Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Will Scandals In Mexico Dampen Investment?

| November 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Nathaniel Parish Flannery

The past few months have been a difficult time for Mexico. In a recent article for the World Politics Review I explained, “Autumn has been a difficult season for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Public furor has erupted into sustained and sometimes violent protests over the disappearance of 43 students in the rural southwestern state of Guerrero. Long one of Mexico’s poorest, most crime-ridden and isolated states, Guerrero had not been a priority for Pena Nieto’s administration, which has focused tirelessly on promoting the image of a modern and efficient Mexico to foreign investors.”  Although 2014 has marked a number of successful economic reforms and an uptick in economic growth, Mexico’s autumn has been sullied by scandals.

In a recent article for the International Peace Institute‘s Global Observatory I explained, “For nearly two years, Peña Nieto has trumpeted a series of ambitious reforms and also studiously worked to avoid discussing security issues. His entrance into office ... Read More

Chairman Menendez Joins Group of Bipartisan Senators in Letter to Sec. Kerry on Missing Mexican Students

| November 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
US Senate WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, a group of 14 Senators including Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), wrote to express their deep concern for the lives of the 43 young students that disappeared on September 26th in the State of Guerrero, Mexico. The Senators call for additional attention on “strengthening the investigative and forensic capacity of Mexican law enforcement and its ability to serve victims of crime, violence, and human rights abuses.”   In addition to Menendez, the letter was signed by: Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL); Ben Cardin (D-MD); Tom Udall (D-NM); Cristopher Coons (D-DE); Tim Kaine (D-VA); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Edward Markey (D-MA); Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Christopher Murphy (D-CT); Marco Rubio (R-FL); Mark Kirk (R-IL); Barbara Boxer (D-CA); and Cory Booker (D-NJ). A copy of the November 25 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry is below and online. Dear Secretary Kerry:   We write to ... Read More

Mexico’s Pena Nieto Unlikely to be Ousted Despite Deep Anger Over Apparent Student Massacre

| November 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Deep anger over the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers has plunged Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto into his worst crisis as president, but with no credible opposition in sight, mass protests look unlikely to force him from power.

Since the students were abducted by police and handed over to a local drug gang in the southwestern city of Iguala on Sept. 26, a wave of discontent has hit the government, spurring calls at protests and on social media for Pena Nieto to step down.

Although the protests have been largely peaceful, some demonstrators have clashed with police and even set fire to the door of the ceremonial presidential palace in Mexico City.

Still, the fall of a president would be unprecedented in modern Mexico. And for all the public indignation, no figurehead has emerged to channel the anger and ... Read More

Mexico’s security crisis: Will Iguala be a wake-up call?

| November 24th, 2014 | No Comments »


Key points:

The kidnapping and probable murder of 43 students at the hands of corrupt local officials and drug gangsters in September is a tragic reminder of persistent criminality and weak government institutions in much of Mexico. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has prioritized key economic reforms over security, and his administration must now deal with instability that undermines his goal to modernize Mexico. The United States should invigorate security cooperation with Mexico to fight crime and secure the border to safeguard the long-term benefits of a healthy US-Mexico economic partnership.

Mexico’s democracy, stability, and economy require a collaborative response from all levels of government to quell the wave of recent political unrest and address the underlying causes of insecurity and public dissatisfaction. The current crisis—sparked by national outrage over the September 26 disappearance of 43 students near the town of Iguala in ... Read More

Executive disorder

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

If the president’s primary objective was fixing our broken immigration system, he should have been willing to wait until the Republican-led Congress takes power in a few weeks and challenged it to act on a series of practical reforms.

The executive order on immigration announced by President Obama on Thursday night has Republicans in Congress so mad they can’t think straight. But when they can, they will realize that the president cannot give effect to his words without their consent. Indeed, his speech will be remembered for making it harder to fix our immigration system so that it serves our economic interests, secures our borders, and offers recourse to millions of illegal aliens who are part of our communities.

The president has insisted more than a dozen times in the last several years that he has no legal authority to act unilaterally to suspend deportations. Last ... Read More

Thousands March in Mexico City Streets for Missing Students

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

By Eric Martin and Brendan Case 

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Mexico City to demand that the government strengthen the rule of law after the apparent killings of 43 students by a drug gang working with police.

On a day marking the start of the Mexican Revolution 104 years ago, demonstrators marched from a monument commemorating that struggle to the capital’s central square, or Zocalo, imploring President Enrique Pena Nieto to improve security in a nation racked by an eight-year drug war.

Banging drums and waving flags, demonstrators shouted “enough, the people are rising” and “justice.” One group arrived at the Zocalo carrying a 20-foot tall paper-mache effigy of Pena Nieto in a dark suit, with the red, white and green presidential sash on his shoulder and blood on his hands. As chants of “Pena, get out” intensified, they set it ablaze.

Beatriz ... Read More

Anger over missing students, corruption grows in Mexico

| November 20th, 2014 | No Comments »


MEXICO CITY — A day that’s supposed to celebrate the anniversary of a revolution is instead turning into one of mass protests against political corruption and outrage over violence that probably left 43 missing students dead.

“There’s a feeling of being fed up that’s been building for some time,” said law student Esteban Santillán, 24, who marched in Mexico City last month. The case of the missing students “is the best example of the rot that there is in the country’s political class.”

Students, parents and supporters of the missing plan protests in Mexico City and across the country Thursday, when Mexico normally marks the anniversary of the Revolution of 1910, which resulted from discontent over a lack of democracy and farmers’ desire for land and liberty.

Protest organizers promise to block access to the international airport. Revolution Day parades have been canceled in parts of Guerrero and Michoacán states for ... Read More

La casa de los Peña, ¿qué está esperando el Presidente?

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Milenio Diario


Se cumplió una semana del sólido reportaje de Carmen Aristegui y su equipo sobre la casa de la familia Peña en Las Lomas. Me cuesta entender que el Presidente siga dejando correr los días para asumir la realidad como todo parece indicar que es en este asunto que huele tan mal: hay un ostensible conflicto de interés comprador-vendedor; agente inmobiliario-jefe de Estado.

El Presidente se comprometió el sábado a aportar información para contrarrestar las “aseveraciones imprecisas y carentes de sustento”. Es martes. ¿Qué es impreciso? ¿El domicilio? ¿El valor de la casa? ¿En vez de 7 millones de dólares fueron 6.5? ¿Los detalles técnicos del crédito directo del vendedor al cliente? ¿El bono de actuación a la esposa del Presidente?

Es martes. ¿Qué carece de sustento? ¿El señalamiento de que la casa no está referida en la declaración patrimonial del Presidente de la República? ¿Las huellas gigantescas de que ... Read More

Reformas y corrupción en México

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »


Hace unos meses, antes de la crisis de Tlatlaya, la primera en una larga cadena de eventos desfavorables para el gobierno de Peña, argumentaba que estaba optimista por el futuro del país, pero tenía algunas preocupaciones que me llevaban a ser, también, escéptico. Una de esas inquietudes era la posible corrupción que deslegitimara las reformas que tanto me gustaban. Yo era de los que desde hace muchísimo tiempo ansiaban un gobierno con una agenda modernizadora capaz de aprobarla en el Congreso. Pues bien, Peña Nieto, contra todo pronóstico, lo logró. En su momento, lo reconocí y celebré. Hoy, sin embargo, ese proyecto peligra precisamente por la preocupación que tenía.

Como miembro de una generación que vivió su juventud marcada por las crisis de los ochenta y noventa, nunca me olvidaré de la tragedia del sexenio de Carlos Salinas. A muchos nos animó un joven Presidente que prometió llevar ... Read More

Protests over 43 missing students in Mexico spread across the country

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

By Nathaniel Parish Flannery

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO –  The 43 students from a teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero went missing in the town of Iguala on Sept. 26.

The demonstrations began in Guerrero soon afterward under the leadership of student associations – who are referred to as “normalistas,” because they attend a teachers’ or “normal” college – and protesters torched the offices of the state government in Guerrero’s capital, Chilpancingo.

On October 22, they set the mayor’s office in Iguala on fire.

In November, protesters marched through Mexico City, setting the doors to the Palacio Nacional, a buiding that houses murals by Diego Rivera, ablaze.

This month, protesters have vandalized the airport in Acapulco, burned cars and political offices in Chilpancingo and also vandalized buildings in the neighboring state of Michoacán.

Mexico’s attorney general has claimed that the charred remains ... Read More

Former mayor charged in Mexico student deaths

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN

By Michael Pearson

(CNN) – Prosecutors in the Mexican state of Guerrero said Friday they have formally charged former Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca in the disappearance of 43 students.

Abarca is described as the “probable mastermind” in the September 26 disappearance of the students. He is charged with six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide, the state attorney’s office said.

Authorities said the students — mostly men in their 20s studying to be teachers — were abducted by police in September at Abarca’s direction. Police killed some students, and the rest are believed to have been turned over to gang members to be executed, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam has said.

The men’s bodies were burned, and some remains were thrown in a river.

The students were traveling to Iguala to protest a lack of funding for their school.

... Read More

Mexico’s Rule of Law Crisis

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


What do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law.

The two developments have sparked a political crisis that could sink Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s ambitious reform agenda if he doesn’t take quick and decisive action to restore confidence.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his ... Read More

Latin American Violence: After Mexico, Brazil Could Be Next

| November 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01


SAO PAULO — During my time in the early 1980s as a correspondent for Folha de S. Paulo in Buenos Aires, I covered more demonstrations of the “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” — and then of the “Grandmothers” — than I could count. Brave women, their faces furrowed by time and pain, their heads covered with white scarves, asking for the return of their sons and grandsons who had disappeared under the regime’s repression.

In truth, they had all been killed, but again and again the cries came, “You took them alive, we want them back alive.”

I heard similar shouts in Chile and Uruguay, other countries where the repressive regime’s savagery produced victims on an industrial scale. The dictatorships are gone in these three countries and in the rest of Latin America — with the exception of Cuba — and the cries were gradually replaced by official ... Read More

Mexico’s growing crisis

| November 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

DURING two years in office Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has received sharply contrasting reviews at home and abroad. Foreigners, including The Economist, have praised his structural reforms of the economy, which include an historic measure to open up energy to private investment (see article). Yet polls show that most Mexicans dislike Mr Peña. Among other things, they blame his government for a squeeze on living standards and the interlinked problems of violent crime and corruption. Sadly, recent events have lent support to Mr Peña’s domestic critics.

On November 8th Mexico’s attorney-general announced what almost everyone had already concluded: that 43 students from a teacher-training college in the southern state of Guerrero, who disappeared in the town of Iguala in late September, had been murdered by drug-traffickers after being kidnapped by the local police on the orders of the town’s mayor. Guerrero has been Mexico’s most violent state for ... Read More

Russia to send bombers on Gulf of Mexico ‘reconnaissance missions

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

By Douglas Ernst

A top Russian official said Wednesday the country plans on conducting patrols with its bombers that extend into the Gulf of Mexico.

“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday in Moscow, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Shoigu’s remarks were in response to accusations by NATO that Russia was once again sending military personnel into Ukraine.

The Russian official did not provide specifics on the patrols, but said planes will conduct “reconnaissance missions to monitor foreign powers’ military activities and maritime communications,” AP reported.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told AP he would not characterize Russia’s actions as a provocation, as the nation has a right to operate in international airspace.

Large-scale Russian maneuvers along European airspace forced NATO members to scramble jets in ... Read More

Mexico: Violent Protests Hit Acapulco’s Tourism

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


Mexico’s president has tried to keep the issue of violence issue separate from his focus on the economy, but the two are converging as violent protests over 43 disappeared students squelch tourism in Acapulco just before a major holiday weekend.

As Mexico prepares to commemorate its 1910 revolution Monday, hotels in the Pacific resort city have seen a wave of cancellations after demonstrators temporarily shut down the airport, blocked highways and attacked government and political offices in the southern state of Guerrero.

Acapulco hotel occupancy rates are currently at 20 percent, well short of the 85 percent expected for this long weekend when Mexicans typically flock to the beaches, Joaquin Badillo, president of the Employers’ Association for Guerrero state, said Wednesday.

More cancellations have been registered for Christmas week, the busiest time of the year for Acapulco tourism, and Badillo said one company that operates 10 hotels has cut about 200 ... Read More

La advertencia del general Cienfuegos

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

Por Jorge Fernández Menéndez

Toda acción genera una reacción. El lunes en Monterrey, el secretario de la Defensa Nacional, el general Salvador Cienfuegos, en un acto donde se estaba colocando la primera piedra de un nuevo cuartel para la Policía Militar, dijo que los militares ‘‘aportaremos nuestros mejores esfuerzos al servicio de los ciudadanos sin amedrentarnos por juicios injustos, algunos sin duda erróneos, carentes de fundamento, malintencionados y que la institución armada nacional no merece’’.

Dijo mucho más, en una intervención que buscaba, sin duda, interlocutores políticos, me imagino que dentro y fuera del propio gobierno. Pidió tomar “decisiones acertadas para ponderar desafíos y para consolidar el rumbo” e insistió en que ‘‘la indolencia, la insensibilidad, el silencio, la violencia desmedida y la complicidad, obstruyen y limitan la verdadera esencia de la justicia’’. Agregó que ‘‘el rumor, la intriga y la deslealtad corroen cimientos, mancillan convicciones, frenan el potencial que ... Read More

Organized crime could undermine benefits of Mexico’s energy reform programme

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times


How much of a risk are Mexican drug lords and the country’s volatile security situation for the landmark energy reform? The head of one company that has a services contract with Mexican state giant Pemex smiles ruefully.

At its worst point – some three to four years ago – a full 40 per cent of the acreage the company is working on was a no-go area, and that was despite some of the processes being automated, says the executive, who asked not to be named.

Things have improved somewhat, but it is all relative: the proportion of the area his company is working on that can only be visited with the army, in helicopters, has shrunk to 20 per cent.

“Security will be a problem,” says the executive, highlighting the elephant in the room when it comes to the industry’s otherwise rapturous reception of Mexico’s energy reform.

... Read More

Rapid returns required from Mexico’s energy reform

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Jude Webber

There is a simple way to measure the success of Mexico’s energy reform to date: just look at the number of private companies considering investments of $1bn.

To name just three: Canada-based Pacific Rubiales says it has $1bn to spend in Mexico; new kid on the block Sierra Oil & Gas started up with $525m but has options to double that; and Alfa, a Mexican company with experience in shale in Texas, is hoping to issue stock this year to raise $1bn for energy projects at home.

Sami Iskander, BG Group’s chief operating officer, used to be a sceptic about the prospect of Mexico pulling off the long talked-about reform to an energy sector shackled to the state since nationalisation in 1938. Now he is a convert.

“It will be bumpy for sure. But it will be absolutely fantastic,” he told the Financial Times at a recent energy ... Read More

Mexicans have had enough as Iguala galvanises opinions

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By John-Paul Rathbone

Mexico has had enough. The country’s attorney-general said as much last week at a press conference about the 43 “disappeared” students, presumed killed by police in Iguala last month. His unguarded comment – “Ya me cansé” (a phrase meaning “Enough, I’m tired”) – became a trending topic on Twitter because it so captured how many Mexicans feel.

Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s telegenic president, also appears tired. His difficulties are multiplying. Oil prices are falling, and economic growth remains elusive in spite of a series of radical economic reforms. There is also growing protest over his lacklustre response to the disappearances.

These domestic problems are echoing abroad. On Monday, Mexican protesters clashed with police in Acapulco, where Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi is due to attend an energy conference. Beijing has protested over Mexico’s abrupt cancellation of a $3.7bn contract won by a Chinese consortium to build a high-speed bullet train.

... Read More

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