Category Archives: Social policy

Final gasp for electrical workers’ union

An estimated 6,000 former employees of the liquidated Luz y Fuerza power company blocked traffic in different parts of Mexico City yesterday for 11 hours as part of their continuing protest against the liquidation of the company and the loss of jobs.  On July 5, the Supreme Court ruled against the union, saying that the Government had the power to liquidate the state-owned company.  In the wake of the Court’s ruling, Labor Secretary Javier Lozano announced that the Government would reopen its buyout offer for former Luz y Fuerza workers.  While 63% of  LyF workers took the buyout offer last year, some 16,000 have thus far refused. (Universal 7/13, Reforma 7/9)

Reforma editorial: “National emergency”

Reforma’s front page editorial today,

The vote of the narcos

Organized crime has already cast its vote.

It imposed its will through violence.

It robbed the citizenry of their ability to elect.
Tamaulipas used to be a state dominated by just one cartel, the Gulf Cartel.

Since the beginning of the year, everything suggests that there was a major rupture between this group and its armed wing, Los Zetas.
The state became a territory to be fought over, with each cartel trying to impose its own law.

The otherwise tranquil governmental succession process in Tamaulipas, which for several sexenios has been under the shadow of just one of the cartels, was now affected by this rupture.

The rivalry between the cartels has now reached the Mexican political class.

What happened yesterday widely transcends the frontiers of Tamaulipas:

  1. It is evidence that, far beyond speculation about a “failed state”, there is a clear complicity between politicians and the cartels.
  2. Elections are losing their meaning as a result of the dirty money that finances them and degrades them.
  3. The violent narco vote creates a predicament for the elections: Does it make sense to celebrate the elections when there is a de facto power that imposes its will above the will of the citizens?
  4. What talented person would accept a candidacy after considering the power of the narcos and the weakness of the State?
  5. What we are seeing is that barbarism has arrived on the electoral landscape.
  6. If this year’s elections are a prelude for 2012, and the trend is not reversed, the conditions will not exist in Mexico to organize the next presidential election.

How many more candidates have to die before the states get out of the spiral of violence to which they are submitted?  How many advertising spots will be needed to offset the daily tragedies to which the citizens are exposed – and now the politicians also? How many candidates will come to govern at the hand of the narcos because they owe them for their rise to power? How many sterile political discussions will there have to be before there is agreement on an effective plan to reimpose the rule of law? The events are compelling: We are living in a national emergency.
The problem will not be solved – until it’s recognized.

(Reforma 6/29)

Supreme Court exonerates top officials in ABC fire

The Supreme Court voted not to name top officials as responsible parties in their investigation of grave violations of human rights in the ABC day care center fire in Hermosillo, Sonora last year.  The 14 individuals who had been named in the original draft prepared by Supreme Court minister Arturo Zaldívar included Juan Molinar Horcasitas, Secretary of Communications and Transportation (and then head of the Social Security Institute, IMSS), Daniel Karam, current head of the IMSS, then-governor of Sonora Eduardo Bours, and then-mayor of Hermosillo, Ernesto Gándara. The result avoids the potential political complications for the Government of having two cabinet current members cited by the Court. (Universal 6/17)

800 teachers ask to leave Juárez

The Chihuahua Secretary of Education Guadalupe Chacón said that 800 public school teachers in Ciudad Juárez and towns in the sierra have put in transfer requests to be reassigned to areas with less violence. (Excelsior 6/16)

Federal and state governments and Grupo Mexico announce massive reconstruction plan for Cananea

The day after Federal police seized the Cananea copper mine from striking workers, Minister of Labor Javier Lozano, Sonora governor Guillermo Padres, and Grupo Mexico CEO Xavier Guerra de Quevedo announced an “unprecedented” plan to rebuild and expand the mine, one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world, and provide economic and social assistance to the region. The state government will invest Ps. 382 million and the federal government will invest Ps. 55 million in new infrastructure and aid to small and medium business, while Grupo Mexico said it will invest Ps. 113,000 million in mine expansion and repair of facilities damaged during the three-year strike.  Guerra de Quevedo also said the company would pay miners 6 times the legal severance payment and would be willing to rehire workers under a different contract. (Reforma 6/7, Universal 6/7)

The Ministry of Government also issued a statement saying, “The entry into the installations was peaceful, without resistance or incidents, and everything was done with complete respect for the rights of the former mine workers.  It is the permanent responsibility of the federal and state governments to ensure the safety and integrity of the citizens of Cananea, as well as to safeguard public order, make the Rule of Law prevail, and give full compliance to judicial orders. (Universal 6/7)

Federal police seize Cananea mine from strikers

Federal police staged a midnight raid on the Cananea copper mine in Sonora. Workers seized the mine almost three years ago, and have threatened to destroy the installations if any attempt were made to dislodge them.  As many as 2,000 federal police were involved in the operation that started Sunday night. The miners struck in July 2007 over benefits and safety conditions. In January 2008, the Ministry of Labor declared the strike illegal. In February 2010, a federal arbitration tribunal ruled against the strikers and in favor of the mine owner, Grupo Mexico; the final ruling was issued on June 4th. Reports said that the miners’ headquarters collapsed, but as yet there have been no reports of injuries. (Reforma 6/7, Excelsior 6/7)

First gay marriages celebrated in Mexico City

The first five gay couples were joined in marriage in the Old Town Hall in Mexico City, under the Federal District’s law passed last December. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, the head of the D.F. Legislative Assembly, and the head of the D.F. judiciary all attended the ceremony.   The day before, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Attorney General Arturo Chávez to block the law from going into effect (without ruling on the merits). The Supreme Court had previously rejected suits by several states to stop the D.F. law. The spokesman for the Archbishop of Mexico City directly attacked Ebrard:

It is completely clear that Marcelo Ebrard is responsible for the approval and execution of these laws that are destructive of the family. He cannot hide his aversion to the Church and to the majority of the inhabitants that he governs, who profess the Christian faith and who reject the perversion of their dearest and most respected values, such as the family.

(Universal 3/11, Reforma 3/11)