Things That Matter

Mexico Grants Bolivia’s Former President Asylum Allowing Him To Flee Growing Unrest

Latin America is in chaos. People are protesting in Chile over the economic disparity between classes. Colombians are also fighting for their demand for a fair educational system. Mexico’s violence is surging once again after Mexico’s new government has taken over. The Amazon rainforest is still on fire, and Brazil’s president refuses to acknowledge the environmental ramifications. Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, is still in office despite his people demanding otherwise. Now we can add Bolivia to that list

On Monday, Evo Morales resigned as president of Bolivia after the public renounced the presidential elections there in October. 

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

Back in October, Morales ran against former President Carlos Mesa (he was president of Bolivia between 2003 and 2005). Morales had been Bolivia’s leader since 2006, but it looks as if perhaps the people had enough of his presidency. During the elections last month, CNN reports that Morales won by a small margin

So a recount was in order. However, 24 hours after the counting had begun, Morales ordered to end it and declared himself president. The fact that Morales said he had won himself wasn’t that farfetched, because he sort of did that in the past. 

Jim Shultz, Founder and Executive Director of the Democracy Center, who’s lived in Bolivia and understands the situation there, wrote, “One was what seemed like Morales’ desire to serve as President for Life. When his political party, MAS, wrote a new constitution in 2009, they lifted the long-standing one-term limit on presidents and paved the way for Evo to run for a second term. In 2014 he broke a long-standing pledge not to seek a third term, claiming that his first term didn’t count because it was served under the old constitution. He won once more.”

The election results, and Morales handling of it, resulted in massive protests and violence. 

Credit: @evagolinger / Twitter

“Bolivians are upset over fraud, and we will not be silent in the face of injustice,” 26-year-old Diego Tamayo, a student at a university, told the New York Times. “Never in my life have I seen a mobilization of this scale.”

The mobilization seemed to work. Bolivian Armed Forces, Commander Williams Kaliman, told Morales to step down, and he did. 

Morales tweeted, “I denounce to the world and the Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he is instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; likewise, violent groups assaulted my home. A coup destroys the rule of law.” He added, “After looting and trying to set fire to my house in Villa Victoria, vandalism groups of the Mesa and Camacho coup docked my home in the Magisterio neighborhood of Cochabamba. I am very grateful to my neighbors, who stopped those raids. A coup destroys peace.”

Now Mexico has opened the doors to the former leader where he has sought asylum. 

He said this is where he spent his first night as the former president of Bolivia. 

Credit: @evoespueblo / Twitter

“This was my first night after leaving the presidency, forced by the coup of Mesa and Camacho with the help of the Police. There I remembered my times as a leader. Very grateful to my brothers from the federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba for providing security and care.”

Now that he is in the hands of the Mexican government, Morales doesn’t seem all that upset about getting ousted.

Credit: @evoespueblo / Twitter

Morales tweeted, “Very grateful to brother Manuel López Obrador and the government and people of Mexico for saving my life. We arrived safe and sound with our brothers Álvaro and Gabriela. The coup plotters offered $ 50,000 to a security member to deliver me before my resignation.” 

Wow, sounds kind of dramatic, almost like it could be a movie or series on TV. Weirdly enough, the Bolivia drama sounds just like season two of “Jack Ryan.” We won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it. Just know that it’s about a Venezuelan president that will go to great lengths to not lose his presidency. It sounds like real life to us. Speaking of Venezuelan president, Maduro was not pleased at all about Morales getting ousted. He also blamed President Donald Trump. 

“There went Donald Trump to applaud and celebrate what he thinks is his victory … the look on Donald Trump’s face was one of vengeance, of hatred, and he gave the order to overthrow and finish off the Indian,” Maduro said, according to Asi Somos

But now the real work begins. Who will lead Bolivia now?

READ: Bolivia’s President Wants To Be Reelected For A Fourth Time But He Could Send His Country Into A Political Crisis

Mexico’s Ambassador To Argentina Has Lost His Job After Allegedly Shop Lifting Something For $10 Dollars

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Mexico’s Ambassador To Argentina Has Lost His Job After Allegedly Shop Lifting Something For $10 Dollars

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Working in the international world of diplomacy has its perks. Whether your on a job in Armenia or Argentina, if you’re an ambassador you get the gift of diplomatic immunity. Diplomatic immunity means you can get away with pretty much anything – from parking tickets, drug arrests, some even say murder. But just because you can’t be arrested or tried legally for your crimes, doesn’t mean you get to keep your job. As the Mexican Ambassador to Argentina recently found out.

The Mexican government recalled its foreign ambassador to Argentina back home after a video circulated showing what appears to be the diplomat stealing from a bookstore.

Oscar Ricardo Valero Recio Becerra was recalled on Sunday by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard after newspaper reports that he tried to steal a 590-peso (about $10 USD) book from one of Buenos Aires’ most famous bookstores. The book he tried to steal: Casanova. Yes, that Casanova – the famous 18th century playboy.

Ebrard said in a Twitter post that he asked the ministry’s ethics committee to analyze the accusation against the 76-year-old diplomat and if a video of the alleged theft that’s circulating proves to be true, he’ll be removed from his job immediately.

“Zero tolerance for dishonesty,” Ebrard said.

The ambassador has a long history as one of Mexico’s top diplomats, adding to the confusion as to why he would do something so risky.

Mexico’s ambassador to the South American nation was named by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and had previously been a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He spent much of his academic career studying political science and Mexico’s role in international relations, and was also ambassador to Chile from 2001 to 2004.

But video evidence of the international incident is pretty damning.

The security footage shows ambassador Oscar Ricardo Valeo Recio Becerra grabbing a book from a shelf in a Buenos Aires bookstore. He appears to hide the book between a pile of papers and attempts to walk out of the store. A security guard stopped him and looked through his belongings. 

Meanwhile, the man who nominated him to his post, President AMLO, has called the incident “regrettable.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called the incident “regrettable” but has asked for people to wait until an ethics committee has finished investigating before coming to conclusions. 

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is addressing this case to see what happens and [to ensure] that there are no public lynchings,” the Mexican president said in a press conference on Monday.

Lopez Obrador added that the ambassador will be fired if the committee finds evidence that the ambassador stole the book. 

The Mexican president won his position on the promise to rid corruption from the government. The recent incident is a blow to the president’s goal of making the Mexican people more trusting of their public leaders. 

A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

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A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

ChilangoMX / Instagram

Like most countries that depend heavily on coal energy and on manufacturing to keep its productive wheels running, Mexico is deeply affected by the environmental damage that many industries cause. Added to local production, Mexico has also been the site of maquilas, factories set up by foreign investors who are lured by cheaper labour and by lax tax regimes, as well as by looser rules when it comes to environmental impact. Both industry and public opinion need to be better informed of the toxic hot spots in the country.

Mexico sits at an strategic political and commercial position, and industrial powerhouses such as the United States and Canada, whose companies have set shop in the other member of NAFTA, by far the most disadvantaged. 

The toxi-tour caravan will travel the country for ten days in total, December 2-11.

Participants include environmentalists and scientists from both Mexico and overseas. The objective is to raise awareness and to denounce the companies that cause most damage. Perhaps shaming is the first step towards change. Besides Mexicans, there are representatives from the United States, Europe and other Latin American Countries. 

The journey began in El Salto, Jalisco, where a polluted river has led to cancer and death.

Credit: Regeneración radio

In this site industrial pollution of the Santiago river has caused the death of more than a thousand people due to cancer and kidney failure. People from cities in the United States affected by pollution in places like Flint, Michigan, can surely relate. A river is generally a propeller for economic development and productive activity, as well as a source of an increasingly scarce commodity: water. However, this river is basically poisonous now and has brought death to those who live nearby. 

The caravan will visit sites were more than three million people have seen their health diminished by pollution.

Credit: Notimex

The rest of the Toxi-tour stops include Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato; Apaxco, México state; Atonilco de Tula, Hidalgo; Tlaxcala; Puebla; and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The journey will conclude in Mexico City on December 11. As you may lmow, Mexico City is deeply affected by high levels of pollution. Its high altitude and the fact that it is nested in a valley make it prone to elevated pollution levels that have damaged the upper respiratory tract in millions of its inhabitants.

In the photo we can see the cement manufacturing plant of Apaxco, which releases fine particles that have caused upper respiratory tract issues for both the workers and the people living near the factory. Imagine breathing grainy, minuscule cement dust day in, day out. Another big issue is the unlawful disposal of waste in landfills which end up pumping chemicals into the soil and rendering it sterile. 

The organizers have a pretty clear idea of who is to blame for the environmental crisis in these places.

As Mexico Daily News reports: “The Toxi-Tour will “denounce United States, Canadian, German, French, Spanish and Mexican companies” that cause environmental damage, said Andrés Barreda, a representative of the National Assembly of Environmental Victims, which organized the caravan.”

Yes, Mexican companies share the blame, but the fact that Global North companies have caused physical damage to the land and people of a previously colonized nation brings back memories of colonial times and trauma. So for these companies the lives of Global South countries are less valuable? It would appear that is the case. This is afforded of course, by corrupt authorities. The caravan will also get political and will engage local community leaders and people that have been affected or displaced by industry.

As Mexico News Daily reports: “In Tlaxcala on Friday, caravan members will learn about the community proposal to clean up the Atoyac–Zahuapan river basin, while on Saturday they will visit contaminated areas of Puebla city and speak with locals who have been dispossessed of their communal lands.”

Mexican history is a history of dispossession, and environmental violence is another way in which those in power have decimated the productive capabilities and future survival of communities that live and die by a deep attachment to the land and nature.