COVID-19 Immunity/’Thorough’ Investigation into Maldonado Murder
Omicron variant could immunize the population. Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell explained that since the omicron variant will affect the majority of the population, Mexicans could acquire immunity against the virus. “Omicron is a variant that produces a milder disease. Although it spreads quickly, they are not serious cases. The fact that the majority of the population is vaccinated has made it possible to have a more manageable epidemic. Eventually, the variant will cause immunity in a large proportion of people, which could contribute to the end of the epidemic period."
On Monday, the Ministry of Health announced that the country had 17,938 new infections, raising the figure to 4,685,767 cases since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, there were 118 deaths, bringing the death toll to 303,301. Last week, the Ministry of Health announced that the country had its highest number of infections since the start of the pandemic. However, the medical sector is not yet saturated, with 43 percent hospital occupancy and 25 percent in intensive care. The significant increase in cases is due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, since Mexico, unlike other countries, did not impose restrictions.
Lourdes Maldonado case will be investigated. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador emphasized that authorities have been instructed to carry out a thorough investigation into the murder of Lourdes Maldonado. “In the case of the journalist murdered in Tijuana, we have given instructions to carry out a thorough investigation. There will be no impunity. The difference (with previous governments) is that we do not allow impunity. Before, there were relationships of complicity, now we do not allow that," López Obrador reiterated.
On Sunday, Maldonado was shot and killed inside her car in Tijuana. Maldonado’s case was the second murder of a journalist in the week and the third in Mexico in 2022. In 2019, Maldonado requested López Obrador's help because she feared for her life. Previously, Maldonado worked for the Primer Sistema de Noticias news outlet, owned by former Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla. Maldonado had a labor conflict with Bonilla, in which she accused Bonilla of not paying wages. After nine years of litigation, Maldonado won the dispute.
Violence against women has not decreased significantly. Minister of Security and Citizen Protection Rosa Icela said that although the situation for women in the country has improved, there has been no significant progress in combating violence against them. Consequently, Icela said that a new mechanism will be implemented at the national level to address and prevent violence against women. "We have made progress, but not enough. As a result, in 2022, the review of case files for crimes such as femicide and the zero-impunity strategy will be intensified.”
In 2021, the country registered 1,004 femicides, 2.66 percent more than in 2020, when there were 970 femicides. Currently, the country has an average of 10 femicides per day and an impunity rate of 95 percent, meaning that only 2 percent of cases end in prison sentences. In addition, in 2021 a total of 21,189 rapes were reported, which is 28.1 percent more than in 2020, when there were 16,554. It is thought that the real number of cases for both crimes is higher since many of them are not reported to the authorities.
Candidates for PEMEX union. During the morning conference, the second group of candidates seeking to lead the PEMEX workers’ union presented their proposals. López Obrador highlighted the importance of having this type of democratic process, where the rights of workers are prioritized. "All proposals are welcome. I respectfully ask all those who are watching us not to neglect these proposals because for us it is very important that there is a union and that it is the workers who freely choose their representatives."
On Jan. 3, around 90,000 PEMEX workers will vote in the union's first direct election. The election arises from a labor reform to allow workers to choose their representation. A first group of contenders was presented yesterday. Many of them harshly criticized Treasurer of the Union Ricardo Aldana of being corrupt. Jesús Castán, Pitágoras Cruz, Carmen de Dios, Miguel Flores and Edgar García made up the second group. Among their proposals were granting loans to workers and improving health services.