Deep Ties, Tested on Mexico’s Border

May 20, 2014

Border fenceNew York Times, 5/17/14

LAREDO, Tex. — The state’s standardized test approached like a spring storm, and Alina Quiroga knew her fourth graders could drown. Here at a school about a mile from Mexico along Interstate 35, most of her students rarely speak English outside class. Many, living with distant relatives, lack the confidence to speak up even in Spanish. Ms. Quiroga circled the room, her pearl drop earrings swaying, as the children read aloud about George Washington.

“What does independent mean?” she asked at the end of the passage. “Alone?” one student responded. “Free?” another said.

“As you know, a lot of people come to the United States from other countries,” she continued, referring to the early English colonists. “Do you know why?”

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Wilson Center Mourns Passing of Don Lorenzo Zambrano, CEO of CEMEX

May 13, 2014

zambrano-2Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5/13/14

Washington, DC – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is saddened to learn of the passing of Don Lorenzo Zambrano, CEO of CEMEX. Don Lorenzo was one of the founding Members of the Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award.

Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO of the Center stated, “On behalf of the entire Wilson Center, I express our deepest condolences to the loved ones and friends of Don Lorenzo Zambrano.  He was an extraordinary man and a visionary business leader.”

In 2005, Zambrano was presented with the Center’s Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of both his outstanding leadership as a businessman and his commitment to education. The Woodrow Wilson Awards recognize leaders in business, government, the arts and sciences, and beyond, who have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for those in their communities and around the world.

Zambrano was instrumental in taking a major Mexican company global and paving the way for many other Mexican businesses that have since followed his lead. As the Chairman of the Board of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Monterrey Tec), he helped make it a truly national university providing quality education to students from all backgrounds.

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In Mexico, a Rail Line Splits a City and Views

May 9, 2014

TrainNew York Times, 5/8/14

EL PASO — When César Duarte, the governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, announced last week that the government wanted to move the railroad tracks that pass through Ciudad Juárez out of the heart of the city, Cristina Jiménez knew that the battle had only begun.

Ms. Jiménez, a former Ciudad Juárez councilwoman, and other local residents have been trying for years to get the government and the railroads to build a bypass, arguing that the trains going through Juárez and El Paso, its sister city across the border, expose residents to several threats like dangerous freight and pedestrian fatalities.

While Ms. Jiménez considered the governor’s announcement of a bypass a good start, she remained skeptical, in part because the railroads had yet to agree to any such plan.

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Mexico suspends 3 federal judges during investigation of possible links to casino owners

May 9, 2014

justice - gavel and bookFox News. 5/8/14

Mexico’s judiciary has suspended three federal judges pending an investigation into court judgments that benefited casino owners. It’s the largest purge of allegedly corrupt federal judges in recent years.

The Federal Judiciary Council says in a Thursday statement that a disciplinary process has been opened against federal judges Eduardo Ochoa Torres and Javier Ruben Lozano Martinez in the northern state of Nuevo Leon and Jose Manuel Rodriguez Puerto in neighboring Tamaulipas state.

The council didn’t identify the casino owners who were allegedly benefited by the judges’ rulings.

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Mexico’s Police: Many Reforms, Little Progress

May 8, 2014

federal police mexicoWOLA, May 2014

For more than two decades, successive Mexican administrations have taken steps to create more professional, modern, and well-equipped police forces. While these reforms have included some positive elements, they have failed to establish strong internal and external controls over police actions, enabling a widespread pattern of abuse and corruption to continue. Recognizing the need for stronger controls over Mexico’s police, this report reviews Mexico’s police reforms, with a specific focus on accountability mechanisms, and provides recommendations for strengthening existing police reform efforts in order to establish rights-respecting forces that citizens can trust.

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The Pacific Alliance: Where’s the Beef?

May 5, 2014

finance-market_dataAmerica’s Trade Policy, 5/1/14

The Pacific Alliance was born more out of political necessity than economic need. However, once it began to take shape, the potential economic benefits that all its member nations could accrue became obvious. Hence, an interesting new development began to take shape. The Pacific Alliance is a work in progress but its anchors are stronger than one could surmise at first sight.

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Report: Feds must see border in new light

May 2, 2014

truckingU-T San Diego, 5/1/14

The U.S. government has been single-mindedly focused on border security since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, preventing the San Diego-Tijuana region from reaching its full economic, social and cultural potential, according to a report released Thursday.

The report, co-authored by an internationally known urbanist who studies global competitiveness, calls for more efficient cross-border transportation infrastructure at ports of entry. It urges improved government systems and technologies that facilitate the crossings of people and goods across the border. It demands a reduced role for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in border management, and greater participation by the departments of State and Commerce.

“Our national security concerns are real and urgent,” writes one of the report’s authors, Richard Florida, an urban studies professor who has written about mega-regions as drivers of global economic growth. “But we are not meeting them by tying up trucks in traffic, interrupting supply chains and torturing blameless business travelers and tourists with long lines and cumbersome bureaucracies.”

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Cinco De Mayo: Whose Holiday Is It, Anyway?

May 2, 2014

cinco de mayoNPR, 5/2/14

Across the country this weekend, Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with festivals, music, Mexican food and plenty of bar specials.

But south of the border, the holiday merits little more than a parade in the city of Puebla, east of Mexico City. There, in 1862, outgunned Mexican troops defeated an invading French army.

Lesley Tellez writes about Mexican food and culture for The Mija Chronicles online. She says that when she moved from Southern California to Mexico City, she looked forward to Cinco de Mayo. But she was the only one looking for a party.

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Mexico’s Foreign Reserves Rise by $503 Million

May 1, 2014

Photo by Flikr user digitalmoneyworldLatin American Herald Tribune, 4/30/14

Mexico’s foreign reserves rose by $503 million last week to $184.01 billion, the Bank of Mexico said.

Gold and foreign currency reserves grew in the week ending April 25 due to the sale of $500 million by the federal government to the Bank of Mexico and an increase of $3 million in the value of foreign assets held by the central bank.

Reserves have grown by $7.49 billion since Jan. 1, the Bank of Mexico said in a statement.


Spotlight Of Mexican Drug War Focuses On State Along U.S.-Mexico Border

May 1, 2014

drug warFox News Latino, 4/30/14

Once again, the bodies are piling up in this violent U.S.-Mexican border state.

At least 14 people died Tuesday in several firefights between federal forces and gunmen in the city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. The dead included 10 alleged gunmen, two federal police officers and two bystanders, Tamaulipas state authorities said.

Gunmen blocked some of the industrial city’s main avenues with buses in the afternoon and then ambushed federal police officers on patrol, officials said.

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