Things That Matter

Mexico City Taxis Came Full Force To Block Major Streets And Tourist Attractions To Get Ride Sharing Apps Banned

Taxi drivers came out in full force across Mexico City, blocking streets, tourist attractions, and major intersections. They’re protesting what they say is unfair competition from ride-sharing services like Uber, Cabify, and Didi.

They want the apps banned in Mexico.

Their bloqueos of some the city’s most important streets and attractions made news around the world.

Credit: @AFPMexico / Twitter

The taxistas started congregating in the zócalo (the city’s giant public plaza) around 6:30 am, while roadblocks started going up at 10:00 am all around the capital. and were expected to remain until noon. Drivers were even blocking major entry points to the city along highways from Pachuca, Toluca, and Cuernavaca.

Taxis were even suspending services in districts across the city.

The drivers complain that inconsistent regulation creates an uneven playing field for them to compete with ride-sharing, and want more robust regulation of their competitors. One of their biggest complaints is that taxis in Mexico City have to be painted a certain way – white and pink – which can cost up to MXN$2,500 (about $125 USD).

Several drivers said the ride-hailing apps have cost them 40% of their earnings.

According to some estimates, Mexico City is home to the world’s largest taxi fleet.

Credit: @fastpacific / Twitter

With that many cabs out there, it kinda makes sense how they were able to bring the city to a standstill with their demonstration.

Many across the capital were shocked by their tactics.

Credit: @pqblair / Twitter

Drivers would form giant groups of taxis and invade entire districts, intersections, plazas, and major tourist attractions. They succeeded at shocking residents and tourists alike while snarling traffic across the city of more than 20 million people.

At one point, taxi drivers enlisted the help of bus drivers to help block streets.

Credit: @lad_left / Twitter

Now imagine trying to get through the city’s narrow street or already traffic-chocked streets with gangs of taxis and giant buses…

Mexican Twitter was full of opinions on the taxi strike and taxi drivers themselves.

With the strike bringing much of the city to a standstill and the already negative attitudes towards taxistas in the city, many were not happy.

In an all too common sight in Mexico City, videos emerged of taxi gangs attacking Uber drivers.

These attacks on Uber drivers are nothing new. When the ride-sharing app first arrived in Mexico City, it was common for drivers arriving at the airport to be pelted with rocks.

And people are fed up.

Credit: @chromaticexplor / Twitter

Most people on Twitter had the same feelings and thoughts – either evolve with the industry or you’re going to go extinct.

Residents were quick to call out the taxi drivers on social media for the reasons why they’re losing to Uber.

Credit: guruchuier / Twitter

Basically saying that if drivers cleaned their cars, were friendly, and didn’t try to rob you with high fares, they wouldn’t have to worry about competition from Uber.

The memes out on Mexican Twitter in response to all of this were pretty amazing.

Credit: @lapnayh / Twitter

Translation: “It’s not you, it’s your bad service.”

And apparently, the taxi strike happened to fall on World Bike Day…

Credit: @BiciManager / Twitter

Leading many to suggest taking your commute into your own hands while helping the environment – ride a bike!

All of this had many dreaming of a Mexico City without taxis.

And the people were totally here for it.

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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@granexpoventa @lalalaladyboss701 @tulum

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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

Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

Things That Matter

Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

Gobierno de Mexico

For a long time, it was considered that Mexico had averted the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has plagued much of the Americas. For a country of its size and population, Mexico historically has had a very low incidence rate of HIV infection – even among populations considered at a high-risk.

Mexico is also a nation that has a robust public healthcare system that provides medical care to its citizens free-of-charge or at very low prices, including HIV medications.

Many looked to Mexico as a role model for developing countries confronting the worldwide HIV epidemic. However, after recent reports about obsolete medications being given to HIV and AIDS patients many are beginning to question that way of thinking.

Mexico’s Health ministry revealed that Mexico had been buying outdated medications from suppliers that no longer worked.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, revealed this morning that some drug providers were selling outdated and obsolete HIV drugs to the federal government. Many of the drug being used by the government to treat HIV-positive patients were from the 1980s and have been proven ineffective around the world.

At a press conference, he explained that in late 2019, authorities realized that drug companies were intentionally manipulating the public bidding process in a scheme to sell outdated drugs to the public health ministry.

“The combination of medicines tells us about the enormous lack of proper HIV treatment because they [the HIV medications] are not adequate. In many cases we found the use of old medicines, we found the use of the first HIV drug that was invented or discovered at the beginning of the 80s. It is a drug that is already obsolete worldwide and in Mexico was still being used,” he said.

According to the government, however, it was the fault of the drug companies that were gaming a public health system.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

“What did we find?” That here were pressures from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. We discovered that it was one group who made the medicines and that there were very few who distributed them. But they tie up the government with exclusive agreements to the different companies that manufacture the medicines,” he explained.

So basically, the distributors put pressure on doctors who specifically prescribed retroviral medications. He also clarified that purchases have always been made at the national level, however, they made no sense with the amounts of what they asked for in each state.

Despite this troubling revelation, the Ministry of Health has restated its commitment to securing the best care for those in need of HIV treatment.

Credit: Gilead Sciences

The undersecretary added: “In May, we completely modified the HIV treatment scheme. First, we made it clear that we wanted the best medications, the most effective, the safest; second, we identified how many people could have this ideal medication scheme and it turns out that there were many more than those who were taking advantage of it.”

This latest news comes just months after the country reformed its HIV treatment regime, leaving many fearful of shortages.

Public health officials warned of the possibility that thousands of Mexicans who rely on HIV treatment could be left without life-saving services after the government changed the way it funds treatment.

Reforms announced last month to centralize drug procurement risk sparking shortages, they say, while the government counters that it has ample supplies and hopes its changes will save money and cut corruption in the drug buying process. It’s these reforms they say that will help combat problems such as being sold outdated and obsolete drugs.

However, many HIV activists warn of a public health crisis.

In February, the government also said that it would no longer fund civil society organizations, leaving more than 200 groups fighting the disease without resources for core activities, such as HIV testing.