Ex-Pemex CEO denies funneling Odebrecht bribes to Pena Nieto campaign

08/17/2017 Reuters

corruptionMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Emilio Lozoya, the former head of Mexican oil firm Pemex, on Thursday denied he was involved in shifting cash to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign, saying bank accounts where millions of dollars were allegedly deposited were not his.

In a nearly hour-long news conference after appearing at the attorney general’s office in Mexico City, Pena Nieto ally Lozoya rejected claims published by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper that he had taken $10 million in bribes in 2012 from a former executive at Odebrecht SA, Latin America’s biggest construction firm, in return for a refinery contract.

Odebrecht is involved in a sprawling corruption saga in which has already paid $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland, embroiling politicians across Latin America.

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‘The help never lasts’: why has Mexico’s education revolution failed?

8/15/2017 The Guardian 

Education was meant to be president Enrique Peña Nieto’s flagship policy. Yet salaries are still being paid to ‘ghost teachers’ who never enter a classroom, while children lack the tools – and even the food – they need to learn.

It’s almost four in the afternoon, and a quarter of the fifth-grade pupils at Ángel Albino Corzo primary school in Buena Vista haven’t eaten all day. The children are fidgety and distracted as their teacher explains decimals on the white board.

They are counting down the minutes until break time, when they will be given a small portion of beans with tortillas – for some, the only meal they will eat today (Mexico’s schooling is split into two distinct shifts; these children study from 1.30-6pm).

“How can they learn if they’ve not eaten and we haven’t got the right tools?” their teacher, Juan Carlos, asks later. He would like to use interactive online worksheets, but the computer lab is closed and there’s no internet. “There’s only so much we can do.”

Buena Vista is a bleak hillside community constructed on industrial wasteland in the sprawling State of Mexico, which wraps around the capital, Mexico City. Crime rates are so high here that in winter months, the school closes early as many children walk home alone. Police do not patrol the neighbourhood.

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Ex-Pemex CEO called before prosecutors over alleged Odebrecht bribes

08/15/2017 Reuters

120px-PemexMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s attorney general’s office has called a close former aide of President Enrique Pena Nieto to respond to accusations he was involved in Brazilian builder Odebrecht’s corruption scandal, a lawyer for the aide said.

Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reported this weekend on documents alleging that Emilio Lozoya, who also formerly headed state oil company Pemex, received $10 million in bribes from a former Odebrecht executive from 2012 in return for a contract at Mexico’s Tula refinery.

Lozoya has denied the reports, which say he took money from Odebrecht while he was a campaign manager ahead of Pena Nieto’s 2012 election victory and later as CEO of Pemex.

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Mexican judge orders investigation of inquiries into extrajudicial killings

08/15/2017 Reuters

16-05-23Mexico_logo_prodhMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican judge has ordered the country’s attorney general to investigate possible negligence in inquiries conducted into extrajudicial executions allegedly committed by the military in 2014, according to a decision announced on Tuesday.

The Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Prodh) said in June that there had been serious flaws in investigations into the case involving the deaths of 22 people in the city of Tlatlaya, in the state of Mexico.

The decision from Erik Zabalgoitia Novales, a federal judge, was issued in July. “The arguments of the plaintiff are justified, in that they maintain that the claimed omissions infringe on … the fundamental rights in favor of the victims of crimes,” he said.

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Mexico ruling party says rules aimed at stopping rise of left

8/14/2017 Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Rules adopted by Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party allowing it to form coalitions and non-members to run for president were necessary to stop leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from winning office next year, the PRI’s president said.

The rules adopted over the weekend give the once-dominant party, known as PRI, a better chance of clinging to power in next July’s presidential election, where veteran leftist Lopez Obrador is an early favorite among voters tired of graft, scandals, violence and a tepid economy.

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Mexican official says migration, security at stake in NAFTA talks: report

8/10/2017 Reuters

27424865601_1ff00195fd_kMexico could pull back on cooperation in migration and security matters if the United States walks away from talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican economy minister said in a newspaper report published on Thursday.

Ildefonso Guajardo, who will take part in the first round of NAFTA talks with U.S. and Canadian officials in Washington on Wednesday, told the Reforma daily that new tariffs on Mexican exports to the United States were unacceptable.

“If they do not treat [us] well commercially, they should not expect us to treat them well by containing the migration that comes from other regions of the world and crosses Mexico,” Guajardo said. “Or they should not expect to be treated well in collaboration with security issues in the region.”

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Mexico’s ruling party moves toward allowing outsider presidential candidate

8/10/2017 Reuters

jose antonio meade
Source: Eneas De Troya/Flickr

Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) took a key step on Wednesday toward allowing non-party members, such as Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade, to run for president in next year’s election.

A commission reviewing PRI statutes voted to make the change on Wednesday, Mexican newspapers reported, but the move must still be approved by a wider group on Saturday, according to a source close to PRI secretary general Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

The change would open the door to the candidacy of Meade, a softly-spoken technocrat who has served various cabinet posts in both PRI and conservative National Action Party (PAN) governments.

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