Welcome to this very-normal edition of LBM! Where I browse the web for a few minutes and I give you arm-chair analysis of news from the United States of Mexico!
Today Germán Martínez resigned his post as the Executive Officer of Mexico’s social security institute, and his resignation letter reads like a Comedy Central Roast translated into legalese.
Martínez resigned claiming that Mexico’s Treasury Secretariat (SHCP) has been too harsh on IMSS’ budget. Though the budget flow SHCP attained an amount of control over the agency that he personally believed they shouldn’t have as IMSS is supposed to be an autonomous arm of the government. The letter also slammed President Obrador, who despite basing a part of his 2018 campaign around universal high quality healthcare, was apparently ignoring all of the notes and requests he sent about the important reforms that IMSS needs.
The letter is a sad window into the management of resources inside the most important healthcare and social security apparatus in the country, and the divisions inside the Federal Government. But, more importantly, it also represents the first cabinet resignation, at a scant six months since the President took office. Obrador’s government is not new to this, as allegations that the Foreign Secretary and the Chief of Staff were on their way out as well were rampant a few months ago.
2. First! But a good one!
For the first time in history, the conservative state of Baja California will have a gay candidate for it’s local congress. Tadeo Meza, a psychologist by training and a lifelong activist, will run for the 16th district of Ensenada as an independent candidate. He claims that none of the parties area ctually offering new politicians.
The broader elections in Baja California are of vital importance to the opposition party, as Baja California has been governed by PAN for thirty years. But the conservative party seems to be disorganized, as they changed their candidate a month ago. Even if the governor will only serve a two year term, losing Baja California will be a brutal blow to PAN. There is some good news, as the Mayor of Tijuana -a man whose xenophobia was deemed illegal- is very likely going to be humiliated in his re election bid.
The homicide stats for April are out, and good news! for the first time since Obrador took office homicide has gone down. April had 3% fewer homicides than last year, but it’s cold comfort as the three month comparison between 2018 and 2019 still concludes a 5.3% increase in homicides. If you go ahead and compare the first three months of 2013 when Peña nieto entered office, it’s a 43% increase. Tabasco, Nuevo Leon, and Quintana Roo being the statrs with the highest increases in homicide when compared to last year.
It is unclear what Obrador’s new police force -the National Guard- will do, as their current deployments have been pretty much useless. The law regarding the federal force is also unclear, and as such both the Navy and the Federal Police have declined to participate in the National Guard, as of now only soldiers in the army are participating, and under unclear legal terms, in the National Guard.
In states where the army has already been deployed for more than a decade, the new uniforms worn by the same old soldiers don’t exactly represent a welcome or effective change.
Obrador decided to create the Institute to Return the Stolen to the People... which is... a strange title for Robin Hood. In all seriousness, it’s not exactly clear who was stolen, and what will be returned, what is clear though... Is that the Federal government is selling a lot of seized cars as part of a financing effort for the National Guard... under the guise of this Institute... which isn’t really saying anything. But the cool part is that for some reason we had a Lamborghini Murcielago Spyder and now it’s on sale... the government auction is to be held at the former residency “Los Pinos.”
The federal delegate for Jalisco (Basically the people overseeing the implementation of federal budgets and programs in states) was caught in a hilariously large corruption scandal. In which despite his public posts, his private companies -under almost a dozen corporations many not disclosed- sold pharmaceuticals to the government for millions of pesos. This involved Lopez Obrador’s current administration, Peña’s past, and even local governments that are in the same party as he is.
Carlos Lomelin also contended for the Governorship of Jalisco in 2018... when he lost, Lopez Obrador made him a federal delegate... since then lets just say that the governor of Jalisco and he have not have the best relationship. This scandal contains everything from deep rooted nepotism, abuse of power, the fight over the so-called “superdelegates” and even a bit of how the government assigns contracts and uses it’s money.
Obrador was criticized early on because his administration has thus far awarded three quarters of the contracts directly: even more than Peña Nieto but less than Calderon. maybe this has something to do with that.