Once again, American spy services, those in the so-called deep state, are the headache of President Donald Trump. At the end of last week, an agent of these intelligence services announced that, during a call made last July, President Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski, to investigate Hunt Biden, son of Joe Biden , for alleged corruption practices when he worked for a Ukrainian gas company. Recall that Joe Biden is one of the pointers in the Democratic race for the presidential candidacy for the 2020 elections.

If these statements were true, Trump would have used the US presidency to coerce a foreign government to take domestic policy actions, with a clear political purpose, to diminish Joe Biden’s chances of competing for the presidency. This would be enough reason to start a political trial against Donald Turmp. However, the president of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, has consistently refused to initiate this process in the face of accusations of collusion between Trump and the Russian government during the 2016 elections.

Pelosi fears that starting a political trial process at this time, in the face of next year’s presidential elections, may further divide the Democrats and the electorate. What could cause, in the first place, that a political trial did not end with Trump’s impeachment; and, secondly, the failure of the Democrats in the 2020 elections.

Even so, several candidates for the Democratic presidential candidacy have already expressed their support for bringing Trump to political trial. Among them, Elizabeth Warren who, according to polls published on Saturday, is already in the lead in Iowa, and Julian Castro, whose brother is a Representative for Texas. Joe Biden, meanwhile, has requested that the transcript of the call be made public; to which Trump responded that this option is being considered despite the fact that, he said, all world leaders should feel free to speak with the President of the United States without fear of having their talks public.

While it is true that the political moment might not be the right one to initiate a political trial against Donald Trump, it is also true that congressmen cannot allow the presidency to continue to be used to commit crimes. It is known, for example, that after that phone call, the processes to free up resources for military aid to Ukraine by 250 MDD were accelerated.

Thus, we could face more evident evidence of crimes committed by President Trump from the Oval Office. If a process of political judgment begins, we could see an even greater polarization in the US electorate, which would be reflected in Congress, making it even more inefficient. Recall, finally, that the US Senate still does not approve the T-MEC and this situation could delay it further, negatively impacting our country.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/09/24/juicio-contra-donald-trump/

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

Should we worry about the attack against Aramco?

Last Saturday, facilities of Saudi oil company Aramco, in Abqaiq, and in the Khurais oil field were attacked with drones, using very sophisticated technology. In principle, the Yemeni Houthis rebels claimed the attack; This group has been fought by the Saudi Kingdom for the past four years. Iran, on the other hand, supports Yemeni rebels. In this regard, reports suggest that the technology used to carry out the attacks came from Iran.

The attack caused the interruption of 5% of the world oil supply, a situation never seen, neither during the Iraqi invasion of Yemen, nor because of the oil embargo on Iran. In principle, Saudi reserves will try to maintain the flow of oil without interruption, however, specialists in the field estimate that repairs to normalize production at both the Abqaiq plant and the Khurais field will take months.

Oil prices worldwide have already started to rise. Most worrying, however, is that countries dependent on Saudi crude will have to look for alternatives for their supply. It is here that we will begin to see the geopolitical game of the powers, since this interruption occurs just at the moment when the world witnesses a trade war between China and the United States, and tensions of the Western powers with Iran and with Russia.

The United States, for practical purposes, is self-sufficient in energy thanks to fracking and the little that matters in Saudi Arabia can easily be remedied by increasing the extraction of crude oil by this route, although at higher costs. On the other hand, the Saudis are the second oil exporter for the Chinese market, only after Russia. Without Saudi oil, the Chinese economy could be affected in the short term, further decreasing its economic growth and affecting the world economy. Likewise, South Koreans and Japanese rely heavily on Saudi oil.

The United States does not want the price of oil to return to three digits, because it would diminish its economic growth through the increase in the prices of its industrial production. Russia, on the other hand, since it is an oil-exporting country, it is convenient for prices to rise. Thus, both China and Europeans would be affected by an increase in Russian oil and energy prices. The way you could turn around and keep prices low until the Saudis repair their facilities, is by buying from Iran.

However, today the United States maintains sanctions against the Iranians. Thus, the fact that Chinese and Europeans replace Saudi oil with Iran would generate greater diplomatic conflicts between the United States and these powers. This attack could have very serious consequences for the world economy. Mexico will not be oblivious to the problems that develop from here, especially if this means a slowdown in world growth much more pronounced than expected.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/09/17/debemos-preocuparnos-por-el-ataque-contra-la-petrolera-aramco/

Is the budget enough for such an unstable world?

While it is not new that Mexican governments ignore the problems of the world and see us as an island in the middle of nowhere, the truth is that sooner rather than later we must assume that we are not alone in our small world. Thus, given the uncertainty caused by various phenomena in the world, we must be prepared, is the 2020 budget prepared?

Today we see that the United Kingdom is far from reaching an agreement, not only with the European Union for its definitive exit from the community bloc, but also to be able to reach an agreement between conservatives and Labor to establish how and when Brexit will be formalized. Likewise, we see that the new President of the European Commission, the German Ursula von der Leyen, will have to make use of all her political capacity to establish herself in a position she was not proposed or backed by any force of the European Parliament. Thus, von der Leyen will have to take possession at the same time that Brexit is happening, if there is no extension. We will see if the German will be able to circumvent, along with the other community institutions, a catastrophic departure from the United Kingdom without agreement.

Meanwhile, European leaders try to save the agreement they made together with Russia, China and the United States with the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2015 regarding their nuclear energy program. While the United States has reestablished sanctions against Iran, for alleged Iranian violations of the agreement and for considering it a bad agreement for the Americans, Europeans have launched diplomatic efforts to reverse those sanctions and allow Iran to continue selling its crude within of the international economy. However, Iran has already resented Trump sanctions and threatens to increase uranium enrichment, which could lead to greater instability in the region, if we add Israel’s continuing threats against Iran. All this political instability contributes to the instability of oil prices.

As if that were not enough, the Trump administration continues to press the world economy through its trade wars, mainly against China. In recent months, both countries have been dramatically raising tariffs on products that import from each other. Unfortunately, this trade war cannot have an end in the short term, especially before the US elections next year where Donald Trump is going to present himself with a narrative of a tough man against China and Mexico.

Could it be that the 2020 budget presented by the Treasury over the weekend contemplates how this instability will hit our economy? Having fiscal discipline helps but reducing investment to favor welfare social programs will not help curb the impact of a Brexit without agreement, sanctions against the sale of Iranian crude or the rise in tariffs by the US have about the Mexican economy. In addition, we are not considering how US presidential elections can impact our economy, statements by Trump or whoever his adversary is on the Democratic side will have an impact on our economy.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/09/10/es-suficiente-el-presupuesto-en-un-mundo-tan-inestable/

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Until reality reaches AMLO

The question I ask myself after the first/third government State of the Union report is when will reality reach the President’s narrative? The President is still campaigning and still campaigning because he wants his project, MORENA, to become a hegemonic party in the long term. Surely, he recognizes that the only way that can become a reality is by not leaving the leadership of his movement. Morena is not an institutionalized party, it is a series of individuals whose only common thread, the only thing that keeps them together, is to be in the shadow of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).

Just as the PRD vanished, after the departures of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and AMLO himself, because he could never manage his internal tribes in the face of the institutionalization of the party, once López Obrador’s presidency is over, Morena will remain with his internal tribes, fighting for power, without having any strong figures around which to group. Morena will disappear without AMLO.

What the President is looking for, with his narrative, is to create in the popular unconscious the idea that only Morena can change the country. It does not seek to institutionalize the party, as he did not want to do in the PRD, it seeks to generate a strong party in the PRI style of yesteryear. What AMLO does not want to see is that even the PRI itself was institutionalized as a survival mechanism. AMLO, on the other hand, sends the devil to the institutions.

This narrative that seeks to continue positioning Morena through ideas, but without content, is what seems to indicate that the President is living an alternate reality. Within this narrative, the expectations of GDP growth do not matter, downward since he took office, or criminals are asked to please behave, rather than prevent, investigate and punish. The Federal Police is denied, while the Army is exalted; which is not good in a country that has never seen or want to see a military dictatorship. And the governors of the ruling party can extend their mandate without consequences, clearly violating democracy.

Lopezobradorismo is not offering a better country version. There are no better salaries or better benefits. The cancellation of priority projects reduces the productivity (already low) of the country. The investment has stopped and although we are not already in a recession, everything seems to indicate that we will be in one in the short term. It has not been possible to contain violence; the National Guard is a project without feet or head and the government’s intention to negotiate with criminal groups is worrying.

At some point, I do not know when, reality will reach the narrative that was formed and is formed daily by the President. That day he may understand that he should have looked for the institutional path to govern the country and to make Morena a true political party, and not to have depended on his figure, on his cacicazgo.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/09/03/hasta-que-la-realidad-alcance-a-amlo/

A future with faces from the past

Draws attention to the way in which the reconfiguration of the political scene in our country is outlined, after the overwhelming triumph of President López Obrador in 2018. We see, on the one hand, the efforts of the Calderón Zavala family to build their political party, México Libre, clearly to the right of the political spectrum. México Libre has the support of characters who have clearly stated that they are against – for example – sexual diversity, such as Laura Zapata, who is good at supporting this potential party.

Elba Esther Gordillo, showing muscle, is in full creation of the Redes Sociales Progresistas party, under the leadership of her grandson René Fujiwara Montelongo. Thus, the teachers will have their own party and the Gordillo family a respected reunion with national politics.

To these political groups we must add Futuro 21, who held its first national assembly last weekend. Futuro 21 will become the new image of the PRD, or of what remains of the PRD, which should basically be the furniture of its offices. Appealing to be a social democratic party, Futuro 21 brings together diverse characters not only from “perredistas” but from other forces, such as Gabriel Quadri, who was the presidential candidate of Nueva Alianza party in 2012, and the journalist Tere Vale, who contended for the Head of the Government of today CDMX in 2000 by the late Social Democracy Party (also known as the party of the rose).

Several expriistas have already joined Futuro 21, such is the case of youngsters and almost nothing known José Narro and Beatriz Pagés. On the part of the – still – PRD are characters like Silvano Aureoles, Guadalupe Acosta Naranjo, Jesús Zambrano and Carlos Navarrete; without a doubt, a new litter of politicians who will surely inject new ideas into the way of doing politics in our country.

It seems that it is the traditional parties that are doing the work of rebuilding themselves and that those new options that are glimpsed in Mexican politics only tend to perpetuate old politicians in the public arena of our country. The PRI is generating a change at ground level, thanks to its Training School for registered members, while in the PAN new leadership can be observed locally.

The faces of what will be the new political parties have nothing new. These men and women have been in politics and public service for decades, they have nothing new to contribute to the political scene of the 21st century. Hopefully these new groups will give opportunity, from their birth, to young politicians, to real potential leaders, to changes in the way of understanding and working in politics. Those who are leading these incipient parties are the same as always, with the ideas of always, with the bad habits of always.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/08/28/un-futuro-con-caras-del-pasado/