By RICARDO CASTILLO
Cabeza de Vaca Jumps the Gun
After Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, along with his fellow National Action Party (PAN) deputies, headed by minority leader Carlos Romero Hicks, took the facility nearly by storm on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and held a press conference claiming that he was a victim of a witch hunt being directed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Majority Whip Ignacio Mier told the governor to “not confuse data leaks” with facts.
“Transparency rules force us to make procedures and chamber limitations public to the people of Mexico,” Mier said about García Cabeza de Vaca’s demand to have access to the legal accusations that have been levered against him, which were denied by the Chamber of Deputies.
Mier said that Mexican legislative procedure dictates that Instructing Section Committee President Pablo Gómez must first be notified before the Chamber of Deputies can inform the governor of the petition by the FGR to lift his official immunity before, the reception of the document can be ratified. The instructing section was in the process of doing that on Thursday, Feb. 25.
Gómez indicated that the instructing section – which oversees lifting the official immunity from an elected official – will meet again on Friday, Feb. 26, to discuss the issue. The accused (in this case, Governor García Cabeza de Vaca) will be notified of their decision on whether to proceed, he said.
PAN Deputy Romero Hicks said he’d be following the procedure closely.
In the meantime, Gómez said that the Tamaulipas governor had jumped gun by not observing Chamber of Deputies protocol.
More on Tamaulipas Governors
This is not the first time that Cabeza de Vaca has been accused of corruption.
His name was raised last summer by former Pemex Director Emilio Lozoya, now facing trial on his own charges of corruptions, who has alleged that he personally handed a bribe to Cabeza de Vaca for voting in favor of then-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Energy Reform.
García Cabeza de Vaca has staunchly denied that allegation.
The governor could face prison time if he is found guilty in a court of law of the current accusations against him.
Currently, two former Tamaulipas governors are in prison: Tomás Yarrington in the United States and Eugenio Hernández in Mexico, both from the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Hernández is also facing pending charges in the United States.
Both were charged guilty of sacking federal funds and supporting organized criminal organizations, including the blood-thirsty Zetas.
A third political victim in Tamaulipas was candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantú, who was executed near Ciudad Victoria on June 28 of last year, while on electoral campaign for governor.
Blinken-Ebrard in Virtual Meet
Newly instated U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced Thursday, Feb. 25, that they will hold “a high-level dialogue” on Friday, Feb. 26.
In a related note, during a press conference call on Thursday, U.S. Interim Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie. J. Jung addressed the growing international concern regarding AMLO’s Electricity Reform Bill, already approved verbatim by Mexico’s lower house Chamber of Deputies and currently before the Senate.
“We invite Mexico to listen to (industry) shareholders, to listen to private sector companies, and really provide a culture of free investment and transparency,” Jung said.
The controversial electricity bill, however, may not be included in the Blinken-Ebrard agenda, since the focus of the meet is slated to be the creation of infrastructure in Central America to help curb migration to the United States.
Also, Blinken and Ebrard are expected will discuss the effects of the covid-19 pandemic in both nations and opportunities that will rise under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (UMSCA) to spur economic recovery and growth in both countries.
Finance Wiz Wanted
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) obtained an arrest warrant against Raul Beyruti, who runs a multi-million employee outsourcing company called GINgroup.
According to the warrant, Beyruti used financial schemes to carry out operations with illicit resources (a legal term for money laundering), which may amount to more than 30 billion pesos.
He is also being charged with tax evasion.
As of yet, the warrant has not been enforced since apparently Beyruti fled the nation.
LP Gas Theft
The Mexican Association of Liquid Gas (LP) Distributors and Connected Activities (Amexgas) called on authorities to stop LP fuel theft, which increased in 2020 over 70 percent in comparison to 2019.
Thieves, Amexgas said, puncture pipelines to install clandestine faucets.
Last year, robbers made 23,323 clandestine holes, an average of 64 per day.
The stolen LP is considered to worth 30.168 billion pesos, and the gas is believed to be sold on the black market.
Mexico GDP Down 8.5 Percent
After much speculation over recent months regarding Mexico’s economic contraction in 2020, the National Statistics and Geography Institute (Inegi) announced that the country’s Gross Domestic Product dropped by 8.5 percent last year, mostly due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.
Historically, this was the worst year for the Mexican economy since 1931, which then, due to the Great Depression, felled by 14 percent.
Notwithstanding, according to government figures, the Mexican economy is now beginning to bounce back.
Meanwhile, the peso has been sliding in value for the last week, hitting an exchange rate of more than 21 to the U.S. dollar on Thursday, Feb. 25.
Boxing in Miami
Like a common tortilla, the super middle weigh championship fight between Mexican defending champion Saul “Canelo” Álvarez and Turkish challenger Avni Yildirim at the at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami had two sides.
On one hand, it will be the finest bout of 2021, but on the other hand, there is the pandemic which has ravaged Miami over the past year.
Will there be a live audience at the fight? The answer is yes, but not what would be in a regular day, a full house.
“Canelo” (“Cinnamon Hair”), named thus because he’s a rare red-headed Mexican, definitely is the greatest boxer on world rings these days.
His opponent, Yildrim, has climbed up the rankings to be Number One at the World Boxing Council, making his punch out mandatory for Canelo.
Canelo is also putting his World Boxing Association (WBA) belt on the line, so, should Yildrim win, the challenge means getting a two-for-one reward.
Incidentally, new WBC super featherweight champ Oscar Bravo visited Canelo at the Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 24, where both got photographed wearing Miami Dolphins sweaters and throwing footballs.
On Saturday, Feb. 20, Bravo beat then-reigning champion Miguel Berchelt in Cancun, inflicting a brutal left to the face and KO-ing Berchelt, who had to be taken to a hospital in Sin City for observation.
Bout organizer Bob Arum of Top Rank said Wednesday, Feb. 24, that after several brain scans, Berchelt came out clean, though beaten down because he had survived seven defenses.
In any case, Canelo and Bravo both cheered for “The Scorpion,” Berchelt’s pro nickname.
…Feb. 26, 2021