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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Canada says it has no particular concerns over trade deal after U.S. vote

11/7/2018 – Reuters

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REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada has no particular concerns over the fate of a new continental trade deal after U.S. elections that gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Some U.S. commentators are already predicting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) pact – agreed in late September – could face problems when the new House convenes in January, given skeptical comments from sections of the Democratic Party about the benefits of the deal.

Andrew Leslie, parliamentary secretary to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, indicated he was not worried when asked about ratification of the treaty.

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Trump says wants border wall funding, sees possible DACA

11/7/2018 – Reuters

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Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he hopes he can work with Congress on immigration to fund his border wall, as well as possibly addressing the thousands of young immigrants living in the United States without legal status.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after Tuesday’s congressional elections, he said he wanted to see U.S. lawmakers provide enough money to build his long-promised wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico. But he said he would not necessarily force a government shutdown over the issue.

“We need the money to build the wall, the whole wall, not pieces of it,” Trump told reporters at a news conference at the White House following Tuesday’s midterm elections. “We need the wall, many Democrats know we need the wall, and we’re just going to have to see what happens.”

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Mexico’s incoming president halts an airport project, and pays a price

11/2/2018 – The Economist

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Source: Reuters

IN 2002 VICENTE FOX, then president of Mexico, ended a honeymoon with foreign investors by giving in to machete-wielding peasants and dropping plans to build an airport near Mexico City. On October 29th history repeated itself when President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would halt construction of an airport after it was rejected in a vote involving barely 1% of the electorate. The move battered Mexico’s peso, which fell to its lowest level in four months, as well as its stockmarket and its bonds. Creditors, who had been hopeful on Mexico, turned hostile.

Mr López Obrador, a left-wing populist, had sought to reassure investors. Despite troubles in other emerging markets, investment in Mexico remained relatively buoyant; the optimism was bolstered by a new trade agreement with the United States. By putting a complex infrastructure project to a poorly conceived vote, the president-elect soured the mood.

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What is next for Mexico City airport after mega project axed?

10/18/2018 – Reuters

airbus-aircraft-airplane-587063MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A decision on Monday by Mexico’s next president to scrap a partly built $13 billion Mexico City airport has raised questions about the feasibility of his alternative plan, and consequences of the change.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office Dec. 1, justified his move based on the results of an informal referendum that called for abandoning the current project.

The U-turn is the latest step in a long-running saga over how to solve growing congestion at the Mexico City airport, where 40 million passengers pass through a year.

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Foreign leaders, including Maduro, to attend Mexican inauguration

10/29/2018 – Reuters

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REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – At least 15 heads of state will attend the December presidential inauguration of Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, including fellow leftist Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, the president-elect’s pick to be foreign minister said on Friday.

Among the confirmed presidents who will attend are fellow leftists like Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, but also conservatives like Colombia’s Ivan Duque and Paraguay’s Mario Abdo Benitez.

Marcelo Ebrard, who is set to serve as Lopez Obrador’s foreign minister, revealed the updated attendee list for the Dec. 1 swearing-in ceremony in a series of posts on Twitter.

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What the 2018 election means for immigrants in the U.S.

10/26/2018 – Washington Post

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Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels.com

Recent events at the U.S.-Mexico border and ongoing deliberations over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have put in stark light the perils of belonging to a politicized group. Even immigrants who have risked their life in defense of their adopted country have found that service is no protection in our nativist climate.

This year, Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr., who enlisted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was deported because of substance abuse issues connected to his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder — a direct result of his military service. Other veterans with precarious immigration statuses face similar predicaments, caught between President Trump and his nativist platform and Democrats who wish to widen immigrant rights and protect members of vulnerable groups such as Perez. The midterm elections are likely to determine their fate.

In the late 19th century, a class of Union veterans faced similar political struggles. Public concern grew as reports surfaced that thousands of Union veterans were emigrating out of the United States but keeping their military pensions. Many felt as if these veterans had forfeited their right to American aid by leaving the United States. This belief turned these veterans into a political football — much like immigrants today.

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AMLO’s latest litmus test

10/26/2018 – Financial Times

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Financial Times/Citi’s Revilla

When Mexico’s incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (a.k.a Amlo) clinched the presidency by a landslide election in July, the victory was met with cautious optimism. Few investors, or citizens for that matter, knew what to think about the former Mexico City head of government.

Some of his campaign promises seemed fantastical. For instance, he aims to balance the budget, while simultaneously increasing infrastructure spending, raising pensions and subsidising farmers. Oh yeah, and all without raising taxes.

Since Mr López Obrador does not take the political reins until December 1, it’s hard to know how many of his promises will come true. But this weekend, things could get a bit clearer.

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President-elect Lopez Obrador slams Mexico’s Pemex for crude import plan

10/23/2018 – Reuters

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REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday criticized state-run Pemex’s plan to import U.S. light crude from refiner Phillips 66, calling it a sign of the country’s failed economic policies.

Pemex [PEMX.UL] is set to begin crude imports in November, for the first time in over a decade. It needs them to feed Mexico’s main refinery, which is working below capacity due to a lack of light oil.

The purchase of 1.4 million barrels of U.S. Bakken crude will follow a tender awarded earlier this week to Phillips 66. Up to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude imports are planned for the last quarter of 2018.

“This announcement … is another example of the great failure of neo-liberal economic policies in the last 30 years,” Lopez Obrador said on Twitter.

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Trump to skip inauguration of Mexico’s president

10/03/2018 The New York Times

2970386265_26b63eb120_bMexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump informed him he won’t be coming to his Dec. 1 inauguration and will be sending Vice President Mike Pence instead.

During a telephone conversation, Lopez Obrador talked to Trump about plans for development projects in Central America and Mexico aimed at reducing the need for people to emigrate north. Lopez Obrador said Trump “reacted positively” to the discussion.

“It was a very good call,” Lopez Obrador said. “We have achieved a good understanding.”

Lopez Obrador said he proposed the U.S., Canada and Mexico join forces to generate jobs and economic development “so that Mexicans and Central Americans can find work where they were born, where their families, cultures and customs are … so that migration is a choice, not a necessity. “

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