Things That Matter

Mexican President Tries To Do Good On Promises, Goes After Judges Bribed by Narco Cartels

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came into office with a slew of promises. Primarily, cleaning up rampant corruption that has plagued the country for years. In a move to restore public trust, Lopez Obrador says he will go after judges aligned with the country’s dangerous drug cartels. It’s been well-documented that various judges in Mexico have either accepted bribes or have worked alongside gangs creating a system of reckless lawlessness from the higher courts.

The move to take down corrupt judges comes after the U.S. took action first against a Mexican judge this past week.

The U.S. placed sanctions on a Mexican judge and a former state governor last Friday due to their involvement in corruption activities. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused them of taking bribes from traffickers and claiming corruption had allowed gangs to operate with consequence.

Santiago Nieto, head of the Mexican finance ministry’s financial intelligence unit, told Reuters that the government is looking at other cases of judges that may have taken bribes. He underscores that this is all part of President Lopez Obrador plan to fulfill his campaign promise to clean up corruption.

“I have received instructions from the president of the republic to go after anybody regardless of their position or party loyalty,” Nieto told Reuters. “This is a clear message. The courts are one of the central values, fundamental pillars of the democratic state. That is why if a judge or magistrate betrays that position they must be sanctioned.”

The U.S. sanctions were imposed on Friday with the cooperation of the Mexican government.

Isidro Avelar Gutierrez, the judge indicted, allegedly accepted bribes from two closely linked cartel groups, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization. Gutierrez reportedly gave favorable rulings to the cartels’ senior members while being prosecuted.

Roberto Sandoval Castaneda, the former governor of Nayarit state, is also suspected of accepting bribes from drug cartels. This includes bribes from the CJNG, as well as misappropriating state assets, according to the U.S. Treasury press release.

The U.S. Treasury Department also says that it had designated six other individuals and six Mexican entities as being linked to CJNG or Los Cuinis.

“We are working in coordination with various institutions of the Mexican state in cases related to corruption in the judicial system,” Nieto said. “The Mexican financial system must not be used by criminal groups to launder money.”

This is just the next step in what seems to be a long battle to end corruption in Mexico.

Since taking office in December 2018, President López Obrador has faced criticism that not enough was being done to end continued corruption. This comes as Mexico faced one of its most violent years on record. There was a 14 percent rise in the homicide rate and a growing number of citizens losing trust in the government as almost 70 percent of Mexicans think that judges were corrupt.

Nieto notes, however, that after taking office he began targeting the finances of the CJNG. He says is the start in preventing organized cartel groups from operating with impunity.

Mexico’s drug war has gone on for over a decade, with thousands of citizens being killed on streets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the drug war has taken approximately 200,000 lives while more than 37,000 people have gone missing since 2006.

READ: Millions Of People Are Going To Mexico To Recieve Better And Less Expensive Medical Care Then They Can Find In The U.S.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Culture

Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Right now just about everyone is itching to go on vacation. But considering that we’re still mid-pandemic and the call remains to socially distance, what can one do?

Sure, glamping is nothing new – it’s filled our Instagram feeds for years and was around long before that – but it may just provide travelers with that socially-distanced staycation that so many of us need right about now. Or, better yet, wait a little while longer and get yourself to Mexico where several new glamping bubble hotels are popping up.

Mexico will soon have three “bubble hotel” options for tourists looking for the next level of “glamping.”

When you think of camping, many of us think of bugs, not showering, and doing our private business behind a bush somewhere. While that’s still definitely an option for those of us that are into it, glamping has been a trend towards making the camping experience a more comfortable one.

Glamping has been gaining popularity among nature lovers, who also want to enjoy those everyday creature comforts, but in the midst of beautiful landscapes. That’s why bubble hotels have been popping up across Mexico, to offer clients a unique stay, close to nature they’re the perfect ‘getaway’ to get out of your daily routine.

From the bosque outside Mexico City to the deserts of Baja, Mexico is a glamping paradise. 

These bubble hotels have rooms described by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet as essentially inflatable, transparent domes designed to allow guests to cocoon themselves in nature without quite leaving their material comforts behind. 

There are already two such properties across Mexico with a third which will begin welcoming guests sometime toward the end of this year.

One of those that is already operational is Alpino Bubble Glamping in Mexico City while the other is the Campera Bubble Hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California.

Located in the Cumbres de Ajusco National Park in the south of the capital, the former has just two “bubbles,” a 40-square-meter deluxe one that goes for 4,500 pesos (about US $220) a night and a 25-square-meter standard where a stay costs a slightly more affordable 4,000 pesos.

Both have views of the Pico del Águila, the highest point of the Ajusco, or Xitle, volcano, and come equipped with telescopes that guests can use to get a better view of the surrounding scenery and night sky.

Bubble glamping isn’t the camping our parents dragged us out to do in the woods as kids.

Credit: Alpino Bubble Hotel

Sure you may be connecting with nature and enjoying awesome activities like horseback riding, stargazing, hiking or rafting, but these properties come with all the creature comforts we’re used to. 

Move nights, wifi, breakfast in bed, warm showers, luxurious bedding, and even a full bar are all standard amenities at many of these properties.

What do you think? Would you be up to stay the night at one of these bubble hotels?

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