July 12, 2019
1. Finance Secretary resigns citing “disagreements over economic policy”
Finance Secretary Carlos Urzúa, stepped down from his position after “disagreements over economic policy” with President López Obrador. Arturo Herrera, Undersecretary of Finance, was quickly appointed by the president as his replacement.
The economic markets reacted negatively to the resignation, with the Mexican peso tumbling more than 2%, and the benchmark stock index sliding nearly 1.5%. The president said disagreements revolved around the draft of Urzúa’s National Development Plan, which was rewritten by the president, as well as the development banking policies pushed by Chief of Staff Alfonso Romo.
El Economista: Hubo diferencias con Urzúa, reconoce AMLO
2. Lawyer of former President Enrique Peña Nieto arrested on suspicions of organized crime and money laundering
Attorney Juan Collado was arrested on suspicions of involvement in organized crime and money laundering. Collado is a prominent lawyer in Mexico, having defended former President Peña Nieto during his divorce and defended Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, accused of the murder of late politician José Francisco Ruiz Massieu.
The Attorney General’s Office accused Collado of creating four shell companies in Querétaro and Nuevo León and laundered money through the simulation of real estate sales for $156 million pesos (USD $8.2 million). Antonio Collado, brother of the defendant, stated that the former presidents had no relation to one of the alleged “ghost” companies.
3. Baja California legislature extends governor’s term to five years
Governor of Baja California Jaime Bonilla expected a 2-year term in office, until Baja’s local legislature approved a bill to amend the current term extending it to 5 years. The two-year term was proposed in order to hold gubernatorial and federal elections on the same date. On the other hand, the new term was proposed by Morena to avoid extra expenditures associated with a shorter term.
Marko Cortés, President of the opposition party PAN, called for PAN representatives to be expelled from the party. In addition, Pamela San Martín, member of the Citizen Council in the National Electoral Institute (INE), said this decision violates the rule of law.
4. U.S. to impose tariffs on Mexican steel imports
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the imposition of tariffs on fabricated structural steel imports from Mexico and China, as exporters from these countries receive “unfair” subsidies. Swecomex, subsidiary of Grupo Carso, owned by billionaire businessman Carlos Slim is among the companies which will be affected by the new tariffs.
The Department of Commerce’s final decision will be revealed on November 19 and Mexican steel companies will have to pay anywhere from 0.01% to 74.01% if the plan moves forward. According to specialists and Jesús Seade, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for North America, the preliminary decision of the U.S. agency won’t affect the ratification of USMCA in Canada or the United States.
El Financiero: EU alista nuevas cuotas al acero mexicano
5. Former Veracruz Governor declares he made a deal with the Peña Nieto administration to surrender
Former Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte revealed he wasn’t captured as publicly stated, but rather surrendered to authorities as part of a deal. He claimed the conditions of the deal were to surrender to authorities before gubernatorial elections in June 2017 in exchange for his wife and children to be left alone. Duarte was arrested under corruption charges for his time as Governor.
The government agencies that allegedly took part in the deal included the Center for Investigation and National Security (Cisen), the Secretary of Interior (Segob) and the Attorney General’s Office. Former Segob head Miguel Osorio Chong denied Duarte’s claims and maintained that the former governor’s detention was carried out due to “public demand”.