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.” 

Indigenous Communities In Mexico Are Giving Traditional Clothes To Dogs To Help Them Stay Warm This Winter

Culture

Indigenous Communities In Mexico Are Giving Traditional Clothes To Dogs To Help Them Stay Warm This Winter

El Pueblito

Covering Mexican news in the past few years has become a difficult job, particularly if you love this amazing country but are also aware of the many socioeconomic problems, crime and overall struggle that the United States’ southern neighbour has faced in recent decades due to drug cartels, corrupt governments and pressure from global markets. So every once in a while our hearts receive an apapacho with stories that reveal how solidarity and plain old human awesomeness are also part of the Mexican psyche. And of course a touch of creativity also leads to memorable moments in which kindness, often among the most vulnerable sections of the population, shines even more. 

Look at this doggie, all warm in this traditional dress from Yucatan. But the story behind the cute photo will get you thinking.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

So the story goes like this: a street dog in the southern state of Yucatan was suffering from the dropping temperatures, shaking as its bones were visible in her super thin fur coat. The dog’s name is Polita and she was given a traditional dress called huipil by the artisans of the town of Ticul.

As reported by Mexico News Daily, a local resident posted a photo on Facebook and since then the image has gone viral. “So that she doesn’t suffer from the cold, the little dog with her huipil. It’s worth sharing and making her go viral”, read the caption in the now famous photo. Ticul is located around 100 km south of the state capital city of Mérida. The majority of the population is of Maya heritage. It is such a heartwarming photo, even more so if we consider how vulnerable indigenous Mexicans, such as the huipil-making saints, still are in contemporary Mexico. 

But you might now that there is actually a day in which some Catholic Mexicans get their pets dressed in all sorts of amazing traditional costumes.

Every January 17 Mexican Catholics celebrate San Antonio Abad, the patron saint of animals. And every year large numbers of the faithful take their pets to church to get a blessing from the local padrecito. But of course the occasion needs to be solemn, so owners get their pets dressed in what passes as haute couture, all for the sake of cuteness…. and faith. 

Some costumes are more traditional than others, but they are all dolled up!

We wonder that is going through their canine minds while being showered in holy water… 

And just look at those chicken dresses in the town of Taxco.

We love the Zoolander duck face on this chicken. It knows it got swag and it flaunts it! 

And for some there is never a lost opportunity to show their devotion for a soccer team.

We can just imagine this dude watching soccer on a Sunday afternoon and cheleando with his two chihuahuas on his lap, wearing those cute tiny jerseys. Ternuritas. 

Is that a rastafari dog in Guerrero?

This is actually like an animal cosplay contest celebrated on San Antonio Abad day in Guerrero, Mexico. We don’t know if a Jamaican rastafari costume qualifies as traditional in Mexico, but the little fur ball sure looks cute, right? And look at the elegant little black dog to the right, with his royal attire, all ready to rule the world. 

A little Mexican kitsch nunca viene de sobra

We love the sarape and the hat on this tiny fella. And that hat must sure cover him from the scalding Guerrero sun. 

Is this princesa peluda about to celebrate her XV?

OMG, just look at her, al regal and ready to dance a smooth waltz. And look, she has got a chambelan and everything. And look at the surprise in the faces of those passersby. 

Si Adelita se fuera con otro… 

We love this little model in the style of the Mexican Revolution and its legendary female fighters, called Adelitas or soldaderas. Fierceness and cuteness in a cute little package. This photo is also from one of the contests organized in the town of Taxco (by the way, this town is a must for anyone visiting the country). 

How on Earth did they get those tiny chicks in those dresses?

We just hope that the little ones are OK. The craft needed for that tiny church is just admirable. Wow.

Kamala Harris’s Clap-Back Tweet To Trump’s Sarcastic Dig Has Gone Viral

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris’s Clap-Back Tweet To Trump’s Sarcastic Dig Has Gone Viral

Kamala Harris / Instagram

P1: Kamala Harris may be out of the race, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to stay quiet. On Tuesday, the former Democratic Presidential Nominee clapped back on Instagram to a tweet Trump had aimed at her. The tough-as-nails former prosecutor has never been one to mince words when it comes to confronting bullies and haters. Who could forget that epic showdown she had with the snarky college student who asked her about gun control? But this time, Harris’s wrath is aimed at a more powerful for: the president. 

After announcing the suspension of her 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump took to Twitter to lob a gloating comments Harris’s way. “Too bad,” he said. “We will miss you Kamala!”. Harris, for her part, wasted no time showing the president who’s boss. “Don’t worry, Mr. President,” she replied. “I’ll see you at your trial.”

Naturally, the internet exploded in glee over Harris’s quick-witted response.

As of Thursday, Harris’s viral tweet has racked up over 186,000 retweets, 44,000 comments and a whopping one million likes. Supporters and fans alike commented on her post with compliments like:”Best tweet ever” and “Omg the shade”. So, although many are disappointed that the once-front runner nominee of the Democratic primary will no longer be on the ballot, many are at least comforted by knowing that she has retained her trademark sense of humor

What’s not a laughing matter, however, is the trial that Harris was referring to. After Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confirmed that the the House had “no choice” but to move forward with articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee announced that its next impeachment hearing will be on December 9th. This comes after the The House Judiciary Committee released a 300-page report that detailed the relationship between Trump and Ukraine. So, as of now, Trump is on track to be the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached. 

The House has concluded that Trump, in the words of Pelosi, has “abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival”. The political rival was Vice President Joe Biden, whom Trump viewed as a threat to his upcoming presidential campaign. 

Although Harris’s clap-back was funny, her withdrawal is still a loss for the presidential nominee pool that now falls woefully short on candidates of color. 

Harris, with her stellar resume, has long been a shining star in the Democratic Party. Not only was she both the first African-American and first woman to serve as California’s Attorney General, but she was also first South Asian-American and second African-American woman to serve in the Senate in US history. In other words: she is well-qualified to take on any job she tackles.

Both presidential candidates Cory Booker and Julian Castro blame the Democratic National Committee for not throwing their support behind candidates of color in the same way they do with white candidates. As of now, the DNC’s lineup of debate participants (and therefore more publicity), are all white: Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. “What message is that sending, that we heralded the most diverse field in our history, and now we’re seeing people like her dropping out of this campaign?” Booker told Politico. “Voters did not determine her destiny.” 

As for now, it’s nice to get some comfort from Harris’s unparalled talent at confronting bullies.

When Americans are forced to deal with realities as depressing as the 2020 campaign, you can’t blame them from grasping onto what little entertainment is presented to them.

This Twitter user thinks that Harris’s comeback was step above the usual “shade” throwing.

We’ll remember this description for later. 

This person believes that Harris should win an award for her clap-back.

We would love to be able to hand her a medal for this shade. 

This person kindly pointed out whose tweet had the more likes and retweets–despite Trump having 67 million followers compared to Harris’s 3 million followers.

You might even venture to think that Harris’s followers are more passionate than Trump’s. Hmm…

This man is a man of few words, but we concur with his sentiment

As always, we stan a queen. And Kamala Harris is definitely one of them. We’re pretty sure she’ll continue to serve the American people for a long time to come.