January 31, 2020
1. Cabinet for Economic Growth is announced
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the creation of the Cabinet for Economic Growth, which will be coordinated by Chief of Staff Alfonso Romo. The new working group will aim to promote economic growth and investment.
The Cabinet for Economic Growth will coordinate priority projects such as Maya Train, Transístmico Train, the National Agreement on Private Sector Infrastructure, among others. The Secretariats of Finance and Public Credit, Economy, Communications and Transportation, Energy and Environment will be part of this working group tasked with facilitating the implementation of investment projects.
2. Foreign Affairs Secretary pledges Mexicans returning from China will be quarantined
Mexican Chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón, pledged that Mexicans who have applied to return to the country as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will be quarantined upon their return. Given the health emergency declaration by the World Health Organization, the Mexican government stated that failure to quarantine returning citizens could be counterproductive.
Marcelo Ebrard detailed that there are six Mexicans who have contacted the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to request their return to Mexico. It is estimated that 18 Mexicans live in the Wuhan region, the epicenter of the outbreak. The Chancellor reiterated that President López Obrador instructed the creation of a program to tackle the crisis, that will be coordinated by the Ministry of Health.
3. Three inmates linked to the Sinaloa Cartel escape from Mexico City prison
Authorities in Mexico City reported the escape of three prisoners linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. The prisoners find themselves in an open extradition process to the United States, for crimes against health and criminal association.
Among the escaped inmates are Luis Fernando Meza González, Yael Osuna Navarro and Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán; the last of whom has been described as the financial operator for the sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. The Head of Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced an in-depth investigation as it is presumed that at least 10 public servants are involved in the escape.
4. National Migration Institute restricts NGO entry into migration stations
Through a press release, the National Migration Institute announced the suspension of visits by non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders to the different migrant centers.
President López Obrador called on the Director of the National Institute of Migration, Francisco Garduño, not to prevent access to social organizations that monitor the conditions of migrants in detention centers. The Secretary of the Interior was unaware of the declaration banning the entry of these humanitarian organizations, while media and human rights advocacy groups continue to report that immigration authorities forbid access to the facilities of the National Migration Institute.
5. Mexican economy shrinks 0.1%
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, referring to Q4 2019, the Mexican economy contracted 0.1%. This figure represents the first such negative quarterly growth figure since the 2009 economic crisis.
The best performing sectors in Q4 2019, included primary activities (livestock and agriculture), which saw a 1.9% increase, while secondary activities fell by 1.5% and tertiary activities rose by 0.1% With these figures, the Mexican economy has experienced five quarters without reporting GDP growth. President López Obrador revealed in a press conference that these results were expected and explained that the well-being of families should be prioritized over economic growth.