Life in Mexico is akin to a whirlwind, and we don't mean that metaphorically. We're talking about the literal whirlwind in the form of Hurricane Norma! But before we dive into the cyclonic escapade, let's take a peek at the curious and often bewildering assortment of news bits that make up Mexico's current affairs.
Hurricane Norma is stirring up quite the fiesta! If this storm were a guest at a Mexican soirée, it would undoubtedly be the one at the center of attention, with a twist of drama and a splash of mystery. Norma is proving to be a Category 3 hurricane, and it's decided to have a Mexican standoff with the coasts of Colima, Jalisco, and Baja California Sur.
The National Water Commission (Conagua) has its meteorological sombreros on and keeps us informed. Norma's cloud bands are like overzealous party decorations, bringing heavy rains to Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guerrero. The guests, well, they didn't ask for this much agua.
The path of the cyclone, with maximum winds that can clock a cool 195 kilometers per hour, is set on a rather peculiar course towards Baja California Sur, playing hide-and-seek with Playa Pérula, Jalisco, currently lurking about 405 kilometers away. Imagine a hurricane choosing its vacation spot with such precision! But if you think this storm is the only whirlwind in Mexico, think again.
Money in, Money Out
Let's switch gears from Mother Nature to the Mexican Chamber of Deputies. They recently approved a decree to extinguish 13 of the 14 trusts of the Federal Judicial Branch. The Senate of the Republic is about to join the dancefloor, but the rhythm's not quite set yet. This termination of trusts might impact the finances of the Federal Judicial Branch.
And then, in a plot twist worthy of telenovela magic, the Chamber decided to create a new trust fund to keep the Mayan Train rolling with the dinero from foreign tourists. Critics were quick to chime in on this spicy move. The financial discussion continues, and it's likely to have some reductions in the budget.
Politics and Promises
The Chamber of Deputies isn't done yet. They also approved the Income Law for 2024, complete with a whopping 9 trillion 66 billion pesos, give or take a few billion. They've also got plans for 1.9 trillion pesos of debt in 2024. Apparently, “additional financing” will be needed to make sure those massive infrastructure projects don't fall flat. It's like they're promising a lavish fiesta but hoping for a loan to cover the catering.
Spikevax to the Rescue
Amidst all this political and meteorological madness, Mexico's health warriors have been given a new weapon. The New Molecules Committee of the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) has given the green light to Moderna's mRNA vaccine, aptly named “Spikevax.” It's here to take on those sneaky COVID-19 strains with a vengeance.
Drought and Deluge
As if Mexico doesn't have enough on its plate, the state of Michoacán is facing a drought emergency declaration. Governor Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla dropped the bomb, indicating that they're running out of agua after a less-than-satisfying rainy season. The dams are thirstier than ever, registering lower water catchments than last year. An action plan has been unveiled to tackle the drought, but it's a race against time.
As of August 31, 2023, over half of the state is in a severe drought, and nearly 10% is in an extreme drought. This is the worst drought that Michoacán has experienced in decades. The drought is being caused by a combination of factors, including climate change, deforestation, and unsustainable water use practices.
Climate change is leading to more extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods. Deforestation is reducing the amount of vegetation in the state, which can lead to increased soil erosion and decreased water retention. And unsustainable water use practices, such as overgrazing and excessive irrigation, are putting a strain on the state's water resources.
The drought is having a significant impact on the people and economy of Michoacán. Farmers are struggling to grow crops, and livestock ranchers are losing animals. This is leading to food shortages and higher food prices. Businesses are also being impacted by the drought, as they are having to reduce production or close down altogether due to water shortages.
The government of Michoacán is taking steps to address the drought, but more needs to be done. The government needs to invest in sustainable water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling. It also must work with farmers and ranchers to develop drought-resistant crops and livestock breeds.
Mexico's news menu isn't all hurricanes and political capers. It's also seasoned with a generous serving of tragedy. The recent murders of municipal trustee Andrés Guzmán Rodríguez and former mayor Eduardo Cervantes Aguilar have left a sour taste in our mouths. Violence has raised its ugly head, and the question of safety looms large.
Targeting the Messenger
Lastly, the chilling tale of priest José Filiberto Velázquez Florencio, who dodged a bullet, quite literally. As he left the Ayotzinapa Normal School in Guerrero, a mysterious assailant took aim at him but thankfully missed. It's a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who dare to speak out in Mexico.
In the Mexican current affairs, it's a dizzying blend of the natural, the political, and the tragic. Hurricanes, trusts, politics, vaccines, droughts, and homicides all swirl together, keeping us on our toes. And that's the peculiar, perplexing, and often heartbreaking charm of Mexico. Stay tuned for the next chapter.