May 22, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle, 5/21/2013
To anyone who was wondering whether President Enrique Peña Nieto would be as staunch an advocate of Mexico’s tourism industry as his predecessor had been didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Presenting his national tourism policy in February, he said he intended to turn Mexico into a world-class destination, and his new Secretary of Tourism, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, said tourism will be the “engine to drive development for all Mexicans.”
Though the presentation was laced through with government-speak and obviously aimed less at tourists than at economic policy-makers concerned with an industry that generates nearly 9 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product, tourists could already see some of the results by the time Mexico’s annual Tianguis Turistico, Latin America’s biggest tourism trade event, took place in March. Mexico Mix previously covered some of the announcements affecting visitors to some of the country’s most popular destinations in March.
May 17, 2013
Global Post, 5/17/2013
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vows big changes with the economic reforms he’s pushing and they’ve already taken more than a little change from the pockets of mega-mogul Carlos Slim. With stock in his flagship phone company America Movil slipping because of telecommunications reforms about to become law, Slim lost the title of world’s richest man Thursday to Microsoft founder Bill Gates for the first time in six years.
Peña Nieto seems on a roll with his campaign to shift the chatter about his country from drug war violence to economic possibility. Since taking office in December, he has worked with political opponents to push constitutional fixes aimed at breaking the choke hold interest groups have around Mexico’s economy.
May 3, 2013
The 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, President Obama met with Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto. During his visit Obama sought to recast the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship in terms of economic and not just security, cooperation. He called for an end to “old stereotypes” and a need “to recognize new realities.” In an op-ed for Fox News Latino, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza argued the time is ripe to advance bilateral relations in terms of security, migration and trade.
Years of “unprecedented closeness” and security cooperation between U.S. and Mexican intelligence agencies were said to be in jeopardy. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine and The Washington Post all commented on the current Mexican government’s decision to curb American involvement in the war against violent drug cartels.
Two recently conducted surveys – one prepared by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson Center; the other by the Pew Research Center – presented interesting results regarding American attitudes towards Mexico and Mexican views towards Americans.
The Peña Nieto administration’s reformist agenda enjoyed yet another victory when a bill to reform Mexico’s tightly controlled telecommunications sector won final approval in the Mexican Congress. Despite this, however, Reuters reported on the growing tensions within the Pacto por México, and said further cooperation between the three main political parties would likely be put on hold until a vote-buying scandal is resolved. Meanwhile, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the joint bid by San Diego and Tijuana to hold the first U.S.-Mexico cross-border Olympic games in 2024.
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May 2, 2013
United States President Barack Obama travels to Latin America today for a three-day visit with stops in Mexico where he will meet with the newly-inaugurated President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he will meet with the presidents of Central America and the Dominican Republic. While Mexican, Central American and US leaders look to broaden the discussion points beyond a narrow focus on security, noticeably absent in their public pronouncements have been questions about democracy and human rights.
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.
May 1, 2013
Global Post, 4/30/13
Amid the clamor framing President Barack Obama’s overnight stop in Mexico’s capital Thursday, smarter folk will be listening to the sounds of silence. Because in such whistle-stop summits national leaders usually strive to accentuate the positive.
But more than the happy chatter — about trade, economic reforms and enduring friendships — what Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto don’t say, at least publicly, may be more telling about their countries’ close but often conflicted relationship. Analysts say US officials privately have been chewing nails over what might be Peña’s dismantling of their close involvement in Mexico’s six-year campaign against its crime lords.
May 1, 2013
When former Mexican President Felipe Calderón waged his war on drug cartels, the media were guaranteed a crime photo op every few weeks. Alleged gangsters were thrust before the press along with heaps of guns, money and narcotics. These narco-perp walks were often accompanied by videos in which heavy-breathing suspects confessed how they had committed hundreds of murders and smuggled tons of cocaine to American users. And the parades often coincided with top U.S. officials visiting Mexico and trumpeting how the two nations stood shoulder to shoulder in their joint fight against cartel crime.
However, it is unlikely that U.S. President Barack Obama will be shown any such displays when he visits Mexico this Thursday. Since President Enrique Peña Nieto took power in December, the parades have stopped as part of an overhaul in the government’s security strategy. (Human-rights defenders also decried these staged pantomimes of justice.) Peña Nieto has shifted focus from fighting cartels to modernizing the economy and has encouraged media outlets to dedicate less coverage to decapitations and shoot-outs. In the run-up to Obama’s visit, both governments have emphasized trade and immigration reform over the battle with the cocaine kings. “The Peña Nieto administration has made it clear it wants to reduce the emphasis on violence and wants to talk about other things such as its reform agenda,” says security analyst Alejandro Hope, a former official of Mexico’s intelligence agency, CISEN. “It wants to change the conversation.”
May 1, 2013
The New York Times, 4/30/13
In their joint fight against drug traffickers, the United States and Mexico have forged an unusually close relationship in recent years, with the Americans regularly conducting polygraph tests on elite Mexican security officials to root out anyone who had been corrupted. But shortly after Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, took office in December, American agents got a clear message that the dynamics, with Washington holding the clear upper hand, were about to change.
There have long been political sensitivities in Mexico over allowing too much American involvement. But the recent policy changes have rattled American officials used to far fewer restrictions than they have faced in years. Asked about security cooperation with Mexico at a news conference on Tuesday, President Obama said: “We’ve made great strides in the coordination and cooperation between our two governments over the last several years. But my suspicion is, is that things can be improved.”
May 1, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 4/30/13
President Barack Obama will seek to spotlight Mexico’s recent economic strides during a visit there this week, part of a broader push by both nations to move beyond common concerns over drugs and crime. “A lot of the focus is going to be on economics,” Mr. Obama told a news conference on Tuesday. “We’ve spent so much time on security issues between the United States and Mexico that sometimes I think we forget this is a massive trading partner responsible for huge amounts of commerce and huge numbers of jobs on both sides of the border.”
The two-day trip—Mr. Obama’s fourth to Mexico as president—comes amid momentous changes for both countries. In the U.S., Congress is debating how to overhaul its immigration system, an effort that, if successful, could eliminate a long-standing source of friction between the two countries.
April 29, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 4/28/13
President Obama travels to Mexico this week amid signs that the relationship between the United States and its southern neighbor’s new government faces a new period of uncertainty after years of unprecedented closeness forged by the deadly war against Mexican drug cartels.
The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is said to be wary of the level of U.S. involvement in security affairs that characterized the administration of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. As a result, the Mexican government is expected to narrow U.S. involvement in its attorney general’s office and Interior Ministry, the agencies that oversee police and intelligence, current and former U.S. and Mexican officials say.