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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Join the Mexico Institute for an event on 10/15!

October 11, 2013

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U.S.-Mexico border, security cooperation & state elections – Weekly News Summary: May 17

May 17, 2013

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe 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…

A bipartisan immigration reform bill survived another week under review by the Senate Judiciary Committee [see this useful graphic by The Washington Post containing rulings to key amendments to the bill]. A  Los Angeles Times editorial pointed out that as baby boomers retire and U.S. birthrates continue to decline, immigrants will be needed to fill labor gaps. A different article in the same paper questioned whether or not a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would lead to an increase of the unauthorized population similar to the increase that followed the IRCA legalization of 1986.

VOXXI, a news website, argued that while border security should be a factor in the immigration reform debate, improving the efficiency of cross-border flows would provide a huge economic boost to both countries. The New York Times, meanwhile, highlighted San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s efforts to reach out to his counterpart in Tijuana and address border inefficiencies.

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Mexico’s IFE one of the most sophisticated electoral institutions in the world – #MexFacts

March 22, 2013

MexFact - Elections

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Survey shows that Mexico’s youth distrusts IFE (Spanish)

February 22, 2013

ife-logoDe acuerdo con la Encuesta de Cultura Política de los Jóvenes 2012, los ciudadanos de entre 18 y 29 años confían “poco” en el Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) y en el Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación (TEPJF), aunque la mayoría cree que ambas instituciones son imparciales y autónomas.

El estudio, elaborado por el Colegio de México para el Centro de Desarrollo Democrático del IFE, revela que los jóvenes se informaron sobre los candidatos presidenciales y sus campañas a través de los spots de televisión, y 30% vio los dos debates.

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Mexico election investigation goes against leftist

January 30, 2013

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05AP, 1/30/2013

During Mexico’s presidential election last year, the leftist candidate furiously complained that while he flew economy class his rival from the former ruling party campaigned in private planes, appeared constantly on television and was dramatically overspending campaign limits.

Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party won the vote over leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and election authorities began an investigation into allegations of campaign spending violations. Now, six months later, the electoral body says it has indeed found evidence of violations: by Lopez Obrador, not Pena Nieto.

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Mexico’s Ruling Party Used $5.2 Million Cash Cards

January 25, 2013

PRI logoAssociated Press, 1/25/2013

Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute has confirmed that President Enrique Pena Nieto’s party spent about $5.2 million through electronic cash cards during last year’s presidential campaign. While opposition parties had charged the money represented illicit campaign financing, the institute said it found no evidence of that.

Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party has said the money was used for normal party personnel expenses, but the funds aroused suspicion, because the money appeared to have been triangulated through several shadowy companies instead of being disbursed directly from party coffers. Opponents also said they suspected that corporations may have used the cards to make campaign donations, something that is prohibited under Mexican law.

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