Checks for free: a Mexican plan to combat poverty

12/6/2017 Reuters

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – An opposition alliance in Mexico wants to launch a universal basic wage to combat the poverty that blights the lives of almost half the population, touting an experimental reform discussed globally as a solution to job losses from automation.

The center-right National Action Party and center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution are running on a joint ticket with the leftist Citizens Movement (MC) for next July’s presidential election, and the income plan is a key part of their manifesto.

Officials inside the alliance say details of the plan are still being worked out, though its contours are emerging.

A basic income of 10,000 pesos ($537) per year for everyone, including children, could be provided by consolidating funds from federal, state and municipal welfare programs, Jorge Alvarez, an MC congressman working on the plan told Reuters in a recent interview.

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Mexico education minister resigns to head up PRI presidential campaign

12/6/2017 The Financial Times 

Mexico CityMexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto accepted the resignation of Aurelio Nuño as education minister on Wednesday, as one of his closest advisers was expected to move to the role of campaign manager for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) presidential candidate for elections next year. Mr Nuño was the president’s chief of staff before moving to the education ministry to drive forward one of the toughest of the structural reforms implemented by Mr Peña Nieto. He will be replaced by Otto Granados Roldán, who had been a junior minister for planning at the education ministry, according to local media reports. Last week, finance minister José Antonio Meade resigned to seek the presidency of the PRI. He is considered a safe pair of hands and a lure for voters worried about the prospect of victory by hard-left candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has held an early lead in polls. The PRI also hopes that Mr Meade, who was a minister in the former conservative National Action Party (PAN) government, will reel in support from the opposition in what is expected to be a very close race.

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Dozens of House Republicans call for permanent DACA fix by year’s end

12/05/2017 Dallas News

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Credit: Los Angeles Daily News

WASHINGTON — Thirty-four House Republicans, including two Texans, are calling for Congress to pass a permanent fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by year’s end —adding a new wrinkle to a looming fight over the immigration program and a potential government shutdown.

On Tuesday, the group of Republicans — including Ennis Rep. Joe Barton and San Antonio Rep. Will Hurd — wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan to say that while they agree with President Donald Trump that the Obama-era program should not have been enacted through executive order, Congress should act this month to protect from deportation immigrant children who were brought to the country illegally.

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Mexico’s Government Is Blocking Its Own Anti-Corruption Drive, Commissioners Say

12/2/2017 The New York Times

mexican flagMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s landmark anti-corruption drive, inaugurated by President Enrique Peña Nieto under intense pressure to answer the scandals jolting his administration, is being blocked by the government’s refusal to cooperate on some of the biggest cases facing the nation, according to members of the commission coordinating the effort.

Attempts to look into the use of government surveillance technology against civilians, the embezzlement of tens of millions of dollars through public universities and allegations of widespread bribery to win construction contracts have all been thwarted, commission members say.

Marred by scandals that have embroiled his administration, his allies and even his own family, Mr. Peña Nieto agreed to the creation of a broad anti-corruption system last year that was enshrined in the Constitution, a watershed moment in Mexico.

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José Antonio Meade is the PRI’s candidate for Mexico’s presidency

11/30/2017 The Economist 

Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City
Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

ONE custom in Mexico’s era of one-party rule was the dedazo (big finger), the president’s choice of his successor, who would inevitably be elected to a single six-year term. The authoritarian rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ended in 2000, but the dedazo returned on November 27th this year, when Enrique Peña Nieto, the president, chose his finance secretary, José Antonio Meade, as the PRI’s candidate in the presidential election to be held in July. This time, though, the dedazo that counts belongs to the voters.

Mr Meade’s selection begins a seven-month race for a tough job. The next president will have to deal with a soaring crime rate, anger about corruption, a weak economy and Donald Trump, who may by then have decided to tear up or drastically change the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada. Mr Peña’s successor will also have to decide whether to carry on with reforms of the economy, energy and education that he began.

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Why Mexico Might Elect Its Own Populist to Face Trump

11/29/2017, The Washington Post via Bloomberg

mexican flagFor Mexico, the challenges mount. Poverty is rife. Corruption is the norm in daily life. Drug gangs have murdered more than 100,000 people in the last decade. And U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to rip up the free trade agreement that’s shaped the country’s modern economy. Frustration over the state of affairs has led to growing signs that Mexicans are ready for change, a spirit that’s shaping the 2018 presidential election campaign.

Polls indicate an early favorite for the July 1 vote: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the populist founder of the Morena party who’s run for president twice before. The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor calls the political establishment a “mafia of power” and vows to use money lost to corruption to boost social welfare spending. Voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who’s barred by the constitution from running again.

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Mexico Bill Cements Military’s Crime-Fighting Role. Some Civilians Are Uneasy.

11/29/2017 The New York Times 

3928405577_d7ef320868_bMEXICO CITY — Mexican legislators are preparing to write the military’s role in the drug war into law, drawing fire from critics who say the legislation will keep soldiers on Mexico’s streets indefinitely and lead to the suspension of basic civil rights.

A vote by the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, could come as early as Thursday before debate moves to the Senate as sponsors seek passage by Dec. 15.

Supporters say the measure would provide a legal framework for Mexico’s armed forces to continue battling organized crime under a presidential declaration. The military has led operations against criminal gangs for more than a decade based on little more than a command from the president and the request of state governors. Over the past year, the defense secretary, Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, has pressed for a law to guide deployments.

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