By RICARDO CASTILLO
Committees Approve Energy Bill
Late Monday, March 1, the Mexican Senate’s Energy, Environment and Legislative Studies Committees approved President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial electric energy bill, which went to the Senate floor on Tuesday, March 2, for a fast-track vote.
AMLO had asked Congress to approve the bill without even the slightest of changes, despite the fact that some critics have said that it will violate international agreements and lead to law suits.
The move was raucously disapproved of by the Senate’s opposition minority, composed of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the left-leaning Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Citizens’ Movement (CM), all of which proclaimed the bill to be a breach of government since the majority National Regeneration Movement (Morena) legislators had promised what is known as “an open parliament” discussion.
Morena Senator Eva Gálvez argued that the Morena vote was not a violation of an open parliament, but rather “against the continued wasting time” since Morena’s majority saw the minority parties’ move as a vote-stalling mechanism.
The debate was heated, but the decision was made.
The opponents of the bill insisted to no avail that it was “unconstitutional” and encouraged a “pro-coal environment.”
Anxious warnings that its passage would dry up foreign investment also went unheard.
The bill was approved late Tuesday night, despite threats by opposing senators that they would hold an open parliament, with or without the Senate.
Elections for Governor
In accordance with the National Electoral Institute (INE) agenda, election campaigns for five governorships of 15 states up for grabs on June 6 will kick off on Friday, March 5.
The states initiating campaigns are Colima, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Guerrero.
With the exception of Guerrero, the states are ready to kick off campaigning.
In Guerrero, the Morena party had already posted and approved the candidacy of Félix Salgado Macedonio, who has been accused of rape by at least three women, but the party’s Justice and Honor Committee dismissed Salgado Macedonio’s candidacy, but not his party rights.
Hundreds of women were protesting against his candidacy Tuesday, March 2, at the National Palace and downtown Mexico City but he said he’d register again regardless of the protests.
Morena has until midnight Thursday, March 4, to present a candidate to complete the start of the electoral fray in the abovementioned five states.
Back to the Movies
On Monday, March 1, Mexico City authorities launched the program Riskless Reactivation with the opening of 433 movie houses, theaters and museums.
The reactivation of entertainment venues, however, was limited to only 20 percent of potential attendance in accordance with strict health security regulations, which include the mandatory use of mouth and nose masks.
Program overseer Abdala Akabani this was the city’s first move to reactivate the economy in the approved cinemas, theaters and museums, where a total of 6,435 employees were put back to work.
Movie houses and theaters will be allowed to present their last showings and performances at 8 p.m. and must comply with special observances of ventilation and air-conditioned filters, while museums must close at 7 p.m.
Colmenares Meets Deputies
Federal Superior Auditor David Colmenares Páramo underwent a pummeling at the Mexican Chamber of Deputies on Monday, March 1, with the salient result that, regardless of stiff pressure from Morena deputies, he did not resign to the post.
Prior to the appearance, Colmenares “temporarily suspended” the man who got him into hot water, Agustín Caso Raphael, who drafted the allegedly false conclusions that the AMLO administration had spent 200 million pesos more than what he has claimed in liquidating the $7 billion, partially completed New International Mexico Airport (NAIM) in 2019.
The allegations raised a stink from the president, who claimed that there had been “foul play” on behalf of the general accounting office.
His claim forced the deputies to summon the auditor to clear up the issue.
Among other issues that arose during the testifying were allegations that Caso Raphael was biased in his accounting due to the fact that he is a cousin to former Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, former President Enrique Peña Nieto’s top advisor.
Colmenares told the deputies that he needed time to revise the NAIM accounting, since “clearly, some mistakes had been made.”
Tamaulipas Governor Informed
Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca was formally informed on Monday, March 1, by Deputy Pablo Gómez Álvarez of the charges of fraud that have been levied against him by the nation’s Attorney Genera’s Office (FGR).
The moves are in compliance with the Chamber of Deputies’ legal process, since the FGA demanded that the governor be stripped of his legal immunity status in order to bring him to trial.
The legal procedure is expected to last another 60 days.
A Father-Daughter Team
New arrest warrants were issued this week by the FGR for former Nayarit Governor Roberto Sandoval Castañeda and his daughter Lidy Alejandra Sandoval López for crimes allegedly committed in tandem with former Nayarit Attorney General Edgar Veytia Cambero, now in custody in the United States.
The warrants were issued by a Nayarit judge to be enforced by the FGR.
Sandoval, a member of the PRI, was Nayarit’s governor from 2011 to 2017.
Is AMLO Secure?
Two events on Sunday, Feb. 28, and Monday, Monday, March 1, set off an alarm as to how safe AMLO is both while traveling and inside the National Palace.
On Sunday, the took a shuttle flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City.
While on board, a group of five protestors rose and in choir began insulting him with vulgarity-ridden insults making reference to his maternal heritage.
Aides tried to pacify the hecklers, apparently to no avail as the harassment continued throughout the flight.
The identities of the passengers is not known.
On Monday morning, an unknown individual managed to sneak into the National Palace facilities and, while AMLO was holding his daily press conference, approach the stage to talk to him.
Security guards tried to remove the man, but AMLO decided to speak to him.
The man told the president that he was an unemployed former convict demanding justice.
One pundit – a personal friend of this reporter – said that the Monday event at the National Palace was a staged event intended to distract media attention from the Sunday heckling, claiming that “if there is something the president can claim to his credit, it is having a lot of experience in raising smokescreens to overshadow matters that are inconvenient to him.”
Other journalists worried about the president’s security being vulnerable.
…March 3, 2021