Things That Matter

The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

Mexico’s peso has taken a hit in value after the country’s finance minister decided to quit his job over disagreements with the president.

The decision by a top adviser to the Mexican president to resign while denouncing conflicts of interest in the government stunned the nation and its financial markets.

After news broke that the finance minister was resigning, the Mexican Peso lost a lot of value.

Credit: @CNBCNow / Twitter

Finance Minister Carlos Urzua’s abrupt decision to quit on Tuesday was the first major cabinet loss since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December. The scorching tone of his resignation letter, from a public official known for extreme politeness and addressed to a president who made fighting corruption his central campaign issue, made the departure all the more surprising.

The unexpected departure of Carlos Urzua seven months into Lopez Obrador’s presidency sent stocks and the peso plunging and renewed worries among investors still wary after the president’s cancellation of a $13-billion airport project that was underway outside Mexico City.

In his resignation letter, Urzua called out corruption and conflicts of interest inside the government.

Credit: @CarlosM_Urzua / Twitter

“I’m convinced economic policy should be based on evidence, considering the various effects it may have and free from all extremism, whether from the right or left,” Urzua wrote in the letter posted on his Twitter account, adding that decisions by Lopez Obrador’s government on matters of public administration have lacked foundation. “However, during my term, these convictions weren’t shared.”

His tweet already has more than 25,000 retweets and nearly 7,000 comments.

By midday, the peso had fallen over 2% against the US dollar – a major slide for a currency considered to be quite healthy.

Credit: @LocalBusPod / Twitter

Within an hour, AMLO, as the leftist leader is known, nominated Arturo Herrera, Urzua’s deputy, to replace him. That helped to limit a tumble in the peso, which fell 1.2% at 3:23 pm local time, stopping losses of as much as 2.3% that had followed the publication of Urzua’s letter. The nation’s main stock index fell as much as 2%.

Markets are worried because according to many sources, Urzua was seen as the most responsible official at the finance ministry.

Credit: @GMonroyEnergy / Twitter

Many have admitted that it was not a secret that there were disagreements within AMLO’s government over economic policy.

Urzua had publicly opposed a law proposed by Lopez Obrador’s Morena party to reduce bank fees. He also opposed a proposal that the government dip into central bank reserves to fund infrastructure plans.

Some bickering is to be expected with any government, according to Coutiño, “there should be a consensus in terms of what the administration wants to do in the country.”

And the news simply shocked many, since Urzua had been one of AMLO’s most vocal allies and supporters.

Urzua has been a long-standing ally of Lopez Obrador, having been his finance secretary when AMLO was mayor of Mexico City at the start of the last decade. Herrera is also a former finance minister of AMLO’s in the nation’s capital.

READ: Protests In Mexico Over Increasing Gas Prices Turned Violent

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico Wants To Be The Hub Of Latin America’s Space Industry And This Is Their Incredible Plan

Things That Matter

Mexico Wants To Be The Hub Of Latin America’s Space Industry And This Is Their Incredible Plan

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Getty

Although the world is still struggling with how best to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, many governments are forging ahead with long term goals and development programs.

One of the most important to new programs to launch in Mexico is central to its economic and scientific future – its future in space. Together with other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (some of which already have their own independent agencies), Mexico is looking to become the leader in the region when it comes to space research and exploration.

The country recently announced its intentions for just such an agency, that they hope would be based in Mexico with foreign capital providing the seed money to get the project off the ground.

Mexico announced its intention to head up a Latin American and Caribbean space agency.

Mexico has launched an ambitious new project – creating a Latin American Space and Caribbean Space Agency that would facilitate the sharing of satellite images and aims to observe the planet. The agency would be dedicated to earth observation, satellite image sharing and multi-sector dialogue.

The project was presented by Javier López Casarín, Honorary President of the Technical Council of Knowledge and Innovation of the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID). López Casarín attended the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where he presented the project for the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency, an entity that will be at the same level as other agencies (think NASA and the European Space Agency) of world space research with which it hopes to exchange information.

As part of the same meeting, the Latin American coordinators highlighted the role of Mexico in charge of the presidency of the community of Latin American states and appreciated the proposal to create a joint space agency.

Mexico has had a space agency of its own since 2010 but they’re looking to expand the operations.

Mexico has had its own space agency, the Agencia Espacial Mexicana, since 2010. Plus, several other countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have their own similar departments that over see satellites, information gathering, meteorological date, etc.

Mexico’s space agency has been tasked with carrying out study programs, research, and academic support, however, its duties have never included the aim of space exploration with its own infrastructure.

One of the agency’s key objectives is to help increase internet connectivity across the region.

In 2019, the Agencia Espacial Mexicana announced it was developing its space program around the needs of Mexican society – that it would be for the social benefit.

Among other techonoligcal solutions, the government has made it a core principle to help expand access to Internet across the country. By merging various space agencies into one, this increased Internet connectivity will likely spread to other countries in Latin America.

Internet connectivity rates vary from around 27% in El Salvador to close to 80% in Brazil – so bringing that wide gap is seen as critical for sustained development in the region.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Culture

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Tyrone Turner / Getty Images

Latinos make up the largest minority group in the country, yet our history is so frequently left out of classrooms. From Chicano communities in Texas and California to Latinos in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the Underground Railroad – which also had a route into Mexico – Latinos have helped shape and advance this country.

And as the U.S. is undergoing a racial reckoning around policing and systemic racism, Mexico’s route of the Underground Railroad is getting renewed attention – particularly because Mexico (for the very first time in history) has counted its Afro-Mexican population as its own category in this year’s census.

The Underground Railroad also ran south into Mexico and it’s getting renewed attention.

Most of us are familiar with stories of the Underground Railroad. It was a network of clandestine routes and safe houses established in the U.S. during the early to mid-19th century. It was used by enslaved African Americans to escape into free states and Canada. It grew steadily until the Civil War began, and by one estimate it was used by more than 100,000 enslaved people to escape bondage.

In a story reported on by the Associated Press, there is renewed interest in another route on the Underground Railroad, one that went south into Mexico. Bacha-Garza, a historian, dug into oral family histories and heard an unexpected story: ranches served as a stop on the Underground Railroad to Mexico. Across Texas and parts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas, scholars and preservation advocates are working to piece together the story of a largely forgotten part of American history: a network that helped thousands of Black slaves escape to Mexico.

According to Maria Hammack, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin studying the passage of escapees who crossed the borderlands for sanctuary in Mexico, about 5,000 to 10,000 people broke free from bondage into the southern country. Currently, no reliable figures currently exist detailing how many left to Mexico, unlike the more prominent transit into Canada’s safe haven.

Mexico abolished slavery a generation before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Thirty-four years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in 1829, Mexican President Vicente Guerrero, who was of mixed background, including African heritage, abolished slavery in the country. The measure freed an estimated 200,000 enslaved Africans Spain forcefully brought over into what was then called New Spain and would later open a pathway for Blacks seeking freedom in the Southern U.S.

And he did so while Texas was still part of the country, in part prompting white, slave-holding immigrants to fight for independence in the Texas Revolution. Once they formed the Republic of Texas in 1836, they made slavery legal again, and it continued to be legal when Texas joined the U.S. as a state in 1845.

With the north’s popular underground railroad out of reach for many on the southern margins, Mexico was a more plausible route to freedom for these men and women.

Just like with the northern route, helping people along the route was dangerous and could land you in serious trouble.

Credit: Library of Congress / Public Domain

Much like on the railway’s northern route into Canada, anyone caught helping African-Americans fleeing slavery faced serious and severe consequences.

Slaveholders were aware that people were escaping south, and attempted to get Mexico to sign a fugitive slave treaty that would, like the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that demanded free states to return escapees, require Mexico to deliver those who had left. Mexico, however, refused to sign, contending that all enslaved people were free once they reached Mexican soil. Despite this, Hammock said that some Texans hired what was called “slave catchers” or “slave hunters” to illegally cross into the country, where they had no jurisdiction, to kidnap escapees.

“The organization that we know today as the Texas Rangers was born out of an organization of men that were slave hunters,” Hammack, who is currently researching how often these actions took place, told the AP. “They were bounty hunters trying to retrieve enslaved property that crossed the Rio Grande for slave owners and would get paid according to how far into Mexico the slaves were found.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com