Headlines from Mexico

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1. The Independent Group of Interdisciplinary Experts has left Mexico after publishing their second report on the Ayotzinapa case. The GIEI left on an inquisitive note, why could the small team of the GIEI do more for the truth than the institution? Their departure was an emotional gathering as the parents and community said their goodbyes.

Read more: El Universal, Jornada, Milenio, Excelsior, Animal Politico

2. Roberta Jacobson was confirmed as United States Ambassador to Mexico after months of deliberations from the U.S. Congress. She has demonstrated through her public service that she is a highly qualified individual with an extensive background in diplomacy with Mexico.

Read more: El Universal, Jornada, Milenio, Expansión, Animal Político

3. Violence has surged in Acapulco as a growing presence of cartels has been noticed. Federal security is in question as doctors in Acapulco protested the lack of security in the hospitals, as it has become a growing concern.

Read more: El Universal, Excélsior, Milenio, Reforma, El Universal

4. An anti-corruption law proposed by the PRI and the PVEM came to the Senate floor this week. However, as it is missing two of the original seven clauses introduced in Ley 3 de 3, it is not being considered a sufficient effort.

Read more: Expansión, El Universal, Animal Político, Milenio, Jornada, Milenio

Mexico’s Ruling Party Cries ‘Witch Hunt’ at Landmark Anti-Corruption Bill

4/26/16 VICE News

maxresdefaultA grassroots proposal for a new law designed to make it harder for Mexican officials to hide ill-gotten gains has garnered unprecedented public support at a time when corruption and conflict of interest allegations buzz around both the government and their political rivals.

The bill, however, now appears on the point of being blocked from becoming law by the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI, and its allies in the senate.

Drawn up by lawyers, academics, and high-profile transparency activists and organizations, the citizen’s bill was designed to be included in the package of laws governing the implementation of the much-touted National Anti-Corruption System, which was approved last year.

“This was a real landmark for civil society in Mexico, actually drafting a bill and gaining enough signatures for it to reach the senate floor,” said Edna Jaime, director of the think-tank México Evalúa and one of the activists behind the initiative.

The proposal is called the Ley3de3, or the three-out-of-three law, because it would oblige all holders of public office to upload proof of their personal assets, tax returns, and potential conflicts of interest onto a national database that is already up and running. It also lays out formal channels for citizens to denounce corruption and recommends sanctions for those officials found guilty.

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The Guardian view on Mexico’s missing students: justice indefinitely deferred

4/29/2016 The Guardian 

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http://www.montecruzfoto.org

Mexico is supposed to be a modern country, a democracy, a society under the rule of law. That is certainly what it aspires to be, and when President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012 promising to aggressively tackle the violence that has disfigured Mexico in recent years, the hope was that those aspirations would be more fully realised than in the past. How then can it also be a country where the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 college students, whose only crime appears to have been that they hijacked some buses to attend a protest meeting, is still a mystery more than 18 months after it occurred? And not only a mystery, but one that the Mexican government seems determined will remain unsolved.

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Mexico is Latin American winner as Brazil spirals

4/29/16 CNN Money

South-America-BrazilIt’s a tale of two economies for Latin America’s two largest countries.

Brazil is in a political crisis and severe recession. Its president, Dilma Rousseff, could be impeached this year. Brazil’s debt has also been downgraded to junk status.

Meanwhile, Mexico is growing, politics are relatively stable and its debt was upgraded in 2014.

“Right now Mexico and Brazil are as different as they come, this is day and night,” says Alberto Ramos, head of Latin America economic research at Goldman Sachs.

Those diverging narratives bore out Friday. Officials in Brazil announced that unemployment hitnearly 11% in the three months ending in March, way up from about 8% a year ago. Mexico’s unemployment rate is 3.7%.

Mexico’s economy grew 2.7% between January and March compared to a year ago, according to government figures released Friday. That’s even slightly better than what most economists expected.

That’s not stellar growth but it’s a lot better than Brazil’s economy, which shrank 3.8% in the fourth quarter last year and its central bank estimates the economy will contract 3.5% this year.

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Mexico GDP Beats Forecasts on Consumer Spending; Peso Rises

4/29/16 Bloomberg Business

pesoMexico’s economy expanded more than analysts forecast for the third time in four quarters as strength in domestic consumption offset weak exports and a drop in oil output. The peso extended its gain, rallying to the strongest level in more than four months.

Gross domestic product rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures released by the national statistics institute Friday. That compared with the 2.4 percent median forecast of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. From the previous quarter, GDP expanded 0.8 percent. The institute will release final GDP figures May 20.

Mexican consumers are spending more as inflation holds near a record low and remittances rise amid weakness in the peso. The country has been a bright spot for growth compared with some Latin American economies such as Brazil, and in an interview last week, central bank Governor Agustin Carstens said it may get even better as factors that have held back the expansion, such as weak exports, begin supporting growth.

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Mexico Senate Unanimously Approves Prison Reforms

4/29/16 Insight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitMexico’s senate has unanimously approved a wide-ranging prison reform bill, but it’s unclear if these measures will be enough to revamp a penitentiary system badly in need of improvement.

On April 27, by a vote of 114 to zero, the senate passedthe National Penal Enforcement Law (Ley Nacional de Ejecución Penal), which will now head to the chamber of deputies for final approval.

The head of the senate justice committee, Fernando Yunes Márquez, said the legislation would ensure that Mexico‘s prisons “will no longer be nests of violations of the rights that our constitution guarantees.”

The bill prohibits the use of torture and other “cruel, inhuman or degrading” disciplinary measures, including confinement in cells without light and ventilation. It also bans the use of solitary confinement for more than 15 continuous days.

In addition, the legislation establishes gender-specific rights for incarcerated women, including the right to receive obstetrical-gynecological and pediatric care, as well as adequate and healthy food for their children if they remain with their mothers in prison.

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Mexican general gets 52 years for torturing, killing man

4/29/16 The Washington Post

San-Quentin-Prison-5.jpgMEXICO CITY — A judge has sentenced a general in the Mexican army to 52½ years in prison for ordering the torture of a suspect, then having his body burned, Mexico’s federal judiciary council said Thursday.

The sentence was among the longest ever against a senior army officer.

The council said the conviction came in a 2008 case in the northern state of Chihuahua. The judge also ordered the army to publicly apologize, clear the victim’s name and pay his family damages.

The judge in the case did not release the general’s name in the public case record. But the case number on the docket was the same as one linked in local media reports to Gen. Manuel Moreno Avina, who formerly commanded an army unit in the town of Ojinaga, across the border from Presidio, Texas.

Troops under the general’s command detained a suspect in a soldier’s death and tortured him for hours with electric shocks until he died. They then took the man’s body to a ranch and burned it.

The man was detained by soldiers just after midnight July 25, 2008. According to the council, the court found that soldiers “tied him up and watered him down in order to apply electric shocks on his body, in order to obtain information about the death of a soldier.”

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