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Peña Nieto: never let an AMLO proposal go to waste

27 October 2018

There has been a pattern over the last several years of AMLO proposing “radical” policies, which the opposition will poo-poo as pie in the sky… before adopting a watered down version One thinks of things like the small old-age pensis first given out here in Mexico City (basically, as a form of economic stimulus as well as food assistance) that were eventually, in a lesser form, then proposed by the opposition throughout the country.

AMLO, while chomping at the bit to begin governing (he takes office at midnight on the last day of November), has proposed given the Central American migrants work permits, and offering them jobs on the massive public works programs planned for under-serviced south… two railroad projects (a tourist train around the Yucatan, and a new Trans-Isthmus train) as well as reforestation and soil conservation projects. Peña Nieto… supposedly at the bidding of Donald Trump to “DO SOMETHING!” to stop the exodus from Honduras and the other Central American states devastated by years of US policies, has come up with an AMLO-lite program to slow down the migrants, or at least drain off as many people from the caravan as possible:

The Guardian:

The Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, said that migrants wishing to obtain temporary identification documents, jobs or education for their children could do so by registering for asylum in southern Mexico.

“This plan is only for those who comply with Mexican laws, and it’s a first step towards a permanent solution for those who are granted refugee status in Mexico,” Peña Nieto said in a pre-recorded address broadcast on Friday.

To qualify for the scheme he called “Estas en Tu Casa” (“Make Yourself at Home”) migrants had to be in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, the president said.

In other words, “mí casa es su casa”… as long as you don’t try reaching your original destination, or moving anywhere near the Mexican heartland.

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Let me die like a Mexican

25 October 2018

via Let me die like a Mexican

It’s a sin?

25 October 2018

Last Sunday, unknown persons attempted to assault the residence of the former Primate of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, killing a Banking and Industrial Police officer. Rivera, whose retirement was accepted by Pope Francis with undue haste back in soon after he turned 75 last year… while seen as an advocate for social justice is also despised for his cover-up of more than a few sexual abuse scandals (and protecting the notorious Marcial Maciel), his unrelenting attacks on Liberation Theologians, the GLBT community, feminists, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, his inexplicable private wealth, his open support for the political elites (especially the crowd around Carlos Salinas), and whispered ties to organized crime figures.

While the list of suspects is endless, national media has largely portrayed the unprecedented open attack on a botched kidnapping attempt.

However, Sanjuana Martínez, a journalist who has covered the “Cardinal beat” for years, has suggested the attack could have been retaliation for Rivera’s long-time protection of pedophile priests. She adds that Rivera has made enemies over the years due to his personal business activites and that much of his wealth comes from acting as a
“prestanombre” (front-man for investment groups otherwise anonymous) in various enterprises.

“There is a group of people who hate him; children who for years were sexually abused and who are now adults. Someone who is in organized crime and wants revenge. She believes that there are any number of motives behind the attack on the “protector of pedophile priests, and as an entrepreneur in different business deals or his ties to people linked to organized crime.”

Given the great secrecy and unusual protection being given the Cardinal, there is speculation that the public is being purposely kept in the dark to allow Rivera to quietly leave the country.

Would he be missed? NAH!

Apologies

24 October 2018

Posting has been, and will continue to be light for the next week or two.  Following my recent surgery, I’m afraid that the “lifestyle changes” required have kept me from working (or even keeping up with the cascade of recent events here) in more than a scattershot fashion.  And, I’m having to undertake my own migration … a few blocks from the house where I’ve been living for the past four or five years.

¡Pasarán!

24 October 2018

Central American migrants walk along the highway near the border with Guatemala, as they continue their journey trying to reach the U.S., in Tapachula, Mexico October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Return of the (occasional) Friday Nite Video (er… early Saturday morning)…

19 October 2018

Opium dream?

9 October 2018

Add to the list of those seeking to legitimize the opium business in Mexico a surprisingly new convert… Secretary of Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos.  What makes it so surprising is not so much that the General is a walking stereotype of a scary Latin American military hard-ass… and is (unlike in the United States, the defense secretary here is a serving military officer), but that after overseeing and defending the “war against drugs” for the last six years, he’s adding his voice to those making the same call in the name of defending human rights: like Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, and incoming Home Secretary and retired Supreme Court Justice Olga Sánchez Cordero.  The General may have unquestionably followed the dictates of outgoing President Peña Nieto, but he has had enough of a fruitless war that cannot be won, that has all but destroyed the reputation and honor of the Army, and not Mexico’s war to fight… certainly not when the casualties are mostly civilian “collateral damage” in the tens of thousands.

That Mexico has been commercially growing opium poppies since at least the 1880s, was ignored by the 1953 New York Opium Protocol, which only permitted six counties (Bulgaria, Greece, India, Iran, Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia) the “right” to produce opium.  The more important 1963 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs modified the 1953 agreement, again by-passing Mexico as a legal producer, despite it’s position as the third largest producer world-wide, and largest in the western hemisphere.

Despite the wide variety of pain relievers and pallatives for terminal illnesses produced from opium, unable to sell opium for legitimate use by Mexico producers has led to a lucrative business in heroin. Although the heroin trade goes back over a century (Pancho Villa was advised to sell heroin to US consumers to finance his revolutionary government, but rejected the idea, not only because he wanted to maintain relations with the United States overnment, but because he was personally abstentious, with a moral opposition to recreational drug and alcohol use). During the Second World War, Sinaloan farmers were encouraged by the United States to grow more poppies, not just for the legitimate morphine market, but to supply the small “black market” need for heroin and other addictive drugs… wartime police being better employed tracking down saboteurs and spies than investing resources in jailing junkies.

As it was, addicts in Mexico… for a short time during the Cardenas administration and a bit after… were simply given prescriptions for heroin or morphine. The Mexican position at the time was similar to that of many in the United States who fret over the high rate of heroin overdoses among those whose pain relievers are unavailable, or have become addicted… it is a by-product (and a risk) of opium use… or, today in the United States of opiode use.

That is, with artificial opium replacement available (at a high cost) from pharmaceutical firms, the United States has especially been keen to keep natural opium products off the market. HOWEVER, despite the sense that such pain relievers are over-prescribed in the United States, pain relievers of any sort, let alone at an affordable cost, are in short supply in the global south.

This is where Sánchez Cordero, Rangel Mendoza, and General Cienfuegos see a way to get out of the “drug war”. Sánchez Cordero is already in conference with the United Nations to work out some sort of loophole to that 1962 agreement, while the Bishop has been openly meeting with the growers and the (illegitimate) heroin manufactures to at least stop the violence inherent in any illegal trade, and the General wants to lower the body count (both of his soldiers and the civilians). Surprisingly, even some PAN leaders have come around to the idea, and this afternoon, both the Senate and Chamber MORENA leaders have announced they will be introducing legislation to legalize, or at least decriminalize, opium and opium products for medical purposes (and possibly “recreational use” as well).

How the United States will react… now there’s the rub.