Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Pena Nieto’

Midterm elections in Mexico may not provide momentum for Peña Nieto

| May 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »

Midterm elections in Mexico on June 7 may reaffirm the ruling party’s hold on power, but may not produce new political momentum for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as he struggles to salvage his program of economic modernization and to quell persistent outbreaks of narco-related violence.

Voters will elect all of the 500 members the federal Chamber of Deputies, 9 of 31 governors, 16 delegates of the Federal District, and 640 state legislators.  These elections will serve to measure the strength of Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the political appeal of the opposition, made up mostly of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).  It also will gauge ​​the viability of the new National Regeneration Movement (Morena), founded by two-time leftist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who launched this party to challenge the PRD.

Two ... Read More

Frustration with Latin America’s left on the rise

| May 19th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s socialist government is struggling to put food on the shelves amid runaway inflation. Brazil’s president is facing calls for impeachment. And even Cuba’s communist government, an iconic touchstone for generations of leftists, is embracing closer ties with the U.S.

Whether it’s because of corruption scandals or stagnant growth, the popularity of the crop of leftist Latin American governments that have been running the region since the start of the millennium appears to be waning. Voters who embraced what became known as the pink tide that swept away the pro-Washington, free-market policies dominant in the 1990s are increasingly turning against the populist firebrands they once rallied behind.

Across the region, polling numbers are tanking and street protests are on the rise.

Triggering the growing disenchantment are some serious economic headwinds. Most leaders came into power just ... Read More

Brazen terrorism heating up Mexico’s drug war

| May 15th, 2015 | No Comments »

By Roger Noriega

On Wednesday, six persons were killed when their small plane was shot down by suspected narcotraffickers in Mexico’s northern state of Chihuahua—another brazen act of terrorism that suggests the drug war on our doorstep may be heating up. According to several eyewitnesses, the plane was hit by gunfire from numerous individuals on the ground. Sources say the attack was the result of a turf war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juarez Cartel, which has afflicted the area for years.

Just two weeks ago, the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco (CJNG) and the affiliated Los Cuinis syndicate mobilized more than 500 men in a coordinated attack in which seven soldiers died when their army helicopter was downed by narcotraffickers in an unprecedented use of force.

Although the Mexican government claims that its security strategy is working, levels of violence in the states of Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, the eponymous state of Mexico, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa suggest ... Read More

Inundados de coca

| May 13th, 2015 | No Comments »

Por Jorge Fernández Menéndez

La relación de México y Colombia es estratégica en muchos sentidos, como se pudo comprobar en la reciente visita del presidente Juan Manuel Santos a nuestro país y en la participación de ambas naciones en la Alianza del Pacífico, que mantienen con Chile, Perú y Costa Rica: en los hechos, ante el derrumbe económico y político del chavismo y con él, el de la llamada Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA), la Alianza del Pacífico se ha constituido en el más exitoso y sólido mecanismo integrador de la región.

Pero México y Colombia están unidas también por el desafío del narcotráfico. La historia de las relaciones de los grupos criminales de ambos países, con sus asociaciones y desencuentros, con sus negocios y enfrentamientos, es demasiado larga como para ignorarla. Y en esas paralelas, que aquí sí se tocan constantemente, tenemos en ... Read More

Deadly Mexican Cartel Rises as New Threat

| May 13th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN MONTES

GUADALAJARA, Jalisco—The armored vehicle carrying the top police officer of Mexico’s embattled Jalisco state had just rounded a street corner on the outskirts of this cosmopolitan city when a dozen gunmen from the New Generation Jalisco Cartel pumped more than 200 bullets into the car.

“When we tried to strike back, they threw two grenades at us,” said Alejandro Solorio, the state public security commissioner.

That late March attack, which failed to inflict casualties, presaged a rising wave of violence that has engulfed Guadalajara, the state capital and Mexico’s second-largest city, climaxing with the cartel’s downing of an army helicopter by rocket-propelled grenades that killed eight soldiers on May 1.

The attack, among the worst single-day losses for the army in Mexico’s long battle against drug traffickers, thrust the once-obscure New Generation gang forward as enemy No. 1 for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government.

Thousands of troops, backed by armored personnel carriers and quasi-military federal police, ... Read More

Tollway Scandal Couldn’t Come at Worse Time for Mexican Builders

| May 12th, 2015 | No Comments »

By Benjamin Bain

Recordings appearing to show OHL Mexico SAB executives’ efforts to increase highway tolls and pay for a state official’s beach-hotel room threaten to disrupt a construction industry already hurt by budget cuts and a scandal involving President Enrique Pena Nieto’s wife.

The toll-road operator’s shares have tumbled 20 percent in the past week as the State of Mexico government disclosed plans to investigate the allegations, contained in a pair of videos posted on the Internet. While Mexico City-based OHL Mexico has denied wrongdoing, its chairman acknowledged last week that executives offered to pay for the Caribbean luxury hotel before the invitation was rejected by the official.

The controversy comes on the heels of a $4.3 billion high-speed train project that was suspended in January after reports emerged that one of the winning bidders built a luxury home for the president’s wife. She and Pena ... Read More

Mexico charges three with ‘terrorism’ after cartel violence

| May 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
From AFP

Mexico City (AFP) – A Mexican judge has charged three people with terrorism over their roles in a day of violence launched by a drug cartel in Jalisco state last week, authorities said.

The suspects were accused of organized crime “with the goal of committing … terrorism” by burning vehicles and using them to block roads around Mexico’s second biggest city, Guadalajara, the Federal Judicial Council said.

Three other people were released because they were “arbitrarily” detained, the council said.

Authorities say the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel launched gun fights and burned several vehicles, banks and gasoline stations across the state on May 1 to hit back at a federal operation to dismantle the gang.

The gang is accused of using a rocket-propelled grenade to down an army helicopter that was pursuing vehicles suspected of carrying a cartel leader.

The interior ministry raised the death toll from the downing to eight ... Read More

Show-down in Jalisco exposes Mexico’s faulty anti-drug efforts

| May 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

Last Friday, Mexican authorities opened a new front in their anti-drug campaign by launching an offensive in the State of Jalisco against two of the country’s most profitable cartels. And, all hell broke loose. Within hours, the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco (CJNG) and Los Cuinis mobilized more than 500 men in coordinated counterattacks, shooting down a military helicopter; burning 11 banks, five gas stations, and 36 buses; and killing 15 people and injuring 20 others. The criminals also blocked 12 highways affecting the central states of Jalisco, Colima, Guanajuato, and Michoacán.

This brazen retaliation by two cartels, which had been far less aggressive than other ultraviolent groups operating in the country, represents a daunting new challenge for Mexico’s federal government. Although it will be difficult to dismantle Mexico’s richest criminal organizations, it is expected that the federal government will mobilize a significant amount of troops and resources in response to their violent defiance.

... Read More

The U.S. is not being a good neighbor

| April 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Richard G. Miles

In a world full of bad news, North America has been having quite a good run lately. Energy production is off the charts in the United States and Canada, and much-needed political and economic reforms are steadily advancing in Mexico, while fewer Mexicans are moving to the United States. Given the Obama administration’s lack of progress in other parts of the world, one might expect it to seize on the obvious opportunities on our nation’s doorsteps. It has not.

During his six years in office, President Obama has been to Saudi Arabia more times than he has to Canada. In February, a panel of former top Canadian diplomats was asked to comment on the state of U.S.-Canadian relations. “Unfortunately,” said one former emissary, “of modern presidents, Barack Obama appears to have the least appreciation of the strategic importance of Canada to the U.S. He ... Read More

México: 39,621 homicidios; 21,757 ejecuciones; 15,824 extorsiones; 3,489 secuestros

| April 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »

Por Leo Zuckerman

Así está la situación de la violencia en México hasta marzo pasado, en que la administración del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto cumplió 28 meses en el poder.

En marzo de este año se incrementaron en 2% las ejecuciones relacionadas con el crimen organizado, comparadas con las del mes inmediato anterior: de 579, en febrero, pasamos a 592. Esto, de acuerdo a la base de datos de Lantia, consultora especializada en temas de seguridad. Contabilizando el total de este tipo de homicidios en los 28 meses del sexenio del presidente Peña Nieto tenemos un total de 21 mil 757, un promedio de 26 por día.

Recordemos que, entre junio y octubre del año pasado, las ejecuciones relacionadas con la delincuencia organizada prácticamente, se habían estabilizado en alrededor de 520-530 por mes. La mala noticia es que habíamos regresado a niveles por arriba de los 600 e incluso en diciembre ... Read More

Mexico’s Drugwar Violence Continues Despite Arrests Of Senior Cartel Leaders

| April 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »


Over the last few days Mexican authorities have detained the leaders of both the Juarez Cartel and the Gulf Cartel, groups that have historically controlled drug trafficking in Ciudad Juarez and eastern Mexico.  Mexican agents captured the Juarez Cartel’s alleged leader Jesús Salas Aguayo and the Gulf Cartel’s boss José Tiburcio Hernández Fuentes on April 17.  The arrests continue a pattern of top-level narco arrests during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, a strategy that echoes the “kingpin” takedown tactics implemented by his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. As cartel leadership structures have crumbled, security has improved in former turf war zones such as Ciudad Juarez, Monterrey, and Acapulco. Narco violence has been largely pushed to urban peripheries and into the mountains far away from cities.

The bad news is that the splintering of Mexico’s once powerful organized crime groups has coincided with a jump in crimes such as extortion ... Read More

¿Puede Obama rescatar su fallida política exterior en Latinoamérica?

| April 9th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Real Clear World-01

El presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, ha notado claramente que muchos en América Latina y el Caribe tienen una afinidad extraordinaria con el mito de la revolución cubana. Lo que aún no tiene claro es que la gran mayoría de los ciudadanos de la región preferiría vivir en el Chile construido por Augusto Pinochet que en la Cuba destruida por Fidel Castro.

Durante la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá Obama se encontrará con una región que ha perdido la estabilidad y la prosperidad desde que asistió a su primera cumbre en 2009. A pesar de que esperaba cosechar elogios por su acercamiento con La Habana, Obama recibirá en cambio un trato hostil por parte de varios líderes latinoamericanos, quienes encabezados por Nicolás Maduro de Venezuela y apoyados por Castro están determinados en diezmar la influencia que le queda a Washington en una región de suma importancia para la ... Read More

Meet Mexico’s fastest growing drug cartel. It even builds its own rifles

| April 8th, 2015 | No Comments »
Global Post

MEXICO CITY — From the outside, the two buildings looked like thousands of other farmhouses in Mexico’s agricultural heartland of Jalisco, where products include potent tequila. But when police raided them in October, they found industrial metal cutters, blowtorches and bullet cartridges.

A drug cartel had used them, Jalisco investigators revealed, to assemble their own AR-15 assault rifles.

“It’s highly sophisticated machinery with very precise software that allows them to make the cuts to finish the guns, which work perfectly,” Jalisco Attorney General Luis Carlos Najera said last year.

The authorities blamed a snappily named gang: the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

The same cartel has hit the news again with a series of assaults on police and officials. On Monday, gunmen ambushed a convoy of state police in San Sebastian del Oeste, killing 15 officers in one of the worst attacks on police in recent years.

That ... Read More

Mexican Government to Make Additional Budget Cuts in 2016

| April 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


MEXICO CITY—The Mexican government expects to lower spending next year by 135 billion pesos ($8.8 billion), in addition to the 124 billion pesos it has cut from this year’s budget as it aims to continue narrowing fiscal deficits amid lower world oil prices, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

In a preliminary outline to Congress of next year’s budget, the ministry projected a fiscal deficit of 3% of gross domestic product, down from an expected 3.5% in 2015. The federal government’s share of the deficit is expected to narrow to 0.5% of GDP from 1% this year, while investment at state enterprises will account for the rest.

President Enrique Peña Nieto has until early September to submit next year’s budget proposal to Congress, and some of the variables could change by then.

The government lowered planned spending this year in response to the sharp drop in world oil prices and expectations of more difficult financing ... Read More

Mexico’s Disastrous Drug War ‘Success’

| March 31st, 2015 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast

MEXICO CITY — Back in December 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderón decided to launch an unprecedented attack against the drug cartels that had taken over parts of Mexico, the government’s strategy consisted mostly of reckless improvisation. The Calderón administration ignored the scope of the problem, the violence it would unleash and the Herculean effort it would take to control it. But one thing was certain: The main priority would be to capture (or kill) as many drug lords as possible.

After a series of ambitious operations and raids that started in Calderón’s home state of Michoacán, the Mexican government published an ambitious list of 37 names. It was March 2009. Rewards of up to 30 million pesos ($2.5 million, give or take) were offered for “useful and relevant information” that could lead to the downfall of famous cartel leaders like Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán or lesser-known but ... Read More

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 »

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 »


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

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