Mexico’s leftist election winners to appeal campaign funding fine

07/18/18 Reuters

Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures as he addresses the audience during a meeting at Plaza Zaragoza in Monterrey, Mexico

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s political party said on Wednesday it would appeal a $10 million fine from the National Electoral Institute (INE) for breaking campaign finance rules.

INE voted 10-1 in favor of fining the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) 197 million pesos, the largest penalty of the election season that concluded with a presidential landslide for leftist Lopez Obrador and a majority for his party in Congress.

The fine is over a trust created by MORENA last year, which the party said went to helping earthquake victims. But INE said that MORENA was opaque about the money that came in and out and that it broke the rules.

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Mexico electoral authority issues $10 million fine

07/18/18 The Washington Post

Scales - justice - inequality

Mexico’s electoral authority has levied a $10 million fine on the party of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for allegedly establishing a trust fund for victims of last year’s earthquake that had unusual movement of funds.

The National Electoral Institute says most of the fund money went to members of the Morena party. It could not establish whether the money then went to earthquake victims or determine the original sources of much of the money.

In a statement Wednesday, the institute said it is illegal for political parties to give out money.

Morena says the fund was private and not run by the party. It plans to appeal.

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OAS Condemns Human Rights Abuses in Nicaragua

07/18/18 The New York Times

nicaragua oasThe Organization of American States adopted a resolution Wednesday condemning human rights abuses committed by Nicaraguan police and armed pro-government civilians since protests against President Daniel Ortega began in mid-April.

The resolution, which was adopted 21-3 with seven abstentions, also criticized the harassment of Roman Catholic bishops.

Catholic officials who have been mediating stalled talks on finding a peaceful solution to the standoff and have criticized Ortega’s government over killings have suffered at least three recent attacks.

The OAS resolution by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and the U.S. called on Ortega to support an electoral calendar agreed upon during the dialogue process.

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Mexico: Self-Defense Militia Boss Cleared of Weapons Charges

07/18/18 The New York Times

mireles.jpgThe lawyer for a self-defense movement leader in Mexico is hailing his client’s acquittal on charges of illegal weapons possession.

Attorney Ignacio Mendoza says the court ruling in favor of Jose Manuel Mireles is confirmation that the government acted irresponsibly.

Mendoza said Wednesday that the government acted “without shame” when it gave weapons to self-defense militias and then arrested them.

Mireles is a founder and leader of a civilian militia that formed in 2013 in the western state of Michoacan to oppose the Knights Templar drug cartel.

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US deporting crime victims while they wait for special visa

07/19/18 The Washington Post

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestFor victims of crime on U.S. soil who are living here illegally, a special visa program encourages them to help solve their cases and catch criminals, and often provides their only clear path to citizenship.

But as Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a harder line on immigration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears to be stepping up the detention and deportation of people who have applied for the so-called “U visa.”

“These cases come up on the regular,” said Cecelia Friedman Levin, senior policy counsel at ASISTA, a group that works with advocates and attorneys helping immigrant survivors of violence. “What that does, to my mind, is undermines the spirit of the protection to begin with.”

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Mexico aims to be able to ink NAFTA deal by end-November

07/18/18 Reuters

NAFTA_logoMexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday that the goal of Canada, the United States and Mexico is to be in a position to sign a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the end of November.

The three nations have been negotiating to revamp the 24-year-old trade pact since August, but talks have stalled over U.S. demands on autos and other issues, and while negotiators waited out Mexico’s recent presidential election.

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Mexico’s Alfa quarterly profit soars, boosted by petrochemicals

07/18/18 Reuters

A truck of the Mexican company Olympics bearing Mexican and U.S. flags approaches the border crossing into the U.S., in Laredo

Mexican conglomerate Alfa said on Wednesday that its net profit more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the year-earlier period, helped by a record quarter at its petrochemicals unit Alpek.

Alfa (ALFAA.MX), which has units in industries such as food packaging and car parts, said net profit was 3.59 billion pesos ($180 million) between April and June, compared to 1.37 billion pesos last year.

Revenue rose 19 percent to 93.7 billion pesos.

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