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis, a member of the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN), which is expected to vote against what some of its members consider “the electricity counter-reform.”
Interjet Owners Sued
The Treasury Secretariat (Hacienda) filed a law suit with the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) against the owners of ABC Aerolíneas, which operate the Interjet commercial aviation airline.
The owners are father and son Miguel Alemán Velasco and Miguel Alemán Magnani.
Alemán Velasco, who once served as the governor of the state of Veracruz, among other official titles, is the son of former Mexican President Miguel Alemán Valdés, who governed the nation between 1946 and 1952 for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
The Alemáns stand accused of not paying 66 million pesos in back taxes, which were allegedly deducted from employees’ wages during 2018 and 2020.
The suit comes at a time when the company is already undergoing a financial crisis due to management issues and employee strikes.
Vaccines Trickle In
Covid-19 vaccines keep trickling into the nation, as less than 1.4 million Mexicans have been innovated against the virus.
Over the weekend, 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine arrived from Hong Kong.
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who has been at the Mexico City International Airport to receive virtually all vaccine shipments, said. “as of today, Mexico will now be using the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac brands.”
Ebrard said that Mexico expects to have a total of at least 10 million vaccines available over the next few weeks, which is not yet enough to meet the massive demand, but good news because the vaccination doses are arriving, slowly, but arriving.
Precandidates In Distress
Last week, the biggest hoopla in the electoral process for state governors was over multiple rape accusations launched against Morena precandidate for governor of Guerrero Felix Salgado Macedonio.
The scandal got as far as AMLO’s office, with the president coming to the defense of Salgado, claiming that the alleged rape charges were trumped up and that Salgado was the victim of “a lynching by the conservative press.”
Over the next two weeks, we’ll no doubt be hearing about another case of a precandidate for governor, this time in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where National Action Party (PAN) candidate María Eugenia Campos Galvan will face two hearings, one on accusations of having received kickbacks from former Governor César Duarte (currently in jail in Miami and awaiting extradition to be tried in the state he ruled), and the other for alleged “illegal and undue use of power” while she was mayor of the city of Chihuahua (she’s still is, but she in now on a leave of absence). Campos Galvan is accused of receiving perks for favoring specific parties during city budget biddings.
She will be in court on Wednesday, Feb. 24, to face the first charge – actually promoted by a party peer, current Governor Javier Corral Jurado, who opposed her candidacy.
She is expected to face the second charge, which was filed against her by the opposition political party Morena, on March 5.
There may be other precandidates in distress, but the aforementioned two are already neck-deep in hot water and are facing the very real possibilities of not running, even if both are favorites to win in their respective campaigns.
Campaigning, due to officially start on April 4, has not yet revved up in Mexico, but for these precandidates, there are certainly people — and parties — that would like t get them out of the way pronto, if not now.
…Feb. 22, 2021