Mexico 2018: It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

11/16/2017 Americas Quarterly

mexican flagEmerging media consensus is that Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will likely name Treasury Secretary José Antonio Meade as its candidate for president in 2018. Such a move would serve the unpopular ruling party on two fronts: it would muffle inherent opposition to the PRI as an institution (Meade is not a party member), and it would give them an ideal standard-bearer to carry forward their economic message (Meade has been treasury secretary for two parties and is highly regarded by the country’s business elite).

On this second front, the PRI has a decent case to make. The economy is stable, structural reforms seem to be bearing fruit and, NAFTA aside, there are no major storm clouds on the horizon. Will this be enough to shift voters’ focus next July? Unfortunately for the PRI, the answer is probably not. The race for Mexico’s presidency in 2018 looks to be about two things: crime and corruption. Or, put more simply, impunity.

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NAFTA unlikely to hurt Mexico-U.S. security ties, but election might

11/15/2017 Reuters

la-fg-tijuana-journalists-violence-photos-005MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s threats to weaken U.S. narcotics and migration co-operation if NAFTA dies are pure bluster, Mexican and U.S. officials say, with next year’s election posing a far greater challenge to future collaboration.

Mexican officials have threatened to strike back if U.S. President Donald Trump kills the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), warning they could relax controls on the southern Mexican border crossed by Central American migrants, or scale back collaboration in tackling drug crime.

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Mexico’s presidential front-runner misunderstands his role model

11/03/2017 The Economist

Credit: LoCole

WHEN Latin America zigs, Mexico seems to zag. In the mid-2000s a political “pink tide” swept left-of-centre leaders into power across the region, while Mexico elected two conservative presidents. Now that tide has ebbed, as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and others have swung to the right. But Mexico may again prove an exception. The front-runner in its presidential contest in 2018 is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a left-wing populist.

He is no policy wonk, and prefers fiery speeches to ten-point plans. As mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005, he focused on motorways and local pensions. Even so, it is hard to predict how he might govern as president. He lists three former presidents—Benito Juárez, Francisco Madero and Lázaro Cárdenas—as his heroes. Of these, Cárdenas, Mexico’s foremost leftist, appears uppermost in his mind.

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Mexico’s election next year poses no risk for oil contracts -regulator

09/29/2017 Reuters

energy - oil pumpsMEXICO CITY, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Presidential elections in Mexico next year pose no risk to already-signed oil contracts, the sector’s top regulator said on Friday, despite the current frontrunner’s pledge to review them.

To date, some 70 exploration and production contracts have been inked with several dozen foreign and private oil companies, fruit of a 2013 opening of the sector that ended state-owned oil company Pemex’s decades-long monopoly.

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How Mexico’s Anti-Corruption Fight Went Off-Track

09/18/2017 Americas Quarterly

By Viridiana Rios, Mexico Institute Global Fellow

Eighteen months ago, I wrote in AQ about the success of Mexico’s citizen-driven corruption fight in Congress. Civil society groups, academics and activists had pushed for the rejection of a watered-down anti-corruption bill and instead presented their own, sharpened version of the legislation. This citizen’s bill, called #Ley3de3 (or #Law3of3) promised not only to help identify, punish and prevent corruption, but to do so while promoting collaboration among different federal institutions and citizen groups.

Congress agreed to discuss the bill only after 634,000 citizens signed their support, and approved it only after trying several times to reduce its scope. Passage of the #Ley3de3 thus marked one of the most important breakthroughs for Mexico’s civil society since democratization began in the late nineties.

All of us who were part of this effort knew that it was a first step, but were sure that many more would follow. Little did we know how resistant to outside pressure – from civil society, the media and others – the government would prove to be when it came to cleaning up its act.

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Mexican presidential hopeful Lopez Obrador says he would revise oil contracts

09/05/2017 Reuters

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – If elected, Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will review oil contracts signed after historic reforms in the sector, the leftist politician said on Tuesday.

The 63-year-old leads various polls ahead of next year’s presidential election, and opponents looking to keep him out of office denounce him as a populist who would seek to emulate Venezuela’s socialist government.

Mexico opened up its energy sector with sweeping reforms in 2013 and 2014 to give investors the chance to participate in oil exploration and extraction.

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Former Venezuelan prosecutor meets Mexican attorney general

08/31/2017 Reuters

Venezuela
Source: Cristóbal Alvarado Minic/Flickr

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Venezuela’s former chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega met Mexico’s attorney general on Thursday, a Mexican official said, weeks after she fled her homeland accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of involvement in corruption.

Ortega, who was removed from her position earlier this month, said a week ago she had evidence that Maduro was involved in graft with construction company Odebrecht.

The 59-year-old Ortega has said she would give details of the corruption cases to authorities in the United States, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.

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