By RICARDO CASTILLO
New Mexican Tourist Resort
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) Saturday visited the largest of the three islands, popularly known as “Las Marías,” off the coast of Nayarit in the Pacific Ocean.
During his visit, AMLO announced that in three months the archipelago, which once served as a federal prison, would open up to tourists as a national biosphere.
Currently, work is underway to revamp the pier, smooth dirt roads and recondition housing facilities to receive guests.
The islands served as a prison for over 100 years, and escape was essentially impossible given the shark-infested “water walls” surrounding the three islands.
In March of 2019, AMLO closed the island prison, liberating the last detainees.
While at the largest of the islands, known as the Mother Island, AMLO appointed Navy Captain Jesús Salvador de Olaguibel as the new “governor” of the three isles.
New Oil Reserves
On Friday, March 12, AMLO said that on Thursday, March 18 — the anniversary of the 1938 expropriation of and nationalization of all petroleum reserves, facilities and foreign oil companies in Mexico — he would announce the discovery of a huge new oil field off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
The president did not offer specific details as the the size or location of the new field of exploration, saying only that it was in the southeast of the country.
He did, however, make mention of the fact that international oil prices, which dropped dramatically in 2020, are now on the rebound.
Last year, Mexican oil revenues fell be 38.7 percent compared to the previous year, and Mexico’s heavy crude reached rock-bottom prices.
In 2020, México exported 65.7 percent of all crude oil it produced, according to the Energy Secretariat (Sener).
While the commercial balance of crude has remained favorable for Mexico over the course of the last five years, petroleum revenues between 2015 and 2020 decreased by 74.6 percent during that period, accord to the Finance Secretariat (SHCP).
Ecuadorian Ambassador to Mexico Enrique Ponce de León Román and San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Municipal Mayor Alberto Villarreal García held a brief ceremony on Friday, March 12, declaring SMA and Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca “sister cities”.
The ceremony was held virtually at the Municipal Palace and was also attended by Mexican Ambassador to Ecuador Raquel Serur Smeke, and Cuenca mayor Pedro Palacios, as well as Ximena Escobedo representing the Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Both cities are tourist destinations and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
White House Thieves
Three former officers at the Public Function Secretariat (SFP) were indicted for allegedly illegally removing the files on the so-called casa blanca (white house) scandal, involving former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Supposedly, Peña Nieto’s wife, soap actress Angélica Rivera, was planning to purchase the luxurious residence in Mexico city’s upscale Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, but it was later discovered that she allegedly received it as a gift from the construction company Grupo Higa, which purportedly received juicy contracts when Peña Nieto was governor of the State of Mexico (Edoméx).
SFP Secretary Irma Eréndira Sandoval Ballesteros said the indictment of the three officials, who worked for the SFP during the Peña Nieto administration, constituted “one more step to eradicate impunity through legal means.”
Clearly, she said, there was a conflict of interests between Peña Nieto and the construction company.
One of the indicted officials was former SFP Undersecretary José Gabriel Carreño Camacho.
In 2016, the “casa blanca” deal became a major political scandal.
Archaeological Pieces Returned
A total of 280 pre-Hispanic archaeological artifacts were returned to Mexico during a ceremony held in Nogales, Arizona.
The pieces were delivered to Mexican Consul Ricardo Santana Veláquez by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Scott Brown.
Of the total pieces returned, 270 were items extracted from sites in Sonora, and 10 more, including several sculpted figurines showing antique garments, were returned by the Chandler Museum.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History will now keep the lot, which includes a rare copper-bell musical instrument.
Robles to Plead Not Guilty
Sergio Ramírez, defense lawyer for former Agriculture Secretary Rosario Robles Berlanga, announced Thursday, March 11, that his client will not declare herself guilty of mishandling of state funds to avoid being tried for organized criminal activities.
If she were to plead guilty, she would have to return alleged stolen funds worth 5.5 billion pesos, which she has said she never took.
Instead, Robles has said that she is willing to accept a protected witness status by offering to turn in information on the so-called “Master Fraud” scam regarding the participation of former Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray, and other top officials whose names were not made public.
Ramírez and the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) are now in negotiations that will be brought before a judge on March 26, the date of Robles’ next court appearance.
Salgado’s First Rally
Controversial National Regeneration Movement (Morena) candidate for governor of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, Felix Salgado Macedonio, held his first political rally at a popular Acapulco neighborhood.
Salgado Macedonio, who has been accused of rape by at least three women and who has consequently been condemned by women’s organizations both inside and outside the leftist Morena party, began his campaign just one week later after the party held a second internal poll and came out the winner again.
According to Morena sources, Salgado Macedonio, who is a close personal friend and ally of AMLO, is the best-positioned candidate in the race that has a total of 18 contenders, including representatives of other parties and independents.
In his first speech, Salgado Macedonio, accompanied by his wife María de Jesús, complained about being the victim of “a political lynch mob,” which accused him of several rapes over the past 25 years.
Over the last few weeks, his name has been in the Mexican press on a daily basis, and on Monday, March 8, women marching during International Women’s Day protest chanted the rhyme “un violador no será gobernador” (“a rapist will not be governor”).
Nonetheless, Morena, who has not been formally charged with any crime and who has the public backing on AMLO, went ahead to compete for the Morena candidacy.
At his rally on Saturday, March 13, in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood of Acapulco, there were no feminist protests.
Estrada Beats González
A much-anticipated boxing bout in the super flyweight division (112 to 115 pounds) did not disappoint the large crowd attending the American Airlines Center in Dallas Saturday March 13.
The fast and furious fight lasted the 12 programmed rounds, with Mexican Francisco “Fighting Cock” Estrada retaining his World Boxing Council (WBC) belt and Nicaraguan Román “Chocolate” González winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt.
The punches exchange went from beginning to end, with Estrada finally winning by a tight split decision.
Both little boxers, both great fighters.
…March 15, 2021