How El Chapo’s tunnel could bury the rival who jailed him, Mexico’s president

July 15, 2015

07/15/15 Washington Post

Enrique Pena NietoEnrique Peña Nieto was looking good, as usual.

His thick head of dark hair was smoothed back. His trim figure was packed into an elegant suit and tie. And the handsome face that had won over Mexicans — 38 percent of them at least — 18 months ago now gleamed in the center of the television camera’s frame, just between a tricolor flag and a book simply titled: Mexico.

As Peña Nieto began answering questions on air, however, it quickly became clear that Mexico’s rakish young president didn’t just look good. He felt good, too.

And why not? He had just caught the world’s most wanted criminal.

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Immigration becoming key GOP issue

July 13, 2015

07/13/15 The Boston Globe

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006In 2004, it was the Iraq War. In 2008 and 2012, it was the economy.

And as 2016 approaches, immigration has become the presidential race’s most divisive issue in the GOP primary — with ramifications that could extend until next November.

Well before Donald Trump’s comments debasing Mexican immigrants and a San Francisco woman’s death allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant earlier this month, voters peppered candidates with immigration questions in town hall meetings across the Granite State.

“Immigration has been a question in every event I have gone to for months and months,” former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina said in an interview during her five-day swing in New Hampshire last week.

The candidates’ stances on immigration have become, for some GOP voters, a litmus test to determine whether a hopeful is conservative, moderate, or somewhere in between. Their positions often denote whether they stand with the traditional GOP stronghold of business — which generally support a pathway to legal status for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants — or with the populist base, who foremost want to secure the southern border.

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Inside the Strange Candidacy of Mexico’s Former First Lady

July 6, 2015

07/06/15 Daily Beast

Margarita ZavalaWill Margarita Zavala follow her own path, or would she govern as the second coming of her husband, the much-reviled ex-president Felipe Calderón?
MEXICO CITY — In Latin America, a region where polarizing political figures seem to be the norm, few have proven more divisive than Mexico’s Felipe Calderón, who came to power after a hotly contested election in 2006 won by a razor-thin difference of 0.58 percent of the votes, and then launched a much-criticized all-out campaign against the drug cartels.
The bloody war that followed saw the president assailed politically from all sides. His opponents went after him, of course: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the man Calderón defeated, took to the habit of calling him “Espurio,” the spurious one. Human Rights groups, justifiably outraged by the carnage, went after him as well. But Calderon, a well-known political brawler ever since his days in the Mexican Congress, didn’t shy away from the fight. Perhaps due to his combativeness, he wrapped up his six-year term with an approval rating hovering around 53 percent. Polarizing, but hardly unpopular. There are no second terms allowed for Mexican presidents.

Divided Mexico unites against Trump: ‘He has no respect for human beings’

July 6, 2015

07/06/15 The Guardian

Mexican Flag XXLFrom the country’s wealthiest to those struggling to get by, people raise their voices against the real estate mogul following his comments on immigration.

Arturo Palomino slapped down a domino during a game set up beside his lonely stall at a bus station in the Mexican capital. “If I had Donald Trump in front of me, I would call him a racist imbecile,” the pirated DVD salesman said. “He thinks that because he has money he can say anything he likes.” Nearly three weeks after the business tycoon announced his candidacy to be US president with a speech in which he claimed Mexican immigrants were criminals whose presence was undermining American greatness, the row refuses to die.“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best,” Trump said during the announcement on 16 June. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”

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Bernie Sanders strives to sell his message to Latino voters in Nevada

June 22, 2015

06/22/15 Los Angeles Times

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 200Hillary Rodham Clinton was mobbed by fans when she spoke this week before a big crowd of Latino government officials from across the country. When another Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, took the same stage here Friday, the room was about half empty.

” I haven’t hear of him, to be honest,” said Luciana Corrales, a school board member from San Ysidro, Calif. And anyway, she added, “I’m a Hillary supporter.”

Talk of Sanders surge has enlivened the campaign in recent weeks, as bigger-than-expected crowds turned out for his fiery speeches about taking on the “billionaire class” amid promising polling in the early-primary state of New Hampshire. But the enthusiasm gap on display at the nation’s largest gathering of Latino policymakers highlights the  reality of the major demographic challenges Sanders faces as he wages his long-shot bid for the presidency.

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After Elections, Southern Mexico Returns to Calm

June 19, 2015

6/19/15 Stratfor Global Intelligence

Protestors and police - Jesus Villaseca Perez (Flickr)Most members of Mexico’s National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), a dissident national teachers’ union, returned to their classrooms June 17 after having been on strike since June 1. The group had tried to use the strike to mobilize support for widespread demonstrations in its stronghold states of Chiapas, Michoacan, Oaxaca and Guerrero; its main goal was to disrupt June 7 elections to pressure Mexico City into repealing education reform. Though vandals targeted multiple electoral sites in the aforementioned states June 7, low turnout and an unwillingness to confront security forces blunted the impact of demonstrations, which in the end only minimally disrupted elections.

CNTE is not done vocalizing its objections to education reform or carrying out demonstrations. However, its inability to coordinate action with the other groups involved in protesting the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 normalistas in Iguala, such as the Guerrero state teachers’ union known as CETEG, indicates that the most recent bout of unrest in Mexico’s southern states could be coming to an end.

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Mexico, Latinos Lash Out At Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump’s Trashing Of Mexicans And Immigrants

June 18, 2015

06/18/15 Forbes

Mexican Flag XXLThe government of Mexico and a number of Latino leaders wasted no time in lashing out against billionaire Donald Trump‘s accusation that Mexico is sending drugs, criminals and rapists to the U.S. and his promise to build a “great, great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. After Trump entered the Presidential race on Tuesday with a 45-minute kick-off at the Trump Tower in New York City, Mexico’s Minister of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong called his diatribe against Mexico “biased and absurd.”

Osorio Chong, who is in charge of Mexico’s internal security, said that the real estate billionaire ignores the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. “There is no doubt that the men and women of Mexico who are [living] in the U.S.… help the development of the U.S.,” Osorio Chong said, according to media reports. He added that Trump is trying to get media attention.

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