Senate Passes Political Reform – Energy Reform Next, Stolen Radioactive Material, and Mexico´s Competitiveness vis-à-vis China – Weekly News Summary: December 6

December 6, 2013

coffee-by-flikr-user-samrevel1The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English language press had to say…

This week the Washington Post noted that Mexico’s Senate passed the most dramatic political reform attempt in decades which would allow re-election of federal legislators, create new election oversight and make the Attorney General’s office independent from the executive. It also highlighted that the Senate is moving on to energy reform, which is considered the most critical part of the reform package that President Enrique Peña Nieto is pushing to have passed before the end of this year. The Economist noted that it will be difficult for Mexico´s left to stop the Energy Reform after Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador suffered a heart attack on December 3rd. His absence weakened a blockade of the Senate that he had promised. Meanwhile, the Financial Post was not enthusiastic over the Energy Reform. In an article published this week, it argued that that even if the proposed reform is passed within a year, it could take up to 10 years for production to begin in the deep-sea reserves. Additionally, the profit-sharing contracts may not be as profitable as anticipated, as the terms under the proposal stipulate that foreign companies would receive a share of the revenues from the fields, rather than the oil and gas to sell themselves.

In another note, the BBC reported on Wednesday that a truck carrying medical radioactive material had been stolen near Mexico City. Mexico’s Nuclear Security Commission said that at the time of the theft, the cobalt-60 teletherapy source was “properly shielded”. Nonetheless, the Washington Post noted on Thursday, that the theft of the material sparked international concern over the possibility that the cobalt-60 could be used in a “dirty bomb.” By Wednesday afternoon, the same news outlet reported that authorities had found the stolen the radioactive material. The National Journal claimed that after the theft, a group of critics questioned if the International Atomic Energy Agency’s radiological security rules were enough for securing radioactive materials.

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Mexico’s Lopez Obrador, fiery leftist, suffers heart attack

December 4, 2013

Los Angeles Times, 12/3/2013

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s fiery leftist leader, suffered a heart attack early Tuesday and was hospitalized in stable condition, doctors said.

Lopez Obrador, a two-time presidential contender, former mayor of Mexico City and an increasingly contentious figure in Mexico’s political scene, was “progressing satisfactorily,” Dr. Patricio Ortiz, a cardiologist, said in a brief news conference at the Medica Sur hospital. He will remain hospitalized for two to five days for recovery, Ortiz said.

Read more…


Mexico crowd protests against energy reform

December 2, 2013

BBC News, 12/1/2013

protestorsTens of thousands of people have protested in the centre of Mexico City against President Enrique Pena Nieto’s planned overhaul of the energy sector.

 

Opposition leader Andres Lopez Obrador told the crowd to surround the Congress this week. Mr Pena Nieto says the plan to allow private investment in the oil and gas sector is needed to boost the economy. His approval ratings have slumped to their lowest since he took office a year ago.

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Opposition to Mexico Leader’s Plan Falters

September 9, 2013

protestorsThe Wall Street Journal, 9/9/2013

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is trying to push through a series of economic and social overhauls, was buoyed on Sunday by a lower-than-expected turnout of demonstrators protesting his strategy.

The protesters, led by former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, marched in an organized effort to stop the president’s planned energy-sector overhaul and to defend Mexican nationalism. But the populist managed to draw only about 40,000 people, say Mexico City police—far fewer than he predicted and what he has marshaled in the past.

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Mexico City mayor seeks to unite left after split

September 14, 2012

Chicago Tribune/Reuters, 9/13/2012

Marcelo Ebrard

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is trying to rally Mexico’s left behind him after rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would break with the established parties following his defeat in July’s presidential election.

In an interview with Reuters, Ebrard said on Thursday he aims to bring the left back together, contrasting himself with Lopez Obrador, who has strong support among the poor and came close to winning the last two elections but alienated centrist voters with his combative style.

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Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto officially declared election winner [video included]

September 4, 2012

Los Angeles Times, 8/31/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

Dismissing arguments that recent elections were rife with fraud, Mexico’s electoral tribunal on Friday officially declared Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto the president-elect, a ruling that was defiantly rejected by leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the second-place finisher who, for the second presidential contest in a row, called his followers into the streets of the capital to protest.

The unanimous ruling by the seven-judge panel clears the way for the return of Peña Nieto’s party, known as the PRI, to power. It had lost the quasi-authoritarian grip on the country that it had enjoyed for more than seven decades in 2000, after numerous democratic reforms.

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To listen to Pena Nieto’s first message as President-elect click on the link, Primer mensaje de EPN como presidente electo.


Mexican retailer lashes out at losing presidential candidate

August 6, 2012

The Los Angeles Times, 8/02/2012

One of Mexico’s largest retailers has been unwillingly dragged into the hullabaloo over just how dirty the nation’s recent presidential election was, and now it’s yelling “ya basta!” — enough already — and accusing the runner-up of promoting protests at its stores that have been marked by “aggressiveness and violence.”

The retail giant Soriana, which operates more than 500 grocery stores, quickie marts and Wal-Mart-style megastores, became entangled in the country’s impassioned post-electoral narrative soon after the July 1 vote. At that time reports surfaced that supporters of the victorious Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, were jamming the outlets’ aisles in the hopes of redeeming prepaid Soriana gift cards that the PRI had allegedly given them.

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