IMF Lifts GDP Forecast/New Decree for PrisonersBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 07/29/2021 - 11:47
IMF raises expectations for Mexico's economic growth. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had raised its expectations for Mexico's GDP growth in 2021 to 6.3 percent from 5 percent previously. The IMF also revised its 2022 forecast to 4.2 percent, which is 1.2 percent higher than its April projection. "This data is very important because it is from the IMF, with which investor confidence and opportunities for the country can grow."
The IMF said that the growth of emerging countries such as Mexico will be weaker compared to stronger economies given lower COVID-19 vaccination levels and the lack of fiscal policies to support the economy. However, the Fund acknowledged that countries such as Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, Russia and Turkey have begun to implement monetary policies to avoid inflation, which could lead to stronger growth.
SEGOB protects human rights. López Obrador stressed that with his government, the Ministry of Interior (SEGOB) has become an agency that fights for human rights and justice. "With my government, the Ministry of the Interior has a new role, it is no longer the ministry of repression and authoritarianism. Now, it is the ministry for the protection of human rights and justice," said López Obrador.
New decree to release prisoners. Interior Minister Olga Sánchez stressed that previous administrations did not protect Mexicans, citing the 94,547 people in jail who are still awaiting a trial and have not been sentenced. As a result, López Obrador announced that a decree will be drafted to release prisoners who were detained for minor crimes and remain in custody without sentence. The decree will take effect on Sept. 15. “SEGOB will become an advocate for those who need it most. (Next) week, SEGOB will prepare the decree and I will sign it. There will be justice.”
López Obrador explained that the new decree will have four main points:
- People who have been in pre-trial detention for 10 years for non-serious crimes will be released.
- People over 75 years of age imprisoned for non-serious crimes will be released.
- People over 65 with chronic conditions will be released after a diagnosis from the Ministry of Health.
- People in federal prisons who say they have been tortured will be released if their claims are proven.
In Mexico, four out of 10 prisoners have not received a sentence, according to INEGI’s National Census of Government, Public Security and the State Penitentiary System (CNGSPSPE) 2020. At the end of 2019, 241 prisons were 97.7 percent occupied.
Israel Vallarta Case. Sánchez explained that the defense of Israel Vallarta, who was the leader of the group of kidnappers called “Los Zodiaco” and who has been detained for 16 years without a sentence, has not accepted the different alternatives proposed by SEGOB to start a judicial process. “The case has been reviewed since September 2019 in coordination with Mr. Vallarta, his family and lawyers. Mr. Vallarta and his defense have not accepted some of the strategies proposed … which could absolve him."
Vallarta has been deprived of his liberty since 2005 for the alleged crimes of kidnapping, organized crime, carrying and possessing weapons and exclusive Army cartridges. His defenders have claimed the process since his arrest has been full of irregularities, torture, false documents and evidence that disappeared, among others.
SFP will oversee government purchases. López Obrador announced that the Minister of Public Function (SFP) will be in charge of government purchases and acquisitions. López Obrador explained that instead of the ministry having an administrative role and a public function, these will be merged "so that procedures are simplified and corruption is avoided." He added that new Minister Roberto Salcedo Aquino “is a professional and a man of integrity with extensive experience in public administration and especially in what has to do with auditing. His experience will help us a lot.”
Aquino's arrival is aimed at strengthening the Internal Comptroller's Office and coordination with the State Comptroller's Office to combat corruption in the SFP, López Obrador said. Previously, the head of the SFP was Irma Sandoval who has been criticized by López Obrador for not fulfilling her duties.
AMLO: It is necessary to return to classes. López Obrador announced that he will maintain his position on the return to face-to-face classes for students on Aug. 30. “Despite the pandemic and that the majority of the population opposes going back to school, it is necessary. We must take care of our children." López Obrador said that the argument that children have not been vaccinated is irrelevant because no country has begun to vaccinate them. He also affirmed that Mexico and Bangladesh are the countries that have closed their schools the longest, so it is necessary to return to continue educating and developing the country.
In Mexico, the national school closure began on March 20, 2020, and to date, very few schools have returned to face-to-face classes. According to UNICEF, more than 30 million basic and upper secondary students have not resumed their studies. It has called on schools and the Mexican government to reopen classrooms.