2022, the end of a grace period



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MEXICO.- In 2022, Mexico will enter a definitional stage. In political and social life. Right in the middle of his term President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will seek to undergo a revocation of his mandate that, if victorious, will define the spirit of the following years to consolidate their projects.

Among the most important is the Energy Reform that aims to reverse the private participation opened by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto. He wants to give full power back to the State, both from Petróleos Mexicanos and the Federal Electricity Commission and will need allies from other parties, mainly from the Institutional Revolutionary (PRI).

“If they vote against this reform, they will be betraying the origins of that party,” warned AMLO.

Added to the process that is in the hands of the Legislative power is a period of tension due to the electoral campaigns to renew governors in six states that are heading to give new victories to Morena, the president’s party.

Except for Aguascalientes, polls give the president’s party an advantage in Durango, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas.

“2022 is an important year because the grace period of the current administration ends and this means that López Obrador must consolidate his projects,” warned Nicolás Loza, political scientist at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso).

The analyst anticipates that during the first three months AMLO will seek to collect the necessary signatures so that the mandate revocation consultation is possible. “If it gets them they will be just the necessary ones and, if not, it will blame the INE (National Electoral Institute) because it is the body that must confirm that the signatures are real.”

The president has had constant confrontations with the advisers of the INE whom he has tried to reduce the salary and accuses of manipulating the resolutions that are not favorable to him. On various occasions he has threatened to reform the institute, but for this year it is believed that such an intention will take a back seat.

“Now he has other priorities,” Loza observed.

“If he wins to continue his mandate, it will give him a lot of strength to legitimize everything he wants and even more would begin to talk from Morena of a reelection, something that has already happened in Mexico with other popular presidents, with Salinas de Gortari or Vicente Fox, that from within their parties they think about the possibility of extending their mandates ”.

From another perspective, it is also believed that AMLO will invest more efforts in promoting his favorite candidate in the presidential succession, Claudia Sheinbaum, who will have as a rival in Morena with Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

Side battles

To electoral stress, Mexicans will add two closely related challenges: the pandemic and the economy. The deputy governor of the Bank of Mexico, Jonathan Heath, warned that the most important challenge in the first half of 2022 to improve the economy will be to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections from occurring.

He said that a scenario similar to the one that was experienced at the beginning of last year due to the attacks of the coronavirus that left Mexico among the deadliest in the world would be very negative for the economic stability of the country.

“Investment and exports decreased, two traditional engines of our growth, which pull the rest of the economy. One is semi off and the other totally absent, that represents difficulties for growth forward ”.

In the first months of December, an average of 200 deaths related to COVID-19 were registered still without a massive attack from the Omicron variant. The Mexican government through the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López Gatell, said that the new strain still does not give any indication that it is more serious or contagious and started the application of the third dose.

But beyond the pandemic, the health sector will face another major problem after

that the federal government broke with the drug distribution companies that it accused of corruption.

In 2021 he made several attempts to supply them, but lack of adequate logistics led to a shortage crisis that affected patients of all kinds with irreversible damage, as in the case of those suffering from terminal diseases such as cancer and HIV.

By 2022, the Mexican president is betting that the military will be responsible for distributing vaccines and other drugs from the public sector “to all corners of the country” while UNOPS, the UN agency specialized in logistics, will continue to be in charge. of the purchase of medicines.

UNOPS has recognized “shortcomings” in a process plagued with delays in the procurement of drugs and has promised change. By the second half of 2022, it will be commissioned to acquire 634 keys or types of products, 361 medications, and 273 healing materials.

Healthy finances?

The sustained increase in prices that made food more expensive in recent months was an alarm signal for the pockets of the Mexican population on the way to the new year.

“It is only enough for three-quarters of what I bought previously,” says Rebeca Sánchez, assistant to a dentist in the Mexican capital.

The inflation that is experienced in the world and in Mexico derived from factors related to the pandemic will be one of the main challenges for the country in 2022, as acknowledged at the beginning of December by Alejandro Díaz de León, governor of the Bank of Mexico.

In a press conference before leaving office, he warned that the tightening of global financial conditions will increase interest rates in the main economies while the post-vaccination recovery will be slow, with little consumption and investment worldwide.

Particularly in Mexico, the consolidation of the Energy Reform will impact the fourth year of AMLO’s government with negative credit ratings for the main State company: Pemex.

Growing migration

The US Senate will keep in the background the discussion of migratory regularization promoted by Joe Biden while the migratory flows from Mexico, Central America, Haitians and from around the world are expected to continue and on the rise for next year.

The downward trend that had been occurring in recent years was recently reversed. In August, various media outlets reported that the Border Patrol reported 200,000 encounters with migrants in the previous month, the highest number in more than two decades for a 30-day period.

Víctor González, a native of the state of Hidalgo, said that after his deportation he did not plan to return but in 2022 he will. “My cousin convinced me because employers in Atlanta keep asking him about people from Mexico who would like to work with them in the installation of air conditioners.”

During 2021, available jobs in the US unexpectedly increased to 11 million. “Everyone knows that now there is a lot of pull here and many migrants like me have seen an opportunity,” González concluded.

The demand for workers, the payment of wages in dollars and the violence in the sending countries makes some defenders of the rights of immigrants think that migration to the north will continue as never before.

This despite the 4,000 million dollars that the US plans to inject into Central America to retain the undocumented in their places of origin.

“For the government of Mexico, it will be a greater challenge to show that it will really combat the corruption of the National Migration Institute,” warns Irineo Mújica, director of Pueblos Unidos Migrantes, the activist who is currently accompanying a caravan of Haitians that intends to reach the border with USA.

“The agents are involved. They feed the containment of migrants on the southern border to sell them visas and receive money from the coyotes to let the trailers full of people in poor condition pass. ”

Carlos Arango, president of the National Immigrant Front, regrets that both in Mexico and in the United States, migrants continue to be vulnerable due to the current policies that will continue in 2022.

On the one hand, “they have us on edge with immigration regularization,” he argues. On the other hand, the Stay in Mexico program, which forces asylum seekers to wait at the border, “keeps those who arrive in miserable conditions”.

At the same time, thousands are deported before reaching this point: in October Mexico broke records of annual arrests by adding around 228,000 expelled and it is estimated that there will be more in the coming months.

A trial, corruption and drug trafficking

The file of Genaro García Luna, former secretary of Public Security during the government of Felipe Calderón, has a million pages and dozens of hours of recordings.

The US government intends to document that the former Mexican police chief aided the expansion of the Sinaloa Cartel. In 2018, during the trial against Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán, the narco Jesús “El Rey” Zambada assured that he made millionaire payments to García Luna.

The first bribe – which occurred at a restaurant in 2005 – amounted to $ 3 million, he said. Two years later another of around four million dollars followed in 2007 when García was already Secretary of Public Safety.

The trial that is scheduled for next October in the United States will provide many clues for the investigations against drug trafficking in Mexico.

But security analysts say that the investigations will not continue to be stopped from the south side. Anabel Hernández, author of the book “La Traición, concludes that Morena could have made an agreement with the drug traffickers in order to reduce intentional homicides little by little in the states where he governs.

“It is not something new, only that there were not the necessary conditions to put it into practice,” he argued. “It was not only enough to head the Federal government as AMLO did in 2018, but to give certainty in the negotiation that the state government should also lead.”

This explains the increase in violence in states where until recently the opposition ruled, such as Zacatecas.

After the change of government with the victory of the Morenista David Monreal, the federal government has promised to send the National Guard to cover nine municipalities that had been left without police due to attacks by criminals.

Educational rescue

The Mexican educational system already faced deficiencies before the pandemic. The coronavirus came to deepen them. In 2022 the goal is to return to education at least to the levels it was before the pandemic with the return to face-to-face classes.

The Secretary of Public Safety, Delfina Gómez, promised to do so before the Senate during her most recent appearance, but the goal is complicated.

According to figures from the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, a quarter of public primary and secondary schools have incomplete teaching staff and two out of 10 elementary school students did not receive free textbooks on time during online classes.

In the transition from middle school to high school, nearly two million students enrolled in public schools were lost.

In addition, 285,000 students enrolled in the last school cycles could not finish it because they lost contact with their teachers. Or because their schools closed temporarily or permanently. Or because they had other financial needs and the parents could not guide them. According to Coneval, 7% of primary school students and half of secondary school students did not receive support from any family member during their online classes.

Eduardo Canto, Textbook Author and Teacher Trainer, observed that once in the classrooms another problem is the politicization of the evaluation system.

“In theory, programs, infrastructure, teachers and educational materials should be evaluated, but in reality, those who are convenient for the government are evaluated: if they want to hit, they evaluate the union; if you want to introduce certain policies, to the students ”.

Two years of pandemic do not go long. For the infrastructure it has been a strong blow. Teachers from various states have denounced it. Canto also observed it during some visits to rural schools: lack of water, internet, equipment.

“In the return to face-to-face classes this is essential,” he warns. “The money is given to the schools and left in the hands of the parents to solve the priorities and there is not enough budget.”

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