May 2, 2013
As President Barack Obama prepares to travel to Mexico Thursday for a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto economic growth, immigration and security policies top the agenda. Yet one unmentioned theme – Mexico’s dismal labor rights record – has important consequences for all three of these policy areas.
From 2006-2012, the government of Felipe Calderón mounted a full-scale assault on democratic labor unions in Mexico, combining all the mechanisms of labor control built up during 70 years of one-party rule with full-scale military assaults on striking workers. Although the compensation of Mexican workers relative to U.S. workers in manufacturing was lower in 2010 than in 1975, Calderón was determined to drive wages even lower to attract foreign investment.
It is not yet clear whether Peña Nieto intends to continue Calderón’s repressive policies, or whether he will finally respect Mexican workers’ rights. The message that Obama sends could make a crucial difference.
January 30, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 1/29/2013
Here is what you probably won’t see in the coming weeks as the U.S. Congress debates a sweeping immigration overhaul: Mexico becoming involved.
Though the United States’ southern neighbor is the country with the most at stake as Washington considers changing its policy toward illegal immigrants, Mexican diplomats and government officials are expected to keep a low profile to avoid the appearance of meddling in U.S. affairs and to minimize any potential backlash among conservatives in the States.
September 27, 2012
The United Nations should lead a global debate over a less “prohibitionist” approach to drug policy, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Wednesday in the latest attempt by a Latin American leader to float possible changes to international narcotics laws.
Calderon, who leaves office on Dec. 1 after spending much of his presidency locked in a bloody battle with drug-smuggling gangs, told the U.N. General Assembly that organized crime was “one of the most serious threats of our time.”
“Today, I am proposing formally that (the United Nations) … carry out a far-reaching assessment of the progress and the limits of the current prohibitionist approach to drugs,” Calderon said.
September 11, 2012
The Wall Street Journal, 9/9/12
The incidents are an embarrassing setback for Mr. Calderón, who has hailed the creation of the Federal Police as the future of Mexican policing and one of his biggest accomplishments since taking power in 2006. His government created the force three years ago out of a smaller, existing agency and it was meant to be a trustworthy counterbalance to Mexico’s many local and state police…
The agency relied heavily on the use of lie detector tests to vet new recruits. But many police commanders felt the Mexican officials in charge of the polygraph tests weren’t well enough trained, said Daniel Sabet, a Georgetown University researcher who was invited by the federal police to evaluate its disciplinary system last year…
While vetting new recruits is important, the police also lack a robust internal-affairs department, said Eric L. Olson, who has studied the Mexican Federal Police at the Washington-based think tank Wilson Center.
Mr. Olsen says that as of last year, roughly 95% of the internal investigations under way at the agency involved administrative issues like officers not wearing uniforms or showing up to work. The agency had recently set up a program to catch corrupt cops through sting operations, but had only employed it twice—in both cases to catch police who were asking for minor bribes on roads outside of the industrial hub of Monterrey, Mr. Olson said.
August 24, 2012
InSight Crime, 8/23/12
The leader of Mexico’s Knights Templar gang, alias ‘La Tuta,’ has appeared in a rare video espousing his group’s peaceful credentials and calling for the downfall of Zetas leader ‘Z-40,’ a move that may be an attempt to detract attention from the recent security drive against him…
The leader then calls on Mexico’s other criminal groups to form a “common front” against, and kill, the Zetas leader Miguel Angel Treviño, alias “Z-40,” whom he describes as being the main culprit in perpetuating Mexico’s violence. La Tuta also broadens this request to the government, asking that President Calderon take action. This call follows a banner, or “narcomanta,” hung in recent days that declared the Knights Templar’s intentions to persecute Z-40.
August 23, 2012
The Washington Post, 8/22/12
A dispute over control of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of wireless frequencies has erupted into an ugly, personal feud between Mexico’s government and one of its most influential media companies.
The head of broadcaster MVS Communications and some of the top officials in President Felipe Calderon’s administration accused each other Wednesday of lying about the government’s reason for withdrawing MVS’s right to frequencies in a bandwidth used by the newest generation of mobile devices.
MVS charged that it was being punished for one of its show’s discussions of an allegation that President Felipe Calderon is an alcoholic. The government said MVS was making false charges in an effort to pressure authorities to reverse a regulatory decision that went against the company…
August 17, 2012
InSight Crime, 8/16/12
In an interview with Reforma, an official from Mexico’s federal ministry of security said they would not publish data on Mexico’s crime-related murders from before President Felipe Calderon leaves office on November 30.
Jaime Lopez Aranda, the head of the database center for the National Public Security System (or SNSP, for its initials in Spanish) told the newspaper that the statistics were a “failed experiment.”
In his personal opinion, Aranda added, “the Mexican state shouldn’t classify murders by organized crime because it deeply undermines criminal procedure.”
July 19, 2012
Financial Times, 7/18/12
This week’s US Senate probe into HSBC’s laundering of Mexican drug money seems to confirm Mr Calderón’s complaints. In many ways, it also confirms the popular Mexican notion that when it comes to the “War on Drugs”, Mexico provides the deaths while the US gets to keep all the money.
Yet on Wednesday, Mexican newspapers were as quick to flagellate local authorities for their ineffectiveness in fighting organised crime and money-laundering as they were to use the HSBC scandal to slam western countries for failing to do their bit in the “war on drugs”.
July 18, 2012
Animal Politico, 7/18/12
President Calderón received the presumptive president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto at the official presidential residence yesterday. This was the first time the two had met, and according to a press release they discussed economic, social, political and security issues. They also announced that once the judicial process following the election had ended; they would engage in an orderly transition process.
July 5, 2012
Fox News Latino/The Associated Press, 07/05/2012
Mexico’s next president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has not detailed his drug war strategy but has promised to halve the number of kidnappings and murders during his six-year term by moving law enforcement away from showy drug busts and focusing on protecting ordinary citizens from gangs.
Many analysts wonder if Peña Nieto is holding back politically sensitive details of his plans, or simply doesn’t know yet how he’ll be prosecute the next stage of Mexico’s drug war.