By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Thugs in Uniforms
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) ever-expanding army of National Guard (GN) troops has been flexing its muscles in a violent show of force against civilians, proving once again that unbridled military power is a threat to the nation and the Mexican people alike.
In just the last month alone, members of AMLO’s hand-picked and financially coddled army of thugs have pummeled four unarmed youths in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, with 18 bullets (wounding two and killing one), taken potshots at a man in the same state who was accompanying his pregnant wife to an ultrasound scan (the man died in their custody 40 minutes later as the soldiers looked on and did nothing to help him), and, lest we forget, brutally beating up a woman in Mexico City’s trendy Coyoacán neighborhood, dragging her by her hair across a sidewalk into a car as she frantically screamed for help.
For the record, the GN has accepted responsibility for the assault on the woman in Coyoacán, and the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has “opened files” on the two Tamaulipas shooting incidences, but there is little likelihood that the responsible officers parties will be prosecuted.
On July 3, also in Nuevo Laredo, three young people who had been kidnapped by organized crime members died from “friendly fire” shootings by soldiers.
Despite solid evidence that the tragedy could have been avoided, the soldiers who were responsible for the deaths were released without trial.
The list goes on:
In February, 12 officers were arrested for the massacre of 19 people, including several Guatemalan migrants. again, in Tamaulipas.
And on March 29, four Mexican GN officers shot dead a Guatemalan citizen who was about to cross the border illegally.
The simple fact of the matter it that AMLO has emboldened his army with additional powers and given its soldiers free reign to do as they will in exchange for turning a blind eye to his constant violations of the Mexican Constitution and the rule of law.
What we are witnessing now is the heavy toll this bargain made in hell is taking on the Mexican people.
Fire in the Hole
At least eight people were injured Wednesday, April 7, when a large fire broke out at a Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) refinery in Minatitlán, Veracruz.
The blaze, which was soon contained by firefighters and Pemex personnel, was apparently started by a leak in a gasoline transfer pipe and did not lead to serious injuries or death.
The refinery, which was built in 1906, was last updated in 2011 as part of $3.6 billion modernization program to enable production of low-sulphur gasoline to meet global environmental standards.
Under the administration of López Obrador, its production capacity has been increased over the last two years as part of the president’s plan to make Mexico self-sufficient in gasoline.
AMLO has also invested more than $8 billion in developing a new, controversial refinery at Dos Bocas, in his native state of Tabasco.
Mexico currently imports about $20 billion per year worth of gasoline to cover the country’s growing demand.
Inflation Up, Car Sales Down
The annual inflation rate in Mexico hit 4.67 percent in March, its highest level since December of 2018, when it reached 4.83 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
Mexico’s Central Bank (Banxico) chalked up the increase to a rise in consumer prices for energy, food and tobacco.
Meanwhile, the Inegi also reported that Mexico’s automobile exports in March dropped to just 256,119, down 13.2 percent compared to the same month in 2021. That figure constitutes the lowest automotive export volume since 2016.
The Inegi said that the drop in sales was duly mainly to shutdowns at the nation’s Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen plants resulting from semiconductor chip shortage in the international market.
From Water Czar to Diplomat
During his daily press conference on Wednesday, April 8, AMLO announced that he would be naming Blanca Jimenez, who until now has served as the head of Mexico’s Water Commission (Conagua), to be the country’s next ambassador to France.
“There are going to be changes at Conagua, but not because of its director’s poor performance,” AMLO said.
“She is one of the most esteemed water specialists in the country and worldwide. But she has a family matter that is forcing her to leave her position at Conagua and to leave Mexico.”
AMLO did not elaborate on the matter.
…April 9, 2021