Mexico News Roundup
By RICARDO CASTILLO
Women March Nationwide
From A and B to Y and Z, Mexican women will protest in Monday, March 8, International Women’s Day, against macho violence in the nation.
Though in the past, much of the attention of previous demonstrations has been centered around the Mexico City main square Zócalo, this year the programming for the protests will stem out of state capitals of literally every state of the nation, starting alphabetically with Aguascalientes and Baja California and extending to Yucatán and Zacatecas.
Authorities in all Mexican state capitals have been warned to be prepared to confront possible acts of vandalism such as tagging and even lootings of convenience stores – not uncommon in prior marches – with riot police using cornering tactics to isolate rowdy demonstrators.
But for the most part marches are expected to be peaceful so that the message will come through loud and clear to all men committing violent actions against women, which include a long list of nefarious femicides.
In all states, governors and city mayors have vowed to respect the women’s right to protest.
It’s a law, not a regulation
At an entrepreneurial virtual meet last week that was summoned by Mexico’s Business Coordination Council (CCE) and the National Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin), law energy professor César Hernández Ochoa dropped a potential bucket of ice-cold water on interested attendees.
“The legal outlook for opposing (Mexico’s new electricity reform bill) is adverse if compared with the disputes won recently at the Supreme Court in the energy field,” he warned those planning on suing the government over the new law, which still has not gone into effect but struck immediate protests in Mexican business communities.
Ochoa told industrialists ,clean energy producers and their lawyers that “challenging the energy law is going to be much more complicated than what we saw with the recent Trustworthiness Policy.”
“A law is not the same as a regulation,” he said. “So many of the habeas corpus protecting measures (amparos) may not be applicable.”
Hernández Ochoa, a well-recognized legal expert and former head of the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement, went on to say that the Mexican Supreme Court’s analysis – regardless of recent successful arguments (it had initially challenged the legality of the bill) – has a more complicated panorama.
Hernández Ochoa arguments were echoed by Antonio Noyola, head of the Energy Marketers Association, who said private energy producers can expect “a difficult epoch” to protect their businesses and investments under the new law.
But CCE President Carlos Salazar Lomelín repeated his warning that Mexican consumers will be paying dearly for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) electricity reform with higher electricity rates increases for individuals, industries and stores.
Marijuana Law Vote
The Mexican Chamber of Deputies will vote on Monday, March 8, on whether to approve the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
The bill has already been approved by the Senate.
On a related issue, Senate President Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar strongly demanded that Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum remove the street market stationed outside the Senate, which was first established as a pressure tool to push for the marijuana legalization bill, but stayed for more than a year. It is not unusual for the Senate building to be impregnated with the pungent aroma from marijuana smoke.
Sheinbaum responded rapidly and, on Saturday, March 6, the marijuana byproducts sellers were removed by police from the Senate, located on Avenida Reforma, to the Chilpancingo Square, on Avenida Insurgentes Sur.
Neighbors at the posh Colonia Hipódromo Condesa neighborhood immediately protested the move, claiming that among bona fide marijuana byproduct sellers and paraphernalia peddlers, there are criminal elements who are actually selling drugs.
“They were fine where they were at the Senate,” said Rafael Guerreros, a neighborhood representative.
“We don’t want them here.”
Army Gets Maya Train Contract
Mexico’s National Fund to Foster Tourism (Fonatur) awarded a direct contract to the Mexican Army to build Section 5 of the controversial Tren Maya tourist train.
The contract includes building an electric two-rail track for the train, as well as revamping the Cancun Airport-Playa del Carmen highway.
The contract had previously been won by a consortium composed of Grupo México and Spanish construction company Acciona, which had won a public bid for the $885 million project.
AMLO visited the Yucatán Peninsula on Saturday, March 6, and called on the train’s builders to “hurry up” because his deadline to inaugurate the railway, one of his pet projects, is 2023.
Construction of the railway has been stalled repeatedly due to the covid-19 pandemic, multiple protests by local residents and environmentalists, and, most recently, legal decisions to halt its progression.
“We have no more time and we don’t want the next administration to inherit an unfinished project,” AMLO said.
The president claimed that awarding the contract to the Mexican Army corps of engineers over private sector contractors will translate into “significative savings” for the Mexican government.
New Covid Vaccine Gets Green Light
Covaxin, a vaccine produced by India-based company Bharat Biotech International Limited, was approved for use in Mexico on Saturday, March 6, by the Federal Sanitary Risks Protection Commission (Cofepris).
The vaccine will begin being administered in Mexico as soon as it becomes available, perhaps even early this week.
Two PRI Candidates Gunned Down
Two candidates for municipal mayor in two separate Mexican states were shot dead Thursday, March 4.
Both belonged to the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
One of the assassinations was carried out in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, where Yuriel Armando González Lara was gunned down outside the PRI offices.
Earlier in the day, the PRI candidate running for mayor of La Perla municipality in the coastal state of Veracruz, Melquiades Vázquez Lucas, suffered the same fate.
Gonzalez Lara, a lawyer as well as a former judge and Casas Grandes chief of police, had also been the defense lawyer for two suspects in the multiple homicide perpetrated against nine members of the Mormon LeBarón family.
Police sources said that they suspect organized criminals were behind both murders.
The Mexican peso has continued to slowly lose ground against the U.S. dollar.
On Friday, March 5, the exchange rate closed at 21.32 pesos per dollar, a significant drop since two weeks ago, when the peso was quoting at around 19 pesos per greenback.
Last week the peso dropped from 20.94 to the dollar to 21.32 to the dollar.
…March, 8, 2021