Migrants are now drowning off the coast of Mexico, too

3/27/2017 Quartz

Sediment_in_the_Gulf_of_Mexico_(2)Northbound immigrants making their way to the US through Central America are taking to the sea to avoid tougher border enforcement in Mexico.

The exodus by sea of migrants from Guatemala to Mexico is not as complicated nor as big as the in the movement of Middle Eastern and African refugees traveling through the Mediterranean to get to Europe, but it can be just as deadly, newspaper El País reports (link in Spanish.)

Migrants funneling through Mexico en route to the US had in the past relied on “La Bestia,” or the beast, a cargo train on which they rode as stowaways. The nickname was warranted—those who boarded it risked life and limb by traveling on the train’s roof or hanging in between the carriages.

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Shadow of Organized Crime Hovers over Wave of Mexico Journalist Killings

3/24/2017 InSightCrime

gun - crime sceneThe murder of a Chihuahua-based correspondent marks the third killing of a journalist in Mexico this month, a wave of targeted violence for which organized crime may be responsible that also reflects more general trends of rising insecurity.

Miroslava Breach Velducea, the Chihuahua correspondent for the national Mexican news outlet La Jornada, was gunned down in her car on March 23 by unknown assailants as she exited her house to drive her son to school, reported Proceso.

Breach was struck by eight 9 mm bullets at close range, according to La Jornada, suggesting an execution-style killing.

During her career, the journalist had spoken out against human rights violations and the negative impacts of drug trafficking. Among the most recent subjects she investigated was the displacement of hundreds of families by drug trafficking organizations in Chihuahua, and organized crime’s infiltration of local elections.

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Renegotiate Nafta? Mexicans Say Get On With It

3/25/2017 New York Times

NAFTAMEXICO CITY — For more than two decades, free trade has been at the heart of Mexico’s relationship with America, responsible for pumping a stream of vehicles, audio components and avocados north and cheap corn, cattle and software south.

To the nation’s leaders, it was central, vital, nonnegotiable. At least until President Trump came along, promising to upend nearly $500 billion in annual trade between the two countries if it could not be re-engineered more in America’s favor.

Now, the Mexico’s leaders have a new priority: urging their American counterparts to hurry up and get on with it.

While free trade has long been an article of faith in Mexico, uncertainty over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement is hitting the country hard.

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Mexicans who help build Trump wall ‘traitors,’ top Archdiocese says

3/26/2017 Reuters

lead_960Mexicans who help build U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned border wall would be acting immorally and should be deemed traitors, the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico said on Sunday, turning up the heat on a simmering dispute over the project.

In a provocative editorial, the country’s biggest Archdiocese sought to increase pressure on the government to take a tougher line on companies aiming to profit from the wall, which has strained relations between Trump and the Mexican government.

“Any company intending to invest in the wall of the fanatic Trump would be immoral, but above all, its shareholders and owners should be considered traitors to the homeland,” said the editorial in Desde la fe, the Archdiocese’s weekly publication.

On Tuesday, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo warned firms it would not be in their “interests” to participate in the wall. But the editorial accused the government of responding “tepidly” to those eyeing the project for business.

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Trump’s U.S. jobs push may open doors to China in Mexico: ICBC bank

3/24/2017 Reuters

ChinaU.S. President Donald Trump’s push to force U.S. industry to bring jobs home is opening investment avenues for Chinese companies in Mexico, an executive with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s largest lender, said on Friday.

Fears of a hit to foreign investment ran high when Ford Motor Co (F.N) canceled a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico’s central state of San Luis Potosi in January.

Trump, who had railed against U.S. manufacturers investing in Mexico, hailed the decision as a major victory, but Ford put it down to declining demand for small cars.

Yaogang Chen, head of ICBC’s (601398.SS)(1398.HK) Mexico unit, said U.S. industry’s loss could be China’s gain.

“If some U.S. investment projects don’t (happen), there has to be somebody to invest. … If Chinese companies think it is profitable, they will invest,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a banking conference in the resort of Acapulco.

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Mexican leftist casts shadow over Mexican banking convention

3/25/2017 Reuters

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05Mexican financiers and politicians blasted populism at a top banking conference this week in a thinly veiled attack on the frontrunner for the 2018 presidential election – but some worry they overdid it and may have played right into his hands.

The chosen theme of the annual meeting at the beach resort of Acapulco was “liberalism versus populism,” with President Enrique Pena Nieto, senior ministers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell among the grandees squarely lined up on one side.

Without a voice but very much on the lips of the Mexicans was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist former Mexico City mayor and twice presidential runner-up whose relentless campaigning has put him in contention to go one better in 2018.

Lopez Obrador’s broadsides against corruption and inequality sting a Mexican political establishment tainted by allegations of graft, even as U.S. President Donald Trump’s populist jabs at Mexico have generated some sympathy for Pena Nieto at home.

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Mexico Will Hedge Oil Export Prices for Next Year, Rubio Says

3/25/2017 Bloomberg

Oil barrelsMexico plans “without a doubt” to protect the country against low crude prices for next year, Deputy Finance Minister Vanessa Rubio said in an interview, in a continuation of what’s become the world’s largest commodities hedging program.

The amount of Mexico’s export basket to be protected through market operations, versus through its stabilization fund, has yet to be determined, Rubio said in an interview on the sidelines of a banking conference in Acapulco. All options are open to reduce volatility of the peso, which is undervalued when economic fundamentals are taken into account, Rubio added.

Mexico, the world’s 11th-largest oil producer, spent $1 billion last year to buy put options that lock in an average price for its exports this year, and set aside close to $1 billion more from its budget stabilization fund to effectively guarantee oil revenue of $42 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery closed Friday at $47.97 a barrel.

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