What's Going On In This Country?

August 8, 2016 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

More gas grief.  Pemex lost money for the 15th consecutive quarter as a cash injection from the government wasn’t enough to overcome record low crude output, refinery setbacks, and a gasoline plant explosion. We’re talking about $59 billion of losses in the past three years. OK, so that’s pesos, but even so, Pemex has been a very bad boy. And they’re killing people! The plant boom boom killed 24 people.

Pemex has pinned its financial recovery hopes on selling its assets, such as its refineries, forming new partnerships to increase crude production, and continued financial buck-ups from the government.

Mexico announced in April that Pemex’s tax payments, which have historically accounted for as much as a third of the government’s budget, will be lowered and that the state will absorb 47 million pesos of the company’s outstanding pension liabilities.

So now maybe you’re feeling less grumpy about paying more for gasoline here than in the States? Get grumpy again. Mexico has more oil than the United States. The company’s troubles are due to stupidity, laziness, and graft.

Aging of Mexico. There is something of a slow-motion baby boomer tsunami taking place in Mexico.

During the decade of the 1990s senior citizens represented just 6.35% of the population but now boomers are 10% of the total and according to projections by the National Population Council, Conapo, their numbers will grow by a whopping 42.5% in the next 10 years, reaching 15%.

The number of Mexican citizens aged 60 years or more has increased 118% since 1990, and in some parts of the country, such as Nuevo León, the increase has been even greater at 189%. In contrast, during this same period the country’s total population saw an increase of 39% nationally and 57% in the north.

25 years ago there were 5.2 million oldies in Mexico and today it is estimated there are more than 12 million. By 2030 there could be as many as 20 million.

In a recent study by the National Institute of Health and Aging it was revealed that since 1960, life expectancy in Mexico has risen from 57 to 75 years. If you’ve ever been in the local social security hospital you would wonder how that even happens.

Dengue! But no Zika. When a mosquito bites you, she – because only the ladies bite – will probe your skin as many as 20 times.  Geeze, we would think we would have time to swat the bitch, wouldn’t we?

Anyhow, she breaks the skin and then roots around for a blood vessel, withdrawing and re-entering until she finds what she likes. When the blood starts to flow out of you, the mosquito holds still and then begins to suck; in 90 seconds’ time, she feels full, and gets up from the table. (That would be you, Bunkie). And then, if you are bang out of luck, you will have dengue, which is no picnic but survivable. It’s like a real bad flu. So far we don’t have Zika here in Baja. 

Mexico, and especially our local government, is all over this mosquito thing, going around the barrios and spraying every night. In your neighborhood, not so much, as you don’t count so much. Just kidding. Gringos are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to standing water and it is thought those neighborhoods are not so impacted.

So why don’t we just wipe these suckers out? Seems like if we can wipe Nagasaki and Hiroshima off the face of the Earth, we could wipe out mosquitos. Well, seems like to us.

Mosquitos over troubled waters. Some Mexicans are buying so-called purified water when what comes out of the tap is actually of a higher quality.

An investigation by scientists with the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) found that three out of four 20 liter water containers, or garrafons, contained water that was not safe to drink.

As a result, the IPN’s National School of Biological Sciences issued a statement advising that many small water purification firms are operating outside the law and not complying with health regulations.

The investigation was carried out by conducting an analysis of 122 random samples of water distributed by 111 small firms operating in the 16 boroughs of Mexico City. More than half — 69 of the samples — contained coliform bacteria, while 23 contained fecal coliforms, which can cause stomach ailments. Only 30 of the 122 passed the tests.

Sick by mosquito, or sick by water? How is that we’re all still alive and well? Could alcohol be the answer? Yes, that’s it. Alcohol kills everything bad. That’s what we choose to believe.

More trade, please! Mexican officials told a Washington audience last week that there must be a strong trade relationship between the U.S. and Mexico in what they called a “challenging time”.

Challenging time is an understatement. So, like, how are we going to hurl all this trade over Donald Trump’s 40 foot wall? Actually, strawberries might make it over the new, higher wall, new autos not so much.

Mexican exports increased by 12 percent in the first four months of this year as compared to the 7 to 9 percent growth in past years so we’re getting a good head start in case Trump gets elected.

About six million U.S. jobs rely on Mexican trade, and there is $4 billion worth of goods crossing our shared border every day.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Donald.

Gay revolution comes to Mexico. This spring Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto sent a bill to Congress to amend an article of the Mexican Constitution that would legalize same-sex marriages throughout the country. The measure, if approved, would also give gay couples the right to adopt children.

The initiative will be debated in the second week of September and it appears the bill has a good chance of passing. This development has been met with fierce opposition by many members of the Catholic church and other Neanderthals, so strong efforts are being made to defeat the initiative. On the other hand, most Mexicans, including many liberal Catholics, now support gay marriage and are increasingly open to the idea of expanding rights for the LGBT community. 

In 2000, more than 62% of Mexicans surveyed were opposed to gay marriage. Today, around 65% are in favor, according to a recent poll.

The Donald voted out of Mexico. If Mexico City lawmakers had the authority they would ban U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump from entering Mexico. In fact, they have voted unanimously for such a ban in spite of they don’t have the authority.

The move calls on federal authorities to suspend or prohibit Trump’s entry into Mexico due to his xenophobic attacks on the Mexican people. Deputy Victor Hugo Romo described Trump as “primeval, egocentric and primitive” and likened him to Adolf Hitler.

“Hitler was very popular. He generated a lot of sympathy by creating a nationalist policy that vindicated the Germans’ sense of self-worth. [Trump] is practically a copy. I consider Donald Trump a chauvinist and a misogynist disposed to political repression.  He doesn’t respect diversity.”

National Action Party Deputy José Manuel Delgadillo said the assembly wanted to prod President Enrique Peña Nieto into confronting Trump. Isn’t that Hillary’s job?