In Mexico, water fight underscores distrust of government

July 8, 2014

7/7/14 LA Times

Protestors and police - Jesus Villaseca Perez (Flickr)The church bells rang out, a normal occurrence in a community where the sound usually beckoned residents to weddings, funerals or religious services. But the clanging on this morning was different: frenetic, insistent, relentless.

The sound signaled an alarm — and a call to arms.

More than 1,000 armored anti-riot police had begun to move into the outlying Mexico City colonia. Residents, meanwhile, prepared to meet them, armed with rocky projectiles they had created by swinging large hammers into the pavement, sidewalks and planters.

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Mexican president says new state governor has his full backing

July 2, 2014

7/2/14 Fox News Latino

peña-nietoMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he planned to work closely with the new governor of the western state of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, on security, economic and development issues.

The national government does not want to “create competition or establish another level of government” in Michoacan, where federal officials deployed the security forces in January to restore order in the Tierra Caliente, the president said.

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Op Ed: To fix Washington, Look to Mexico

October 18, 2013

Christian Science Monitor, 10/17/2013

By Carlos Heredia

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoMexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto’s political grand bargain among rival parties has helped usher in long-needed reforms. The US has something to learn from Mexico’s willingness to put country ahead of party.

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How Mexico Became So Corrupt

June 27, 2013

cross my fingersThe Atlantic, 6/25/2013

Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language media company, is famous for its logo, a gold-colored eye gazing at the world through a television screen. According to The Guardian, this logo “captures the company’s success at controlling and dominating what Mexicans watch”. In a country where newspaper readership is tiny and the reach of the Internet and cable is still largely limited to the middle classes, Televisa — and its rival TV Azteca — exert a powerful influence over national politics. Through its scores of stations and repeater towers, the former accounts for roughly two-thirds of the nation’s free-to-air television; most of the rest belong to Azteca.

Accused for decades of politically slanted news coverage, Televisa represents another rarely spoken fact: modern Mexico has never functioned without corruption, and its current system would either collapse or change beyond recognition if it tried to do so. Just before the 2012 elections, Mexican news magazine Proceso and The Guardian released evidence of a series of shady deals struck between Televisa and the nation’s powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (the “PRI”).

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Op-ed: Mexico’s Toughest Job (Spanish)

June 6, 2013

people with question marksBy Carlos Elizondo Mayer-Serra, Reforma,

¿Cuál es el trabajo más difícil para llevar a cabo en México? Imagínese ser policía de tránsito. Mal pagado, sin el mínimo respeto de la ciudadanía, respirando aire contaminado en medio del calor, sin siquiera lugar para ir al baño. O cualquiera de los trabajos físicamente extenuantes, desde cortar caña a mover bultos de cemento. Pero dentro de los trabajos directivos uno de los peores debe ser el de gobernador. Pensará el lector que me volví loco. El jefe de un Ejecutivo estatal cuenta con mucho dinero. Los recursos que manda la Federación no han hecho más que crecer. Si son insuficientes, se puede pedir prestado al final del sexenio y luego pasarle la cuenta al sucesor.

Todo este dinero se puede usar con enorme discrecionalidad. La mayoría de programas de gasto social en los estados, por ejemplo, no tiene manuales de procedimientos. Es un puesto desde el que se puede enriquecer a compadres y amigos y darle trabajo a quien se desee. El gobernador suele controlarlo todo, desde el Poder Judicial local, hasta el instituto electoral de la entidad. No importa si gobierna mal. Basta un buen gasto en medios de comunicación. Los locales suelen estar bien dispuestos a recibir recursos públicos e incluso sobran medios nacionales generosos con el “góber”, claro, con contrato de publicidad de por medio. Y cuando un problema se pone difícil, siempre está la Federación para resolverlo, como ahora en Michoacán, cuyo gobernador enfermo no pudo enfrentar al crimen organizado.

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Ferrari Head of North America: Mexico Is The Next China

June 6, 2013

iStock_000008876270MediumForbes, 6/5/2013

Forget the hype about China – Mexico is the next big thing for automakers. “Mexico is the next China,” Ferrari North America CEO Marco Mattiacci said during a panel discussion today about the future of luxury. He was joined by Burgess Yachts CEO Jonathan Beckett and Gotham Jets CEO Gianpaolo De Felice for the hour-long talk, which was held aboard the $40 million yacht KATYA berthed in the Hudson River off New York’s West Side Highway.

Mattiacci said the massive growth anticipated in revenue and manufacturing didn’t necessarily pertain to Ferrari but to a broader 13-year expansion in the auto industry due mainly to dramatic wealth creation, an increased appetite for industry and from considerable investments from abroad. “We see indicators that lot of manufacturing is moving back to Mexico,” Mattiacci said. “The quality of education is absolutely outstanding, and you have a proximity with the U.S. as well. Plus there has been a change of government.”

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Amnesty Int’l says disappearances in Mexico ‘a human rights crisis,’ urges government to act

June 5, 2013

mystery manAssociated Press, 6/5/2013

The number of unsolved disappearances in Mexico constitutes a national scandal and a human rights crisis, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing what it called a systematic failure by police and prosecutors to investigate thousands of cases that have piled up since 2006. Rupert Knox, Amnesty’s Mexico investigator, said relatives are often forced to search for missing loved ones themselves, sometimes at considerable risk.

Adding insult to injury, Knox said police and prosecutors often don’t even bother to use the information that relatives dig up. Instead, police routinely assume that the missing are caught up in Mexico’s drug cartel conflicts. “They are stigmatized, they are treated with disdain, and the typical thing is to say the victims were members of criminal gangs,” Knox said. “That is a demonstration of the negligence that has allowed this problem to grow into a national scandal and a human rights crisis.”

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Mexico government downplays deadly violence

April 12, 2013

crime sceneThe Los Angeles Times, 4/11/13

The new government claimed the homicide rate in February was the lowest single monthly toll in 40 months. However, the number, 914, was about 5% lower than Reforma newspaper estimates and did not take into account the month’s fewer days in calculating the comparison. Peña Nieto and his officials have deliberately sought to refocus attention on Mexico’s still sluggish economy and issues other than violence in hopes of burnishing the government’s image and attracting investment that would in turn finance ambitious domestic programs.

In many ways, the government propaganda campaign has succeeded. From Washington think tanks to local Mexican newspapers, many of which have been attacked or threatened by criminal gangs, a rhetoric has emerged that ignores facts and promotes discussion of the economy over violence.

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NAFTA Works: A monthly newsletter on NAFTA and related issues

April 8, 2013

mexico-usa-flag-montageMexican Ministry of Economy, March 2013

The trade relationship between Mexico and the United States demonstrated another solid performance as products traded between both countries set a new record at $494 billion in 2012. This past year was also a success as bilateral trade saw an increase of 7.1%, one of the highest trade growth rates among the U.S.’ largest trading partners.

Over the 19 years of NAFTA, trade between Mexico and the U.S. has sextupled, growing 10% annually, a rate that exceeds that of the U.S. trade with the rest of the world (7%). The U.S.-Mexico trade is not only bigger than the GDP of Belgium, Poland or Taiwan, but is also highly integrated along a complex and dynamic supply chain that reflects the way products are traded in the 21st century.

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Corruption Network Found in Pemex (Spanish)

March 7, 2013

120px-PemexExcelsior, 3/7/2013

Authorities from the energy sector in the federal government  informed that  a network of corruption involving companies, contractors, employees, and officials at various levels operates in PEMEX.

Energy officials shared that information with federal legislators and felt that this network of corruption can present a challenge  to energy reform  scheduled for the second half of the year.

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