Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Pena Nieto’

Cleaning up Latin American democracy

| March 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

During the multitudinous demonstration against Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, in São Paulo on March 15th, a lunatic fringe chanted for a return to military rule. That was sad more than worrying. The rightists were shouted down. Their isolation served to underline how routine democracy has become in many Latin American countries in the third of a century or so since the generals returned to barracks.

That outcome was not inevitable. Compared with Europe or North America, democracy in Latin America must struggle against big obstacles, including poverty, gaping income inequality and corruption. Another is poor institutional design. Latin America combines directly elected presidents, as in the United States, with multiparty legislatures chosen by proportional representation, in the manner of many European parliamentary systems. The result has often been gridlock: weak governments have lacked majorities in legislatures unthreatened by dissolution, which induces consensus in parliamentary regimes.

These ... Read More

Energy Market Reforms Keep Mexico’s Optimism High Despite Oil Price Slump

| March 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

By Gaurav Sharma

Oil markets are grappling with volatility, major and minor companies are queuing up to announce capital expenditure cuts and the public is awash with market commentary predicting just about everything from an oil price slump to $20 per barrel to an imminent return to $100. One oil exporting jurisdiction is quietly, confidently and cautiously attempting to get its own house in order – Mexico.

Most pragmatists would argue that the country’s recent energy sector reforms were long overdue. From being the world’s sixth largest exporter in barrels of oil equivalent terms as recently as 2004, Mexico went backwards slipping to tenth and barely clinging on to its position within the global league table last year (see Bar Chart 1 below).

In a country used to false dawns, and there have been several, President Enrique Peña Nieto promised wholesale reform of the sector and revitalization of the state-owned oil ... Read More

Mexico Takes Out Cartel Heads, But Crime Continues To Climb

| March 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
NPR

BY CARRIE KAHN

Two of Mexico’s most ruthless drug cartels have lost their leaders. In the span of just one week, the Mexican government captured the heads of the Knights Templar and the Zetas trafficking organization. That brings the number of capos taken out by the current administration to 11.

But many analysts believe the spectacular arrests will do little to tackle the country’s growing insecurity.

The most recent raids were spectacular. According to Mexican officials, surprise raids in the past two weeks caught both men. And both raids were pulled off, as Mexican authorities like to say, without a single shot fired.

Security forces captured Mexico’s most wanted trafficker, Servando Gomez of the quasi-religious Knights Templar cartel, on Feb. 27. His girlfriend gave away his hideout in his home state of Michoacan when she delivered him a chocolate cake on his birthday.

Less than a week later, on March 4, soldiers caught the country’s most brutal ... Read More

Mexico decapitates Knights Templar, but the narco-networks remain

| March 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities Wednesday captured the second cartel kingpin in the span of a week, good news for President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is struggling with voter anger over his handling of drug-related violence in parts of the country.

But the back-to-back, high-profile arrests are mostly a coincidence, analysts say, and will do little to curb violence in the long term.

“Until there’s a real change in government strategy [to combat criminal organizations], this growing list of captures means little … for security,” says Erubiel Tirado, a security expert at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City.

On Feb. 27, Mexico caught its most wanted drug lord, former primary school teacher Servando “La Tuta” Gomez. He was the head of the Knights Templar, a criminal organization that controls large parts of the western state of Michoacan and has been in conflict with ... Read More

Peña Nieto’s reforming of mordant Mexico

| March 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

Mexico is in crisis; Mexico is not in crisis. Both statements are true.

Despite the oil price collapse, the economy is stable and growing, if slowly. President Enrique Peña Nieto, on a state visit to the UK this week, has pushed through important reforms that should boost growth.

Yet Mexico is also in a funk. Corruption and the absence of the rule of law have snapped the country’s patience. The presumed murder of 43 students by a gang linked to local police, and several scandals, including a home owned by the first lady and built by a favoured state contractor, have inflamed the sour mood. Such incidents are symptoms of a malaise that predates this administration, not the cause. But they have been handled poorly.

Mr Peña Nieto, in an FT interview, admitted for the first time that he recognises the popular disenchantment. Mexico is torn by ... Read More

Zetas Leader Is Arrested in Mexico

| March 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD

MEXICO CITY — The leader of the Zetas — a Mexican criminal group notorious for its brutal murders — was arrested Wednesday without a shot fired in northern Mexico, as the authorities toppled yet another kingpin in a long and aggressive campaign against the group.

Federal police officers and soldiers swooped in on the leader, Omar Treviño Morales, known as Z-42 in the group’s militaristic system of code names, in San Pedro Garza García, an affluent suburb of Monterrey, Mexico, a business and industrial hub.

Mr. Morales, 38, had not led the group for long. In July 2013, his brother, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales — considered one of the gang’s most ruthless enforcers — was arrested just a year after taking over from another top leader, Heriberto Lazcano. Mr. Lazcano died in a shootout with the Mexican Navy in ... Read More

Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader ‘La Tuta’

| March 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

By Anahi Rama

MEXICO CITY, Feb 27 (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.

Gomez, 49, 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.

His arrest comes a year after the capture of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, the 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 abduction and apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers by corrupt police in league with gang members.

A police spokesman said federal police captured Gomez ... Read More

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

Mexico Central Bank Cuts ’15 GDP Forecast for Second Time

| February 19th, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

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

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

| February 18th, 2015 | No Comments »
BBC

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

BY PETER ORSI

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

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

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

By PETER ORSI

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 »
Forbes

BY NATHANIEL PARISH FLANNERY

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

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

By JUAN MONTES

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

¿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

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