Normally I write only on one theme but today this column is on two: One, your dollar-peso exchange and two, the public funds robbery in Veracruz by former Gov. Javier Duarte, now on the lam.
Those of you who read last Friday’s column and did not rush out to exchange your dollars for pesos made a bad mistake in not following my humble advice that that was a day to sell as many dollars as you could at an approximate rate of 19.50 pesos per unit. Had you only sold one thousand dollars you would have made a thousand pesos on the spot which would have given you a sizeable cart of merchandise at the super, or a good dinner at a plush spot.
In that article I made the point that after FBI Director James Comey had barged into the election by announcing that Hillary Clinton was once again under investigation over the e-mails, currency dealers in Mexico hit the panic button and spiked the dollar from 18.50 to 19.50 pesos.
On Sunday, Comey butted in again but this time to claim the investigation was over and that candidate Clinton was no longer a suspect.
This time dealers — or speculators if you will — were hit by a reverse button and by Monday morning the dollar slumped against the peso and was back at the real value rate of 18.55 on a sell and 17.98 on a buy basis.
And on Tuesday morning — when this was written — all hints were that Hillary Clinton was to come out victor in the U.S. presidential electoral fray and banks such as Citibanamex and Santander were claiming that with a Hillary win “we could see a recovery of the peso against the dollar once again under the 18 pesos.”
In fact, at this writing exchange dealers were buying already at 17.90 with variances in the sell price from 18.55 to a top 18.75.
Pardon my saying it if you missed your chance last Friday, but I told you so!
On Monday Veracruz Interim Gov. Flavino Ríos had no choice but answering questions from reporters as he went to the Treasury Secretariat building across the street from the main Alameda Park in Mexico City for money to cover up for some of the expenses now that the state has been declared bankrupt and it is clear that former governor Javier Duarte stole up to the last little centavo from the state ark.
One question was about the nasty and rowdy meeting he had with municipal mayors who demand that the state award them the federal money that legally belong to them and which were budgeted by Congress within the 2016 budget.
“They were crude,” Flavino complained but promised that “we’re going to tighten our belts to send resources to all the municipalities. The problem is they want all or nothing.”
Flavino walked out Sunday on the shouting mayors — Veracruz is infamous for lewd speakers – because he did not have any money but when interviewed on Monday he said he’d gotten the cash from the federal Treasury to pay for October and November. “We can pay personnel but there is no money for public works,” he said.
But then the big question of why he let former Gov. Javier Duarte go came up. In the past Flavino had been asked if he knew how Duarte got away and he answered “I don’t know” but now airport records show that Duarte fled in a state-government owned helicopter in Veracruz State capital city Xalapa.
Still, Flavino denies knowing Duarte’s whereabouts. “I just asked the people at the airport to pay all the attentions the governor required and give him a helicopter that took him to Coatzacoalcos. I was unaware there was an arrest warrant on him,” he said.
In short, it’s been nearly two weeks now since Duarte and the money of Veracruz fizzled and they are nowhere to be found.
At this point Flavino wishes “I had not become interim governor” but now that he is imbued in the mess Duarte left behind — plus the political bashing from the mayors of 212 municipalities — but he says he’s going to brave the bad weather out and deliver the administration to governor-elect Miguel Ángel Yunes, who’s fuming as well for receiving a bankrupt state which is passing through, in the words of plaintiff mayors, “a social and economic disaster of great dimensions.”
As to Javier Duarte, Flavino Ríos says “I don’t stick my hands in the fire to pull anybody out.”
What we’re seeing is just another chapter in the thick Mexican corruption log.