Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Nigh is the day of judgment: the week at the morning news conferences

President López Obrador took to the skies last weekend to fly over his flagship Maya Train project, the 1,525-kilometer railroad under construction in the country’s southeast. AMLO previously pledged the railway would be completed in 2023 but work on a section of track in Quintana Roo has been suspended since May due to a federal court ruling.


The president arrived to a new week armed with a message of love. “Our adversaries, as they have not been able to impose themselves, want us to enter into an argument with the churches … love and peace … if you ask me to express who is my most admired social leader, who I respect most for his dedication in favor of the dispossessed, it’s Jesus Christ,” the tabasqueño said.

“With all due respect, a priest, a bishop, a pastor cannot say that violence must be responded to with violence … Let it be heard well, let it be heard far: since we are in government there has been a 30% reduction in crimes of federal jurisdiction,” López Obrador declared, following renewed criticism from religious figureheads about violence.

Yet later in the conference, the president repeated a threat against one of the United States’ most famous women. “If he is taken to the United States and sentenced to a maximum penalty to die in prison, the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty must begin,” he said about the extradition of the long-imprisoned investigative journalist Julian Assange.


The president confirmed he was sending a bill to eliminate daylight saving time on Tuesday.

Health Minister Jorge Alcocer outlined the rationale for the proposal. “Adults need three to seven days to adapt to the time change and the child population requires more time. The lack of synchronization with the environment alters our internal temporal order and causes physical and mental problems,” Alcocer said, before adding that daylight saving time changes increase the risk of depression and suicide.

Health Minister Jorge Alcocer speaks on Tuesday.
Health Minister Jorge Alcocer speaks on Tuesday. Presidencia de la República

“It’s advisable to return to the standard time, which is when the time of the sundial coincides with the time of the social clock, the clock of God,” Alcocer added.

Later in the conference, the president defended U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar after criticism of him was reported in The New York Times. “He is my friend and he is a good, sensible man. A friend of [U.S.] President Biden. A very responsible politician, from Colorado, who comes from below, of Mexican origin,” he said.

López Obrador had further words of sympathy for the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), “Alito” Moreno, whose home in Campeche city was breached with a battering ram by investigators. “I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the way in which a judicial procedure was carried out in Campeche … You know that the gentleman [Moreno] isn’t a saint in my book, but I do not agree with the procedure,” AMLO said.


With truth at the ready, government misinformation expert Elizabeth García Vilchis brought clarity to the Mexican public in the “Who’s who in the lies of the week” section.

García highlighted an accusation that the president had criticized the Jewish origins of a politically vocal advertising executive. García added that the newspaper Reforma later issued a retraction and apology to its readers for the claim.

García was also dissatisfied with reporting on the Dos Bocas refinery in Tabasco, after it was inaugurated by the president. She said it was false that the no oil would be refined there until 2024 and clarified that a testing phase would begin, allowing for full operation in 2023.

García also named her first “expert of the week,” awarding the ironic prize to National Action Party (PAN) Senator Xóchitl Gálvez, who’d gone from refinery enthusiast to critic.

This week, Elizabeth García Vilchis announced a satrical award for an opposition lawmaker.
This week, Elizabeth García Vilchis announced a satirical award for an opposition lawmaker. Presidencia de la República

Despite all the newspapers allegedly against his government, the president said he retained his peace of mind. “The truth is I do not hate anyone. I have no enemies, I only have adversaries. I don’t get bitter and my heart will not harden … I try to keep a sense of humor,” he said.


The president’s predecessor was the main point of discussion at Thursday’s conference. The head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), Pablo Gómez, announced that former president Enrique Peña Nieto was under investigation. Gómez said the UIF detected a scheme by which Peña had received 26 million pesos (US $1.27 million) through international bank transfers.

The UIF is well-versed in corruption matters: Its previous chief, Santiago Nieto, resigned in November after a lavish wedding in Guatemala caused scandal. Nieto was later put under investigation for acquiring four vehicles and a property worth a combined 40 million pesos (US $1.9 million) while in the post.

Pablo Gómez, chief of the federal Financial Intelligence Unit.
Pablo Gómez, chief of the federal Financial Intelligence Unit. Presidencia de la República

Gómez confirmed there was no standing criminal case against former president Felipe Calderón. The UIF head called Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca “a scandal,” refused to say whether Alito Moreno was under investigation for corruption by the UIF and didn’t rule out an investigation into former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

“The government does not have an agenda for persecution of a political nature,” Gómez assured.


López Obrador reiterated his moral opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but dismissed the notion of any political reaction. “We don’t agree with invasions but we don’t want to participate in international conflicts. We have opted for neutrality,” he said.

“Wars are disastrous because people suffer a lot, and innocent people suffer,” the president added. However, he denied there had been any breakdown in relations with the Russian government.

López Obrador conceded it was likely that U.S. women would arrive at clinics in border cities after new restrictions on abortion in many U.S. states, but he appeared more concerned by the arrival of another group at the border. “He is going too far. It is not up to him to make that decision … it’s up to the U.S. government,” López Obrador said of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who had authorized the return of migrants to the border.

“It’s an aberration, we don’t agree with it … isn’t it in the Bible that we must protect the outsider?” asked the man from Tepetitán, Tabasco.

Mexico News Daily

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