No More US Military Aid/New Decree on Lake TexcocoBy Paloma Duran | Tue, 03/22/2022 - 11:42
A decree is signed to make Lake Texcoco a protected natural area. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree so that Lake Texcoco, where the New Mexico City International Airport (NAIM) was set to be built, is now a declared a Protected Natural Area. The Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources María Luisa Albores stated that the decree seeks to protect one of the largest water contributors in the country. “The decree was signed today on World Water Day. This is a gift for Mexicans since it is the main water regulating vessel in the area with the capacity to supply water to 15 million people that live in five municipalities of the State of Mexico and Mexico City.”
A decree has been published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) to declare Lake Texcoco as a protected natural area. SEMARNAT highlighted that in addition to supplying water to central Mexico, 250 species of flora and 370 of fauna call Lake Texcoco home. The decree establishes that activities such as agriculture, livestock and fishing may continue as long as they are sustainable. In addition, it was announced that an investment of MX$4.5 billion (US$222 million) will be allocated for the construction of an ecological park, which is already 25 percent complete.
In 2018, the López Obrador’s government canceled the NAIM construction project started during the government of President Peña Nieto, arguing it was destroying ecosystems and its construction was very expensive. Nevertheless, the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) has been criticized because, according to experts, it does not solve Mexico City´s international airport saturation problem.
López-Gatell: COVID-19 indicators at their lowest level. The Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell reported that for the eighth consecutive week the country has reported a decrease in COVID-19 cases. The country is now at its lowest levels of pandemic indicators since2020. “In our epidemic curve, the indicators show minimal activities. The incidence is minimal compared to these two years of epidemic. With these indicators, we believe that we will maintain low transmission conditions.”
The Ministry of Health announced the number of infections since the start of the pandemic is 5,635,500 million, while the number of deaths is at 322,107. So far, 85.5 million people have been vaccinated. Regarding the boost vaccine, 71 percent of people over 60 have been vaccinated, 48 percent of the 40–59-year-old group and 73 percent of the 30–39-year-old group.
AMLO: We no longer want US military aid. López Obrador highlighted that the government no longer wants US military aid and emphasized that the Merida Initiative is no longer a priority, since now the cooperation will be on migration issues. “We do not want US military help. Our cooperative relationship with the US has changed. It is no longer time to promote the Merida Initiative, where they gave us helicopters and war equipment. What we want now is cooperation for development. What we are proposing is for the US to invest in Central America to address the causes of migration.”
Previously, López Obrador affirmed his willingness to achieve a new security cooperation between the two nations and remove the Merida Initiative, which was a US$3 billion security cooperation agreement during the administration of former President Felipe Calderón. The Merida Initiative has been continually characterized as having a militarized approach to organized crime, which aggravated the security situation in the country and further endangered the lives of Mexicans.
For months, López Obrador has sought US support for his Sowing Life program, which seeks to generate jobs and improve the quality of life in Central America and southern Mexico to prevent migration. However, according to experts, this is a long-term plan and is not designed to address many of today's problems.
AMLO: Deer Park Refinery is working at high capacity. López Obrador pointed out that the Deer Park refinery is working at 85 percent of its capacity, with which is helping the country become more energy self-sufficient. “This Deer Park refinery is practically at full capacity. It is producing diesel very well, with which we have become self-sufficient and imports have been reduced. These are great news for Mexicans.”
In May, López Obrador announced PEMEX's intentions to buy Shell's 50 percent ownership stake in the Deer Park refinery. PEMEX said that since it already owned half the refinery, it was a great deal as it would process 340,000 barrels of crude per day that would be exclusive to the nation. On Jan. 21, PEMEX purchased the refinery, despite plans to finalize the acquisition by the end of 2021. Recently, it was announced that PEMEX will maintain exports of around 1 million barrels per day in 2022, despite its intention to refine locally since the country does not have the equipment or resources to process more.