Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Mexico captures most wanted drug kingpin, ‘La Tuta

| February 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Anahi Rama

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has captured the country’s most wanted drug lord still at large, Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, police said on Friday, in a boost for President Enrique Pena Nieto as he grapples with grisly gang violence.

The 49-year-old former teacher was the prime target of Pena Nieto’s drive to regain control of Michoacan, a violent western state wracked by clashes between Gomez’s Knights Templar cartel and heavily-armed vigilantes trying to oust them.

The arrest came just over a year after the capture of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug smuggling gangs in the world.

It also comes as Pena Nieto seeks to quell outrage over violence, impunity and corruption in Mexico after the September abduction and apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers by corrupt ... Read More

Mexico President in Crisis Is Losing Support of Big Business

| February 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

MEXICO CITY — The full-page ad in Mexico’s national newspapers was unusual, if not unprecedented: 20 powerful business groups and think tanks publicly scolding the government for not doing its job.

They demanded “conditions necessary to do their work … in total security, in all of the country.” The ad, published last month, called on President Enrique Pena Nieto to “honor your oath to observe and enforce the constitution.”

The public criticism by Mexico’s business community underlines the eroding support for Pena Nieto’s administration as he enters the third year of a six-year term. Business leaders are angry over reforms that have increased the tax burden without sparking economic growth, scandals over apparent favoritism and acts of lawlessness that are hurting commerce.

Last weekend, Coca-Cola halted its operations in the capital of Guerrero state due ... Read More

Reform Would Let Some Foreign Agents Carry Guns in Mexico

| February 25th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

President Enrique Pena Nieto on Tuesday proposed a reform that would allow some foreign agents to carry arms inside Mexico, a significant change in a country that has historically said the practice would violate its sovereignty.

The bill, sent to Mexico’s Senate, would allow foreign customs and migration agents to carry guns in previously established zones. The main beneficiary would be the United States, which shares a long border with Mexico.

It would also allow foreign leaders or heads of state to enter the country with armed security details.

Mexican law currently prohibits any foreign agent or official from carrying weapons inside the country or participating in operations to arrest criminals. Authorities have always denied media reports of U.S. agents directly taking part in anti-drug trafficking operations inside Mexico.

Permits would be limited to revolvers or semi-automatic pistols with a caliber less than .40 and be granted by Mexico’s national defense department. The initiative would ... Read More

Migrants’ remittances to Latin America grew 4 pct. in 2014

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Expatriates’ remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean increased 4 percent in 2014 to $62.3 billion, the biggest jump since the global economic crisis in 2009, the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think-tank, said Tuesday.

The largest gains went to Mexico and Central America, while several South American countries saw a decrease in remittances, due largely to the persistent economic crisis in Spain.

The overall advance in remittances to Latin America reflects improvements in the U.S. labor market, new migration patterns and the proliferation of new ways to transfer money, according to the report.

Remittances to Mexico increased 8.8 percent over 2013, while funds sent to Honduras increased 12.5 percent, and to Guatemala, 9 percent.

The Spanish economic crisis, with high levels of unemployment and falling pay, is largely responsible for decreases in remittances to Bolivia, 2.4 percent; Peru, 2.3 percent, and Colombia, which saw ... Read More

Cars Drive Mexico Economy as Companies Invest $20 Billion

| February 20th, 2015 | No Comments »


(Bloomberg) — Sparks fly as 200 robots weld and bolt together Nissan Sentras at one of the Japanese company’s factories in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on a cool December morning. The $2 billion facility, opened in November 2013, churns out 600 gleaming new cars a day and employs 3,000 workers. Acres of autos sit in the sun outside the plant, waiting to be loaded onto trains bound for the U.S., where consumers enjoying the lowest gasoline prices in five years are crowding auto dealerships, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its March issue.

The 192,000-square-meter (2.1-million-square-foot) Nissan Motor Co. plant is one of half a dozen that have sprung up or been announced for central Mexico’s industrial belt in the past five years, contributing to a nationwide $20 billion investment by global automakers eager to establish ready access to the U.S. market. Mexican vehicle exports are expected to rise ... Read More

Mexico Central Bank Cuts ’15 GDP Forecast for Second Time

| February 19th, 2015 | No Comments »

By Eric Martin and Brendan Case

Mexican policy makers reduced their 2015 growth forecast for the second time following a slump in global oil prices and a decline in domestic output.

Gross domestic product will expand 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year, down from the previous forecast of 3 percent to 4 percent, the central bank said in the quarterly inflation report published Wednesday on its website. It reduced the 2016 growth estimate to between 2.9 percent and 3.9 percent from 3.2 percent to 4.2 percent.

Banco de Mexico has kept the overnight borrowing rate at a record-low 3 percent in its past five policy meetings to boost an economy that grew less than estimated in eight of the past 10 quarters. The central bank on Wednesday signaled that leeway for further cuts is limited given the peso’s weakness, expectations for improvement in Mexico’s economy and the outlook for the Federal Reserve ... Read More

Pemex pospondrá proyectos de exploración en aguas profundas

| February 18th, 2015 | No Comments »

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 18 de febrero.-  La petrolera estatal mexicana Pemex pospondrá algunos proyectos de exploración en aguas profundasdebido al recorte de gastos derivado de la caída de los precios del petróleo, dijo el miércoles el director general de la compañía, Emilio Lozoya.

El jefe de la empresa también admitió que debido al recorte presupuestal anunciado para el 2015, por 62,000 millones de pesos (unos 4,150 millones de dólares), también habrá una disminución en la plantilla laboral de la firma, pero no precisó cifras.

Lozoya dijo, consultado en un programa radial, que han sido cancelados algunos proyectos que no habían comenzado y que suponen un mayor riesgo.

“Hay proyectos concretos, diría de exploración en algunos yacimientos en aguas profundas, no en todos, pero los de mayor riesgo, pues por ahora si no hemos comenzado, se posponen”, dijo.

“No quiere decir que Pemex deje alguno de estos proyectos de lado, que los cancele, simplemente como hay menos dinero, ... Read More

Mexico to stop shipping ready-to-use fuel to curb thefts

| February 18th, 2015 | No Comments »

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex has announced it will stop shipping ready-to-use petrol and diesel through its pipelines, in an effort to curb fuel thefts.

Pemex says it will use its pipelines across Mexico only for unfinished fuel.

That fuel will go through a last phase of mixing when it reaches the company’s storage plants.

More than $1bn (£650,000) worth of fuel was stolen by Mexican gangs in 2014, an increase of 70% over the previous year.

In a statement, the company warned consumers not to buy illegal fuel tapped from its pipelines as it was likely to damage car engines.

In the red

Last year, Pemex discovered more than 2,600 illegal taps along its network of ducts.

Many criminal organisations, including Mexico’s notorious drugs gangs, are involved in the illegal activities.

Mexican oil production has declined from 3.6 million barrels a day in 2004 to just 2.5 million.

Pemex, known officially as Petroleos Mexicanos, ... Read More

Oil’s slump a blow to Mexico amid touted energy reforms

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


MEXICO CITY — The lowest oil prices in nearly six years couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mexico, which last year opened up oil-sector investment to private companies for the first time in decades.

The landmark energy reform aimed to boost revenue by enabling Mexico to tap undeveloped fields and adopt newer technology to reverse a decadelong slide in production.

Instead, the drop in oil prices has forced Mexico’s government to slash $8.4 billion from its 2015 budget, with most of the cutbacks expected to come in the energy sector. Analysts predict the energy partnerships made possible by the reform will attract initial bids lower than anticipated, some exploration projects will be delayed, and state oil company Pemex will see a cash crunch and slow job growth.

“If we continue for the next year in the scenario that we’re ... Read More

Mexico urged to rebuild public’s trust

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Jude Webber and John Paul Rathbone in Mexico City

Mexico’s ambitious reform programme will count for little if the scandal-tainted government of President Enrique Peña Nieto fails to rebuild shattered public confidence.

The unusually candid assessment comes from Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s finance minister, who, like the president, has been at the centre of an outcry over embarrassing house purchases from a prominent government contractor that have fuelled allegations of crony capitalism.

Mr Peña Nieto has pushed through a host of “wonderful” and transformative economic reforms, including the liberalisation of an oil sector closed to private investment for nearly 80 years. Yet Mr Videgaray said these should not be the only priorities for a government still facing nearly four more years in office.

“It is not just about reform, reform, reform,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “We need to address what is really important today for Mexican society, which is not [just] ... Read More

Tijuana Cartel Resurgent in Mexico: Official

| February 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
From In Sight


Mexico’s Tijuana Cartel is reportedly marshaling its forces in an attempt to gain back some of its lost glory, according to one security official, providing a look at the current state of a once powerful criminal empire that has since fallen into decline.

Some leaders of the Tijuana Cartel have left prison and are once again engaging in criminal activities in the border city, Tijuana’s Public Security Minister Alejandro Lares Valladares told investigative magazine Zeta Tijuana. Juan Lorenzo Vargas Gallardo, alias “El Chan,” is in charge of restructuring the organization, the magazine reported. However, several other former heads of the cartel have also taken on leaderships roles, including Manuel Lopez Nunez, alias “El Balas,” and Pedro Quintero Velazquez, alias “El 5-8.”

Lares Valladares also said that violent confrontations between the Tijuana and Sinaloa Cartel are ongoing in the region. In recent years, the Sinaloa Cartel has largely taken over drug ... Read More

Oil’s slump a blow to Mexico amid touted energy reforms

| February 11th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


MEXICO CITY (AP) – The lowest oil prices in nearly six years couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mexico, which last year opened up oil-sector investment to private companies for the first time in decades.

The landmark energy reform aimed to boost revenue by enabling Mexico to tap undeveloped fields and adopt newer technology to reverse a decade-long slide in production.

Instead, the drop in oil prices has forced Mexico’s government to slash $8.4 billion from its 2015 budget, with most of the cutbacks expected to come in the energy sector. Analysts predict the energy partnerships made possible by the reform will attract initial bids lower than anticipated, some exploration projects will be delayed, and state oil company Pemex will see a cash crunch and slow job growth.

“If we continue for the next year in the scenario that we’re currently ... Read More

How Will Mexico’s Economy Perform in 2015?

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »


Mexico is being squeezed in a difficult global economic environment. In mid-2014 Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said “Last year (growth) was low, I think that this year it will be relatively low too, but I think next year will be much better.” Expecting Mexico’s highly touted set of structural reforms to help attract a new wave of investment, Slim, the majority owner of Mexican telecom giant America Movil, said, “I hope that next year we will set the pace for growth for the next four years.”

Unfortunately, falling oil prices and a difficult global economic environment have put a damper on expectations for Mexico’s economy. Mexico’s peso fell by 13.1 percent during the course of 2014.

Ordinarily, some of the effects of a weakening currency, which make imports more expensive, are offset by the increased value of dollarized exports. This is particularly true in Mexico, where 32 percent of government revenue stems from oil ... Read More

Mexico’s ‘Queen of the Pacific’ released from prison

| February 9th, 2015 | No Comments »
From CNN

(CNN) In Mexico’s male-dominated drug trade, her life story became a legend.

Now, after more than seven years behind bars, the woman known as “The Queen of the Pacific” is free. A judge ruled in favor of her appeal last week, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Saturday.

Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s story is the subject of a best-selling book and a popular ballad.

She was first arrested in Mexico City on September 28, 2007, smiling before cameras as authorities trumpeted her detention.

Later, Ávila made headlines when Mexican authorities said they were investigating a tip that she had received Botox treatments in prison.

Ávila is the niece of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara cartel. She’s also related to drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who was released from a Mexican prison in a controversial 2013 decision and now has ... Read More

Mexico’s Peña Nieto vows transparency but appoints an ally to investigate him

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Nearly three months after allegations of conflicts of interest first were leveled at his administration, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Tuesday a package of measures designed to fight rampant corruption in the country.

The Mexican president vowed more transparency, appointing Virgilio Andrade Martínez, the new secretary of public administration, to investigate the acquisition of luxury houses by himself, his wife Angélica Rivera and finance secretary Luis Videgaray.

The appointment of Andrade Martínez raised eyebrows among political observers in Mexico. A former representative of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who heads the organization that runs Mexico’s elections, is seen as compromised as an investigator because of his close ties to the administration.

“He’s a man with no expertise in the matter. He doesn’t know anything about anti-corruption policies,” Irma Sandoval, a Mexican academic and professor who focuses on democracy and corruption matters, told Fox News Latino.

... Read More

Corruption in Mexico

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

It is not every day that a president launches an investigation into his own affairs, but that is what Mexico’s leader, Enrique Peña Nieto, has just done. On February 3rd he announced that he, his wife and his finance minister will become the first subjects of a conflict-of-interest investigation. This startling decision was part of a package of anti-corruption measures that Mr Peña hopes will re-establish his credibility and popularity, which has been battered by scandal and public anger over crime.

To succeed, Mr Peña must first of all establish that he is blameless in a scandal triggered by revelations that he, his wife, and Luis Videgaray, the finance minister, bought houses on credit from affiliates of a building firm that has benefited from government contracts. All declare that they have done nothing wrong, though Mr Videgaray received a mortgage at below market rates. Now Mr Peña has ... Read More

Mexico’s President Calls for Investigation of Ties with Contractors

| February 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


MEXICO CITY—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Tuesday for the government’s watchdog agency to investigate whether there was any conflict of interest in federal government works awarded to contractors that sold homes to the first lady, the finance minister and to the president himself.

In public remarks about the real-estate scandals affecting his government, Mr. Peña Nieto reiterated that there was nothing illegal or improper in the purchases made from government contractors. But he acknowledged that revelations have generated doubts about the honesty of his government.

“I’m aware that these indications generated the appearance of something improper,” said Mr. Peña Nieto in a public statement at the presidential residence. He said a panel of independent experts would review the results of the investigation made by the Ministry of the Public Service, which oversees the actions of public officials.

The government has been roiled by conflict of interest allegations for months since it emerged that the president, his ... Read More

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]


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

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