April 16, 2014
CNN Mexico, 4/15/14
La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) de Michoacán trasladó este martes a 20 personas relacionadas con grupos de autodefensas al Centro de Readaptación Social (CERESO) de Apatzingán, procedentes de diferentes reclusorios del país.
En un comunicado, la dependencia estatal refirió que esta acción forma parte de los 11 puntos acordados el lunes entre autoridades y líderes de autodefensas de la región de Tierra Caliente, en la entidad michoacana.
Entre los acuerdos para darle una solución legal a la operación de los grupos de civiles armados en Michoacán, se estableció que a partir del 11 de mayo los integrantes de autodefensas que no se sujeten a los puntos pactados, podrán ser detenidos y consignados ante los tribunales.
Este martes, la SSP Michoacán detalló que las personas trasladadas desde diferentes centros federales de detención (en Veracruz, Estado de México y Tamaulipas) a Apatzingán, están recluidas junto con otras 35 personas relacionadas con grupos de autodefensa michoacanos.
April 15, 2014
Mexico has announced plans to fight money laundering by using “kingpin” lists like those issued by the United States, although unlike the public U.S. list, Mexico will make its registry confidential, a Mexican official said Monday. Alberto Elias Beltran, the official in charge of implementing a new money laundering law at the Finance Department, said the list will be made available only to authorities, anyone accused of money laundering and financial institutions.
“There could be a person who follows the procedure to be excluded from the list and we don’t want them to affect their reputation by making this list public,” Elias Beltran said. The criteria that will be used to put a person or a business on the list hasn’t yet been determined but the government hopes the first list will be ready by the end of April, he said.
Elias Beltran added that the list will be immediately sent to financial institutions that will have to “immediately suspend any operation or service being provided to those added to the list.” The law mainly bans those on the list from using Mexico’s financial system, including using current bank accounts or opening new ones, but it doesn’t currently provide for criminal charges against anyone, he said.
April 14, 2014
The United States and Mexico held the 6th round of the Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights in Mexico City on April 3. Mexico and the United States agreed to seek new opportunities to work together to protect and promote human rights. Respect for human rights is a priority for both governments, which value their ability to maintain a frank, results-based and constructive dialogue on these issues.
The meeting covered a wide range of bilateral human rights issues, including developments and strategies in the field of human rights. Topics addressed included the prevention of torture and disappearances, military justice, human rights in the fight against terrorism, and violence against women and persons with disabilities. In addition, each delegation presented views on freedom of expression and actions to protect journalists and human rights defenders. They exchanged views on issues regarding the death penalty and consular notification. The human rights of migrants and those pertaining to vulnerable migrant groups were also addressed. The delegations discussed the value of improved cooperation at their shared border to reduce incidences of violence.
April 14, 2014
Business Insider, 4/14/14
Once the plutocrats’ plague, kidnapping for ransom in Mexico has gone decidedly mass market. Shopkeepers and family physicians, carpenters and taxi drivers: All have been targeted in recent years as minions of young criminals enter a trade long run by guerrillas and gangland bosses. That puts Mexico, along with Colombia and Venezuela, among the world’s most kidnap-prone countries.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, 16 months into a six-year term, has struggled to meet his promises to dramatically lessen the crime. Both abductions and extortion continue to soar even as his government’s campaign against crime syndicates impacts drug profits and gang discipline weakens as kingpins are killed or captured. Many wealthy Mexicans have long hired bodyguards and taken other security precautions, making them harder to get.
The typical profile of kidnappers, meanwhile, is becoming younger and less sophisticated — more willing to favor quick paydays over substantial ones. That’s making Mexico’s middle class, and even the working poor, the criminals’ targets of choice.
April 14, 2014
The Washington Post, 4/13/14
Plenty of world leaders would be thrilled to have the kind of executive hot streak blazed by Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto during his first 16 months in office. In that short span, he and his administration have steered more than a dozen major new laws through congress, overhauling the country’s energy, banking and education sectors, among others.
Peña Nieto has stood up to powerful interests from Mexico’s business world and underworld. He has locked up drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the world’s most wanted trafficker, quieting doubters in the United States who questioned his crime-fighting mettle. Yet for all the praise he has won in Washington and elsewhere in the world, Peña Nieto’s opening act is getting panned in the only place it really counts: Mexico.
After Time magazine put him on the cover of its international edition recently with the headline “Saving Mexico,” a flood of ridicule and derision followed. Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have fallen fairly steadily since he took office in December 2012, dropping to 37 percent inone recent poll, with other surveys rating him in the mid-40s.
April 8, 2014
LA Times, 4/7/14
A key leader of the vigilante “self-defense” movement in Mexico’s Michoacan state said Monday that he was refusing a government order to disarm, and roadblocks to keep out federal forces charged with taking away the vigilantes’ weapons were reported in numerous cities.
Vigilante leader Jose Manuel Mireles said in a radio interview that the government had not sufficiently pacified the state. “Armed and masked” drug cartel members began appearing in the streets just hours after the government’s announcement last week declaring it was time for the vigilantes to disarm, he said.
“For that reason we are reinforcing our trenches,” Mireles said. “We are going to lay down the arms when the federal government and the state have finished the work of cleaning the state of Michoacan of criminals.”
April 7, 2014
LA Times, 4/5/14
Mexican federal authorities have detained the interior minister of Michoacan state after determining that he has “possible contacts with criminal organizations,” according to a statement released by prosecutors Saturday night.
The aggressive action against Interior Minister Jesus Reyna, is a sign that the federal government, which has struggled for months to control the drug-plagued state, is considering the possibility that the influence of narcotics trafficking has spread nearly to the pinnacle of state government.
The federal detention order, called an arraigo, allows prosecutors to hold Reyna in custody for 40 days for further investigation.
Reyna also served as the interim appointed governor of the western state from April to October of last year. He was ordered to the attorney general’s headquarters in Mexico City on Friday afternoon to give testimony as part of a federal investigation, but had not been identified as a suspect.
April 2, 2014
LA Times, 4/1/14
About 300 people who gathered at the border fence in Nogales to attend a transnational Mass led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and bishops from across the West and Southwest, including Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle; Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson; Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M.
The Mass to celebrate the lives of those who have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is an attempt by the Catholic Church to call on President Obama to use his executive powers to limit deportations of people who are in the country illegally.
Obama has come under fire from immigrant rights activists who have nicknamed him the “deporter in chief” in reference to the high volume of deportations under his administration, although federal statistics now show that expulsions of people who are settled and working in the U.S. have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.
April 2, 2014
Top Mexican congressional officials said on Tuesday that the approval of the eagerly-awaited fine print of a landmark energy overhaul will likely be delayed until at least May, meaning Congress would have to call a special session to debate it.
Passed late last year, the constitutional overhaul ended state-owned oil company Pemex’s 75-year monopoly and paves the way for billions of dollars worth of new investments in the country’s lumbering energy sector.
The reform stipulated that lawmakers have until April 20 to approve so-called secondary legislation that fleshes out key commercial and regulatory details of the reform, but Congress appears poised to bust the deadline.
April 1, 2014
International Business Times, 3/31/14
President Enrique Peña Nieto has been busy in his first year as leader of Mexico. He has managed to introduce a tax reform and revolutionize the oil sector, opening up state monopoly Pemex to foreign investors in the face of fierce opposition. Now, his administration is focusing on changing the rules of the game in Mexico’s $32 billion telecom industry, and it’s close to succeeding. Peña Nieto has a tough opponent: telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, the richest man in Latin America and second-wealthiest in the world.
With Forbes estimating his worth at $73 billion (equivalent to 6 percent of the country’s GDP), Slim controls three-quarters of the communications market in Mexico. His two-decade rise to dominance in the telecoms market made him the wealthiest man in the world in 2010, a position he later lost, narrowly, to Bill Gates. Today, 70 million Mexicans, or 70 percent of phone users, are customers of his flagship company, América Móvil.