Mexico’s New Government Strikes Jalisco Cartel Finances, Promises More

12/07/2018 – The New York Times

amlo 2MEXICO CITY — New Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is taking aim at the finances of the powerful Jalisco cartel in what a top anti-money laundering official said was the opening salvo in the fight to stop criminal gangs from flourishing with impunity.

Santiago Nieto, the new head of the finance ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit, told Reuters on Thursday that he had filed a complaint against three businesses and seven people linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. On Wednesday, the finance ministry said Nieto’s unit had filed its first complaint with prosecutors, but did not include any details.

The move against the Jalisco cartel, a relative newcomer that has risen to become one of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal gangs, heralds a new effort to overcome Mexico’s reputation for weak prosecutions against drug gang finances.

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El Chapo Trial: How Many Gory Details Can One Jury Take?

12/06/2018 – The Washington Post

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Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

By Alan Feuer

In terms of bloodshed described in court, even the most violent Mafia cases have nothing on the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo.

In the first four weeks of testimony, witnesses have recounted bone-chilling stories about people being stabbed in the face, getting gunned down on their doorsteps and nearly having their heads blown off. But while at least two dozens murders have already been discussed, many more dark tales — and much more grisly evidence — have gone unheard by jurors.

Judge Brian M. Cogan, who is presiding over the trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, has kept a tight leash on the gore, attempting to balance what is necessary to convey the stark realities of Latin American drug cartels and what is — literally — overkill. Judge Cogan seems to have taken the Goldilocks approach, looking for the spot between too much and not enough.

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Mexico President Says Working With U.S., Canada on Immigration Plan

12/3/2018 – New York Times

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Photo: El Economista/Notimex

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday said he was working with the United States and Canada to create a three-way investment plan to tackle the issue of immigration from Mexico and Central America.

Lopez Obrador, speaking in his first news conference since taking office on Saturday, also said that investments in an airport project for the capital, which he has said he will cancel, will be guaranteed. A trust on Monday said it would buy back up to $1.8 billion of debt issued to fund the project.

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Mexico’s new ‘common man’ president hits the ground running

12/3/2018 – Washington Post

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(Marco Ugarte/Associated Press)

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s newly inaugurated president hit the ground running Monday with his pledge to govern as a common man and end decades of secrecy, heavy security and luxury enjoyed by past presidents.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sported slightly ruffled hair at his first early morning news conference as president, which started at 7 a.m. local time Monday.

“Isn’t that a change, that I am here, informing you?” Lopez Obrador asked reporters. While past presidents have very seldom held news conferences, Lopez Obrador promised to do so on a near-daily basis, much as he did when he was mayor of Mexico City from 2000-2005.

Lopez Obrador took his first airplane flight as president Sunday, boarding a commercial flight with the rest of the passengers. He has promised to sell the presidential jet as an austerity measure.

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El Chapo’s Early Days as a Budding Kingpin

12/2/2018 – New York Times

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United States Law Enforcement, via Associated Press

The jurors at the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo, were treated last week to a cinematic narrative about the early years of the kingpin’s career, detailing his rise from a young upstart in the drug trade to a wealthy and successful narco-entrepreneur.

Much of the tale was told by one of El Chapo’s first employees, Miguel Angel Martínez, who began working for the cartel as a pilot in 1987 before being promoted to running operations in Mexico City.

Over four days last week as a government witness in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Mr. Martínez described how the crime lord went from being a novice trafficker with a staff of only 25 people to earning hundreds of millions of dollars that he spent on extravagances like a fleet of private jets and a rural ranch with a zoo where guests could ride a train past crocodiles and bears.

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Mexico’s Lopez Obrador Promises Radical Change in First Speech

12/2/2018 – New York Times

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Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY — Veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Mexican president on Saturday, promising a radical change of course in a country struggling with gang violence, chronic poverty and corruption on the doorstep of the United States.

The first leftist to take office in Mexico in a generation moved to reassure business after markets crashed last month on worries about his policies. He promised investments would be safe and that he would respect central bank independence.

Following are some reactions to his inaugural speech:

ALFONSO ESPARZA, ANALYST AT OANDA IN TORONTO

“There were no great surprises in the speech. It reiterates criticism of the neo-liberal model with the example of the energy reform, and puts forward increasing the number of refineries. Lots of problems were raised but not much time was left to get into solutions.”

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Mexico begins moving caravan migrants to new shelter but faces mistrust

11/30/2018 – Washington Post

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Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post

Mexican authorities have begun moving Central American migrants from a crowded, increasingly unsanitary encampment to a government-run shelter farther from the U.S.-Mexico border, raising fears among members of a migrant caravan that their dreams of seeking asylum in the United States will be dashed.

Buses arrived to take people to the new shelter starting Thursday evening as rain pelted the encampment in a sports complex, deepening the misery of more than 6,000 migrants stuck in limbo amid trash and mud. By 10:30 p.m., about 700 people had gone to the new shelter, called Barretal, in what was formerly a concert space, the Mexican Commission on Human Rights said.

But many migrants, the bulk of them from Honduras, were staying put, suspicious of Mexican authorities’ intentions.

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