December 13, 2019
1. Mexican Senate approves modifying protocol to finalize USMCA Agreement
The Mexican Senate approved a modifying protocol that will finalize the USMCA trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The three countries held a signing ceremony for the changes on December 10th in Mexico City.
Two parallel deals were also approved by the Senate and will move on to the desk of President López Obrador for their enaction: one emphasizes environmental cooperation and customs verification, signed by Mexico and the U.S., while the other deals with the environmental section of the agreement, signed by Mexico and Canada.
Comunicación del Senado: Aprueba Senado Protocolo Modificatorio del T-MEC
2. Former Mexican Secretary of Public Security arrested in the United States
Genaro García Luna, the former Secretary of Public Security during the six-year term of ex-president Felipe Calderón, was arrested in the United States for charges including conspiracy to traffic narcotics, false statements and for accepting bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel while serving as Secretary of Public Security.
During the trial of former Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Jesús “El Rey” Zambada, another drug kingpin, declared that he personally gave Genaro García Luna more than USD $8 million between 2005 and 2006, when Genaro García Luna led the Federal Investigation Agency. The Mexican government has assured that it will collaborate with the investigations.
3. Chamber of Deputies approves Amnesty Law
The Chamber of Deputies approved an amnesty law proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in September 2019. The initiative will now continue to the Senate for debate and could be approved next year.
The project approved in the Chamber of Deputies grants amnesty for various crimes, including abortion, simple theft, sedition, drug trafficking, drug possession and other crimes that have been carried out under conditions of vulnerability. The measure proposes that the executive will form a task force to monitor its compliance.
4. Supreme Court President presents first activity review
President of the Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldívar Lelo, gave his first activity report stressing that the judiciary is fighting corruption and nepotism “from within.”
Zaldívar also reported that there are at least 16 internal proceedings against judges for patrimonial irregularities, in addition to more than 569 rotations of court personnel in order to dismantle networks of influence. The presentation of the report was attended by President López Obrador, and presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, Laura Rojas and Mónica Fernández, respectively.
Vanguardia (Con información de El Financiero): Estamos limpiando la casa y no cesaremos; aumentó nepotismo en Poder Judicial: Arturo Zaldívar, en primer informe de labores
5. Deputies refuse to reduce political party funding
The initiative to reduce funding to political parties by 50% was not approved by the Plenary Session of the Chamber of Deputies, since a qualified majority was not obtained. To modify the law, 320 votes would have been required, but only achieved 274 votes in favor, zero abstentions and 207 votes against.
Previously, Morena and the Social Encounter parliamentary groups had confirmed their position in favor of the opinion, without having enough votes to endorse it by themselves, because the approval requires the vote of a qualified two-thirds majority of legislators present in the plenary.