Mexico Faces Growing Gap Between Political Class and Calls for Change

December 16, 2014

12/12/2014 The New York Times

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

As the Nobel Peace Prize was being awarded in Oslo this week, a young man dashed on stage, unfurled a Mexican flag streaked with red paint and begged for help for his country because more than 40 college students have been missing for months after clashing with the police.

At the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony in Las Vegas last month, the big winners, Calle 13, shouted solidarity with the victims as they performed. At home, mass marches have regularly filled Mexican streets with angry calls for the government to act against corruption and crime.

But is the country’s political class listening?

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Mexico suffers slings and arrows as second act of its Shakespearean drama unfolds

December 15, 2014

12/14/2014 Financial Times

In Shakespearea7510812870_91063f01b1_zn tragedies, the second act — when the drama builds alongside the setbacks the protagonists must overcome — is often the longest and most painful. Something similar may now be happening to Mexico and its economy as the oil price slumps.

By early 2014, the government was riding high. Mr. Peña Nieto was dubbed the “Man who saved Mexico” by Time magazine. Investors rubbed their hands at the $50bn of foreign direct investment expected in Mexican energy by 2020- All was going well. But now, in the second act, the glory has started to fade: the protagonist must prove his mettle, and the audience is growing increasingly restless.

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Mexico missing students: Protesters clash with police

December 15, 2014

12/15/2014 BBC

15616107716_717b6cdfb0_zMexican police have clashed with protesters organising a concert in the city of Chilpancingo in support of a group of 43 students who went missing more than two months ago. Police said several officers had been injured, including some who were knocked down by a vehicle.

The two groups accused each other of starting Sunday’s violence. The case of the missing students, one of whom has been found dead, has triggered protests across Mexico.

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Mexico’s Season of Scandal and Violence

December 12, 2014

12/11/2014 Bloomberg Businessweek

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

Mexico has been engulfed in protests since the disappearance and alleged murder of 43 college students by a drug gang. While he contends with the unrest, President Enrique Peña Nieto also faces a big challenge to his economic agenda because of a scandal involving his wife, former soap opera star Angélica Rivera, and Grupo Higa, a government contractor.

On Nov. 3, the Peña Nieto administration awarded a $4.3 billion contract to build a high-speed railway to a group led by China Railway Construction (601186:CH). Three days later the government canceled the deal, citing general “doubts and concerns.” On Nov. 9, reporters led by prominent journalist Carmen Aristegui revealed that Rivera had agreed in 2012 to purchase an opulent property—called the White House because of its color—from a unit of Higa, a partner in the winning China-led bid. Aristegui’s team further revealed that the Higa unit still held the deed to the house. In response, the first lady said on YouTube that she’d paid 14.3 million pesos ($995,000) of the 54 million-peso purchase price. So the first lady’s mansion is owned by a construction company that has bid successfully for government contracts.

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Confronting Challenges to North America’s Energy Future

December 12, 2014

12/12/2014 Duncan Wood and Rachel Bronson via Forbes.com

stock-footage-montage-of-clean-energy-fossil-fuel-pollutionNorth America is fast becoming the epicenter of a transformation in global energy. Canada, Mexico and the United States are bringing to market huge new energy resources that were too expensive or politically risky to exploit until recently.  According to the Energy Information Administration, North American oil and gas growth is expected to exceed all of OPEC’s over the next decade.

But despite North America’s huge energy potential, the United States, Mexico, and Canada all face serious obstacles in getting their energy resources to market. Skills gaps and low public support for energy infrastructure stand in the way of a potentially rich North American energy future. As the three North American energy ministers prepare to meet in Washington on December 15th, they must develop innovative policy solutions to overcome these barriers and create the necessary support structure to fully realize North America’s emerging energy boom.

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New Ties Emerge Between Mexico Government and Builder

December 12, 2014

12/11/2014 The Wall Street Journal

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera salute during the military parade celebrating Independence Day at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico CityMexico’s finance minister bought a home from a prominent government contractor who is at the center of influence-peddling allegations roiling President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s administration, documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal show.

Property records show that the minister, Luis Videgaray, widely seen as the driving force behind Mexico’s recent economic overhauls, bought the house in an exclusive golf resort outside the picturesque town of Malinalco, in the central State of Mexico, from Bienes Raíces H&G SA.

The firm, commercial records show, is owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa, whose companies have won hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of public-works projects during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor of the State of Mexico and during his current administration.

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Plan Tamaulipas: A New Security Strategy for a Troubled State

December 11, 2014

By Christopher Wilson and Eugenio Weigend

photoEscudo_TAMPS_iti_Tula_STULA_Itinerario_CerrodelaCruz_HEADER_950x434[1]_0Recognizing that the situation in Tamaulipas had reached crisis level, in May, 2014, Mexico’s top security officials met with their state level counterparts in Tamaulipas to unveil a new security strategy. At the heart of the conflict between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, Tamaulipas suffers from high rates of violent crime, including the nation’s highest for kidnapping, large-scale cases of migrant abuse and extremely weak state and local level law enforcement institutions and governance. By sending significant additional resources to Tamaulipas, the federal government made a strong and much needed commitment to support efforts to restore public security in the state. This short report analyzes the new strategy, describes the challenging local context, and offers a few recommendations that could serve to strengthen the effort.

Read the publication here.


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