Friday, January 16, 2015

Today's Headlines: You don't see much in the way of courtroom drama movies made in Mexico. Time to do something about that.

Mexico City implemented a new system of streamlined, oral trials for non-major offenses Thursday, described by Reforma’s top headline as “First step taken on judicial reform.” More accurately, it's  the first step taken in the Federal District. Twenty-eight states had already converted to the new system.
    Even with the vast majority of crimes going unreported, the courts were hopelessly backlogged. They were also inefficient, opaque and not always dedicated to the honest dispensation of justice. The idea is for the new adversarial system to speed things along, clean them out and open them up.  “Conciliation,” will also be encouraged. Serious crimes — kidnapping, murder, armed robbery — will be prosecuted in the traditional inquisitorial way for the time being, which in most cases takes place out of the sunshine.

El Universal leads with “Mexico asks U.S. to extradite Ficrea owner.” Rafael Olvera Mezcua, the majority partner of the fraudulent financial firm, is thought to be in the United States. Interpol is also after him.
    More interesting on El U’s front page is a fotonota — a picture with a head (“Another party”) and caption referring to a story inside — revealing that two PRD officials hosted a private party in a protected Mexico City historical site. The paper’s published photos (there’s a whole gallery on its web site, no doubt the work of a party guest with a cel phone) show José Luis Muñoz Soria, a federal deputy who is a candidate for delegation head of the downtown Cuauhtémoc borough, and the current Cuauhtémoc director of social development, his wife Verónica Olvera, and party guests. All are in formal attire that varies but makes a common statement: “I have more money than taste.”
    According to EL U, the party took place on December 20 and violated several regulations governing the Capilla Británica, a neocolonial, turn-of-the-(20th)-century chapel supposedly reserved for cultural events and conferences. Those rules concern the time of night, the serving of alcohol and performances by live musicians.
    Even if the couple shows they did nothing wrong, you have to wonder what they were thinking. You have to wonder even more when you remember that something similar had taken place months earlier at the Monument to the Revolution.
    Against all odds, the PRD has managed to overtake the PAN and PRI in the bad image department. Are they trying to beat out the Green Party too?

La Jornada goes fiscal in its top head, announcing a “Budget gap of 198.36 billion pesos in 2014.”  This was announced before, but repeated as Finance Secretariat officials met with a congressional committee. Falling oil prices are blamed.
    Jornada also give a lot of play to the news that “Normalization of relations between U.S. and Cuba begins.” The reference is to new U.S. rules going into effect today that make it possible to go  to Havana (as soon as the airlines are ready) simply by booking a flight online and getting to the airport on time.
Excelsior also fronts the rules relaxation, but its top head gives the following statistic: “In Guerrero, 212 trucks taken.” That figure refers to delivery trucks stolen in just the last few weeks by protesting teachers and students. The story came out of a meeting Thursday between the Mexican Employers Confederation and Interior (Gobernación) Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.
    Citing disappearing investment, Coparmex leader Juan Pablo Castañon asked Osorio for “immediate intervention, investigation and punishment of the guilty parties.” That would be a novel approach. Plenty of truck heists go unpunished nationwide — because the perpetrators are good at it and get away. Many, however, do get caught. It's the GPS age, after all.
   In Guerrero, it's . . . different. The teachers affiliated with Ceteg announce their hijack plans in advance, carry them out in front of cameras, and then brag about their actions afterward.

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