Mexico Honors a Colombian Writer Who Many Considered One of Their Own

April 22, 2014

Photo by Flickr user mansionwb

NY Times, 4/21/14

Every March, often with a yellow flower pinned to his lapel, Gabriel García Márquez stood on the stoop of his home here to greet well-wishers on his birthday.

He wrote his foremost work, “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” here in the mid-1960s after a flash of inspiration during a drive to the Pacific resort of Acapulco with his family.

And after Mr. García Márquez’s death on Thursday at his home, more than a few Mexican writers and admirers, who drank with him, danced with him and argued long into the night with him, laid claim to his soul despite his Colombian roots and works that found devotees far from Latin America.

“I always considered him a Mexican of Colombian origin,” said Homero Aridjis, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed poets, who met Mr. García Márquez in 1962, a year after he arrived. “Or a Colombian firmly rooted in Mexico.”

So it seemed fitting that the first public memorial service for Mr. García Márquez, who was 87, took place here on Monday, with thousands of people braving a hot sun — and later, rain — to file into the city’s most esteemed cultural hall, the Palace of Fine Arts, and pass his urn amid wreaths of yellow roses, his favorite.

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Mexico Peso Volatility Falls as Investors Await Energy Law Rules

April 22, 2014

peso by Guanatos GwynBloomberg, 4/21/14

Mexico’s peso volatility dropped for a sixth day as investors awaited the presentation of proposed regulations to put into effect constitutional changes that were enacted to support growth.

Three-month historical volatility, a measure of the peso’s fluctuations during the period, declined to 9.2 percent today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso appreciated 0.2 percent to 13.0301 per U.S. dollar, the biggest advance against the dollar among the greenback’s 16 most-traded counterparts.

Investors are waiting for President Enrique Pena Nieto to propose rules for implementing constitutional changes to open the energy industry, which his administration predicts will boost growth by 1 percentage point by the end of his term. Finance Minister Luis Videgaray had said he wanted the measures, known as secondary laws, to be presented and passed by next week, when the current congressional session ends.

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New NPR Series ‘Borderland: Dispatches From The U.S.-Mexico Boundary’

April 21, 2014

border2Reports on NPR Newsmagazines March 19-28

In an effort to discover how two nations influence each other, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and a team of NPR journalists traveled the 1,900-mile length of the U.S.-Mexico border to report on the people, goods and culture that cross the heavily-fortified boundary. NPR News presents the dispatches and related coverage as the multipart series “Borderland,” exploring major issues such as immigration, the drug trade, business and cultural change through the personal stories of people who live where the countries meet. “Borderland” begins airing today on Morning Edition,continuing daily until March 28 across the show as well as All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Saturday and Sunday, and are also available online at

“Borderland” humanizes border issues, which are hotly-debated but not always well-illuminated. Inskeep and fellow journalists talk with migrants, refugees and law enforcement officials, and meet with writers, musicians and workers in Mexican factories known as maquiladoras. NPR’s John Burnett, Kelly McEvers, Carrie Kahn and Ted Robbins, as well as Monica Ortiz-Uribe and Jude Joffe-Block of public radio’s Fronteras Desk also offer complementary reports in the series.

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A 12-Year-Old’s Trek of Despair Ends in a Noose at the Border

April 21, 2014

Photo Credit: Kelly DonlanNY Times, 4/19/14

Noemi Álvarez Quillay took the first steps of the 6,500-mile journey to New York City from the southern highlands of Ecuador on Tuesday, Feb. 4, after darkness fell. A bashful, studious girl, Noemi walked 10 minutes across dirt roads that cut through corn and potato fields, reaching the highway to Quito. She carried a small suitcase. Her grandfather Cipriano Quillay flagged down a bus and watched her board. She was 12.

From that moment, and through the remaining five weeks of her life, Noemi was in the company of strangers, including coyotes — human smugglers, hired by her parents in the Bronx to bring her to them. Her parents had come to the United States illegally and settled in New York when Noemi was a toddler. Noemi was part of a human flood tide that has swelled since 2011: The United States resettlement agency expects to care for nine times as many unaccompanied migrant children in 2014 as it did three years ago.

She got a little closer this year. In March, a month after she left home, the police picked up Noemi and a coyote in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The authorities took her to a children’s shelter. She was described as crying inconsolably after being questioned by a prosecutor. A few days later, she was found hanged from a shower curtain rod in a bathroom at the shelter. Her death, ruled a suicide by Mexican authorities, remains under investigation by a human rights commission there.

The number of unaccompanied minors caught entering the United States and then referred for placement is expected to reach 60,000 in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, said Lisa Raffonelli, a spokeswoman for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an increase from 6,560 in 2011. In Mexico, the number has more than doubled.

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Mexican president to head homage to Garcia Marquez

April 21, 2014

Photo by Flickr user mansionwb

Associated Press, 4/21/14

The presidents of Mexico and Colombia are expected at a memorial ceremony for novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The homage to the late writer is being held Monday at Mexico City’s most prestigious cultural venue, the Bellas Artes theater.

Garcia Marquez had ties to both countries. Born in Colombia, he spent much of his adult life and wrote his greatest works in Mexico. Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico says it’s up to the family of the Nobel laureate who died Thursday in Mexico City. The family has not revealed its wishes.

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Supreme Court declines to revive Arizona immigration law

April 21, 2014

Supreme Court US by Flikr user dbkingReuters, 4/21/14

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to revive a provision in an Arizona law that sought to criminalize the harboring and transportation of illegal immigrants. The court’s decision not to hear the state’s appeal leaves intact an October 2013 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that found in part that the provision was trumped by federal immigration law.

The harboring provision, part of Arizona’s controversial 2010 immigration law, made it a criminal offense to encourage illegal immigrants to enter the state or to harbor or transport them within Arizona. Various groups that work with immigrants, including the Border Action Network, challenged the provision.

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The fracking divide: Mexico’s oil frontier beckons U.S. drillers in wake of new law

April 21, 2014

energy- oil pumps 2The Washington Post, 4/19/14

The geological marvel known to Texas oilmen as the Eagle Ford Shale Play is buried deep underground, but at night you can see its outline from space in a twinkling arc that sweeps south of San Antonio toward the Rio Grande. The light radiates from thousands of surface-level gas flares and drilling rigs. It is the glow of one of the most extravagant oil bonanzas in American history, the result of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Curving south and west, the lights suddenly go black at Mexico’s border, as if there were nothing on the other side.

A landmark energy bill approved by Mexico’s Congress in December is aimed at correcting this disparity. It has opened the country’s oil industry to private and foreign investment for the first time in 75 years, with the goal of bringing in new technology, expertise and a risk-taking culture long missing at the state oil monopoly, Pemex.

Lawmakers will be hashing out the nuts and bolts of the law over the coming weeks, but expectations are that U.S. and other global companies will be able to bid on oil and gas projects by the end of this year, beckoning the fracking crews across the border — into some of Mexico’s most violent areas.

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