Mexican actor Garcia Bernal brings call for end to impunity to U.N.

03/13/2018 Reuters

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Actor and filmmaker Gael Garcia Bernal called on Tuesday for the United Nations and governments around the world to put pressure on his native Mexico to end impunity for corruption and large-scale killings.

Activists and U.N. investigators have accused Mexican security forces of crimes including murder, torture and disappearances since the military was sent to tackle its powerful drug cartels in 2007. More than 100,000 have died in drug violence in the decade since.

Mexico is also experiencing its worst-ever surge in violent crime, with more than 25,000 killings in 2017, a rate of nearly 21 per 100,000 people. The run-up to a presidential election in July has been marred by violence.

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Wave of Independent Politicians Seek to ‘Open Cracks’ in Mexico’s Status Quo

03/12/2018 The New York Times

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — In a cafe in downtown Guadalajara, Pedro Kumamoto, 28, an independent politician running for a Senate seat, was savoring his early morning coffee when a middle-aged man approached.

“I am sorry to interrupt — I just wanted to greet you,” the older man said, his eyes starting to tear up. “I am sorry for getting emotional, but you are a true inspiration.”

Such effusive displays of appreciation for politicians are unusual in Mexico, but encounters like this have become common for Mr. Kumamoto, an indication of how hungry Mexicans have become for alternative leaders amid growing disenchantment with the traditional political parties.

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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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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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Mexico presidency race tightens; leftist stays out front: poll

01/29/2018 Reuters

Image result for elecciones mexicoMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Leftist politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has consolidated support in his bid for the Mexican presidency, but the race has tightened as another opposition contender gained ground while the ruling party hopeful trailed, a poll showed on Monday.

The Jan. 19-25 voter survey by Buendia & Laredo showed Lopez Obrador winning 32 percent of support, while Ricardo Anaya, the former chairman of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) leading a right-left coalition, had 26 percent.

Back in third place, with 16 percent support ahead of the July 1 election, was Jose Antonio Meade, an ex-finance minister seeking the nomination of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the poll published in newspaper El Universal showed.

The PRI will not formally choose its candidate until Feb. 18. However, the party’s leaders are behind Meade, and he is widely expected to be confirmed as their candidate despite some internal grumbling about how the campaign is proceeding.

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Mexico federal prosecutors take on Chihuahua corruption case

01/22/2018 Los Angeles Times

Image result for cesar duarteMexico’s top electoral crimes prosecutor said Monday that federal officials will take over the investigation into a former governor who is accused of channeling state funds to the ruling party.

Hector Diaz-Santana said he expects Chihuahua state officials to turn over case files related to Cesar Duarte, the former governor of the northern border state.

Current Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral, a member of an opposition party, has accused Duarte of diverting public money to the 2016 electoral campaign of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

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Mexico in 2018

01/9/2018 The Expert Take

expert I (2)By Luis Rubio

The presidential election of 2018 will be the first to be held in Mexico without an international anchor that guarantees the continuity of economic policy since the era of competitive, democratic elections was inaugurated back in the 90s. That anchor has proven to be key to attracting investment and conferring certainty to the population as well as to investors and hence, to the gradual evolution of the country. This does not necessarily mean that there will be radical changes in the government’s strategy. However, for the first time since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, the decision of how to conduct the country’s destiny will no longer be constrained by international commitments and, thus, whoever wins the upcoming election will have unbound power in this regard. The whole political point of NAFTA -an established framework to work under any electoral scenario- will no longer be there. Mexico is living a completely new political reality.

The rhetorical attacks on trade matters and, particularly, NAFTA that President Trump launched since his campaign in 2016 and his insistence on the possibility of cancelling it, has had a decisive impact on Mexican politics. By eliminating the “untouchable” character of the deal within Mexico, the certainty that emanated from it has also evaporated. Even if NAFTA were to continue (in my opinion, the most likely scenario), the damage already inflicted is enormous- as the high domestic political costs that a withdrawal at Mexico’s behest would have entailed no longer exist.

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