President López Obrador, once known as El Peje, after a Tabascan fish, was on dry terrain on the weekend in Sonora. He met with members of the indigenous Yaqui and Seri communities and visited two baseball stadiums that are being converted into baseball schools. AMLO’s passion for the sport comes at a price: the stadiums were bought by the government in 2019 for 1.057 billion pesos (US $54.7 million).
Love was in the air on Monday, for Valentine’s Day.
“Happy Day of Love and Friendship, Mr. President, and to all of you,” said Ricardo Sheffield, the head of the consumer protection agency Profeco, calling the festivity by its alternative name.
Sheffield shared some money-saving romantic advice: “Remember: give love away, don’t buy it,” before mentioning that Russia’s military presence on the Ukrainian border was keeping fuel prices high.
However, there was only so much love on offer from the president.
“Did the people of Mexico know that this man [Carlos Loret de Mola] has an income as a journalist of 35 million pesos a year (US $1.7 million). Who earns that? A scientist, an intellectual and the president all earn … 10 times less,” López Obrador said.
The Tabascan’s derision extended to the #TodosSomosLoret (We Are All Loret) Twitter hashtag.
“My head hangs out of grief, out of shame. ‘Todos somos Loret,’” he said in mockery of the support given to the well known journalist who was been the target of the president’s ongoing attacks at the daily mañaneras.
Reflecting on his weekend trip, the president played a clip of a Seri woman welcoming a delegation by playing a drum and singing.
“This Mexico is sometimes discarded from daily life,” he said. “We forget it exists, and that public life only takes place among elites.”
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said the fourth wave of COVID-19 had been declining for three consecutive weeks.
“The COVID hospital units are emptying,” he declared.
The pandemic point man called on those that haven’t been vaccinated to get their shots, lamenting an “epidemic of the unvaccinated.”
The president hailed his government’s achievements in the pandemic: Mexico is “ninth in application of doses and 25th in deaths,” he said, pointing to two charts. The chart for doses was ordered by the absolute number of shots in arms, putting Mexico high on the chart due to its large population. However, the chart for deaths was relative to population size, putting Mexico some 20 places lower than it would be in absolute terms.
Branded “Mexico’s False Messiah” by a British newspaper last year, AMLO passed on the title. He called the journalist Enrique Krauze “the Messiah of Conservatism,” and said that political lobbying groups that received money from the United States might have committed treason.
Elizabeth García Vilchis gave some advice to keep a healthy mind during her media lies segment: “The best vaccine against lying is to inform yourself and compare the data,” she said.
García assured that the Patria (Homeland) vaccine being developed in Mexico wasn’t for chickens and that there were no dodgy deals between Pemex and supplier Baker Hughes. She added that the #TodosSomosLoret (We Are All Loret) Twitter protest, in support of the journalist, had been inflated by Twitterbots.
AMLO lined up the questions: “Let’s see. The lady in the yellow, then you, you, you and you,” he said, pointing to the chosen reporters.
However, one of the chosen few didn’t feel in an inquisitive mood.
“Yesterday … in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, fellow journalists protested … in solidarity for the fallen journalists … With all due respect, we want to tell you that today, we don’t want to ask you questions,” the reporter said.
A moment of silence was held at the end of the conference out of tribute to murdered reporters. Five have been killed so far this year.
There was a late start to the conference on Thursday. AMLO was in Tijuana, Baja California, and started at 9 a.m., two hours behind Mexico City time.
He confirmed he’d tour the U.S. border and would travel by military helicopter due to the lack of commercial flights.
The governor, Marina del Pilar Ávila, kept it brief, thanking the president for his second visit in three and half months. She highlighted the federal government’s investigations into the murder of two reporters in Baja California.
Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, back from a second stint with COVID, detailed the security situation in the crime-ridden state. He said it was the second worst in the country for homicides and human trafficking and the first for vehicle theft.
Once again, a journalist spoke on behalf of murdered reporters.
“In Tijuana, where we buried two of our colleagues in less than a week, we will not stop demanding justice. You can’t kill the truth by killing journalists,” she said, before reading the names of those lost in 2022.
The president offered a fable to explain that some bad actors will never change.
“Do you know about the fable … of the toad and the scorpion? It’s great. There was a flood and the scorpion was going to drown and said to the toad, ‘Help me … save me. I’ll climb on top of you, and you can take me to the other side of the river.’”
The toad obliged. Reaching safety the scorpion stung the toad.
“‘Why did you do this to me, if I’m saving your life?’” the toad implored.
“‘That’s my nature,’” replied the scorpion.
The president was still on the border on Friday, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.
Governor Maru Campos said homicides had fallen in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua city and Cuauhtémoc and gave a message of unity to the president.
“Between you and me there can be no room for indolence, confrontation, violence, omission or noise that does not allow us to hear each other,” she told him.
Cresencio said crime was generally going down in Chihuahua, save for extortion. He added that the state was third for homicides.
The accelerating breakdown of Mexican institutions and the rule of law under López Obrador is a threat to US national security.
Today, I pressed the Administration on the need to do more to stop and reverse this deadly trend. pic.twitter.com/h1ZAiNUB7c
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 17, 2022
Later in the conference, the president mentioned Ted Cruz, the U.S. senator whose remarks went viral on Twitter after he called the “accelerating breakdown of Mexican institutions” under López Obrador “a threat to U.S. national security.”
The president said it was natural that the Texas senator was “in opposition to the policies we are carrying out to benefit the people of Mexico and in defense of the Mexicans who work and live honorably in the United States.”
“It’s a point of pride that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is setting himself against my administration … if Ted Cruz praised me, maybe I would think that we are not doing things right,” López Obrador said.
The Tabascan added that U.S. avocado exports could soon be reactivated. They were suspended after a U.S. inspector was threatened.
Mexico News Daily