Things That Matter

Mexico Is Increasing Minimum Wage By Record Levels But It’s Still Shockingly Too Low

There’s been a lot of changes since Andrés Manuel López Obrador became president of Mexico, and not everyone would say the changes have been positive. Unfortunately, the situation in Mexico has gotten increasingly worse. There’s an increase in violence. The cartel seems to have continued their reign — and not just in the drug industry but in the farming one as well. However, there is some good news — sort of. 

Mexico’s president has announced they are increasing the minimum wage by 20 percent. 

This is the first time the government has made any changes to the minimum wage in 44 years. 

“We continue to gradually recover the value that the minimum salary has lost over time without creating instability, without creating inflation,” Lopez Obrador said, according to Reuters. “This is an important increase.”

While the increase is definitely welcomed, there are some issues. For starters, the wage hike means Mexicans will now be able to earn 123.22 pesos or $6.50 a day.

You read that correctly, not $6.50 an hour, but a day! That day rate feels incredibly low. The northern region of Mexico will see an increase of  5 percent to 185.56 pesos. Lawmakers were in talks to request a 29 percent increase. However, the concern is that while people need an increase in wages, the inflation rate has slowed down. 

Economists say that the increase could actually hurt Mexico’s economy in the long run because the wage increase doesn’t correlate with how their economy is doing. 

“In the past, real wage growth had been generally aligned with productivity,” economists at JPMorgan noted, according to Reuters. “The new wage policy has opened a significant wedge between the two, which eventually will likely create economic imbalances.”

But the president has urged since before his election that in order to see Mexico prosper and to keep violence down is to help the poor. 

“This is going to help the economy, of course, because it strengthens the internal market,” Lopez Obrador said, according to Time magazine. “If there’s more revenue, it helps reactivate the economy, there are more sales for merchants.”

Some also point out that if employers are forced to pay their workers at a higher rate than they’re expected to — while the economy isn’t at a good point, then they may have to fire some of their employees ultimately. 

No one is disputing that people in Mexico should be paid more, but the problem is, economically speaking, it will be a challenge for employers to increase their employees’ paychecks if the economy and inflation are not prospering. 

This is not the first time Lopez Obrador has increased the minimum wage. Last year he did so as well, but this time the increase is a lot more significant. 

Last year, President Donald Trump also raised concerns about Mexico’s low minimum wage standards, but not because he was looking out for the people of Mexico. He said the low wages would be an incentive for companies in the U.S. to move their laborforce to Mexico. Mexico’s minimum wage standard is low, but other Latin countries are pretty bad as well. 

According to the Tecma Group of Companies, “The minimum wage in Mexico is not only low when compared to its NAFTA trading partners, but is also low compared to workers’ wages in the other countries of Latin America. For instance, Mexico’s minimum wage is 44 percent of that of Brazil and is only 27 percent of what is paid to laborers in Argentina. In terms of a comparison with a country outside of the region, Mexico’s minimum wage represents only 16 percent of that of Spain.”

How this move will play out for Mexico remains to be seen. The increase goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

The shift in the economy, whether good or bad, will take some sort of shape after six months. If all goes well — in other words, if employers don’t fire their workers, and the economy grows — then perhaps the president by increase the minimum wage again. But we can’t imagine he would raise the minimum wage if the economy remains at this low point. 

READ: The Cartels In Mexico Are Taking Over The Avocado Industry By Any Means Necessary

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

Despite being one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico never once closed its doors to international tourism. In fact, the country has worked hard to lure travelers from the U.S. as Americans faced increasingly tough restrictions at home. This has had a profound impact on the country’s experience with Covid-19, with so many Mexicans either falling ill themselves or knowing someone who has.

With so many Mexicans having first hand experience with the virus, it makes sense why so many have strong opinions about tourist’s behaviors while visiting the country.

Tourists are still welcomed in Mexico but their bad behavior is not.

Most Mexicans agree with their government’s open borders approach during the pandemic, since the alternative would have meant even worse economic situation for a country already suffering record levels of poverty. But the influx of tourists to the country has brought with it a level of resentment at those who fail to follow local health guidelines while on vacation.

Mexico never closed its airports to tourists and one walk down a block in Mexico City’s popular Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and you’ll spot American tourists within minutes – many failing to wear a mask. The problem is even more severe in popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca.

There, tourists often travel from the bustling city of Oaxaca into remote villages where Indigenous residents have even less access to proper medical care.

Residents fear that tourists feel they are exempt from local Covid-19 guidelines.

Many residents who have had their own personal experience with the coronavirus has made them sensitive to the pandemic situation in their community. As case numbers continued to rise, many noticed more tourists defying widely practiced public-health protocols, like wearing face masks in public.

On Feb. 25, a popular photographer from Oaxaca, Frank Coronado, posted a plea to his 171,000 Instagram followers: “Dear travelers, you are welcome in Oaxaca, but you should ALWAYS wear a mask when you are in public places.”

He wanted to publicly address the issue and encourage visitors to do better — particularly foreigners who travel from Oaxaca City into smaller rural villages, where artisans are even more vulnerable. He told the Washington Post, “I get mad because I already went through [covid-19] and know how bad it feels. I don’t want my people, the people of Oaxaca, to get sick.”

With an economy based on services, many don’t have the freedom to work from home.

Many in Mexico don’t have the luxury of isolating from tourists — such as Aurora Tostado, who owns the downtown coffee shop Marito & Moglie with her husband.

“People in Mexico, we have to get out of our homes to work. It’s not like we can work remotely like most of the people in the U.S.,” Tostado told the Washington Post. Like others in hospitality, Tostado benefits financially from having tourists, and she is happy to welcome them back, she says. She just hopes they will consider the chain reaction of their behavior as they enjoy the culture that makes her city special

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