What’s Going On In This Country?

February 8th, 2016 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

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El Chapo is now a brand. Recaptured drug lord El Chapo Guzman is in prison, probably for the rest of his life, but family members are scrambling to cash in on his name. Two of his current wives and his daughter have filed for four trademarks on 24 different brand name registrations. Among the requested brand names were several variations on Guzmán’s infamous nickname: El Chapo, El Chapo Guzmán, El Chapito and Don Chapo Guzmán.

The IMPI authorized the use of the brand El Chapo for four different marketable product categories which include precious metals, jewelry, watches, leather and faux-leather, toys, gym and sports articles, and Christmas tree ornaments, among others. Yup, that’s what I want, an ornamnet dangling on my Christmas tree with a mass murdere’s  mug on it.

The registered brands appear in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Brand Database, and the listing prevents others from using the Chapo-related brands.

The IMPI also authorized the commercialization of scientific, nautical, topographic, photographic and cinematographic equipment, as well as costumes, footwear and headwear. Shoes. Maybe El Chapo shoes, so we can walk on his face. We can only hope we extradite him to the United States before we lose the slippery son of a bitch again.

Oh, and let;s not forget the use of his name and likeness has been approved for products that include equipment and instruments to be used in education and training, and in cultural and sports activities.

Mexico hits the charts again. Not in a good way. Although Mexico did manage to move up eight spots over last year, the Mexico office of Transparency International, which produces the annual Corruption Perceptions Index, observed that there were no significant changes from last year’s index. The improvement in Mexico’s ranking in a recent world wide corruption index was due more to the fact that seven countries were dropped from the list.

According to the results, more than 6 billion people live in countries that are characterized by high levels of public-sector corruption. Armenia, Mali and the Philippines scored the same as Mexico, while many South American countries, such as Argentina, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay, scored significantly less. In last place this year, with eight points, were North Korea and Somalia, while Denmark took first place for the second year in a row with a score of 91. Canada was ninth best, the US was 16th.

CFE Has competition. The national electricity monopoly now has competition from the private sector beginning last week when the state of Baja, (not our state, Bunky, we’re Baja Sur), launched the fisrt  day-ahead wholesale power market. Prices averaged about $19.20 for power to be delivered the following day, slightly less than those in Texas.

Trading on the new market, operated by the National Energy Control Centre, or Cenace, rolled out throughout Mexico the following day. The new system means that private companies will be able to generate and sell power, which was until now the sole domain of CFE.

There will be two levels of customers under the new scheme, those that consume 3 MW or less, who will remain customers of CFE, and the large firms that consume more than that, who will be able to generate their own electricity, or to buy it from the provider they choose. Awe, poo. Once again the little guy takes it in the neck. The price the average household pays for electricity is way more than say, in the state of California, according to my Gringa boss who about has a heart attack every time the electric bill comes in. Don’t blame me, I can see in the dark, it’s not me turning on all the lights around here.

Who likes dogs? Petco México, a joint venture between retail holding company Grupo Gigante and U.S. firm Petco Animal Supplies Inc., has announced it will invest more than $10 million U.S. to open another 12 stores in Mexico this year. Double-digit growth in same-store sales last year were higher than expectations. The company plans to have 50 stores operating by 2018; it finished last year with 18 located in six states and the Federal District, serving between 130,000 and 140,000 clients per month. So, why can’t we get the local Mexicans to help out with the local shelters? The Yucatan Times reported last September that Mexico City authorities capture and kill 20,000 dogs a month, and that more than 16,000 dogs and cats live on the streets of Manzanillo, in the state of Colima.

Missing a water truck? Maybe it’s full of gasoline. In the past week alone, 40 tanker trucks have been stolen over on the mainland by heavily armed gunmen. A spokeswoman for the water companies said the thieves are better armed than state police. She said the trucks, which cost between $5,400 and $16,000 are being hijacked at various points on the Mexico City-Puebla freeway.

Lo and behold, (whatever that means), many of them have turned up at the scene of pipeline taps. Puebla was the state with the third highest number of Pemex pipeline taps last year at 749, nearly double the previous year’s total of 412. Guanajuato topped the list with 858 and Tamaulipas was second with 839. Altogether pipeline theivery was up 51% over 2014. Some estimates say one third of the gas served up at your local Pemex station is hot gas. Stolen, Bunky.

Pemex has posted a loss of more than 70 percent due to a drop in oil prices,” Mexican Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell has announced.

Coldwell added that, on the bright side, the state-run oil producer was able to raise $5 billion in bonds. The money will be invested in projects that have been suspended until recently, he explained, such as badly needed refineries. Mexico is hurting so badly for refining capacity, it sends much of its oil to the United States for refining, and then brings it back into the country. No wonder we’re all whining about the price of gasoline.

Mexico is the world’s tenth largest oil producer in the world and It relies on oil for 10 percent of its total exports, which account for some 18 percent of its budget.