Missing students and murders eclipse reforms push in Mexico

October 14, 2014

10/10/14 Reuters

Enrique Pena NietoFor nearly two years, President Enrique Pena Nieto has sought to direct the Mexican public’s gaze onto his efforts to open the economy and away from the brutal gang violence that blighted his predecessor’s government. But shocking abuses by security forces are overshadowing his economic reforms and threaten to ruin his efforts to recast Mexico as a country of progress and promise for investors. Two recent atrocities and a brace of political murders have torn the veneer of calm Pena Nieto had carefully built around his economic agenda since he took office in December 2012.

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Mexico’s Secretary of Economy visit to the Woodrow Wilson Center (Next 10/14)

October 10, 2014

In advance of the distinguished visit of lldefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, it is a good opportunity to highlight some of his thoughts and reflections on the accomplishments and challenges that the Mexican economy has:

  • On October 3, during a press conference, Secretary Guajardo highlighted the benefits from the recent strategy whose objective is to raise productivity and competitiveness in Mexico (You can read more here).
  • On October 2, Secretary Guajardo with Secretary Videgaray talked about the development and economic planning for the next 20 years (You can view the video in Spanish here, courtesy of Business Week).
  • On September 30, Secretary Guajardo introduced a public trust fund to promote the development of national energy industry providers and contractors (You can read more here).
  • On July 2014, during an interview with The Business Year, he highlighted the role of technology and increased trade as tools to boost productivity and economic growth. At the same time, he established that among the key challenges that Mexico is facing today is the informal economy. You can read the complete interview here.
  • On May 2014, Guajardo discussed the medium- and long-term implications of the major constitutional reforms that have taken place in the country. Regarding NAFTA, the Secretary highlighted the potential that the region has to become a global manufacturing power and furthermore, there are important challenges in facilitating border crossings and improving infrastructure. These remarks were during the AS-COA Latin American Cities Conferences 2014, you can read and view more information here.
  • On November 2013, during a tour around Texas, Guajardo highlighted that the tax changes enacted in 2014 were needed because “competitiveness is not dependent on the tax structure.” At the same time, he said that it is important to start a process of effectively tie the salaries with productivity in Mexico. Interview with the Texas Tribune, you can read more here.

If you want to hear Secretary Guajardo remarks, join us next Tuesday, October 14th at 9:00 RSVP: http://bit.ly/1vO9jkY

Ildefonso Guajardo. He has previously held the posts of chief of the Executive Office of the Governorship of Nuevo León; technical secretary of Planning, Communication, and liaison with the Secretariat of Commerce and Industrial Development; senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1997; and undersecretary of tourism development in the Secretariat of Tourism. Guajardo also was a congressman beginning in 2000. He received a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon; a Master’s degree in economics from Arizona State University where he was a visiting professor; and a doctorate in public finance and economics from Pennsylvania University.

Mexico says 14 of 57 missing students found

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 The Washington Post

protest -- stroke -- resistanceFourteen of the 57 students reported missing after weekend shootings that killed six people in the southern state of Guerrero have been located, officials said Tuesday. Some were found in their homes or at school, and a search was continuing for the 43 teachers college students still unaccounted for, state Prosecutor Inaky Blanco said. Earlier, the head of the state human rights commission, Ramon Navarrete, said some of the students had fled the shooting in the municipality of Iguala, and some were detained and then released. He added that there were high hopes of finding the rest. Student activists linked to the Ayotzinapa normal school are known for their radical protests.

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NYC Park to Singapore Labs Go Underground in Space Hunt

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 Bloomberg 

businessCities from arctic Helsinki to equatorial Singapore are exploring the benefits of expanding toward the center of the earth. Crowds, weather, expensive real estate and vulnerability to climate change are prompting urban planners to turn their eye to the potential of usable spaces below street level. From an underground park in a forgotten century-old trolley terminal in Manhattan to Mexico City’s inverted 300-meter underground pyramid — called the Earthscraper — architects are re-imagining spaces for people and not just infrastructure in cities of the future.

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Mexico sees sign of hope for Monarch butterflies

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 Washington Post

monarch butterfly photoExperts in Mexico said Tuesday there is a tentative sign of hope for the mass migration of monarch butterflies, whose numbers dropped to their lowest level ever last year. The head of Mexico’s nature reserves, Luis Fueyo, said the first butterflies have been seen entering Mexico earlier than usual this year. Fueyo said it is too early to say whether butterfly numbers will rebound this year from a series of sharp drops, but noted “this premature presence could be the prelude to an increase in the migration.” He said the first butterflies have been sighted in the northern border state of Coahuila. Most normally arrive in October from the United States and Canada, where they spend the summer.

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Eficacia y democracia: la reconcentración del poder en México

September 22, 2014

09/04/14 Animal Politico

MEXICO CONGRESSEl Pacto por México fue anunciado como un mecanismo informal para empujar de manera consensual una serie de reformas legislativas entre los tres partidos con más peso electoral. Una solución frente a la percepción de que uno de los principales problemas del sistema político era la falta de acuerdos legislativos más fundada en conclusiones de parte de la vieja literatura sobre sistemas presidenciales (i.e. Juan Linz), que en evidencia empírica (Ver Casar y Marván, 2012; Cheibub, Przeworski y Saiegh, 2004). Ante la percepción de que la democracia implicó barreras a la eficacia, se optó por lo opuesto: priorizar la eficacia sacrificando atributos de la democracia.

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Are families of cross-border shooting victims a step closer to justice?

September 17, 2014

09/16/14 Aljazeera

border3It’s been almost two years since 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez was killed in the Mexican town of Nogales as he walked down a street close to his home near the U.S.-Mexico border. According to reports, on the night of Oct. 10, 2012, an unidentified Border Patrol agent opened fire on José through the steel-beamed border fence that stands on a cliff above the street where he was walking. José was shot at least 10 times as he stood on Mexican soil — by an agent standing on U.S. soil. Until recently, José’s family believed it was likely no one would be held responsible for his death.

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