Human rights groups say Mexico not investigating spyware claims

02/21/2018 Reuters

pexels-photo-534204.jpegA group of human and digital rights activists said on Tuesday that the Mexican government had failed to properly investigate allegations their smartphones were infected with spying software. They have asked for an independent investigation.

Activists, human-rights lawyers and journalists filed a complaint in June with the attorney general’s office, claiming the government had infected their phones to spy on them with software known as Pegasus, which Israeli company NSO Group allegedly sold to Mexico’s government.

“Since filing the complaint we said we did not trust the attorney general’s office would be able to investigate itself, since there is evidence it was that agency that purchased the malware,” the activist groups said in a joint statement.

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Mexican candidate: government erred in not going after arms

02/21/2018 ABC News

Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City
Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Ruling-party presidential candidate Jose Antonio Meade said Wednesday the Mexican government made a mistake by focusing more on seizing drugs headed for the United States than on weapons headed into Mexico.

Meade said that if he wins the July 1 election he would focus more on inspecting vehicles coming into Mexico and better training for police.

Homicides in Mexico rose by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017. Its homicide rate was 20.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, compared to 19.4 in 2011, the peak year of Mexico’s drug war. Most of those killings involved guns, many smuggled in from the United States.

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Mexico’s Obrador Backs Private Oil Contracts, Top Adviser Says

02/20/2018 Bloomberg

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 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 February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Two years after vowing to cancel them if elected, Mexico’s leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador appears to be having a change of heart about the oil industry reforms of 2013 that opened the country’s energy sector to private investment.

The runner-up in both the 2006 and 2012 elections, Lopez Obrador, 64, has reviewed most of the oil tenders awarded to private drillers and found them to be beneficial for Mexico, his top business adviser, Alfonso Romo, said in an interview.
Amlo, as the current front-runner is known, found the auctions to be well-executed and transparent, Romo said at his Mexico City headquarters of Vector, the brokerage firm he owns. Romo added that not a single company would be nationalized if the candidate wins the election July 1.

Mexico presidential hopeful says he is target of government spying

02/13/2018 Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican presidential candidate denounced on Tuesday alleged surveillance of his movements by the government and demanded an explanation, the latest in a series of accusations that Mexico is spying without due cause on its own citizens.

Ricardo Anaya, a former congressman in second place in many opinion polls ahead of July’s election, published a video on Twitter that shows him confronting the driver of a vehicle following him on a highway who identifies himself as a member of the country’s main intelligence agency, CISEN.

In the video, the smiling agent says he is following Anaya “so that there’s no problem.”

Government surveillance has raised major concerns in Mexico in recent months, with reports of journalists, NGO workers and opposition politicians being tracked. Fears about Russian attempts to influence the election have also made headlines.

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End of NAFTA wouldn’t be ‘end of world’: Mexican leftist’s top diplomat

02/09/2018 Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The collapse of NAFTA would not be a disaster for Mexico, the top foreign policy advisor to leftist presidential election frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, adding that Mexico should depend less on the United States and not interfere with regional neighbors.

Veteran diplomat Hector Vasconcelos echoed Lopez Obrador’s position that Mexico should suspend talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement until a new government is elected in July, and said Mexico had other trade options.

“We have alternatives, if for any reason we don’t manage a good renegotiation of the free trade deal, it wouldn’t be the end of the world,” Vasconcelos told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

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Mexican leftist has 11-point lead in presidential race – opinion poll

02/07/2018 Reuters

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05Left-wing Mexican presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has an 11-point lead over rivals, according to an opinion poll completed last week, with his closest rival gaining slightly and the ruling party candidate losing support.

Lopez Obrador holds 34 percent of the vote, eleven percentage points more than Ricardo Anaya of the left-right coalition “For Mexico in Front” on 23 percent, according to the survey by polling firm Parametria, published by Reuters on Wednesday ahead of wider publication.

Two time presidential runner-up Lopez Obrador has promised to review billions of dollars of private oil contracts and wipe out corruption. He vows more social spending without upsetting Mexico’s macro-economic stability.

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Lopez Obrador’s Nafta Chief Intends to Keep Mexico in Agreement

02/01/2018 Bloomberg

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The Harvard-educated historian and economist who’ll run Nafta negotiations for Mexico if Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins in July said that the deal is a valuable part of the nation’s economy and she wouldn’t seek to start over fresh on work to modernize it.

Graciela Marquez, tapped by the front-runner in the polls to become economy minister if he’s elected, said Nafta has been an engine of job growth and fostered the opening of Mexico’s economy to global forces. Still, the accord hasn’t been a panacea, and Lopez Obrador wants to develop Mexico’s domestic market and reduce inequality without resorting to protectionism, she said.

Marquez, 52, a career academic, said she’s ready to negotiate with President Donald Trump’s administration if Nafta talks aren’t finished by the time Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office in December. She compared her own experience favorably with that of Ben Bernanke, who was a professor at Princeton University before joining the Federal Reserve in the early 2000s.

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