What's Going On In This Country?

July 10, 2017
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

It’s come to my attention that many of you are confused about my role here at the GG. And even some doubt my catness.

I assure you I am a cat, and all those pictures you see of me throughout the paper are taken while I’m out and about gathering the news for you.

But, I am not just any cat, I am the first cat of this paper, as my mom is the publisher. That makes me pretty special around here. Just not special enough to get out of my annual 4th of July get-up, as you can see here. Mom just won’t let up on the stupid costumes. For the love of kittens, I’m not even an American! I was born in La Paz and lived there for six months before I lucked into this gig. I’m actually adopted, but it’s OK, I’ve come to accept that.

I get the same 10 cents a word that everyone working here gets, which is a little lean, but what the heck, it’s enough to supplement my kibble with the occasional can of Fancy Feast.

So, enough with the jokes about me, and don’t you ever doubt my catness again. That’s offensive.

Hey, Beatles fans! Start making your plans to head to Mexico City this fall. Paul McCartney is scheduled to give a concert there on October 28, his first performance in Mexico in five years.

Tickets went on sale on July 6 through Tickemaster. Prices range from $25 USD for the nosebleed section to $660 for the good seats.

Sir Paul isn’t the only big musical act coming to Mexico City; U2 is scheduled to perform four concerts on October 3 and 4.

Well, that’s no surprise It’s generally accepted as common knowledge that Donald Trump is not very popular in Mexico. But now, we have to the numbers to prove it! A recent study by the Pew Research Center in the U.S. showed that just 5% of respondents in Mexico said that they had confidence in Trump in international affairs. That’s the lowest confidence rating of any U.S. president in Mexico since the organization began surveying here.

Mexico’s view of Trump was also the lowest of the 37 countries surveyed. 91 percent of surveyed Mexicans think Trump is arrogant, 85% say he is intolerant and 83% consider him mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

Just for comparison, Mexico’s confidence rating in Barack Obama reached a peak of 55% at the start of his term while the lowest rating given to his predecessor, George W. Bush, was 16%, well above Trump’s score. And their own president? His approval rate is in the teens.

Isn’t the first bag always free? Profeco, Mexico’s consumer protection agency, fined five airlines a total of $1.2 million USD for charging passengers fees for their first checked bag.

Profeco fined Aeroméxico, Interjet, Volaris, VivaAerobus and JetBlue Airways for charging passengers on flights from Mexico City to the United States and Canada.

New regulations designed to protect airline travelers prohibit charging for the first checked bag and require airlines to provide compensation for flight delays.

The regulations allow checked baggage up to 55 pounds without charge on domestic and international flights originating within Mexico, although international rules say otherwise.

The airlines, which have only recently introduced the baggage fees, say they are necessary to avoid fare increases. If they don’t get you one way, they’ll get you another, so just bend over.

It’s for my glaucoma The domestic market for medical marijuana is expected to open in Mexico in six months, allowing businesses to import and sell cannabis-based products. There are currently 243 individual applications to import marijuana. Within the few scant years that cultivation of marijuana has been legal in some parts of the US, weed has been improved upon so much that the drug is actually flowing south now.

In the meantime, the federal health secretary will prepare regulations for the therapeutic use of cannabis. Growing marijuana plants is to be considered in those regulations, but only for those interested in scientific research and not for commercializing cannabis byproducts.

Mexico approved marijuana use for medical and scientific purposes in April, and the market has been estimated to be worth as much as $5 billion.

Nothing better to worry about? The Mexican embassy in Italy is throwing a hissy fit over a modernized version of the classic opera Carmen. The problem, according to the Mexican ambassador, is it shows a “cartoon-like, crass and simplistic” representation of Mexico.

The ambassador complained to the theater before the show even debuted, and the production was modified, but not enough to his liking, apparently. He’s still upset that the opera, which is set on the U.S.-Mexico border, is based “on stereotypes that do not represent the Mexican people or their culture.” Oh, good grief. Want some cheese with that whine?

Good news for the doggies Well, this is long overdue. Last month, Mexico made it illegal to raise and train dogs for fighting matches. Organizing, staging, promoting or sponsoring dog fighting events is also now illegal. We notice they didn’t state the obvious: No gambling on dogs. Until they write that into the law, they’re not serious.

Infractions can be punished with up to five years in jail, and fines ranging from $830 to $8,300 USD, approximately. And if the offender is a public official the jail time can be up to 7.5 years. Ja! Those types never do time, that part of the law is just a shell game and not serious.

Big Brother is watching The Mexican government is accused of attempted espionage on 88 journalists and human rights workers.

A report released last month claims that in each case the targets received a text message on a smartphone that when clicked installed spyware called Pegasus onto their phone.

The software gives the attacker access to all the phone’s files and the ability to control the camera and microphone.

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto fully denied that the government had used the spyware, but did admit  the government had purchased the it from Israelis. He promised a full investigation, and there’s talk of bringing the U.N. and possibly even the U.S. FBI in to help with the investigation.