Monthly Archives: January 2010

Officials held in Michoacán anti-drug operation ordered freed

A federal judge ordered 12 of the 29 Michoacán state officials and mayors captured in last May’s dramatic sweep by federal police released for lack of evidence. The operation created huge tension between the government and PRD governor Leonel Godoy. Those released included Citlalli Fernández, Godoy’s former Secretary for Public Security. (Universal 1/31)

Federal government tries to block gay marriages in Mexico City

Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez filed suit with the Supreme Court to block Mexico City’s new law permitting same sex marriage and allowing gay couples to adopt. The suit claims that the Constitution defines a family as a father, mother, and children and protects the fundamental rights of procreation and descent. (Universal 1/26, 1/30)

PRI promises own political reform package

The Senate started hearings on the President’s political reform package, with testimony from a broad range of academics. PRI Senate leader Beltrones said that the PRI would introduce its own political reform package in the first half of February. “We will present an initiative that … seeks to bring about a true reform that works,” he said. In response, Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont acknowledged the PRI’s role: “I believe that the PRI is a fundamental part of the reform effort; it can’t happen without the PRI, and the PRI shouldn’t be left outside the [discussion] space for the political, economic and social change that Mexico demands.” (Reforma 1/29, Excelsior 1/30)

PRI puts social agenda ahead of political reform

The leaders of the PRI in Congress, Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Francisco Rojas, said the party’s congressional delegations agreed to make their legislative priority measures to ease the impact of the recession on people’s lives, and not the President’s political reform package. These include lowering school fees and toll road charges, increased penalties for crooked weights and measures in fuel sales, and limits on credit card fees, among others. PRI Senate spokesman Carlos Jiménez Macías said, “This is an agreement based on the urgent needs of the country, not the President’s priorities.” (Excelsior 1/29)

PAN may propose lowering VAT tax

PAN congressional leader Josefina Vázquez Mota said the PAN delegation could propose lowering the value added tax rate to 15% from the current 16%, but said the party had not formulated a specific proposal. The rate was increased as part of last year’s budget, after the PRI refused to support the President’s proposed anti-poverty tax.  (Excelsior 1/28)

Reducing the daylight between Government and Central Bank

In a break with tradition, newly-appointed Banco de México Governor Agustín Carstens invited Finance Secretary Ernesto Cordero and Undersecretary Alejandro Werner to attend the Bank’s first policy meeting of the year.  In addition, the Bank and Ministry of Finance jointly announced a decision to start accumulating international reserves. Noted columnist José Yuste, “This would be the first large scale joint operation between the Bank and Hacienda, inaugurating a new relationship between Carstens and Cordero, together with President Felipe Calderón himself. People speak of an understanding which remembers that the central bank is an institution of the federal government.” (Excelsior 1/27)

In Davos, Calderón focuses on environment

Joined by his economic cabinet, President Calderón attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. His highest profile event was on the heads of state panel, “From Copenhagen to Mexico: What’s Next?” In a press briefing, the President said, “We want to learn from the mistakes made in Copenhagen. … We want to reach a real, consistent, robust agreement to tackle climate change.” Mexico will host the next UN Climate Change conference in Cancún from Nov. 29 – Dec. 10, 2010. (Presidencia 1/29)

Poll: Public skeptical about PAN-PRD electoral alliances

A BGC-Beltran poll showed that the public is highly skeptical about PAN-PRD electoral alliances, with a 2:1 advantage for those thinking the alliances a bad idea. Responses to a variety of statements confirm the skepticism. (Excelsior 1/25)

Poll: Public backs political reform in general, but level of knowledge is low

An El Universal national telephone poll showed broad support for the concept of political reform (89% approval) and President Calderón’s proposal (69% approval). However, there is a low level of actual knowledge – only 20% said they knew the specifics of Calderón’s proposal.  Of the specific proposals, reducing the size of Congress had the highest support, and reelection the lowest. (Universal 1/24)

PAN-PRD alliances move forward

PRD Secretary General Hortensia Aragón confirmed that the party’s National Political Commission planned to endorse electoral alliances with the PAN in Durango, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and possibly Puebla in this July’s state elections. She noted that the PRD did not have any real candidates of its own in these states. Her view was backed, importantly, by Alejandro Encinas, AMLO’s representative in the PRD leadership. Encinas (the head of the PRD delegation in the Chamber) denied that the alliances were like “mixing oil and water,” since no formal ideological commitments were being made. The most prominent likely joint gubernatorial candidates are Gabino Cué in Oaxaca and Xóchitl Gálvez in Hidalgo. (Universal 1/22)