Things That Matter

Mexico’s President AMLO Says He Doesn’t Support A Bill Ending The Separation Of Church & State

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known fondly as AMLO, has opposed a bill that would soften Mexico’s separation of church and state. The draft bill was proposed by a member of his left-wing Morena party. The legal separation of church and state has become all the more essential to maintaining democracy and protecting non-Christians (particularly indigenous people and Muslims) who have become increasing targets of right-wing extremist governments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

According to the Associated Press, the new law would change the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship to remove language that legally separates the state and churches. Experts have already weighed in claiming the law would benefit mostly evangelicals. 

AMLO thinks this issue was resolved 50 years ago. 

“I think it’s a subject that shouldn’t be touched,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.  “It’s been resolved for more than a century and a half. The majority of Mexicans are in agreement with the lay state prevailing, what the constitution establishes.”

The controversial measure submitted by Senator Soledad Luévano Cantú would have allowed religious groups more access to “all manner of media, including TV, radio and newspapers,” and soften church property ownership regulations. It would allow the church and state to partner for social projects, allow chaplains to work on military bases and security forces, along with providing protections for conscientious objectors. 

AMLO says the separation is not an indicator of anti-religiousness but rather the law exists to provide protections for believers and non-believers. 

“‘Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’” López Obrador said

Many religious leaders in Mexico agree with AMLO. 

The most senior Catholic leader of the country agrees with AMLO. Mexico has had a contentious relationship with the Catholic church, which had powerful overreach, leading to a civil war known as the “Cristiada.” However, in 1992 tensions eased following a meeting with the Vatican that resulted in looser restrictions for religious organizations. 

“I completely agree with the president’s statement this morning, that a secular state is one that guarantees freedoms and therefore religious freedom. The president said it very clearly and we agree,” said Carlos Aguiar Retes, primate archbishop of Mexico.

The president of the National Brotherhood of Evangelical Christian Churches, Arturo Farela, also spoke out in support of AMLO, however, he doesn’t believe the bill would have ended the separation of church and state altogether. 

“When he [López Obrador] asserts that the lay state is immovable and the separation of church and state must remain, we agree with that thought. The lay state must be a guarantor of freedoms including religious beliefs. The bill proposes that . . .” Farela said. “It doesn’t seek to end the separation [of church and state], it only proposes religious freedom,” 

Luévano’s plans would help evangelicals seize more power.

“With respect, tolerance and without taboos, we can work together so that thousands of religious associations in our country can help Mexico become a country where we all live better-off,” Luévano wrote on Twitter. 

The Senator describes her religious as “Guadalupana.” The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol of the Roman Catholic church, but also a saint that many Mexicans identify with regardless of their religious affiliations.  

“Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said Luévano’s initiative would appear to benefit mostly evangelicals and other minority religious groups in a country where 81% are Roman Catholic and the church enjoys more influence than probably anywhere else in the hemisphere,” according to the Associated Press. “Chesnut said evangelicals likely see an opportunity to win more space in Mexican society under the administration of a ‘fellow traveler.’”

While evangelicalism has been on the rise in Mexico for a least a decade, U.S. Evangelical Christians began targeting Latin American countries in 2014 — after the United States federal government began to pursue the legalization of same-sex marriage. 

“If I were to speculate, the Religious Right in the U.S. sees the writing on the wall regarding gay marriage, and are going to try to influence global movements in Latin American and Africa – two places that still have very strong anti-gay secular and religious sentiments,” said Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, a Latino church expert told Reuters in 2014. 

Right-wing evangelical leaders have since taken over Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile while infiltrating other countries like Mexico and the Dominican Republic. While the intentions of the bill may have been innocent (although are religious bills in politics ever innocent?) it could pose a great threat to Mexico’s future. Fortunately, it has no chance of being approved with AMLO’s opposition to it. 

However, based on the rise in right-wing leaders around the globe, one should keep a close eye on what’s happening in Mexico. 

“The lay state in Mexico almost has a kind of sacred status,” Chestnut said.

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

Entertainment

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

steelers / Instagram

It’s official, the Steelers will have their international game this year, but the place is not yet confirmed. Previous exhibition games were held in Montreal, Barcelona, London, and Tokyo. It’s been years since the team competed directly south of the border. And since Mexico is the home to one of largest fan bases of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they want to play their international game against the Jacksonville Jaguars south of the border

This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking forward to playing in Mexico. 

The Steelers are happy to play an international game, but they have a clear preference for where that game would be. The president of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, said, “We continue to raise our hand and say we’re interested in playing a game in Mexico.”  

The Steelers are expected to have an international game this year like they have in previous years.

One of them is their match against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, it has been rumored that the Jaguars will have a game in London sometime this year.

People are already showing their excitement on social media because who doesn’t want to see the Steelers playing in Mexico.

“I need the best seat for the event of the year” tweeted one user. “I’ll sell my soul to be there,” wrote another die-hard fan. 

Mexico is home to a large portion of the Steeler Nation.

Steeler Nation, as their fans call themselves, proudly wear black and gold in Mexico. Fernando Camacho, a Mexican fan shared this saying in Spanish in an interview with ‘Behind the Steel curtain’, “Mi Corazon y mi alma son Amarillo y negro pero mi pasion y mi orgullo son de acero.” (My heart and soul are Black and Gold, but my passion and pride are made of steel.)

So naturally, the team’s first choice for an international game is to play in Mexico.

Rooney added during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that, “They have to work out the logistics and all the pieces of the puzzle to have a game down there. Our first choice would be to play a game in Mexico if we have an international trip.” 

The Steelers have a history with Mexico that runs deep.

The Steelers played the Vikings in London in 2013, but have a longer history with Mexico. They played an exhibition game there in 2000, and have conducted clinics there in the past to try to drum up interest. They’ve also played in exhibition games in Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, Tokyo, and Dublin. Rooney said that they prefer to have it in Mexico where they have a large number of fans. Mexico is also a neutral ground for both teams. 

READ: Alejandro Villanueva’s Jersey Is Top Seller After He Was Only Steelers Player To Stand During National Anthem

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

Culture

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

elchapo701 / Instagram

It seems like everybody today is trying to get in on the alcohol business. Whether it’s The Rock with a new tequila brand or Ryan Reynolds buying a gin company, it seems to be all the rage right now that even “El Chapo” is getting his own line of beers. 

Say hello to the “El Chapo 701” brand run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s daughter Alejandrina Guzman Salazar, who also is behind a fashion and lifestyle company built around her jailed father’s brand. The new line of beer, called El Chapo Mexican Lager, was unveiled for the first time to the public on Jan. 14 at a fashion trade show in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

“It hasn’t been released for sale to the public yet. I just brought some to display,” spokeswoman Adriana Ituarte told AFP, as the beer line is currently still waiting on government approval to sell beer in Mexico. The alcohol displayed at the trade showed brown, black and white labeled craft beer bottles with the Sinaloa cartel leader’s infamous mustache face adorned on them. 

Alejandrina Guzman Salazar’s company is banking on the idea that people will want to buy craft beer, labeled and named after her infamous father, at bars and markets in Mexico. 

Beer lovers won’t have to break the bank either when it comes to purchasing the new line of beer which comes in at 70.10 pesos, or about $3.73, for a 355 ml bottle. There is also the name of the brand, “El Chapo 701” which has an interesting meaning behind it. The “701” is a reference to El Chapo’s place on the 2009 list of the world’s richest persons from Forbes magazine (estimated at $1 billion). 

The “El Chapo” beer is expected to have a large fan base due to the notoriety of the imprisoned drug cartel leader and a growing market for collectible celebrity alcoholic beverages like these. The company is hoping that, besides just the name and branding of the beer, fans will actually enjoy the drink and keep coming back to it.

“I don’t know if we take the label off and the beer is good if it’s going to sell,’  Ituarte told the Daily Mail. “But obviously the brand gives the plus of sale, we continue with the idea that we are selling and as long as the product is good, people buy it and like it.”

Ituarte said at the trade show that the product will be sold at bars throughout Mexico that also sell stock craft beer, a market that has flourished in Mexico City in recent years due to the growth of microbreweries. The lager was produced by La Chingonería, a Mexico City-based brewery company. 

“This is an artisanal beer, with 4 percent alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice, and honey so it’s good,” Ituarte told Daily Mail. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”

This is not the first time that “El Chapo” has seen his name being cashed in on by his family. There has been a clothing and accessories line made in tribute of Guzman.

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Salazar’s company has already cashed in on her father’s name with a line of T items such as t-shirts, belts, purses, and jackets all adorned with imagery of Guzman and the 701 logo. The brand has been quite successful in under a year of going public which shows the power of “El Chapo’s” name. 

Salazar isn’t the only one getting in on the drug lord’s name. Last March Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, launched a fashion and leisurewear line, licensed by her husband. “I’m very excited to start this project, which was based on ideas and concepts that my husband and I had years ago,” Coronel told CNN in a statement at the time of the launch. “It is a project dedicated to our daughters.”

These dedicated “El Chapo” brands show the notoriety and the power of his name when it comes to marketing. If this new beer line is anything like the clothing and accessories already released under his name, there is sure to be a market for this too. 

Guzman is currently serving a life sentence at a supermax prison in Colorado after being convicted on drug trafficking and weapons charges in 2019. El Chapo was forced to forfeit $12.6 billion as part of his punishment.

READ: California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards