Inflation and interest rates: the worst January in 22 years
Concerned by the more than 100,000 Americans who died from drug overdoses last year alone, 66% of whom were victims of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, 21 U.S. attorneys general from 21 states signed a joint document declaring Mexican drug cartels, which have their own armed forces and pose a danger to U.S. national security, to be terrorist groups.
In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the 21 undersigned prosecutors denounce the Mexican government’s inability to defeat groups like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which they compare in danger to Middle Eastern groups like Hezbollah and represent a serious threat to their citizens and country.
In the letter, the 21 state officials accuse the Biden administration of doing nothing and say that now is the moment to act. The undersigned state officials are from the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia. The 21 state officials claim that Mexican cartels have infiltrated legal businesses to enable them to operate in the U.S., like the exportation of avocados, the management of restaurant franchises and the operation of gas stations and supermarkets, for example.
From the U.S. perspective, the existence of groups with their own armed forces, like the cartels that have taken control of large areas of Mexico, merits the investment of the U.S., as the U.S. has recently done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and in Colombia, where the DEA, FBI, CIA and seven military bases maintain offices in Bogotá and Cartagena under the pretext of protecting their interests. Can you imagine having U.S. military bases in Mexico? In Ensenada, Manzanillo and Salina Cruz to protect the Pacific? In Tampico, Veracruz and Cancún to protect the Gulf and Caribbean? And in Chihuahua, Culiacán, Zacatecas, Silao and Puebla to protect their interests in the center?
The foreign ministry’s efforts to support the victims of the recent earthquakes in southern and eastern Turkey could be considered very productive. That several bodies have been recovered and three men rescued alive, one of whom was resuscitated after collapsing, are part of the results shared with me from Adiyaman by Bernardo Aguilar, European director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the official in charge of coordinating the rescuers of the Ministries of Defense and the Navy, who, accompanied by specialized technicians and trained dogs, are completing their first week of work in the tragedy.
Aguirre also told me that the Mexican mission has provided support to three Mexican nationals who were working and living permanently in the province of Adana and who lost their homes but who are finally safe in Istanbul, where they will decide their immediate future in that nation.
Incidentally, the Turkish Embassy in our country has announced that for logistical reasons it is now only receiving winter tents, sleeping bags, electricity generators and blankets and has made the addresses of Monte Blanco 1245 in Lomas de Chapultepec and the Turkish Cultural Centre at Hegel 618 available to donors.
This team will carry on working until at least next week, as it’s possible to find people alive within 10 to 15 days after the tragedy. We can only wish them courage and success.
With inflation at 7.91% in January and core inflation, which doesn’t include fresh food or energy due to its volatility, at 8.45% annually, Mexico faces a January inflationary rise that has not been seen in the last 22 years. For Mexico, January marks the third consecutive month of rising inflation since November, and this time it cannot be considered an imported phenomenon. For example, in the U.S., our main trading partner, inflation has been held at bay since last October, and during 2023, with an interest rate of 4.75%, the inflation forecast is 4%, the same as in Europe.
In a bid to combat inflation, the Bank of Mexico has had to adjust the interbank interest rate for the 13th consecutive time to 11%, which hampers investment and the purchase of debt among industrialists and entrepreneurs, and restricts growth, investment, and job creation. As if that weren’t enough, as of Jan. 31 of this year, more than 39 billion pesos invested by foreigners in Mexican government instruments had left the country.
For Juan Pueblo, the recommendation is to restrict the use of credit cards as much as possible, and to think twice about the purchase of cars and real estate at variable rates, or what was known in the times of José López Portillo as “tightening the belt.”
Far from this austerity, in his world of the privileged elite bureaucrat, the head of the Consumer Protection Agency, Ricardo Sheffield, says that if eggs are unaffordable at 50 pesos a kilo, it’s because the hens don’t lay in the cold season, that is, wait until summer to be able to buy cheap protein because pork, beef and fish sailed out of sight months ago. Welcome to the pauperization of the 4t (Fourth Transformation), like on the beautiful island of Cuba.
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