August 7, 2020
1. COVID-19 spurs Mexican government to mandate virtual schooling
The “Aprende en Casa” (learn from home) program was established after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mandated virtual learning. To this effect, he signed an agreement with four national television stations: Grupo Multimedios, Televisa, Televisión Azteca and Imagen for broadcasts that will reach 30 million students on six channels from Monday to Sunday.
However, private education providers are not enthusiastic about the measure. The National Association of Private Schools estimates that 1.96 million students and 194,075 teachers will be affected by the closure of 18,142 private schools. This situation generated even more controversy once the federal government reported that the return to school will be virtual.
2. Oaxaca approves prohibiting the sale of soft drinks and junk food to minors
The LXIV Legislature of the Oaxacan Congress approved Article 20 to the Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, which prohibits the direct sale of sugary drinks and foods with high calorie content to minors. With this measure, Oaxaca becomes the first state to regulate the sale of non-nutritious food to minors.
On the other hand, the federal government announced that verification of compliance with new labeling laws will take effect on December 1st. The Secretariat of the Economy issued an agreement stipulating that no sanctions will apply until that date to producers, importers or marketers of products that do not include black hexagonal seals with legends warning of excessively unhealthy nutritional attributes, including calories, sodium, trans fats, sugars and saturated fats.
3. National energy policy will top out at 46% private participation
President Andrés Manuel López announced that national energy policy will change in order to reaffirm the nation’s ownership of natural resources. Private actors will be able to participate with a maximum of 46% of the country’s electrical generation.
Despite this change, President López Obrador clarified that the existing contracts and legal framework would be respected, although he did not rule out the possibility of submitting a constitutional reform initiative to Congress. As a result of the announcement, public companies and regulators are committed to maintaining a stable pricing policy, in real terms, and achieving energy self-sufficiency.
El Economista: AMLO va por contrarreforma energética
4. Head of Semarnat attacks the Government of Mexico
Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Victor Manuel Toledo, commented that the government of President López Obrador is filled with contradictions and does not have a clear objective. Secretary Toledo made it clear that there is a power struggle within the cabinet.
This information was made public through a leaked audio where Secretary Toledo is heard stating that one of the main problems in the government is that the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources seeks to promote agroecology; whereas the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development supports agribusiness, i.e. large corporations.
El Universal: 4T está llena de contradicciones: secretario Toledo
5. Bank of Mexico announces remittance growth and forecasts GDP uptick
The Bank of Mexico reported that during the first half of the year remittances increased by 10.55% compared to the same period in 2019. During 2019, USD $17.254 billion was received, while this year the figure increased to USD $19.074 billion. About 56 million total transactions were carried out, mostly electronic transfers.
On the other hand, the same institution disclosed projections of economic activity for the third quarter of the year. Experts forecasted a recovery of 7.6% of GDP between July and September as a result of the gradual reopening of economy and the momentum of the U.S. economy. However, the fall in GDP for the whole of 2020 is estimated at 9.9%.