In Third Debate, Mexican Presidential Candidates Discuss Immigration and Mexicans in the United States

On May 19th, 2024, the three Mexican presidential candidates participated in their third and final presidential debate. (The election is scheduled for June 2nd).

For my reports on the first and second debates, click here and here.

For a transcript of the third debate, click here.

The three candidates in the debates were Claudia Sheinbaum of the incumbent president’s MORENA party, Xochitl Galvez of the PAN/PRI/PRD coalition, and Jorge Alvarez Maynez of the Movimiento Ciudadano.

Candidates left to right: Jorge Alvarez Maynez, Xochitl Galvez, Claudia Sheinbaum. Source: INE

One of the topics of the third debate was immigration. This is not surprising, as Mexico deals with immigration in three ways: 1) Mexico is a source of immigrants, mostly to the United States. 2) Mexico is a thoroughfare of migrants passing through its territory, mostly to get to the United States. 3) Mexico is destination of some immigrants, who wind up living in Mexico.

Mexico’s political elite pays close attention to immigration politics in the United States and actually intervenes in U.S. politics to further the interests of the Mexican government on U.S. soil.

Here are some relevant quotes from Mexican candidates in the third debate.

MEXICO’S SOUTHERN BORDER When asked about the flow of migrants from Latin America into Mexico, Candidate Xochitl Galvez said that “The first thing is, we must be clear that today the southern border is in the hands of the criminals. Today the criminals control migration and that is very serious.”

REMITTANCES – Mexicans in the U.S. send billions in remittances back to Mexico, which amounted to 63.3 billion dollars last year. Claudia Sheinbaum said “First, I want to greet the male Mexicans and female Mexicans abroad, particularly the fellow Mexicans in the United States….to thank them for the remittances that they send to our country.”

TRUMP – Alvarez Maynez said that “Mexico needs firmness and intelligence in its relationship with the United States, especially if a racist such as Trump comes to power.

TRUMP POLICIES AND ILLEGAL ALIEN AMNESTY
As U.S. president, Donald Trump used his foreign policy authority to get Mexico to reduce the quantity of migrants passing through Mexican territory on the way to the U.S. and take back migrants in the Remain in Mexico program. Opposition Candidate Xochitl Galvez thinks the current government did too much for Trump with nothing in return : “The migratory policy of MORENA (party of the current government) is hypocritical. The Fourth Transformation (current government) folded before Donald Trump, accepting the return of migrants from other countries, without demanding, at least, that there would be a regularization (amnesty) of our fellow Mexicans who live in the United States.”

Xochitl Galvez is saying that Mexico shouldn’t have cooperated with Trump without demanding amnesty for illegal alien Mexicans in the United States. And she had more to say about that subject: “We are going to demand a program of regularization for the migrants in the United States [amnesty for illegal aliens]

FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES
Xochitl Galvez : “…[W]e are going to broaden the program of workers in the United States…” [You would think that would be the business of the U.S. Congress.]

MEXICAN CONSULATES
Mexico has 52 consulates on U.S. soil, the biggest consular network in the world. Xochitl Galvez pledged “to grant resources to the consulates” by which she means “more resources”.

MEXICANS IN THE UNITED STATES: This is an important issue that many Americans don’t understand. Consider the words of all three candidates:

CLAUDIA SHEINBAUM: “First, I want to greet the male Mexicans and female Mexicans who are abroad, particularly the fellow Mexicans who are in the United States, more than 30 million Mexicans....”

JORGE ALVAREZ MAYNEZ: “Mexico is much more than its territory, not only are we the 130 million persons who live here, we are also the 40 million male Mexicans and female Mexicans who live in all the world.”

XOCHITL GALVEZ : “Mexico is a country of 170 million inhabitants divided by a river.”

So all 3 candidates, despite their differences, regard Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, even those born in the United States, as essentially Mexican, even if they have U.S. citizenship. This is also Mexican government policy.

It’s understandable that the Mexican government promotes such a policy. However, should the U.S. government encourage it?

Shouldn’t U.S. immigration and citizenship policies take this Mexican policy into account?

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The Second Presidential Debate

On April 28th, the second Mexican presidential debate of 2024 was held.  Click here to see the transcript of the debate. 

I’m reminded of a Spanish-language proverb:    El prometer no empobrece — El dar es lo que aniquila – “To promise does not impoverish — To give is what annihilates”.

These three candidates were making plenty of promises, without bothering to explain how it would all be paid for.

The three candidates: Claudia Sheinbaum of MORENA and allies, Xochitl Galvez of the PAN/PRI/PRD coalition and Jorge Alvarez Maynez of the Movimiento Ciudadano party.

An April 14th Bloomberg poll tracker had the candidates with these percentages:
Sheinbaum 58% ; Galvez 33% ; Alvarez Maynez 9% .

The second debate was held April 28th.

Second Debate: Galvez, Sheinbaum, Alvarez Maynez.
Source: Debate Sinaloa

The strategy of each candidate was predictable.

 Claudia Sheinbaum, of the incumbent MORENA party, is for a continuation of the policies of current president AMLO, the so-called Fourth Transformation.

As an opposition candidate, Xochitl Galvez has to attack the current government, especially Sheinbaum’s term as Mexico City mayor.

Jorge Alvarez Maynez, the only male candidate, represents a small political party, is way behind in the polls and is about 25 years younger than the two female candidates, who ignored him.

These factors made Jorge seem like a younger brother trying to steal attention from two talkative older sisters.  So Jorge made a lot of promises!  One was a “cultural scholarship” for young people which would give them money to attend concerts. Sounds nice.

The two women, the front-runners, went at each other hammer and tongs, ignoring poor little brother Jorge.   

Xochitl called Claudia the Candidate of Lies and accused her of stealing a house.

All three candidates held up signs from time to time.  One (held by Xochitl) simply read “Claudia lies”.   

While Claudia was talking, Xochitl was holding that sign up and was called out by moderator Adriana Pérez Cañedo, who told her you can’t hold up a sign when it’s not your turn to talk.

Xochitl skillfully responded to a question about the economy by talking about extortion.
She said that “the criminals charge protection money from avocado producers in Michoacan, sugar producers in Veracruz and chicken distributors in the state of Mexico.  The MORENA party has abandoned you by not fighting the criminals… as president I am going to punish the criminals, the extortion is going to end.”

How big an effect will this debate have on the outcome of the election? It’s a little over a month away.   

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Cats in the Palace

Nineteen feral cats living in Mexico’s National Palace have been adopted by the government and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared them “living fixed assets”, the first animals to be designated such under Mexican law.

Source: TW/@Carmen-Hern, Infobae

The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) is a massive building in downtown Mexico City’s Zocalo plaza, which has served as a capitol building throughout Mexican history. It currently houses part of the federal executive government and includes an apartment which is the residence of President AMLO. (For more history of the building click here and scroll down to “Palacio Nacional”.)

There is a photo of the National Palace at the top of this website. Here is another one, which was taken on our family’s visit:

Source: Lilia, David and Raphael Wall, Mexconnect.

The Palacio Nacional has plenty of rooms and 14 courtyards. Part of it is open to tourists.
Here’s an interior courtyard:

Source: Lilia, David and Raphael Wall, Mexconnect.

Obviously, this building is ideal for cats.
The palace also includes a 300 square meter apartment in which President AMLO resides with his wife Beatriz and their son.

Source: Político MX

OK, so what about the cats?

For years, the National Palace has been infested with feral cats, and employees there have fed them on their own. Eventually veterinarians were brought in to vaccinate and sterilize cats, and even to install chips in the cats to monitor them. Besides being fed, little houses have been made for the cats.

In July of 2023, a cat was even filmed wandering into a press conference. (That cat died of old age last month.)

In April 0f 2024, AMLO took things a step further. As reported in Proceso on April 3rd,
“By order of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 19 cats that inhabit the National Palace will be officially recognized as ‘activos fijos vivos (living fixed assets)’. The measure guarantees a budget dedicated specifically to their feeding and health care for life.” [my translation]

The cat’s names are Panza, Ruffino, Topacio, Yema, Nube, Leona, Ollin, Bowie, Balam, Coco, Roja, Bellof, Princesa, Esponjoso, Ikal, Monita, Scar, Tigre and Bombón.

As explained by the Associated Press, “The investment term ‘fixed assets’ usually applies to buildings and furniture, but by applying it to cats, López Obrador’s government has obligated the country’s Treasury to give them food and care for them for the rest of their lives, even after the leader leaves office in October.”

Ingrid Newkirk, president of the PETA organization (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote a letter to AMLO commending him for taking this legal action.

(By the way, there’s a Mexican connection to PETA’s origin. The organization was founded in 1980 by British-born Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. Pacheco was U.S.-born but his father was Mexican, and Alex was raised in Mexico).

In her letter to AMLO, Ingrid Newkirk said she was also sending cat toys and vegan treats for those feline “living fixed assets” in the palace, and she closed the letter thusly: “Every animal is somebody!”

Source: Eduardo Verdugo

One question though: Since these 19 cats all made their way into the palace on their own, what prevents other feral cats from doing so, especially when they discover what a great deal these cats have?

Will other cats also be declared “living fixed assets” or will they be feline illegal aliens?

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First Debate Doesn’t Change Polling Much

On April 7th, 2024, the first general election debate was held in the 2024 Mexican presidential election.

All three candidates participated: Claudia Sheinbaum of MORENA and allies, Xochitl Galvez of the PAN/PRI/PRD coalition and Jorge Alvarez Maynez of the Movimiento Ciudadano party.

Source: Le Monde

The strategies of each candidate were predictable. Sheinbaum is for a continuation of the policies of current president AMLO. Galvez has to attack the current government, especially attacking Sheinbaum’s term as Mexico City mayor and Sheinbaum personally. As for Alvarez Maynez, the only male candidate, he was trying to get attention.

For a transcript of the debate, click here.

After all was said and done, there was not a great difference in the Bloomberg poll after the debate.

A Bloomberg poll tracker dated April 4th had the candidates with these percentages:
Sheinbaum 59% ; Galvez 34% ; Alvarez Maynez 7% .

The debate was 3 days later, on April 7th.

Then on April 14th, the Bloomberg poll tracker had the candidates with these percentages:
Sheinbaum 58% ; Galvez 33% ; Alvarez Maynez 9% .

That means that Alvarez Maynez went up two points, with one point taken from Sheinbaum and one point taken from Galvez.

That’s not exactly earth-shattering.

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The 2024 Mexican Election

Mexico has a presidential election every six years, and the United States every four years.

Every 12 years, therefore, Mexico and the United States have a presidential election the same year.

This year, 2024, is one of those years.

The Mexican election of 2024 is scheduled for June 2nd.

To win the Mexican election, a candidate must win a plurality of the popular vote.

There are two major candidates for president, and both are women.   That means it is most likely that before this year is over, Mexico will have its first female president.

The two principal candidates are Claudia Sheinbaum and Xochitl Galvez.

CLAUDIA SHEINBAUM

Source: Reuters

Claudia Sheinbaum is the candidate of MORENA, the political party of current president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO).  Two smaller parties, the Labor Party and the Green Party, are in coalition with MORENA in the Sigamos Haciendo Historia (Let’s Keep Making History) alliance.

Sheinbaum was born in 1962 in Mexico City.

She is an ethnic Jew, though apparently does not practice Judaism as a religion.   Her father was an Ashkenazi Jew and her mother a Sephardi Jew.

A scientist, Sheinbaum studied physics  in Mexico’s UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and earned her PhD in energy engineering at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California in the U.S.A.

Dr. Sheinbaum has written more than 100 articles and two books dealing with energy, environment and sustainable development.

In 2007, Dr. Sheinbaum was on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the United Nations in the field of energy and industry and was part of a group that won the Nobel Peace Prize.

From 2000 to 2006, Dr. Sheinbaum was Mexico City’s Secretary of the Environment. From 2015 to 2017 she was mayor of Tlalpan, a borough in Mexico City.  

From 2018 to 2023, Claudia Sheinbaum was Mayor of Mexico City.

XOCHITL GALVEZ

Source: Santiago Alba Ibarra

Xochitl Galvez is the candidate of the Fuerza y Corazón por México (Strength and Heart for Mexico) alliance, formed by three parties: the PAN, the PRI and the PRD.

Xochitl Galvez was born in the central state of Hidalgo in 1963.   Her father was Otomi Indian and her mother mestizo (mixed Otomi and European).

She studied computer engineering at the UNAM.

Xochitl Galvez was an entrepreneur, founding a technology company called High Tech Services.  This company dealt with such things as designing intelligent buildings,  saving energy, automation, telecoms and security.

She also started a company called OMEI, which dealt with intelligent infrastructures.

Recognitions for her work include being named as one of 100 Global Leaders of the World’s Future at the World Economic Forum Davos in 1999 and as one of 25 Latin America’s New Business Elite by Business Week in 2000.

In 1995 she founded the Porvenir Foundation to fight child malnutrition and help women in areas of Mexico with large indigenous populations.

In the Mexican federal government she directed the Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples) from 2000 to 2006.

From 2015 to 2018 Galvez was mayor of Miguel Hidalgo, a borough in Mexico City. She was a Mexican Senator from 2018 to 2023.

JORGE ALVAREZ MAYNEZ

Jorge Alvarez Maynez , the male candidate, is standard bearer of the Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizen Movement Party).

Alvarez was born in the northern city of Zacatecas, in Zacatecas State, and served in the Mexican Congress from 2015 to 2018 and 2021 to 2024.  

In 2022, Alvarez Maynez and 3 other Mexican congressional representatives traveled to Ukraine, having been invited by the Ukrainian Parliament.


WHO WILL WIN?

Currently, Dr. Sheinbaum is winning in the polls. But things could change.

Recent poll results:

  • Reforma Poll  (March 6th-12, 1000 adults ); After 17% with no preference were subtracted,
    58% of those remaining supported Sheinbaum and 34% supported Galvez.
  • Oraculus Poll (as of March 20): Sheinbaum 60%; Galvez 34%; Alvarez Maynez 6%. 

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Can Mexico’s Vaquita Porpoise Survive?

Picture Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.)

The vaquita, scientific name Phocoena sinus, is a type of porpoise which is endemic to Mexico.

The vaquita lives
in the northern part
of the Sea of Cortes
(pictured on the right), also called the
Gulf of California or
Vermilion Sea, a body
of water lying between
the Mexican mainland and the Baja California peninsula.

The term vaquita is Spanish for “little cow” and the vaquita is the smallest and rarest type of porpoise.  It has only been known to science since the 1950s.

The vaquita is now in imminent danger of extinction.  

Here are some vaquita population estimates from recent years demonstrating the drastic decrease:

1997 – 567 vaquitas
2007 – 150 vaquitas
2015 – 59 vaquitas
2016 – 30 vaquitas
2018 – fewer than 19
2022 – fewer than ten, maybe just 7 or 8
Why has there been such a precipitous decline?

The main killers of the vaquita are fishing nets.  But not fishing nets intended to trap the vaquita.

The fishing nets are those being used to trap the totoaba fish, also endemic to the Sea of Cortes and also endangered.

Since 1975 it’s been illegal to catch the totoaba but poachers have continued catching them
anyway. 

The totoaba swim bladder (pictured left)
is in high demand in China and elsewhere in Asia.

This in turn drives an illegal and profitable trade in the totoaba, called the “cocaine of the sea”.

Totoaba swim bladders can fetch thousands of dollars per kilogram.

Vaquitas get entangled in the nets intended for the totoaba.  As mammals, vaquitas need their oxygen. They can’t stay under water indefinitely and they die.

Even in ideal circumstances the vaquita has a slow reproductive cycle.  The time between births for a mother vaquita ranges from 1 to 2 years.

In 2023, there was some cause for hope.  A survey conducted by the Sea Shepherd organization observed the vaquita area and reported the existence of 10 to 13 vaquitas.  That total included at least one vaquita calf, a newborn.   A calf was spotted twice, so it was either the same calf twice or two calves.  

The Mexican Navy has installed concrete blocks with curved arms in the water.  The purpose is to catch discarded floating nets which can endanger the vaquita.

There is a Zero Tolerance Area in which illegal fishing had been reduced by 90% (as of April 2023).

However, in February of 2024 it was reported that the trafficking of totoaba swim bladders are on the increase online.

And most swim bladders aren’t even sold individually online but in bulk movements of several hundred.

Suffice it to say there’s a high demand for the product. Which still endangers the vaquita and the totoaba.

The Blue Whale survived near extinction and increased in population.  But it had a much larger range (most of the world’s oceans). Vaquitas only live in one area.

Source: Ocean Generation

Clearly, unless enough breeding stock survives, the vaquita is doomed.  But there is still hope.

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Change Ahead for Mexico’s Supreme Court?

The Mexican federal government is organized like that of the United States, with an executive branch, a bicameral Congress and a Supreme Court.

Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court has 9 members selected for life, Mexico’s Supreme Court has 11 members, with 15-year terms.

In the Spanish language, the Mexican Supreme Court is known as Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación  (SCJN), The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

Source: SCJN Website

The Supreme Court building (pictured left) is located in downtown Mexico City close to the Zocalo Plaza.

Source: SCJN Website

The equivalent of the U.S. Chief Justice is the President of the Court, chosen by fellow judges of the court.   The current President of the Court is Norma Lucía Piña Hernández (pictured left).

In recent years the Supreme Court has become more powerful and independent, having ruled against both the executive and legislative branches.

On the Supreme Court website you can view actual video of Supreme Court sessions, click here for that.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, referred to by his initials AMLO (pictured below), has proposed some changes for the Supreme Court, which are now in consideration in the Mexican Congress.

Source: Mexican Presidential Website

AMLO wants to reduce the number of Supreme Court judges from the current 11 to 9.

The presidente also wants their terms to be reduced from 15 years to 12 years.

And here’s a big one. AMLO wants all judges, including those of the Supreme Court, to be chosen by public elections. That would be a big change. (For sources, click here and here).

Will these changes take place or not? That depends on the developing political situation in Mexico.

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Welcome to Mexico News Report

Welcome to my first installment of the Mexico News Report

What is the Mexico News Report?

What I propose to do is provide an English-language platform for news about Mexico, which is often ignored and misrepresented in the Mainstream Media.

For Americans, Mexico is our neighbor to the south.  Yet many Americans don’t really know that much about Mexico, or understand the country. 

And when I say “many Americans” that includes many politicians, lawmakers, journalists and academics.

U.S. news coverage of Mexican news leaves something to be desired.   

There are some useful news reports coming from the Mainstream Media.  But taken as a whole, English-language reporting on Mexico is lacking something.  It’s unbalanced.    A lot of things just don’t get reported.

I remember back in the 1990s, when I was residing in Mexico.  I read a New York Times article about something that occurred in Mexico, in the same metropolitan area in which I resided.   The article had an enormous error about something in that area.   It was totally wrong.  The error was about a subject that could have been very easily investigated.

I wrote to the New York Times, correcting the error, but I never received a reply.  I’m guessing my letter was just tossed into the trash. 

I resided in Mexico many years, and there was always something interesting going on, much of it not properly reported on in the U.S. media.

There ought to be more comprehensive coverage.  After all, Mexicans are our next-door neighbors, and what happens in Mexico can easily affect us here in the U.S.A.

Mexico is located south of the United States. 

Source: Geology.com

Four U.S. states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, are on the U.S. border with Mexico.

At 758,449 square miles, Mexico is big.  It’s the 14th biggest country in the world by area.   

It’s a geographically diverse country, with every sort of natural landscape you could imagine, including deserts, jungles, forests, beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains and snow-capped volcanoes.    

There are huge cities, medium-sized cities, towns and villages.

The population of Mexico is approximately 130 million, making it the tenth most-populated country in the world.

The capital is Mexico City, one of the world’s biggest cities.  It’s not only the political capital of the country, but the economic, financial and cultural capital as well.  

Mexico has some great tourist attractions.  There are pre-Hispanic ruins, colonial architecture, beaches, museums and the geographical diversity mentioned above. 

Like the U.S.A., Mexico is organized into states.   The country has 31 states.  The capital, Mexico City, is not officially considered a state but is the equivalent of a state.

Mexico is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking country.  In addition to the Spanish language, there are Indian languages spoken in some regions.

The Mexican federal government is organized like that of the United States, with an executive branch, a bicameral Congress and a Supreme Court.

Whereas the U.S. president has a four-year term and the opportunity to be re-elected, the Mexican president has a six-year term and cannot be re-elected.

The current president is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, often referred to by his initials AMLO.  

The two chambers of the bicameral Congress are the Senado (the Senate), with 128 senators, elected to six-year terms ; and the Cámara de Diputados, the Chamber of Deputies, equivalent of our House of Representatives, with 500 representatives,  up for election every three years.

Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court has 9 members selected for life, Mexico’s Supreme Court has 11 members, with 15-year terms.

Mexican state governments have governors, legislatures and courts, and then there are municipal governments. 

There are plenty of things occurring in Mexico that would be of interest to American readers.

I hope you can join me on the Mexico News Report.  If you would like to be on my mailing list, click here, write me and request that.

Welcome to Mexico News Report !

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