What's Going On In This Country?

May 13, 2019
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Sound familiar? The editor of a major newspaper has received death threats after President López Obrador once again criticized the paper, this time for publishing his home address. Actually, the President acknowledged that it was already in the public domain.  “Other media outlets didn’t do that”, he noted. “Don’t you think that’s bad taste? However, the next day he adopted a more conciliatory approach, announcing that protection would be provided for the threatened journalist.

Ouch! A man was attacked and killed by a swarm of Africanized honey bees in Quintana Roo. That’s the state that has Cancun. The victim was cutting firewood and accidentally disturbed a hive, which pissed off the bees in a big way. But the wood chopper made a getaway with only a few stings. Then he returned to the scene to retrieve his cargo trike and tools. The second round of stings of about 500 did him in.

What good is more police? None. Not good. Might as well send them for a beach vacation.

The deployment of 10,200 police and military personnel to the 17 most violent municipalities has failed in 10 of them. Homicides promptly increased in five of those municipalities, one of which spiked 225%. No, we’re not listing all the cities, because you never heard of most of them. And none of them are even on the Baja. It’s pretty quiet here, except for non-violent property crimes. Those are rampant here.

When all crimes are taken into account, 10 of the 17 cities saw an increase in bad stuff between 1% and 22%. According to an analysis by the National Public Security System, 35% of all homicides in the country occurred in those 17 cities.

Are you a rich Catholic? Good for you, because your church is tossing alms to Central American migrants in Mexico. The money will provide housing, food and basic needs. But hold that collection plate:

 “A regulated and transparent use of the resources, which must be accounted for, is required before the aid is assigned,” the Vatican statement said. Looks like they know Mexico pretty well and aren’t going to fork that money over to just anyone, even their own priests.

Migrants go over the fence. 645 migrants fled a shelter but 35 of those returned. The center was holding 1,745 people, almost double its capacity. The breakout occurred after a group of Cuban men violently broke into a section of the immigration center reserved for women. The incident caused a commotion and the migrants were able to gain access to other parts of the detention center and then its main entrance.

All those who left are going to get put on a list and if they get caught again, they are going to be subject to automatic deportation. Immigration authorities said most of the 980 Cubans who were held there had applied for injunctions through lawyers who provide “false expectations” of obtaining a transit visa that will allow them to travel to the United States border. However, “it has only delayed their assisted return to Cuba,” the agency said. A group of 148 Cubans was deported from Tapachula last week. The INM also said that criminal charges will be filed against those who fled the detention center for the damage they caused prior to leaving and that security measures at the facility have been bolstered. There will be an “assisted” return to Cuba? That sounds intriguing. Or ominous.

Pemex again. The consumer protection agency estimates that% of Mexico’s 12,000 gas stations short pour us. Oh, imagine our surprise. The consumer protection agency Profeco revealed that crooked gas stations tend to rob 100 milliliters of every liter of gasoline sold. That’s about a one-tenth of a gallon per gallon. Gas here costs about the same as in California, about $3.75 US per gallon.

Profeco inspects an average of 200 gas stations per week and so far this year 79 stations have chased off the inspectors, refusing to be scrutinized. The 79 non-compliant gas stations are all located in nine states that have the highest incidences of fuel pipe theft: Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Puebla, México and Aguascalientes.

The director said that each of the gas stations has been fined 800,000 pesos (US $42,000) for interfering with the inspection process, which will be repeated until Profeco is given access to the pumps. Fat chance of them ever paying it, though. If they thought they would pay a fine that big, they would have made another business plan.

Lexus is finally coming. Toyota is finally dipping its toe in Mexican waters. Well, they plan on entering this market in 2021 when they will pop open five Lexus dealerships in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. Toyota has 67 Mexican dealers, so there will be a scramble to get the Lexus brand.

Mexico will legalize pot. In June 2017, Mexico became one of the more than 40 countries to legalize medical marijuana, which is no small feat given the control drug cartels wield in Mexico. With this medical pot infrastructure already in place, the time has come for Mexico to take the next logical step and become the third country worldwide to have broadly legalized cannabis.

Mexico’s lawmakers are being coerced by the nation’s Supreme Court. Mexico’s Supreme Court reaches five similar decisions on an issue, the standard set by the court is applied throughout the country. With regard to recreational marijuana, Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled five times since 2015 that the imposition of a ban on recreational pot is unconstitutional. In effect, the Supreme Court has made legalization the standard, and now it’s up to Mexico’s Senate to amend the existing laws to reflect this ruling.

According to Marijuana Moment, (who doesn’t read that?) lawmakers plan to use the summer recess, which begins May 1 and runs through Aug. 31, to rework legislation to legalize recreational marijuana throughout Mexico. The Supreme Court has imposed an October deadline to get this done, so hold that exhale.

Airbnb grief.  Internet accommodation sites are freaking out hoteliers north of Puerta Vallarta, where a local tourism official has figured there are,000 legitimate hotel rooms and 16,000 private rooms being rented.

Hotel officials claim it is an uneven playing field for them because hotels pay commercial rates for electricity and water while the latter are charged residential prices, which are lower. “We think that it’s unfair competition. Airbnb is a platform that benefits from [tourism] promotion whose budget comes from the bed tax. There should be responsibility. Airbnb users should pay the relevant taxes,” he said. Average hotel occupancy rates there were 65% last year and tourism generated an estimated economic spillover of US $1.6 billion in the region.

Seven Mexican states including ours, charge Airbnb hosts booking taxes of 2% to 3% but federal Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco is now proposing a nationwide regulation for online hospitality services.

I.Q. The number of Mexicans who read books and other materials has decreased since 2015, according to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

42% of respondents said they had read at least one book in the past 12 months compared to 50% in 2015. Among those who do read books, the average number read per year remains unchanged at 3.3. The proportion of people who read a wider range of materials including books, newspapers, magazines, comic strips and internet content (excluding social media) also went backwards, declining from 84.2% of the population in 2015 to 74.8% this year.

Almost half of all respondents to the Inegi survey said they didn’t read due to a lack of time while 21.7% said that they had no interest in reading. More than 20% of those surveyed said they only understood “half” or “a little” of what they read. In addition, Inegi found that only 11% of respondents had been to a library in the past year, that just under 60% had books other than textbooks at home, and that one-third were read to by their parents when they were children.

The President is concerned. He has launched a series of eight books priced at US $2 or less and last month declared he was confident that the government could“turn Mexico into a republic of readers.” This from the man who just capitulated in the battle with unionized teachers who think they should not have to take competency tests, and that they can sell their teaching job to anyone.

Who’s country is this?  Speaker of the United States House, Nancy Pelosi, seems to think she can do a fine job running Mexico but a top Mexican official told the U.S. Democrats to go piss up a rope, they will not change the NAFTA deal that’s already been changed but not ratified. The US Democrats want more labor laws changed. Mexican lawmakers have already passed a generous, life-changing labor reform law required by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Pelosi’s Democrats have served notice they will not ratify the NAFTA replacement without stronger labor laws written into it. What, we have to go back to the table and re-negotiate the whole damn thing now that Democrats have a say in ratifying it? Sigh.

14 family members killed. We already told you that, pay attention. Now it turns out that law enforcement, in this case, has been hampered by cameras being on the fritz. And now it turns out that in all the state of Sonora 1,600 out of 6,500 cameras installed have winked out. The private company Comtelsat has a contract to keep them running, so the governor has filed a complaint with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR). That will go nowhere, it’s cheaper to pay off the courts than go out there and fiddle around with nearly 5,000 cameras.

 

If you enjoyed this column, please tell kent@gringogazette.com because if  I don’t get enough support, he will give my column to David Flores. Flores is an OK guy but a borrrring writer. If Kent turns my column over to him this will be like his Que Pasa column:  Informative, well done, but white bread boring.  If I don’t get enough votes I might claim racism against cats and let’s just see where that goes.

But the bottom line is, I need this job now that my mom, Carrie, is gone. I’m the sole supporter of the family now, which numbers about 85 cats. I’m pretty proud of that number, no one’s going to take me on that journey to the vet.

 That’s kent@gringogazette.com, the whole family is depending on your support.