PEMEX Union Elections/US Company Lawsuit Against MexicoBy Paloma Duran | Tue, 02/01/2022 - 11:22
COVID-19 infections are declining. Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced a 31 percent decline in COVID-19 cases across the country, which has been reflected in a lower number of hospitalizations and work absences. “We have positive news, which is that we open the week with a decrease in cases. Estimated cases in the fifth week of the year are down 31 percent, showing we are past the peak of the fourth wave. We are now in the relegation phase. We expect this phase of descent to continue in the coming weeks, at the same speed as that of ascent.”
The total number of COVID-19 infections in Mexico amounts to 4,942,590 million after the highest number of monthly infections was reported in January with 962,867 cases. The rise in positive cases is due to the omicron variant, which has been more contagious than previous COVID-19 variants and is now the predominant strain in the country. López-Gatell said that although infections reached their highest point, widespread vaccination has avoided substantial numbers of deaths and hospitalizations.
PEMEX union elections. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador applauded the successful elections by PEMEX's union. The poll was the first with free and secret voting, which López Obrador said would allow workers to have better representation. "For the first time in recent history, an election was held in which the majority of unionized workers participated. There was a very good response, since their rights were guaranteed. Guaranteeing this mechanism of free, secret, direct election, by telephone, has never been done before." Regarding the accusations that the elections were corrupted, López Obrador said that the accusers must present their case to the corresponding organisms for their review.
Yesterday, around 90,000 PEMEX workers voted in the first direct election of the union. Ricardo Aldana, Treasurer of the union for more than 25 years, was pronounced the winner after receiving 52,000 votes. Aldana had previously been accused and criticized for his links to corruption. MORENA Sen. Cecilia Margarita Sánchez said the elections were not democratic and that Aldana's victory was meant to retain control of the union. She added that the outcome would be appealed.
Electoral reform seeks to achieve impartiality of electoral bodies. López Obrador highlighted the importance of approving the electoral reform, especially since the country is in a stage of transformation, for which it needs impartial organizations and authorities. “The electoral reform is fundamental to everything that we have already been pressing to change. We need to have a very good electoral law, impartial electoral authorities who are upright, honest and principled people, true democrats who see the good of the country and of Mexicans.”
Since López Obrador took office in 2018, he has insisted on the need to remove corruption from the National Electoral Institute (INE) and the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF) to transform them into true autonomous and democratic institutions. López Obrador said that since the current electoral bodies have failed in their democratic duties, he will send a proposal to Congress to change its members and configuration.
AMLO will ask the UN for help if an agreement is not reached with US mining company. López Obrador announced that if the country’s legal problems with US mining company Legacy Vulcan are not resolved, the government will ask the UN for help. “We are going to resort to the UN if we do not reach an agreement. This is not a threat or a warning, it is simply that impunity is over. I am sure that the main shareholders do not know that we are talking about the destruction of 500ha. This is not going to happen during our government.”
In 2019, Legacy Vulcan requested arbitration against Mexico under the USMCA due to the revocation of its port concessions. The company explained that this revocation closed its operations and generated significant monetary losses, for which it has requested compensation of US$500 million. According to the company, the Mexican government's actions were unilateral and violated existing agreements. For its part, the Mexican government has proposed several alternatives for the company to make use of the concession but without mining, since the ecosystems would be destroyed. Among the alternatives is that it is made into a tourist attraction to take advantage of the natural wealth of the location.