By RICARDO CASTILLO
Pemex Drops Fitch, But It’s Not Reciprocal
The Mexican state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) dropped the international ratings firm Fitch from its budget on Tuesday, March 2, saying that it “no longer needs” the New York-based company’s services.
Fitch’s ratings of the humongous Pemex debt has been harsh, and in its latest move. Fitch downgraded the debt from BBB to BB-, though still deeming it stable.
Fitch’s down rating of Pemex’s debt, however, sank it down into junk bond status, deeming the company as a risk investment.
But even if Pemex will now stop paying Fitch Ratings $350,000 a year for its “services,” Fitch said on Wednesday, March 3, that it will to continue to monitor and evaluate Pemex as a service to its customers.
The difference this time will be that Fitch may not have access to the flow of the continuous financial information it had been receiving from Pemex, which said that it considers dropping Fitch as a “cost-cutting decision.”
Pemex will continue to pay for the evaluation services of JP Morgan and Moody’s Analytics.
SRE’s Chief of Staff Resigns
Gonzalo Fabián Medina Hernández, chief of staff at Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE), sent a tweet message on Thursday, March 4, to Secretary Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón resigning from his post.
“As of today, I have decided to venture into new projects outside of the SRE. I thank the followers of this (Twitter) account for their interest in international policies themes and other topics we commented on,” Medina wrote.
The Mexican daily El Universal, however, published the personal resignation letter sent by Medina to Ebrard.
“Dear Marcelo. Given the current situation in the secretariat, I am presenting my irrevocable resignation as head of the chief of staff office to which you appointed me on Dec. 1, 201,” it read.
“I wish with all my heart for you to continue being successful and for you to always seek the good for our beloved Mexico.”
Apparently, Medina, who has long been a close ally to Ebrard, was referring to internal problems within the SRE, but those have not yet been made public.
Sheffield to Resign
Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) Director Ricardo Sheffield announced that he will be leaving the post, effective March 15, when he will step down to vie for the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) candidacy for mayor of his birthplace city of León, Guanajuato.
Under the leftist administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Sheffield has joined the president every Monday morning in his press conference at the National Palace, presenting a national weekly report on the price of gasoline.
He will be temporarily replaced by Surit Romero, who has been second on board at the Profeco.
AMLO Wants to Shield Candidates
The midterm electoral fray is getting underway as of Friday, March 5, with the launching of five out of 15 campaigns for governor.
And in response to threats of potential violence, AMLO on Thursday, March 4, announced special protection to the more than 21,000 candidates vying for an elected post.
The protection, he said, aims at prevent candidates from attacks by criminal organizations or others.
“Let the candidates not be forced to decline (their runs) because of threats,” AMLO said.
“We want to guarantee freedoms for all candidates and to ensure that it is the citizenry who elects them, not the special interest groups, not criminal organization and white-collar bandits. Let there be no candidates to favor them, no candidates imposed by them.”
Since the unofficial start of Mexico’s political campaign season back in September of last year through the end of January of this year, there have been at least 64 politicians killed, according to a report by Integralia Consultants.
AMLO said that he had proposed that governors with elections in their states pay special attention to candidacies for municipal mayors, making sure that their protection is in agreement with state authorities and election organizers.
Beauty Queen Candidate
Former Miss Universe 1991 winner Lupita Jones has officially agreed to run for governor of the northern state of Baja California, representing the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).
Her candidacy was presented Wednesday, March 3, to the Baja California Electoral Institute through a coalition named Going for Baja California, part of the national coalition of businessmen and parties financially supported by Mexican business tycoon Claudio X. González, a sworn political foe of AMLO.
Jones faces tough opposition from Mexicali City Mayor-on-leave Marina del Pilar Ávila, who is running for Morena, which now controls the state.
A third candidate in contention is Tijuana tycoon Jorge Hank Rohn – owner of the Caliente sports gambling network – who is being backed by the Social Encounter Party (PES). Hank Rohn was turned down by his political alma mater, the PRI.
Pundits in Baja see the real race as being between Jones and Ávila, with latter being an avowed populist politician and Jones having little or no political experience.
Upon hearing that Jones was the definitive candidate for the coalition, current Governor Jamie Bonilla, who has himself been embroiled in political controversy because of his being granted permission to extend his elected two years in office, repeated a phrase he uttered a month ago when Jones’ name was first mentioned for the post.
“This is politics, not a beauty contest,” he said, predicting that while Jones is very popular, the people of Baja California will vote for “seasoned” administrators, not a pretty face.
…March, 5, 2021