Three musketeers were spotted in Chiapas last weekend. President López Obrador was joined in the country’s southernmost state by the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. The trio’s visit to the Peñitas dam was no doubt colored by talk of AMLO’s proposed energy reform, which has stirred discontent in Washington.
The president, delighted by Argentina’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to delay its debt payments, referred to a letter he’d received from Argentine president Alberto Fernández.
“‘We’ve had the pleasure of receiving in Argentina Beatriz, your life partner. She seduced everyone with her freshness, her wonderful character and her enviable intelligence … I know you’re no fan of leaving Mexico, but you should make an exception just to brighten up the life of someone who loves you, respects you, and admires you. That’s me,” Fernández wrote.
The letter continued: “[Former German Chancellor] Angela Merkel once asked me what my opinion was about you. [I told her] it’s the first time in many decades that Mexico has a decent man as its president.”
AMLO said he’d consider a trip to Argentina and that a meeting with Joe Biden in Los Angeles in June was near certain.
The president had sent a letter to the European Parliament, calling its members sheep, in response to a resolution criticizing his confrontational stance toward the media. He assured that Foreign Minister Ebrard – a careful communicator – was fully on board with the response.
Members of the European Parliament are “very irresponsible and very intrusive. They have a colonial mentality,” the president reiterated.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell might soon be getting less airtime: he confirmed that active COVID-19 cases have been trending down for seven consecutive weeks.
The president has often said that he hopes not to sound like a broken record. On Tuesday he closely resembled one, demanding that journalist Carlos Loret de Mola disclose his wealth and salary.
“I have less wealth than those journalists. If I compare what I have with the most humble people, I am powerful, but if I compare what I have with some journalists, then I’m poor, because it is incredible what they have,” AMLO disclosed.
However, he did mention one journalist that deserved his admiration. Ryszard Kapuściński, a Polish journalist, reported on 27 revolutions and coups between 1956 and 1981 in Africa, South America and Asia.
The tabasqueño also praised the work of political commentators on social media, who’d created memes of the president’s letter to the European Parliament.
“I saw on Facebook, there are some really ingenious memes that made me laugh. Some really good ones came out after the response to the European deputies,” he said.
Lie detector Ana Elizabeth García Vilchis was well versed for the weekly section on media misinformation. She said it was nonsense that the Felipe Ángeles Airport was 54% over budget, the government hadn’t overpaid for land near the Maya Train, the Education Ministry hadn’t paid through the roof for face masks and there was no legal investigation into the Interior Minister.
García also found time to endorse a report by the news site Contralínea, which claimed that Carlos Loret de Mola and his family own 13 apartments in Mexico City worth 100 million pesos (US $4.85 million).
The president announced the arrival of another planeload of Mexicans from Ukraine, and a video was shown of them stepping onto home soil from an air force jet.
Later in the conference, he assured that the death of another journalist, Armando Linares in Michoacán, was nothing to do with public officials and insisted that such acts of violence were used cynically by European Parliamentarians against the government.
In the monthly security report, Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez said there had been a sustained drop in homicides over the last nine months and that crime was at its lowest in five years.
Icela’s deputy, Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, listed some of the security forces’ standout arrests: El Contador (the accountant), El Zorro (the fox), El Chaparrito (shorty) and El Huevo (the egg).
Mejía also named some of the suspects —and their aliases — for the murder of 17 people at a wake in Michoacán. It sounded more like a fairy tale lineup than mass murder: the old man, the chile and the toad.
On the humanitarian crisis of missing people, Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas admitted the huge backlog of unidentified bodies. He blamed states for a lack of volition to identify remains, and said it was high time the National Center for Human Identification was created.
However, the president was onto multinational issues later in the conference.
“Never has the United Nations carried out an important, transcendental action for the benefit of the world’s poor,” he said, before advising U.S. President Joe Biden to put a price cap on gasoline to keep prices low.
The conference took place in Minatitlán, Veracruz, where the president would commemorate the 84th anniversary of the nationalization of the oil industry.
The governor, Cuitláhuac García, said the state’s government had broken links with organized crime present during previous administrations and added that the National Electoral Institute (INE) was wrong to try to censure the president through the electoral silence, in the build-up to the vote on whether AMLO should finish his term.
The president celebrated a decree which allows public servants to promote the upcoming vote, and argued that the INE was failing to spread the word.
“What was the INE doing? Staying silent … the INE is acting undemocratically, it is conspiring against democracy,” he said.
The president then promised that he would respect the result, even if turnout didn’t reach 40%, the minimum to make the vote legally binding.
An ex-president had criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic.
“What inefficiency in the management of the pandemic?” AMLO responded, before adding that Mexico was 25th in global death rates. That puts Mexico just outside of the world’s worst 10% for deaths from COVID-19.
The president said he was off to sample some of the culinary delights of Veracruz before rounding off another week of mañaneras.
Mexico News Daily