Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Mexico AG: Captured drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman won’t be extradited to US anytime soon

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By MARIA VERZA, Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Captured Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will not be extradited to the United States anytime soon, Mexico’s top prosecutor said Tuesday.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said he was expecting to receive a formal request later in the day from Washington, which also wants to prosecute Guzman on drug trafficking charges. But U.S. authorities will have a long wait.

“I could accept extradition, but at the time that I choose. ‘El Chapo’ must stay here to complete his sentence, and then I will extradite him,” Murillo Karam told The Associated Press in an interview. “So about 300 or 400 years later — it will be a while.”

Murillo Karam later clarified that he was referring to the time that it would take for Guzman to complete his sentences, “given all the crimes ... Read More

Diosdado Cabello’s head of security defects to the U.S. and accuses him of narcotrafficking

| January 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

[Translation by IASW]

BY EMILI J. BLASCO, CORRESPONDENT IN WASHINGTON

With the arrival yesterday in Washington, DC, of protected witness, [Venezuelan Navy] Captain Leamsy Salazar, who until December was the head of security for Diosdado Cabello, a U.S. federal prosecutor has accelerated the preparation of a formal indictment against the number two in the Venezuelan regime.

Salazar is the highest-ranking military officer to break ranks with chavismo and make formal accusations in the United States against senior government officials for their involvement in narcotrafficking.

For almost 10 years, Salazar served as chief of security and as personal assistant to Hugo Chávez. After Chávez’s death, Salazar went on to work for Cabello as his chief of security.

Cartel of the Suns

According to sources close to the investigation, opened by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Salazar claims that [Cabello], the president of the National Assembly, is the head of the Cártel de ... Read More

The retreat of U.S. interests from Latin America has left a vacuum for the Chinese to fill

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 BY ILAN BERMAN You have to feel a bit sorry for the Obama administration. The White House in December announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, including establishing a U.S. Embassy in Havana and formally revisiting Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. The move was a clear effort by Washington to distinguish itself in a new international theater.

But that gambit was soon eclipsed by another: In a meeting that could herald a significant shift in the Western Hemisphere’s balance of power, China hosted a high-profile summit earlier this month with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or Celac.

Celac is a relatively recent invention. Conceived in 2010 at a meeting in Caracas hosted by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez , it is designed to deepen integration among Central and South American states—while excluding the U.S. and Canada. The 33-member bloc explicitly styles itself as an alternative to the U.S.-led Organization of ... Read More

Confirmed: U.S. Will Request That Mexico Extradite Drug Lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

BY DOLIA ESTEVEZ

Washington has decided to request the extradition of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, who is now in a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City. Mexico’s Attorney General José Murillo Karam said he expects the U.S. government will ask for Guzmán’s extradition in the “next hours.” During a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, Murillo Karam said there will be “no problem to process the request to decide, at the right time, what would be most appropriate.”

The “right time,” according to Mexican sources, would be after Guzmán is fully prosecuted and sentenced in Mexico, where he faces eight active criminal cases. Guzmán, who topped the list of most wanted drug criminals in the world and was captured last year, would not need to finish serving his sentence in Mexico in order to be sent to the U.S., according to Mexican diplomatic sources. Therefore, if the prosecutions proceed as ... Read More

¿Cuántas casas más antes de que reaccione el gobierno?

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Milenio Diario

POR CARLOS PUIG

Ayer Eduardo Sánchez, vocero de la Presidencia de México, negó a The Wall Street Journal que exista alguna relación entre la “transacción privada” de la casa en Ixtapan de la Sal y el éxito del contratista, al que Peña Nieto compró esa casa, para ganar contratos de los gobiernos que ha encabezado el hoy Presidente. “La relación de Peña Nieto con algunos miembros de la familia San Román se remonta a varias décadas atrás”, afirmó Sánchez.

El éxito de la familia San Román, por cierto, tiene número: 107 millones de dólares en contratos del gobierno de Peña en el Edomex y 40 más de contratos federales. La empresa, por cierto, nunca había ganado antes de 2012 un contrato federal. Todo esto según el Wall Street Journal.

La reacción de Sánchez parece indicar que en Los Pinos aún no tienen claro el tamaño del problema en el que están metidos. No parecen haber medido ... Read More

Mexico Leader Under New Scrutiny

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN MONTES

IXTAPAN DE LA SAL, Mexico—A few weeks after taking office as governor of the State of Mexico in late 2005, President Enrique Peña Nieto purchased a property in an exclusive golf club from a businessman who helped transform this sleepy town into a popular resort known for its Roman-style thermal baths.

Roberto San Román Widerkehr, the seller of the weekend residence and developer of an exclusive golf club here, also founded a local construction firm which went on to win more than $100 million in public-works contracts during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor from 2005 to 2011, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Since Mr. Peña Nieto became president in 2012, Mr. San Román’s firm has won at least 11 federal contracts, government records show, becoming a national player with business in several states. Before Mr. Peña Nieto came to power, the company had never won a ... Read More

Oil Majors Show Early Interest in Mexico Bidding Round

| January 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
Nasdaq

MEXICO CITY–Major international oil firms including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are showing interest in the initial phase of a bidding round for exploratory oil and gas blocks in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico that will be assigned by the government midyear, a top energy official said Monday.

The recent plunge in oil prices appears to not to have affected the shallow-water phase of the bidding round because of modest production costs, while a later phase involving more costly production in shale-rock formations will be trimmed back to offer only the most attractive of the so-called unconventional resources, said Juan Carlos Zepeda, head of the National Hydrocarbons Commission.

The commission is overseeing what Mexico is calling “round one,” since it is the first of its kind since an energy overhaul last year that ended the 76-year government monopoly on oil exploration and production by national firm Petroleos Mexicanos, ... Read More

Mexico’s Drug War: A New Way to Think About Mexican Organized Crime

| January 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

By Tristan Reed

Since the emergence of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s as one of the country’s largest drug trafficking organizations, Mexican organized crime has continued to expand its reach up and down the global supply chains of illicit drugs. Under the Guadalajara cartel and its contemporaries, such as the Gulf cartel, led by Juan Garcia Abrego, a relatively small number of crime bosses controlled Mexico’s terrestrial illicit supply chains. Crime bosses such as Miguel Angel “El Padrino” Felix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, oversaw the bulk of the trafficking operations necessary to push drugs into the United States and received large portions of the revenue generated. By the same token, this facilitated law enforcement’s ability to disrupt entire supply chains with a single arrest. Such highly centralized structures ultimately proved unsustainable under consistent and aggressive law enforcement pressure. Thus, as Mexican organized crime has expanded its control ... Read More

Race on the high seas: Cartels feature new, faster smuggling boats

| January 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

By Perry Chiaramonte

Latin America’s drug cartels are leaving the U.S. Coast Guard in their wake, with new and faster speedboats law enforcement officials say are virtually undetectable by radar.

The new boats, nicknamed “Picudas,” after a tropical fish whose long, thin bodies they resemble, are made of fiberglass, making them invisible to radar and efficient with fuel. While older smuggling vessels took as long as three days to make the trip from Costa Rica to Jamaica, the Picuda can make the trip in two.

Dialogo, a newspaper published by the Pentagon’s Southern Command, quoted one Coast Guard source that called the craft “a wave-breaking go-fast wonder that defies radar detection.” The boats give the bad guys a leg up on authorities trying to cut off the flow of South American drugs, according to the article.

“They [cartels] are being forced to do something that they would rather not,” Adam ... Read More

20 State Officials Investigated in Mexico Military Slayings

| January 15th, 2015 | No Comments »
ABC News

At least 20 Mexico state officials are under investigation in the cover-up of threats and torture of women who were witnesses to the alleged killing of prisoners by soldiers last year, state authorities said Wednesday.

State attorney for Mexico state, Alejandro Gomez, said the officials under investigation include prosecutors, forensic investigators and state police.

On June 30, soldiers killed 22 alleged gang members at a warehouse in Tlatlaya. The army first said they died during a shootout, but it was discovered that some were executed.

Federal investigators have said eight people were killed after surrendering to the soldiers, but the National Human Rights Commission put the number between 12 and 15.

The commission also said the state attorney’s office tried to cover up the torture and sexual threats endured by at least two of the three women who survived.

“None have been removed from duty yet because there is a presumption of innocence,” Gomez said at a ... Read More

Latin America 2015: Time for Reform

| January 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
Brookings

By Daniel Zovatto

Latin America is starting off 2015 with a clear economic slowdown. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects a modest recovery (2.2 per cent) with respect to last year (in 2014 growth was only 1.1 per cent, the lowest since the 2009 crisis), though these calculations may vary due to several factors.

The world economy is not helping. The downward trend in raw materials prices, scant dynamism in global demand, and the appreciation of the dollar are three factors that work against the region today.

Venezuela and Argentina, are facing very complex economic contexts. Venezuela is in the midst of stagflation (aggravated by plummeting oil prices); and Argentina is experiencing negative growth, high inflation, and the unresolved conflict with the “vulture funds.”

The two largest economies of the region, Brazil and Mexico, are facing their own demons. Brazil President Dilma ... Read More

Barack Obama shores up support for Mexico’s embattled leader

| January 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

The leaders of the United States and Mexico, who met in Washington on January 6th, have both experienced dramatic changes of fortune in recent months. Barack Obama, who looked feeble in the face of a divided Congress, has taken bold actions on immigration and Cuba that have endeared him to Latin Americans. Enrique Peña Nieto, whom Mr Obama must have envied for his ability to persuade Mexico’s Congress to launch historic reforms, has instead been clobbered by crime and scandal.

But this reversal of fortune did not upset the mutual esteem that has improved a cross-border relationship once fraught with insecurity and friction. More than their predecessors, Mr Obama and Mr Peña recognise “the need to focus on the good news”, even if that means downplaying such issues as corruption and the arms and drugs money that flow into Mexico from the United States, says Duncan Wood, head of ... Read More

Mexican Inflation Ends 2014 Above Central Bank’s Target

| January 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By ANTHONY HARRUP

MEXICO CITY—Mexican inflation ended 2014 above the central bank’s target, pushed up by new consumer taxes and higher energy costs in a year in which the central bank cut interest rates to support sluggish economic growth.

The consumer-price index ended last year up 4.08%, the National Statistics Institute said Thursday, compared with 3.97% in 2013.

The index rose 0.49% in December, in line with expectations. Core CPI, which excludes energy and fresh fruit and vegetables, rose 0.23% last month and ended the year up 3.24%. Higher food and energy costs last year were offset by a drop in telecommunications rates.

The Bank of Mexico cut its overnight lending rate target in June from 3.5% to a record-low 3%, saying that sluggish economic conditions meant it was still feasible to reach its 3% inflation target with the lower borrowing rates. The bank expects the economy to have expanded between 2% and 2.5% in ... Read More

Obama Pledges to Help Mexico Eliminate ‘Scourge’ of Violence

| January 7th, 2015 | No Comments »
CNBC-01

While critics protested outside the White House, President Barack Obama pledged to help Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto “eliminate the scourge and violence of drug cartels” like that suspected in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

Peña Nieto made his first visit to Washington Tuesday, accompanied by several Cabinet members, to tout his economic reforms such as the opening of the its oil and gas industry to private investment.

But his legislative feats have been overshadowed by the violence against 43 students, some whose bodies were said to have been later incinerated, and criticism of how his administration has handled the investigation of the students’ disappearance.

Mexican federal agents have arrested dozens of people, including the mayor of Iguala, Mexico, his wife and police. Detainees confessed they murdered the 43 kidnapped students and burned their bodies. But, the victims’ families have demanded more evidence, ... Read More

Obama Will Ask Mexico to Pressure Cuba for Democracy

| January 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Angela Greiling Keane

U.S. President Barack Obama is counting on Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to pressure Cuba to make democratic reforms, now that the White House has moved toward normalizing relations with the island nation, a White House official said.

Cuba will be one of the main topics on the agenda when Obama and Pena Nieto meet Tuesday at the White House.

Improving relations with Cuba removes a point of friction in U.S. relations with Mexico and other Latin American countries that have normal diplomatic and commercial ties with Cuba, according to the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to preview the talks.

The U.S. plans to discuss Cuba with other allies as well, the official said, without giving details.

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, plans to travel this month to Havana for talks on U.S.-Cuba migration and to begin talks about ... Read More

Peña en DC

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Excelsior

POR ANA PAULA ORDORICA

La visita que mañana hará el presidente Enrique Peña Nieto a Washington D.C. para entrevistarse con Barack Obama debe significar un arranque de año con el pie derecho.

¿Cómo aprovechar esta oportunidad que tiene el presidente Peña de demostrar a Estados Unidos que México es un país atractivo para invertir, sobre todo en materia energética tras la reforma aprobada el año pasado?

Dado el complicado cierre de año para el país, los norteamericanos deben de estar bastante preocupados por la inseguridad y la corrupción en México. Ingredientes fatales para atraer capitales.

En el marco de lo sucedido en Ayotzinapa, que ha indignado y se ha presentado como la crisis más fuerte en lo que va del sexenio para el gobierno de Peña, el presidente de México tendrá necesariamente que transmitir el mensaje a su homólogo estadunidense de que el nuestro no es un país cooptado por la ... Read More

Analysis: Mexico scandals expose government without answers

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By KATHERINE CORCORAN

MEXICO CITY (AP) — As he heads to Washington on Monday to meet with Barack Obama, Enrique Pena Nieto leaves behind a year that was hardly what he had envisioned.

The Mexican president and his team started 2014 carrying out a slew of newly passed reforms, from breaking up telecommunications monopolies to opening the nation’s energy sector, earning him international plaudits, including a Time magazine cover with his image above the caption “Saving Mexico.”

Then came a 1-2-3 punch of scandals: Soldiers killing 22 civilians in a questionable “shootout”; the abduction and presumed murder of 43 college students, allegedly at the hands of local officials and police in league with a drug cartel; and revelations that Pena Nieto and his treasury secretary live in luxury homes built and financed by a favorite government contractor.

What was supposed to be “Mexico’s moment,” a new ... Read More

Oil shock to tilt Mexico energy opening in private sector’s favor

| December 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY DAVID ALIRE GARCIA AND DAVE GRAHAM

(Reuters) – The allure of investing in Mexico’s historic oil sector opening has been dimmed by the plummeting price of crude, putting pressure on the government to offer bigger incentives to private investors in the first major round of contracts up for grabs.

Since Congress in August approved the laws governing the dissolution of Mexico’s 75-year-old state oil monopoly, crude prices have plunged more than 40 percent, reducing the appeal of investing in Mexican deposits.

Mexico, the world’s 10th biggest crude producer, last week announced bidding terms for the first set of production-sharing contracts, unveiling 14 shallow-water exploration blocks that will pay winning firms a share of each project’s output.

The overhaul aims to reverse a decline in crude output of 30 percent since 2004, but the slumping prices have cut potential returns, putting the onus on Mexico to make it more attractive for ... Read More

Mexico to Long Island Heroin Pipeline Busted, DA Says

| December 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
long island press

By Timothy Bolger

Heroin traffickers disguised as travelers drove an SUV mounted with bicycles and a kayak while smuggling up to $12 million worth of the drug monthly from Mexico to New York, authorities said.

Undercover Nassau County detectives who bought a pound of heroin in Manhasset and Great Neck traced it to the source over the course of an 18-month continuing joint investigation with New York City and federal authorities, prosecutors said. When New Jersey State Police stopped the alleged drug ring’s Dodge Durango on Sept. 23, investigators said they found about 5 kilos of vacuum-packed black tar heroin hidden in the engine block—making it undetectable to drug-sniffing dogs at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A border patrol dog would not have picked it up, it was so well secreted,” Rick Whelan, chief of the Nassau district attorney’s organized crime bureau, told reporters Thursday during a news conference announcing the bust. “That car blends ... Read More

Mexico in Crisis

| December 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article appeared in The Weekly Standard

BY JAIME DAREMBLUM

The fiesta is over. Mexico, a remarkably important nation of some 120 million people—indeed, the world’s fifteenth largest economy—is descending into crisis. Students have been slaughtered en masse with the complicity of a corrupt police force. The country’s young president and his finance minster are embroiled in a corruption scandal. And the recent fall in oil prices—which looks set to continue—only portends further suffering.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When 48-year-old Enrique Peña Nieto was elected Mexican president in 2012, his country’s future looked bright. A self-styled reformer, the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and former governor of Mexico State moved immediately to implement his Pact for Mexico, which called for the achievement of some 95 goals over his six-year term.

Peña Nieto enjoyed remarkable success over his first two years in office. He liberalized the country’s telecommunications market, greatly weakening the monopoly of billionaire (and New York Timessavior) Carlos Slim. Ditto for ... Read More

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