Mexico. In March, a report on the human rights situation in the state of Chiapas was presented. An international commission that visited the state stated that the situation was far worse than expected and that there was systematic terrorism from the security forces directed at the civilian population. According to Countryaah, the capital of Mexico is Mexico City. The state prosecutor also admitted in March that both police and military were involved in a massacre against civilians in the village of Acteal at the end of 1997 when 45 Indians were killed. By then, the Chiapas governor had already been forced to resign after it was confirmed that he knew of the plans for an attack on civilians. The Minister of the Interior also resigned after he failed to find a solution to the long-standing regional conflict.
In June, the disputed Bishop Samuel Ruiz of San Cristóbal de las Casas also resigned as official mediator between the government and the Zapatist EZLN guerrilla; he previously criticized the government for militarizing the Chiapas region and suspect his own and the Commission’s aims. The bishop’s departure was followed by new armed confrontations between the guerrillas and the army, the first outbreak of violence since the ceasefire began in 1995. In October, the guerrilla leader proposed that the dialogue with the government resume after lying down since 1997.
In April, 84-year-old author Octavio Paz died, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990. Paz was also a political writer, journalist, founder of literary magazines, teachers, diplomats and considered one of the greatest Latin American thinkers.
A Swiss prosecutor claimed she secured proof that the $ 100 million. dollars that former President Carlos Salina’s brother Raúl placed in banks in Switzerland come from drug stores. Raúl Salinas has been in prison since 1995, suspected of murdering his brother-in-law.
The violent forest and grass fires that ravaged Central America hit Mexico very hard and reached their peak in May/ June. More than 11,000 fires were reported, mainly in the states of Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Oaxaca, and at least 60 people died in the extinguishing work. Heavy rain and flooding in the country’s southern parts in September demanded 78 deaths and 400,000 otherwise suffered in what President Ernesto Zedillo called the second most severe natural disaster in the country’s history. Mexico was also affected by Hurricane Mitch’s progress but not as severely as neighboring countries in the south.
A diplomatic crisis between Mexico and the United States arose during the year after the US Department of Justice presented the results of a three-year investigation into banks’ involvement in drug money laundering, called Operation Casablanca. The US investigation pointed out three Mexican banks involved in the money laundering but the charges were rejected by a unified political opinion in Mexico.
Record GDP fall
The economy shrank by 17.1 percent during the second quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter, which is the largest landslide registered in the country. On an annual basis, the economy shrank by 18.7 percent, the statistical authority states. Some analysts believe that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador should have done more to stimulate the economy, and especially business, during the slowdown caused by the corona pandemic worldwide. The president defends himself, saying that his priority is to help ordinary Mexicans with social assistance and loans. He calls it support from below, instead of from above, and adds that support directly to the inhabitants increases consumption. Earlier this month, the central bank lowered its key policy rate for the tenth time in a row, to 4.5 percent, in an attempt to revive the economy.
Distance learning via TV
Around 30 million children begin the new school year with lessons via TV, in a nationwide experiment in which the government hired four private TV companies. Children between the ages of 4 and 18 should receive their education via television until the corona situation is sufficiently under control to reopen the schools. The schools have been closed since March. More than 60,000 people have now died in covid-19 in Mexico, which is the third hardest hit country in the world by the pandemic, counted in the number of deaths, after the United States and Brazil. The state has chosen distance education via TV, which is estimated to reach 94 percent of the inhabitants, instead of the internet, which between 70 and 80 percent have access to.
Some return for cultural life in the capital
Museums and cinemas in Mexico City are reopening, after five months of closure due to the corona pandemic. However, the number of visitors is limited, body temperatures are checked at the entrances and requirements are placed on mouth guards and gloves.
Former President Peña Nieto is being investigated for corruption
Prosecutors are launching a corruption investigation into former President Enrique Peña Nieto. It comes after the former head of the oil company Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, accused Peña Nieto of having received millions of dollars in bribes and bribed members of Congress himself. Lozoya was extradited from Spain in July and is himself charged with corruption (see February 2020). He played a leading role in Peña Nieto’s 2012 election campaign and was head of Pemex 2012–2016. In the trial in the USA against the drug king Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán 2019, a witness also accused Peña Nieto of bribery (see February 2019). According to Lozoya, Peña Nieto ordered him and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray to transfer more than $ 4 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht to the election campaign. As president, Peña Nieto and Videgaray have similarly passed bribes to members of Congress to secure the energy reform on the agenda.