Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Pena Nieto’

Mexico in Crisis

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


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

Mexico suffers slings and arrows as second act of its Shakespearean drama unfolds

| December 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By John Paul Rathbone

In Shakespearean tragedies, the second act — when the drama builds alongside the setbacks the protagonists must overcome — is often the longest and most painful. Something similar may now be happening to Mexico and its economy as the oil price slumps.

In act one, Enrique Peña Nieto won the presidency with a reform-minded team that promised to modernise Mexico. Previously insurmountable political obstacles were swept aside with apparent ease and a series of laws promulgated in rapid succession, most notably a groundbreaking change that allowed private investment in the energy sector for the first time in more than 70 years.

By early 2014, the government was riding high. Mr Peña Nieto was dubbed the “Man who saved Mexico” by Time magazine. Investors rubbed their hands at the $50bn of foreign investment expected in Mexican energy by 2020. All was going well. But now, in the second ... Read More

Mexico Finance Minister Bought House From Government Contractor

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s finance minister bought a home from a prominent government contractor who is at the center of influence-peddling allegations roiling President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s administration, documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal show.

Property records show that the minister, Luis Videgaray, widely seen as the driving force behind Mexico’s recent economic overhauls, bought the house in an exclusive golf resort outside the picturesque town of Malinalco, in the central State of Mexico, from Bienes Raíces H&G SA.

The firm, commercial records show, is owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa, whose companies have won hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of public-works projects during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor of the State of Mexico and during his current administration.

Mr. Videgaray isn’t accused of an illegal act. But the transaction adds to the appearance of conflicts of interest that have damaged Mr. Peña Nieto’s credibility and popularity after he came to ... Read More

Two decades after the peso crisis, Mexico faces new shocks

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

MANY factors contributed to Mexico’s “tequila crisis” in 1994, but two stood out: tighter monetary policy in the United States and political instability at home. Almost exactly 20 years later, the same forces are again weighing on the currency, compounded by falling oil prices. The situation is not nearly as precarious as it was then, but Mexican policymakers may still need a shot or two to steady the nerves.

Since the 50% devaluation of 1994 the peso has floated freely, which makes it safer than it was 20 years ago but something of a punch bag for nervous investors. Like many emerging-market currencies it has been dropping against the dollar—it is down 11% since June. On December 8th Mexican authorities said they would intervene to support it by auctioning $200m on days when it sinks by at least 1.5% against the dollar. On December 10th it hit ... Read More

What Mexico’s President Must Do

| December 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


MEXICO CITY — President Enrique Peña Nieto has shown remarkable leadership in passing key reforms to reanimate the economy and further the development of Mexico. But now he must act quickly to re-establish his political credibility and limit damage to his moral standing. The present crisis requires it.

Thousands of young people have been marching in the streets of Mexico since the kidnapping and murder of 43 students (now confirmed by the DNA of a burned body) from a college in Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero. According to Mexico’s attorney general, the crime was committed by professional killers working for a narco- gang and under the orders of the former mayor of the town of Iguala, who was a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Although most of these criminals, including the mayor and ... Read More

Obama: US Offers Mexico Help on Missing Students

| December 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News


President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. has offered to help Mexico figure out what happened to 43 college students who have been missing since September, but he stopped short of saying that aid to the U.S. ally and neighbor should be reconsidered on the basis of the country’s human rights record.

“We’ve offered assistance in tracking down exactly what happened, our forensic capabilities, our capacity to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama told Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network, in an interview.

On the question of aid, which was posed by the interviewer, the president said what’s more important is helping Mexico build on the progress it has made.

“We’ve got to make sure that we strengthen the criminal justice system, the investigative capacities,” he said. “Mexico is our friend and our neighbor. We want them to thrive.”

Obama said the crime against the missing students has “no ... Read More

Oil price plunge raises Mexico energy reform concerns

| December 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Jude Webber

Falling oil prices are putting a cloud over the one thing Mexico’s struggling government had been clinging to in its attempts to invigorate a sluggish economy — its historic energy reform.

The government had been planning to auction 169 oil and gas blocks next year. It was to be one of the most ambitious bid rounds the industry had seen in a country whose sector has been closed to private investment for nearly 80 years, and where production is at its lowest level in two decades.

But the oil price fall has sobered what one executive called the “frothy, crazy bidding environment” Mexico had been expecting, unsettling a government reliant on oil revenue for a third of its budget. Officials are hastily striking off shale and other fields that might now look unappealing to bidders. Long-awaited initial tender terms are likely to be published on Wednesday.

“We think we remain very competitive,” said ... Read More

Mexico says evidence proves missing students were incinerated

| December 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters


(Reuters) – Mexico said on Sunday that mounting evidence and initial DNA tests confirmed that 43 trainee teachers abducted by corrupt police 10 weeks ago were incinerated at a garbage dump by drug gang members, although forensic experts sounded a note of caution.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo confirmed that one of the students had been identified by experts in Austria from a bone fragment in a bag of ash and bits of burned tire found in a river where drug gang members said they tossed the students’ remains.

“This scientific proof confirms that the remains found at the scene coincide with the evidence of the investigation,” Murillo said. “We will continue with the probe until all the guilty have been arrested.”

However, Argentine forensic experts helping to identify the remains stressed there was still insufficient physical or scientific evidence linking the remains found ... Read More

Ni el gobierno ni la izquierda se atreven contra ‘Cubazuela’

| December 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Milenio Diario


En estos últimos días visitó nuestro país una joven y valiente mujer venezolana; sus amigos la acogieron con cariño pero partió con las manos vacías. Lilian Tintori, la esposa de Leopoldo López, el opositor venezolano encarcelado sin proceso por el gobierno chavista de Maduro; acudió a una serie de eventos de comunicación programados en México, pero también viajó a nuestro país buscando solidaridad para su marido. No la encontró.

Hasta donde sé, nadie del gobierno —Presidencia, Relaciones Exteriores, Gobernación— se atrevió a recibirla. Asimismo, con la excepción de un par de legisladores priistas, ningún jerarca del partido de gobierno —Manlio, Gamboa, César Camacho— accedió a verla, a pesar de varios intentos. No sé si algunos legisladores de Acción Nacional se reunieron con ella —cuando vino a México Leopoldo López, hace un par de años, pude juntarlo con algunos—, y obviamente nadie de la izquierda tuvo la ... Read More

The president proposes laws to fight crime. Mexicans want more than that

| December 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

AN UNUSUAL cry has rung out in recent weeks at football matches, rock concerts and protest marches in Mexico. Crowds of people chant in unison the numbers from one to 43, representing each of the students who disappeared in September in the south-western state of Guerrero. They end with a shout: “¡Justicia!”

They are not merely demanding justice for the missing 43, who the government claims were massacred by municipal authorities and drug-traffickers. The cry also appears to reflect an exhaustion of patience with a system—political, economic and legal—that exempts from the rule of law those who can buy or bargain their way around it, such as corrupt politicians, privileged businessmen and narcos.

The call unites left and right, though no political party has seized upon it. “We haven’t had this sort of demand since the [1910-17] revolution,” says Sabino Bastidas, a political analyst. “It’s no longer for ... Read More

Corruption Curses Mexico and Brazil

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article appeared in The Weekly Standard


Call it a tale of two countries. Two would-be Latin American powerhouses, both with populations surpassing 100 million people – and both with weak presidents who are beset by corruption problems. Both, in other words, are severely underperforming countries, whose chronic inability to live up to their potential continues to undermine growth, stability, and hope for the future. 

Begin just south of the United States border in Mexico, a one-time success story, which has been reeling for months. The trouble began in late September, when 43 students were kidnapped and murdered in Iguala. An appalling and grizzly atrocity to be sure, made worse by the alleged involvement of local law enforcement and even the mayor of Iguala. Local authorities in the southern state of Guerrero (home of Iguala) are evidently horrifically corrupt – they have been bought off by the local drug cartels. Unsurprisingly, Mexico has been rocked by weeks of protests as ... Read More

Japan’s profile rises in the Americas

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


As Asian rival China invests billions in Latin America and snaps up strategic commodities, Japan also is looking at the region with new interest.

Shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Latin American tour in July, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a 10-day, five-nation swing through Latin America and the Caribbean.

His trips to Mexico and Brazil were the first bilateral visits by a Japanese prime minister in a decade, and his trip to Chile was the first such visit by a Japanese prime minister since 1996. Abe’s stop-over in Port of Spain marked the first time that a Japanese prime minister had ever visited the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and his trip to Colombia also was the first official visit for a Japanese prime minister.

In September, Abe also held a summit with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela while both were attending the U.N. General Assembly and they discussed ... Read More

Mexico missing students fury rocks President Pena Nieto

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Will Grant

As Enrique Pena Nieto reached his second year in office, he might well have reflected on how quickly the narrative of a presidency can change.

In February, his airbrushed photograph graced the front cover of Time magazine with the much derided headline “Saving Mexico” emblazoned underneath.

Mr Pena Nieto had “passed the most ambitious package of social, political and economic reforms in memory”, the publication said, adding that “alarms are being replaced with applause” in the country.

Now any applause for Mr Pena Nieto by the political and business elite has been drowned out by the near-constant calls for him to step down.

His anniversary, on 1 December, was marked by Molotov cocktails, broken windows and protesters clashing with the police in Mexico City.

The chain of events that sparked the crisis began on the night of 26 September.

Amid a protest in the town of Iguala, police fired on unarmed student teachers, killing six people.

The officers ... Read More

Mexico sends federal troops into towns plagued by drug gangs

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

(Reuters) – Mexican federal troops will replace local police in 32 municipalities, a top security official said on Wednesday, in a bid to contain drug gangs that have fueled a surge in violence and often operate in league with local police.

Last week, President Enrique Pena Nieto vowed to stop collusion between officials and drug gangs as he tried to defuse anger over an apparent massacre of 43 students in September in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Monte Alejandro Rubido, director of the National Security Commission, said in a statement that military troops and federal police had taken control of security operations in the municipalities spread across the states of Guerrero, Michoacan and the State of Mexico.

The government did not say how many federal troops had been deployed in the operation.

Pena Nieto is under growing pressure from protesters to end impunity and brutality by security ... Read More

Cancela Peña visita a Iguala

| December 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »

Por José Cárdenas

¿Por qué?… ¿por coraje o por capricho?; ¿por seguridad, miedo o precaución?

“A las 15:00 horas —del lunes—, fuentes de Los Pinos informaron que el mandatario federal visitaría Iguala (…) Siete horas después, se informó que el jefe del Ejecutivo estaría en Guerrero, pero aún no se definía el municipio a visitar; una hora más tarde, indicaron que la visita estaba cancelada por el momento…”, leímos, sorprendidos, la madrugada de ayer.

Vaya usted a saber, pero el presidente Peña Nieto canceló –por segunda vez– la visita a Iguala, municipio donde policías coludidos con el crimen secuestraron hace siete semanas a 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa; los “pusieron” para que sicarios del crimen los interrogaran mediante tortura, les dieran muerte y los descuartizaran para quemarlos en el basurero de Cocula, aunque, por la falta de evidencias suficientes, legalmente las víctimas de la tragedia permanezcan ... Read More

Mexico Peso Weakens Past 14 Per Dollar for First Time Since 2012

| December 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »

By Isabella Cota 

Mexico’s peso weakened past 14 per dollar for the first time in two years on speculation that falling oil prices will curb foreign investment as the country opens its energy industry to private drilling.

The peso dropped 0.1 percent to 14.0089 per dollar at 6:40 a.m. in Mexico City. Since June 2012, the currency has mostly traded in a range between 12 and 14.

While Mexico passed laws ending the national oil company’s monopoly on drilling, the plunge in crude prices below $70 a barrel may lead some foreigners to defer projects, according to Juan Carlos Alderete, a currency strategist at Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB in Mexico City.

“That these investments could be delayed, at the least, is important when considering the country’s balance of payments,” Alderete said.

Futures on crude oil dropped as much as 1.6 percent in London. OPEC, responsible ... Read More

Mexican President’s Approval Ratings Slump

| December 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


MEXICO CITY—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s approval rating slumped dramatically as he grapples with public outrage over the suspected murders of 43 teacher college students and a brewing corruption scandal, according to two new polls published Monday.

A survey in the influential Reforma newspaper showed the president’s approval rating falling to 39%, from 50% in August. Those saying they disapproved of the president rose to 58% from 46% in August. The survey was done in late November among 1,020 Mexicans. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

Reforma said its survey result was the worst approval rating for a Mexican president since 1995, when then-President Ernesto Zedillo was confronted with a peso devaluation and major economic crisis that saw the economy contract 5.7% that year.

Reforma attributed much of the president’s waning approval to anger over the disappearance of the teacher college students, who were detained by ... Read More

Media Roundup: Another Bad Month for Mexico

| December 1st, 2014 | No Comments »

By Nathaniel Parish Flannery

Mexico continues to suffer from the fallout of a scandal involving 43 missing students from the state of Guerrero.

On November 4 I tweeted this story from The Guardian. In the article Jo Tuckman explains, “The disappearance of the students had exposed the intermingling of local politics and organised crime that prevails in several parts of Mexico. In turn the federal government could not avoid the spotlight on its failure to act, despite boasting of bringing new levels of coordination and intelligence to the security strategy.”

On November 6 I tweeted this story from the World Politics Review. In the article Frederick Deknatel explains, “Whether it’s soldiers or police acting with impunity or militias taking security into their own hands, Mexico’s problem with violence is fundamentally political. After all, as Jerónimo Mohar wrote in his feature for World Politics Review last month on self-defense groups in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and Nigeria, ‘When the state does ... Read More

Mexico’s law-and-order crisis: Missing the point

| November 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

On November 27th Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, did what he should have done long ago: he announced a series of measures aimed at making the rule of law a priority of his administration. He did it in response to a groundswell of protest against his government triggered by the disappearance of 43 students in the southern state of Guerrero two months ago. But in failing to acknowledge any responsibility for the crisis, and in failing to challenge the entire political system to clean up its act, he may have missed a chance to turn the tide of public opinion.

In a nutshell, he localised the problem. He said he would draft laws to enable the authorities to remove municipal authorities colluding with drug traffickers, as allegedly happened with tragic consequences for the 43 students. He plans to replace Mexico’s 1,800 municipal police forces with 32 ... Read More

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

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