After trying to postpone it many times, former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard will be questioned regarding the blunders in the construction of the 12th line of the city’s subway, also known as the Golden Line, stalled since the beginning of current Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera’s term.
Ebrard, a Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) presidential hopeful in 2012, before declining in favor of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, has refused any responsibility in both the failure of this project and its elevated cost.
It has been reported that one of Line 12’s main issues is that the train cars don’t match the installed tracks, producing major wear and tear on the equipment with the possibility that accidents will result.
For the time being, the line will remain closed. Putting it back into operation will entail a multi-million-peso investment.
Meanwhile, Ebrard will have to appear before the investigative commission of the Mexican Congress, where charges of a federal nature are the most likely outcome, possibly sending him and his collaborators to jail and ending his political career in disgrace.
Some say that this is presidential revenge, as rumors suggest Ebrard is guilty of leaking information to journalist Carmen Aristegui regarding the so called “Casa Blanca,” (the personal home of President Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera) and the resulting accusations against the president and first lady. Apparently, Aristegui shared or sold this information to the Wall Street Journal, which led to it being published internationally.
However, suspicions and accusations have been hanging over Ebrard’s head well before all this. His response has been to lay the blame for the mess on the current mayor of Mexico City. AMLO has tried to defend him, but Ebrard is running out of friends.
On another important topic, the federal consumer protection office, Profeco, has spent the last year investigating over 3,000 pawnshops across the country, in response to thousands of complaints of abuse in terms of interest rates, redemption terms for pawned goods, advance discount interest, among others.
It is also said that this type of business encourages the trade of stolen objects because the pawnshops never ask for documentation proving the ownership of the objects being pawned, directly contributing to increases in burglary.
To date, over 1,400 pawnshops have been fined and, according to data from Profeco, almost 35% have been shut down. Early January is the most lucrative time of the year for pawnshops.
Profeco’s promise is to finish their investigation and then continue supervising these businesses, to guarantee their lawful operation.
Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.