10 February 2006
The Hotel Sheraton Affair
This one has been rumbling since last week when Sheraton USA ordered its Mexican subsidiary to turf out 16 Cubans who were holding meetings with some American businessmen. The Marie Isabel Sheraton duly complied, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were breaking Mexican law by doing so. Sheraton's excuse is that the American government told them to do it, but nobody in Mexico is wearing that one.
First came the protestors who pretty much made life difficult for anyone wanting to enter or leave the hotel. Then the federal government said that it would prosecute the company for breaking Mexican law, an action that could lead to fines of around £300,000 being laid at their door. Alternatively, the hotel could be ordered to close down for a week or so.
As if that is not enough, the Mexico City authorities sent their inspectors into the building on Wednesday of this week and have come up with a list of infractions that range from not having planning permission for a sizable chunk of the hotel to a failure to provide restaurant menus in Braille. The city council has promised that the hotel will be closed for a period of time as a penalty.
So, Sheraton de Mexico is about to get shagged by the Mexico City authorities, then the federal government and all the while protestors are demonstrating outside the building's entrances, anyway.
Before the Americans started all this nonsense, did nobody up there think that since Mexico has its presidential elections in July, nobody could to be seen to be soft on national sovereignty?