Things That Matter

From Record Cartel Violence To A Slumping Economy, Mexican President AMLO Has Had A Rocky First Year

Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has been in office for one year, but many feel his administration has been overshadowed by cartel violence despite a few wins for Mexico’s poor. AMLO, as he is nicknamed, secured a win in 2018 by promising to end corruption, stabilize the economy and improve social services. 

But under AMLO homicides continued to increase, as they had been for ten years, to 35,000 so far in 2019. Cartel violence has caused 200,000 deaths in a decade, according to Al Jazeera. His supporters say AMLO cannot be blamed for inheriting Mexico’s long history of organized crime-related violence. 

AMLO has been dealt with several violent blows to his campaign.

“We cannot pin the current security dynamics entirely on AMLO because they have been built up over a long period of time,” Eduardo Moncada, a political scientist at Barnard University, told Al Jazeera.

The killing of a family of at least nine Mormon dual citizens of the U.S. and Mexico, six of which were children, by cartels in November, reignited fears of increasing violence in the country. The failed arrest of Ovidio Guzman, notorious Sinaloa drug lord El Chapo’s son, has created the appearance that AMLO isn’t tough enough on crime. 

When Guzman was arrested by police, the Sinaloa cartel retaliated by setting dozens of cars on fire and taking security officials hostage, 13 people died. ALMO was forced to release Ovidio. In October, over a dozen police officers were killed by the same cartel. ALMO does not want to meet violence with violence.

“We are never going to opt for war, for confrontation using force,” Lopez Obrador said in a news conference following the Mormon killings. “What matters to us are people’s lives.”

Many have begun to question the effectiveness of AMLO’s “hugs not bullets” approach.

Donald Trump announced that Mexican cartels would be designated “terrorist” groups, much to the chagrin of Mexico. 

“Since 1914, there hasn’t been a foreign intervention in Mexico and we cannot permit that,” Lopez Obrador said in response. “Armed foreigners cannot intervene in our territory.” 

AMLO pledged to end the militarized approach to dealing with cartels, choosing to focus on addressing poverty instead. The president created a new civilian National Guard and wants to give low-level criminals amnesty. While many are wondering if his approach is the right one, as violence continues, analysts have said the hostile tactics of the past 13 years under President Felipe Calderon were a complete failure, according to Al Jazeera. 

“He is threading the needle between being a pragmatist with a complicated reality, and being true to his leftist roots,” Moncada said. 

AMLO’s constant placating to Trump has immigrants rights groups worried. 

To avoid tension with the United States, AMLO deployed thousands of National Guard officers to the Southern border to prevent illegal crossings. 

“The government of Lopez Obrador reacted in a way that many did not expect,” Carlos Peterson, Mexico senior analyst for the Eurasia Group, told Al Jazeera. “He wants to avoid any conflict so he has been caving into Trump’s demands.”

He also agreed to the U.S. policy of Migrant Protection Protocols which requires migrants to stay in Mexico while awaiting immigration court hearings in the United States. 

“The move has forced thousands of migrants, among them families with young children, to live for months in crowded shelters in high-crime border cities or on the streets,” according to Al Jazeera. 

The Mexican economy has also slowed after AMLO decided to cancel a $13 billion airport in Mexico City and scrapped a plan to allow private capital into the oil and gas industry. AMLO made Mexico the only country to sign USMCA, the trade deal to replace NAFTA, which has not even been ratified by US Congress. Many wonder if AMLO’s foreign policy is taking too many leads from the Trump administration, and at what cost? 

AMLO is still considered a champion of the poor and has had many wins. 

A year into his six-year term, AMLO’s fate remains up in the air. With nearly half of Mexico’s population living in poverty, AMLO has created new structural and social welfare programs. He turned the decadent presidential compound into a public park, decreased his security detail, sold the presidential jet, and cut government salaries including his own, according to Al Jazeera. 

AMLO has created scholarships, grants, and training programs for young people. Pensions were expanded for senior citizens and government workers, and new stipends were implemented for the disabled. 

“It’s not easy to be successful in such a short period of time, Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and Migrant Rights, told Al Jazeera. “There is no magic bullet to addressing Mexico’s violence or its other social problems, there is no easy quick fix.” 

The Actress Who Gave Life To The Spanish Version Of ‘Elsa’ In ‘Frozen’ Died Of Respiratory Complications Just This Month

Entertainment

The Actress Who Gave Life To The Spanish Version Of ‘Elsa’ In ‘Frozen’ Died Of Respiratory Complications Just This Month

Andy AV / Facebook / frozendisney / Instagram

The young actress who lent her voice to the Spanish version of Elsa in “Frozen”, Diamond Tiara in “My Little Pony,” Neeko in “League of Legends,” among other characters, died this week and the Mexican entertainment industry is mourning the loss of a talented young voice actress. 

Actress Andrea Arruti who lent his voice to the Spanish-language version of Elsa in “Frozen,” died.

Mexican actress Andrea Arruti, died following a respiratory complication, which slowly debilitated her body over the course of several months. She was the voice behind many’s favorite characters in the Spanish version of animated series and films, such as “Anne with an E,” “My Little Pony,” “Phineas and Ferb,” and “League of Legends.” One of her most popular characters was Elsa in “Frozen.”

She reportedly died on Jan. 3.

The death of the 21-year-old actress occurred during the first days of the year, but the information wasn’t confirmed until this weekend, when several companies who worked with Arruti, expressed condolences.

The family shared official news of Andrea’s passing to appease rumors.

Credit: Andy AV / Facebook

Arruti’s family shared the news on her Facebook page and felt the need to be transparent about the young actress’s cause of death following false rumors.  “In the name of Andy Arruti’s family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for all the love and solidarity we have received after her passing in a hospital of Mexico City. After noticing some speculation around her death —in the media as well as in social media—we wanted to note that Andrea died due to a respiratory complication that weakened her body throughout the last months.”

The Arruti family made it clear that Andy ’had no addictions’ and that she was ‘an exemplary person’.

View this post on Instagram

La más bonita.💖😍 @andyarruti

A post shared by Andrea Arruti.💖😍 (@team_andy_arruti) on

“Throughout this period it was sought for their well-being and was duly attended by specialists.“ the Facebook post reads. “For her part, she did everything in her power to meet her health status and fulfill her family, school and professional commitments in a normal way. Andrea was an exemplary person who had no addiction and those who knew her can realize that she was always a cheerful young woman.”

“League of Legends” expressed their condolences.

“We regret the death of Andrea Arruti, who lent her voice to Neeko, and we extend our condolences to her loved ones,” wrote the official video game “League of Legends'” Twitter account. 

Those in the Mexican entertainment industry have been paying their respects via social media.

So far, the actress’s family has not revealed the cause of death, but in social networks, fans and colleagues have lamented the news and remember her as a cheerful and talented person.

Her close friend and colleague Emilio Trevino also shared a loving message.

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Sin duda a veces la vida nos sorprende de maneras fuertes e inesperadas…buscar un porque o para que es absurdo pues son respuestas que realmente nunca tendremos y no espero tenerlas. Sin embargo creo que hoy para mi es más importante recordar todas aquellas cosas hermosas que viví contigo…pues esas son las que al final de todo realmente importan. ¿Qué te puedo decir? Tantos años…crecimos juntos…tantas experiencias y sueños compartidos que no se por donde empezar. Gracias por todas las noches desvelándonos platicando sobre nuestros sueños y como llegaríamos a ellos. Gracias por acompañarme a ver mi película favorita al cine y escucharme hablar de Philippe Petit por horas con tanto amor como tu lo sabias hacer, me acuerdo que pesaba “wow realmente me está escuchando , esta niña es diferente”. Ese momento en el que a la mitad de la película nos quedamos viendo uno al otro por instantes sin decir nada pero realmente decíamos todo…fue simplemente hermoso. Gracias por todas las videollamadas cantando juntos. Gracias por hablar conmigo de Harry Potter por horas hasta cansarnos. Gracias por hacer una fiesta de disfraces en la cual solo fuimos disfrazados tu y yo jajaja. Gracias por platicar conmigo de todos los misterios del mundo como los grandes detectives que nos sentíamos querida Señorita Adler y gracias por darme el nombramiento de Sherlock Holmes. Gracias por introducirme a la lectura y tenerme paciencia aunque nunca fui un muy buen lector…perdóname por perder el libro que me prestaste jajaja. Gracias por volar conmigo en el país de Nunca Jamás…jamás olvidaré cuando grabamos juntos esa serie…era tan bonito escucharte y sentir que me acompañabas en cada aventura, y gracias por compartir tu polvillo de hadas conmigo. Gracias por enseñarme a bailar y a reír sin parar cuando grabábamos Trolls…eres la Poppy más hermosa de todas. Gracias por vivir conmigo una historia de amor tan incondicional, mágica, sincera, divertida y vulnerable cuando grabamos “Anne with an E”….escucharte en cada toma era muy especial para mi. Sin duda ese personaje reflejaba gran parte de ti. Tu sabes que siempre serás mi única e irreemplazable Anne❤️. ……continua abajo

A post shared by Emilio Treviño Oficial (@emiliotrevino_) on

“Life undoubtedly surprises us in tough and unexpected ways, sometimes,” wrote Trevino, a young man who shared many projects with Andrea. “Te voy a extrañar mucho,” “I’ll miss you a lot,” he added in the caption of his Instagram post. 

Despite her young age, Andrea Arruti had been working in the entertainment industry for a long time.

In addition to interpreting the Spanish version of Elsa in “Frozen,” Arruti was a part of other projects such as “Phineas and Ferb” where she played the role of Brigette.

Andrea’s voice has been immortalized in other projects like “Detective Pikachu,” “Goosebumps 2,” “Zombies,” “Powerful Minds,” “World War Z” and many many more.

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Corn Husks Have Become The Eco-Alternative To Styrofoam That Was Always Right There In Front Of Us!

Things That Matter

Corn Husks Have Become The Eco-Alternative To Styrofoam That Was Always Right There In Front Of Us!

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There is no secret that our planet is experiencing an ecological crisis. From flash flooding in Indonesia to a three-year drought that led to unprecedented and lethal bushfires in Australia, the first three weeks of 2020 have reminded us that as a species us humans have basically sucked at achieving a balance with other animal species and with the natural world in general. We are at the brink of either going into a deep well from which we might not come back, or hitting the PAUSE button and making some significant changes. 

Here’s a success story about creative ways of using free and inexpensive materials to curb our consumption of single-use plastic products. 

Our dependence on single-use plastic plates and containers is not only harmful to the environment, but frankly stupid.

Credit: Greenpeace

Think about the amount of plastic you use in a single day. From the coffee lid that you throw away after finishing your latte to the plastic cutlery at the fast food court, plastic bags at the supermarket and plastic toothpicks, to water bottles and a long list of products that frankly make no sense… all of those contribute to increased levels of pollution. Just think about how silly it all is: that lid that you threw away or that Starbucks cup will exist way after your body has turned into ash or compost. Yes, it might sound dramatic, but it really is how illogical the use of plastic is. 

So in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, corn husks have become the perfect alternative after Styrofoam was banned in the municipality.

The town of San Miguel de Allende, a traditional town and gringo-retiree central, has banned Styrofoam. Instead of complaining like many chilangos (Mexico City natives) did when plastic bags were banned, vendors in the picturesque San Miguel have resorted to a much more friendly and overall cooler alternative: corn husks.

This is a great idea not only because otherwise they get thrown away or turn into compost, but also because it is a resistant material and can even give some extra flavor to some traditional dishes. Such is the case of esquites, a scintillating concoction of corn, mayo, lemon and chili… food for the gods.

As reported by Mexico News Daily, San Miguel’s mayor, Luis Alberto Villareal, is proud of the initiative of banning harmful materials: “We’ve been working all year, but the truth is that the society of San Miguel is very participatory, it’s a committed society, it’s a progressive society, and [getting participation] hasn’t been too complicated.” Good for them! 

Mexico City also banned single-use plastic bags.

Credit: Pixabay

From January 1 the user of single-use plastic bags was banned in Mexico City. Given that this is one of the world’s biggest megalopolis the move will certainly have a measurable impact. Many complained (of course they did!), but most embraced the initiative.

Of course, plastic bag producers spoke out against the law, as CE Noticias Financieras reports: “Plastic bag producers, distributors and traders marched and demonstrated in Mexico City on Wednesday against a series of bans to make the Mexican capital free of plastic objects that are only used once in the next months.”

Multinational supermarket chains have also responded to the initiative by offering their customers reusable bags. As NFINCE reports: “Walmart of Mexico, Latin America’s largest self-service chain, began with the free delivery of half a million reusable bags to its customers, as part of the one-time plastic and plastic bag disposal agreement, signed with the Government of Mexico City.”

 Eco traditional practices are coming back

Credit: Mercado Libre Mexico

Even though hipster, gentrified zones of Mexico City have adopted the use of eco bags and all sorts of products that are often overpriced, Mexico City tradition has a long history of uses of bolsas de mercado, bags in which people store their groceries while shopping. This practice is mostly followed by the lower socioeconomic classes, but we are sure they will expand. Using a reusable bag is tradition and hopefully it will make a comeback. We also hope that bags that are usually less that $3 USD don’t end up being a $50 USD hipster commodity! 

Natural, compostable plates and containers are used throughout the Global South and it is a long and rich tradition.

All throughout Asia people use sticks or toothpicks and fresh banana leaves to make bowls and plates in which dishes such as coconut rice or amok (Cambodian curried fish) is served. Oftentimes the practices of the Global North are seen as the panacea of progress but there is much to be learned from developing nations and from indigenous communities in places such as Australia, the United States, Mexico and Canada.