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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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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