2022 is coming to an end, leaving major events, trends, and happenings in its wake in areas such as politics, business, sports, and technology, in both Mexico and the world.
Tec de Monterrey experts give their perspective on the events that marked this year.
At CONECTA, we share the most important events of this year with you.
What happened in Mexico in 2022
- Challenges and progress in year 4 of the federal government.
Dr. Arturo Sánchez, a research professor at the Tec’s School of Government and Public Transformation on Santa Fe campus, shared his analysis of the challenges and progress made by the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) this year.
- Energy reform
AMLO proposed this reform initiative in 2021 to strengthen the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). However, his announcement generated debate this year, the argument being that it privileged the CFE and restricted participation of other companies in the energy sector.
Delegations from the United States and Spain expressed their opposition but were also accused of alleged irregular practices in the sector.
The proposal also sought to use cheap residual fuel oil to generate electricity, but without considering its impact on the environment.
“The constitutional change failed to pass (due to a lack of necessary votes), but changes were made to the law seeking to benefit CFE. It’s a legal situation that is still in litigation,” he said.
- Electoral reform
After the Revocation of Mandate referendum in April, President López Obrador launched an electoral reform initiative, which proposed replacing the National Electoral Institute (INE) with the National Institute of Elections and Consultations (INEC).
“When the president launched his electoral reform initiative, his true intention as president was put to debate: to eliminate the INE and create an electoral authority with much greater government participation and with very top-down overtones,” said the professor.
This mobilized thousands of citizens to march and demonstrate in defense of the INE in the month of November in different cities across the country. In the end, this constitutional reform was rejected because it failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote necessary to pass.
In response to this, López Obrador proposed changes to the secondary laws, his so-called “Plan B,” which consists of reducing the powers of the INE and cutting their budget with the argument of making operational savings. Discussion on this will end in February 2023.
- National Guard transferred to SEDENA
Sánchez said that persistent insecurity has aroused debate over the agreement that operational and administrative control of the National Guard would be turned over to the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA).
“This debate about whether the National Guard should be controlled by SEDENA or should be under civilian command lasted for many months.”
The Senate approved this reform in September so that SEDENA would assume control of this corporation.
- The “Guacamaya Leaks”
A group of hackers known as Guacamaya broke into a SEDENA server and extracted 6 terabytes of military information collected over the past decade.
This group exposed information related to military intelligence, espionage activities against activists, organized crime groups, and even the president’s health.
“I’m sure that SEDENA’s cybernetic systems have now been made bulletproof and this won’t happen again. The type of information was restricted, but it does show the way the armed forces work, connect, and use intelligence,” he added.
- Inauguration of Felipe Ángeles Airport and Dos Bocas Refinery
The professor pointed out that the government was focused on inaugurating flagship projects of its six-year term, such as the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) in the State of Mexico and the Dos Bocas “Olmeca” Refinery in Tabasco.
AIFA was inaugurated on March 21, while the first stage of the refinery was inaugurated on July 1. Both projects were delivered on the dates promised by the president.
“The year was marked by presidential emphasis on these projects. Both inaugurations were premature because, in real terms, they weren’t finished,” he explained.
AIFA and the Olmeca Refinery, together with the Mayan Train, are this administration’s most important infrastructure works.
- Increase in minimum wage and Fair Vacations
The federal government agreed to raise the general minimum wage, which will go from 172 pesos a day to 207 pesos as of January 1, 2023. In the Northern Border Free Zone, it goes from 260 pesos to 312 pesos a day.
On another note, legislators approved doubling workers’ minimum paid vacation from 6 days to 12 and eliminating Daylight Saving Time.
- Elections in 6 states
On June 5, gubernatorial elections were held in 6 states to choose new governors. These were in Aguascalientes, Durango, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Tamaulipas.
In these elections, the Morena party claimed victory in 4 of these states, consolidating itself as the party with the most governors and controlling 20 of the country’s states.
“Morena carries weight and is growing as a political party. It’s a reality,” added Sánchez.
- The course of the COVID-19 pandemic
In January 2022, the country entered a fourth wave of COVID-19, recording its highest peak so far in the pandemic, which broke a new record of 900 deaths in one day in the country.
In June this year, the Ministry of Health announced that children between the ages of 5 and 11 could be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine approved for minors was Pfizer.
Progress on COVID-19 vaccination and Omicron subvariants having a lower mortality rate meant that certain measures were relaxed after the fifth wave, which took place in summer, although the number of cases has gone up.
What happened in the world in 2022
- Russian invasion of Ukraine
A history of tensions between Ukraine and Russia unleashed a war between both nations that has not yet ended.
“The original precursor to this whole story was the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the violation of the Minsk agreements by other actors, including Ukraine,” said Iliana Rodríguez, a Tec professor and international law expert.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a special military operation in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which Russia unilaterally recognized as independent.
“Ukraine remains a very important production center of nuclear materials and elements for Russia, but it also controls seaports that might reach European territories,” she added.
Despite the fact that dialog was facilitated between the two countries in order to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, it escalated in September when Putin delivered a message in which he spoke about a fight against the West and using nuclear weapons.
- Death of Queen Elizabeth II and accession of Charles III
Barely two months after Boris Johnson resigned as U.K. Prime Minister on September 8, the United Kingdom and the entire world were shocked by the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace reported that the English monarch had died at the age of 96 at her residence in Balmoral, after a seven-decade reign. Charles III took the throne at the age of 74.
“It’s a significant event, not only because of what the monarchy represents to the United Kingdom, but also to the 54 states that are members of the Commonwealth, a political community with the King as its head, which were once colonies of the British crown,” Rodríguez said.
- Women-led protests in Iran
After the death of 22 year-old young woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of the “Morality Police” who had arrested her for not wearing her veil or “hijab” correctly, protests broke out in Iran in September with thousands of women taking part.
During these demonstrations, participants took to the streets without their hijabs, some even burning them and cutting off their hair as part of the women’s rights protest in the Middle Eastern country.
“These demonstrations that we observed reveal to the world the pressure Iranian women are under; states can’t do much about it if the regime doesn’t change,” added the professor from the Tec’s Mexico City campus.
- Leftist governments in Latin America
After winning the elections in Chile at the end of 2021, Gabriel Boric took office as president in March, becoming the youngest president in the history of that country, at just 36 years old.
In Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula managed to defeat Former President Jair Bolsonaro in the second round of this year’s elections and will take office as the new president in January 2023.
“It wasn’t easy for Lula. He won the elections in Brazil with 51% of votes against Bolsonaro’s 49. It will be difficult for him to govern a very large country of over 200 million people, rich in natural resources, which competes with other countries in South America,” said the professor.
A similar case occurred in Colombia, where Gustavo Petro was elected president, becoming the first leftist president in the history of that country. Only two months after taking office, he faced protests over a tax reform.
- Peru: self-coup attempt
On another note, this year has also brought some conflicts and crises that have led people to be put behind bars, as was the case of the former president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, who had been in power for 18 months and who is now accused of an attempted “coup d’état.”
“Castillo dissolved Congress and called for a state of emergency. Just imagine, he would have suspended guarantees or fundamental rights, and he was also saying he was going to rule because he was going to make a new Constitution by decree. He became a dictator in a single day,” Rodríguez added.
- Argentina: conviction of Cristina Fernández
Argentine Vice President and Former President Cristina Fernández was also sentenced to 6 years in prison for a fraud case during her term at the head of the country. Previously, in September, Fernández had survived an attack by an armed man.
- Unprecedented protests in China
China famously enforced strict measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the region, implementing the Zero COVID policy, which consisted of keeping track of all citizens and placing them in quarantine in the event of any symptoms.
However, the measures enforced by the Xi Jinping administration led citizens to unprecedented protests because of their dissent over the various effects, such as job losses and lockdowns.
“It’s an important issue if we consider that China is a country that has complete disregard for human rights,” added the professor.
Given the anger of the population, the nation’s president recently said that measures would be relaxed.
- Midterm elections in the United States
According to Dr. Rodríguez, the Joe Biden administration managed to restore U.S. involvement in international issues and conflicts. Despite his low approval rating, his party won in the country’s midterm elections.
“They keep control of the Senate, which enables them to continue making important decisions, and the House of Representatives remains in the hands of the Republicans, but by a slim margin. If there were a disapproval vote against Biden, we wouldn’t have seen this result,” Rodríguez added.
Economy and business in 2022
- Citigroup’s sale of Banamex
After 20 years of operation in Mexico, Citigroup announced in early January its plan to sell Citibanamex’s consumer and business banking operations, while maintaining its Institutional Clients Group operation.
“It has been a complicated sale, not only in valuing the financial institution, but also in all the other aspects that it entails, the specifications and requirements,” said Kathia Ramos, Director of the Finance Degree program at the Tec’s Monterrey campus.
Before the announcement, experts explained that this sale would not directly affect consumer banking users in the country.
- Historic inflation and rising interest rates
Ramos said that in addition to the impact of the pandemic on trade, the Russia-Ukraine war was another one of the reasons why inflation rose in various parts of the world.
“Because these countries are energy providers, it had an impact on inflation, prices skyrocketed, the market suffered, and in turn, there were large increases in gas and oil prices,” said the director.
In the United States alone, inflation reached 9.1% in July, while in Mexico, it increased to 8.7%, levels not seen in the country since the 1990s.
Given this situation, banking institutions had to raise interest rates as a tool to mitigate the impact of rising inflation.
“At the end of the year, a large number of central banks increased their interest rates; Banco de México closed with an increase of 50 basis points, meaning a rate of 10.5%. We haven’t seen anything like this for over 25 years,” said the director.
- Elon Musk takes over Twitter
In October, billionaire Elon Musk bought social media platform Twitter, and made some controversial decisions such as announcing mass layoffs of senior managers and support teams in various parts of the world.
“He’s testing the way he can manipulate Twitter users to then predispose a certain way of thinking and generate business. After all, Musk is a businessman,” said the professor.
What’s more, the billionaire’s takeover of this social media platform also had political implications, due to his preference for Republicans and topics on freedom of speech.
“He wants Twitter to be controversial, provoking people about whether or not (former President Donald) Trump should return, on freedom of speech, etc. Similarly, he’s also measuring algorithms and ways to expand the network and generate even more profit,” she added.
Sport in 2022
- Historic season for Formula 1
This was a historic year for Formula 1, particularly the Red Bull team, which had two drivers in its ranks to break different records.
As well as securing a two-time World Championship, Dutchman Max Verstappen, the youngest driver to debut in F1, is already a record breaker for winning the greatest number of points in a season, with 416, as well as the most race wins, with 14.
The previous record was held by the legendary Michael Schumacher with 13 wins in a single season.
It was also a historic season for Mexicans, as Sergio “Checo” Pérez, Verstappen’s teammate, secured a historic third place for a Mexican driver in the 2022 F1, by finishing with 305 points.
- First Mexican to win an NBA title
In the NBA, Juan Toscano, a Golden State Warriors player, became the first Mexican basketball player to win the championship.
Toscano helped the Warriors win their seventh NBA title by beating the Boston Celtics in June.
The 29-year-old Mexican American forward began his career in the Mexican Basketball League in 2015, going to the NBA Warriors four years later. After winning the championship in 2022, he went on to become a new player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
A winter World Cup
This year’s FIFA World Cup was held in Qatar, a country that has high temperatures in summer, so the tournament had to be held in November for the first time in its history.
Led by Lionel Messi, Argentina won its third World Cup by beating France 4-2 on penalties, after drawing 2-2, and 3-3 after extra time.
On the other hand, teams like Mexico and Germany failed to get past the group stage, while Morocco surprised the world by reaching the semifinal and placing itself among the top 4 teams in the world.
- Retirement of tennis legends
On September 3, American Serena Williams retired from professional tennis with 73 titles, 23 of them Grand Slams. On September 15, Swiss Roger Federer retired with 103 titles, 20 of them Grand Slams.
Both are considered the greatest professional tennis players in history.
The Mexican skater who captivated the world
Donovan Carrillo has become the first Mexican and Latin American to advance to the figure skating final of a Winter Olympic Games, at Beijing 2022.
Tec graduate Nancy García was the Mexican team leader at these Olympics.
Pelé, “King of Soccer” dies
Edson Arantes do Nascimento “Pelé” passed away this December 29 at the age of 82, after being hospitalized for colon cancer.
The Brazilian star is the only soccer player to win 3 World Cups with his team, in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
Science and technology in 2022
The first Mexican woman in space
Katya Echazarreta has become the first Mexican woman to reach space, on a Blue Origin mission.
Katya was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. At just 26 years old, she journeyed into space on the New Shepard capsule for Blue Origin’s NS21 mission, which took off in Texas with a crew of 6 astronauts on June 4 at 8:26 a.m.
- Historic breakthroughs in the Space Race
This year, advances in space technology produced the first images of distant galaxies through the James Webb Space Telescope.
On July 12, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a series of images it had captured, which has allowed human beings to see young stars in the early stages of formation in the Cosmic Cliffs.
Similarly, NASA carried out the Artemis I mission, which was successfully accomplished by the Orion spacecraft sent to the lunar surface, seeking to verify that future crewed missions to the Moon are safe.
This space capsule flew over the Moon and managed to capture some of its craters, as well as collect data obtained by sensors that were connected to three mannequins to understand the effect of this journey on humans.
- The first nuclear fusion reaction
On December 5, researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States achieved nuclear fusion by focusing 192 laser beams and fleetingly generating three megajoules of energy using only two, achieving a 50% gain.
Dr. Ricardo Ganem said that this achievement makes it possible for us to expect to have nuclear fusion reactors that can produce much more near-limitless energy in the future, without producing radioactive materials.
- Artificial Intelligence in photos
Despite the fact that the Metaverse made important progress this year, one of the technology advances that stood out the most was Artificial Intelligence.
This technology came to different applications, one of them being ChatGPT, which has the ability to answer any question and even to hold conversations via questions.
The system is based on GPT-3 Artificial Intelligence, which enriches its database and processes information through algorithms.
Likewise, artificial intelligence has become very popular in recent months thanks to applications such as Lensa, which is capable of creating avatars from photographs of people.
This photo editing application became very popular, and it became increasingly common to find images made with this technology on social media.
In June, the BBC even reported the case of a Google engineer who claimed that an artificial intelligence program had become self-aware and sentient. This is the LaMDA system, a language model for applications.