Monday, January 26, 2015

Today's Headlines: There's something happening here

All dailies mention, some front, and none lead with, the story on everybody’s mind — today’s mega-march in the Federal District (DF) on the four-month anniversary of the killing and disappearance of teachers college students in Iguala, Guerrero. Excelsior’s below-the-fold head puts it this way: “Blockages and marches threaten the DF.” (Notice that the chosen topic is the “threat,” not the purpose of the demonstration. That is always the case.)
    Busloads of militant teachers from the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacán were arriving early this morning. The marches will have begun from four different points in Mexico City by the time you read this. Teachers and family members of the victims will be joined by electricity and telephone workers, university staff, pilots and flight attendants, nurses, campesinos and truckers. Not to mention the usual assortment of trouble-making anarchists, unreconstructed Stalinists and political performance artists.
    There will also be demonstrations in cities across the country, we are told. Abroad, too — in the United States, Spain and France, and possibly elsewhere.
    The unknowns, as always, are how peaceful the events will turn out, how tolerant city commuters will be of the inevitable traffic mess, whether the nature of the event will expand or alienate support for the cause (which is “to demand justice from President Enrique Peña Nieto”), how law enforcement will react during the demonstrations, and how the federal government will respond afterward.

El Universal gives its top head and considerable space to a new offensive by the private sector, usually referred to in the Mexican press as the IP, for iniciativa privada. Here’s the wording: “IP: Enough! Insecurity has hit the economy.” A coalition of chambers of commerce and other business organizations is taking out media ads — and thus generating news coverage — alleging that growing unpunished crime is costing the nation billions of pesos per year in lost investment, increased security costs and the value of stolen merchandise. It is also responsible, they say, for shaving as much as 1.5 points off the annual growth rate.
    The campaign isn’t aimed specifically at the unrest in Guerrero. It’s burgeoning crime in general that’s pushed the business community to the breaking point. Of course, crime’s been burgeoning for many years now. But it apparently wasn’t “enough!” until the bottom line started to buckle.
    What the private sector is demanding here, reasonably, is an end to impunity, which they consider “hostile to economic activity.” El Universal quotes the director general of one group, the Center for Private Sector Economic Studies, as saying, "There’s no rule of law, no confidence in the institutions.”  Funny, the folks marching on the streets today are complaining about the same thing.


Excelsior’s top story gives the para-state oil monopoly some love: “Pemex surviving the oil price drop.” It’s still one of the most profitable petroleum enterprises in the world, the paper tells us. Citing Pemex statistics, the article points out that even with the recent 63% drop in global oil prices to $38.03 dollars per barrel registered last Friday, production cost averages just $9.25 dollars per barrel, leaving a nice little profit of more than $28 dollars per barrel.
    Frankly, the article reads like a plant. I will point out for the record that “reading” like a plant doesn’t mean it is one. I will also point out that though $28 dollars a barrel is indeed a decent profit in absolute terms, it’s still a heck of a lot less than what was expected and what the 2015 federal budget was based on. There’s still a problem.

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