Headlines from Mexico

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Week of February 17– February 22, 2019

Opposition activist murdered before pipeline referendum

Samir Flores Soberanes, a community activist fighting against a plan to build a gas pipeline through his central Mexico town, was murdered Wednesday, three days before a scheduled public referendum on the energy generation project. Investigators are considering potential links to criminal gangs after a note was found next to his body but environmental groups believe the killing was linked to his opposition.

BBC, The Washington Post, Radio Fórmula

 

Mexico to close infamous Isla Marias penal colony

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that Mexico will close the infamous Isla Marias prison, the last island penal colony in the Western Hemisphere. The island will now relocate some inmates to Colima (the nearest state) and free about 200. The four islands will be turned into a cultural and environmental education center.

FRANCE 24, El Nuevo Herald, Animal Político

 

The Senate approves the National Guard

Mexico’s Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve a more civilian-oriented version of the militarized National Guard that the government wants to use to combat a rising wave of violence. Senators arrived at a rare consensus to place the new guard under the civilian Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection but its members will initially come from the federal police and military police units and will have joint military-civilian command and training.

ADN Político, El Sol de México, El Universal

 

Two Germans convicted for selling arms to Mexico

Two former employees of the German gun maker Heckler & Koch were found guilty for their participation in the sale of guns that ended in highly violent zones in Mexico. The judge seized the company’s profit, which adds up to 3.7 million euros. The company said that it changed its internal compliance system and now requests all members to comply with an audit.

NPR, Excelsior, El Financiero

 

AMLO to help El Chapo family seek US humanitarian visas

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he has instructed his government to assist the family of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman in seeking humanitarian visas to visit the convicted drug trafficker in the U.S. During a visit last week to Guzman’s hometown of Badiraguato, Sinaloa, a lawyer gave the president a letter from Guzman’s mother.

Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Detroit News

 

Mexico’s Science and Technology Council under controversy

David Alexir Ledesma and Edith Arrieta Meza’s resignations to CONACYT have been plagued with “rumors and decontextualized information”, said the Council’s president Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla. But these movements within the organization only sheds light upon the heavy bureaucratic practices inside and the much work that has to be done, according to experts.

Aristegui Noticias, Milenio, Diario de Yucatán

 

 

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Headlines from Mexico

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Week of February 11 – February 15, 2019

1. Mexico and UN sign agreement to aid special projects

Mexico and the United Nations Office for Project Services signed an agreement that will help the current federal administration in the sale of the 54 aircraft from past administrations, as well as the presidential plane; the Mayan Train’s bids, the project of the Itsmo of Tehuantepec and the purchase of medicines.

Excélsior, El Universal, Reporte Índigo

2. Second journalist killed in AMLO administration

The Mexico Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly condemned the murder of journalist Jesús Eugenio Ramos Rodríguez and asked the authorities to investigate and clarify the crime. According to the information of the Office, a stranger in Emiliano Zapata, Tabasco attacked the informant.

United Nations, Proceso, Knight Center

3. AMLO revises CFE contracts

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday contracts private companies have with state-run power utility CFE should be revised to keep electricity prices low, sending shares in one firm tumbling. He noted that the state-run utility is already contractually obliged to pay billions of dollars to the private firms that developed seven gas pipelines to supply power stations, even though the projects are incomplete and unable to deliver gas.

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNBC

4. El Chapo found guilty in New York

The life imprisonment for Joaquin El Chapo Guzman in the United States appears to be the end of the largest and most feared figure in Mexican drug trafficking, but the Sinaloa Cartel he founded maintain its powers, experts say. The cartel that takes the name of the state of Sinaloa maintains untouched territories and markets, which ensure the continuity of his empire.

The New York Times, El Sol de México, La Jornada

5. Controversy in Mexico regarding CONACYT officials

Edith Arrieta Meza was an active part of the Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaign, in which she was the liaison of Morena in the Milpa Alta Delegation, where she organized proselytizing events in public spaces such as Plaza la Corregidora in Tecomitl or in the Plaza Pública de Atocpan. But after public pressure over her qualifications, she was dismissed. Following her, a second official was also dismissed.

ADN Político, El Sol de México, El Heraldo de México

 

 

 

Headlines From Mexico

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Week of February 2-8, 2019

  1. Alejandro Encianas, Undersecretary of Human Rights, Migration, and Population in Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior, announces the creation of a National Forensic Institute and an investment of more than $20 million to accelerate the search for citizens who have disappeared in Mexico’s drug war.

    El Universal, Milenio, Excélsior

  2. Mexico’s National Institute of Statistic and Geography (INEGI) announced that the National Consumer Price Index (INPC) rose 0.09 percent in January, placing the annual inflation rate at 4.37 percent, the lowest recorded in the month of January since 2016, when the annual inflation rate was at 2.61 percent.

    El Economista, El Financiero, La Joranda

  3. Mexico’s government announced the deployment of 10,200 troops from the Army, Navy, and Federal Police to strengthen the security of 17 of Mexico’s 266 strategic zones, which have the highest homicide rates. The additional troops will patrol cities like Ciudad Juárez, Culiacán, Guadalajara, and Acapulco.

    Excélsior, Reforma, La Jornada

  4. The governments of Mexico, Uruguay, and the countries of the Caribbean Community proposed the so-called Montevideo Mechanism, a four-stage procedure consisting of immediate dialogue, negotiation, commitments, and implementation, as a way to achieve sustainable, legitimate, and effective peace in Venezuela.

    El Economista, Excélsior, El Universal

  5. Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior and Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General agreed to set up a Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, who went missing more than four years ago. Alejandro Gertz Maero, Mexico’s Attorney General, announced that investigations of other emblematic cases, such as Odebrecht and La Estafa Maestra, will also start over.

    El Financiero, La Jornada, Proceso

 

Headlines from Mexico

 

000Week of January 26 – February 1, 2019

1. AMLO says the War on Drugs is over

“Officially, there is no longer war. We want peace and we will achieve peace,” said the President when asked during one of his morning press conferences if he arrested a drug lord during the first weeks of his tenure. He said that the government’s role is to ensure citizens security, not to apprehend drug lords.

BBC, CNN, El Sol de México

 

2. Spain President Pedro Sanchez visits Mexico

President Sanchez’ visit to Mexico City makes this the first official visit to Mexico during President López Obrador’s administration. Mexico City Mayor Sheinbaum declared him “chilango” by giving him Mexico City’s key. The presidents discussed various topics including Spanish history and relations with Mexico, Venezuela, and Trump’s desired wall on the northern border.

Sin Embargo, La Jornada, El Universal

 

3. Ambassador Martha Bárcena: Mexico does not back up Maduro’s regime

After the White House showed a map with the countries supporting the Venezuelan president, including Mexico, Ambassador Bárcena clarified that the government of Mexico supports neither Maduro nor Juan Guaido. Along other diplomatic tensions, Mike Pompeo and Treasury officials cancelled their visit to the country originally scheduled for the beginning of February.

El Financiero, Milenio, Reforma

 

4. Fitch Ratings lowered Pemex score

Following Fitch’s low rating of Pemex, Presidente López Obrador said that the oil company “is better than what it has been in the last 30 years” and indicated that “that group of technocrats are uncomfortable with the change” his administration is leading. He also said the company was “hypocritical” because they allowed the Energy Reform to take place.

Forbes Mexico, Milenio, La Jornada

 

5. Teachers from CNTE remain blocking train lines

Ignoring CNTE leader Victor Manuel Zavala’s press conference on allowing the free flow of trains in the state of Michoacán, unionized teachers from Patzcuaro remained blocking train lines because they want to know the results of the three-party dialogue between CNTE, the state, and the federal government.

El Universal, Excelsior, Reforma

 

6. Message threatens the president

Security officers found a message singed by the Fuel Thieves Cartel’s leader Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz, also known as “El Marro,” in Guanajuato close to the Salamanca refinery, which demands that the president “take federal police out of the state or innocent people will die.” Officers also found an explosive package inside a car nearby. The Office of the President’s spokesperson said they were still determining if this represents a real threat. President López Obrador says he has nothing to be afraid of.

El Financiero, Diario de Mexico, El Universal

Headlines from Mexico

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1. According to Santiago Nieto, director of the Unit of Federal Intelligence of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit, in the past two years, the amount of money laundered obtained by stealing gasoline from Pemex might reach up to 45 billion pesos.

Read more: Reforma, La Jornada, El Universal

 

2. As part of the national strategy against oil theft, the federal government announced that the management of Pemex’s pipeline network, which distributes gasoline across the country and is currently supervised by a subsidiary of Pemex, will now be under the supervision of the Centro de Logística para la Distribución y Transporte de Petrolíferos, an organism within the Secretariat of Energy.

Read more: El Economista, Reforma, La Jornada

 

3. With 362 votes in favor, 119 votes against, and 4 abstentions, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that creates the National Guard. President López Obrador proposed the National Guard as a replacement of the armed forces currently fighting organized crime in Mexico. The Chamber of Deputies forwarded the bill to the Mexican Senate to be reviewed, debated, and voted on.

Read more: El Financiero, La Jornada, Milenio

 

4. According to Alex Cifuentes, a Colombian drug lord who worked with Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Loera and is currently a witness at El Chapo’s trial in New York, former President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán.

Read more: El Universal, La Jornada, Milenio

Headlines from Mexico

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  1. Federal authorities started to investigate the alleged diversion of more than $17,000 million pesos from the funds Mexico City’s Airport Group (Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México) had allocated for the construction of Mexico’s New International Airport in Texcoco, which the federal government officially canceled earlier this month.

    Read more: El Universal, Forbes, El Imparcial

  2. The federal government deployed Army and Navy forces to oil refineries in Salamanca, Guanajuato; Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas; Salina Cruz, Oaxaca; Minatitlan, Veracruz; and Cadereyta, Nuevo León, as well as to Pemex terminals and storage facilities in the State of Mexico and Queretaro in order to battle fuel theft.

    Read more: Milenio, Excelsior, Reforma,

  3. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador noted that he would not enter into a verbal confrontation with President Trump regarding the proposed border wall and said that Trump’s insistence is motivated by internal politics and a clear desire to win reelection in the upcoming 2020 president election. This declaration came after President Donald Trump addressed the American public on Tuesday and asked Congress to approve a budget of $5.7 million dollars to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Read more: El Economista, El Universal, Milenio 

  4. Consumers in the states of Hidalgo, Mexico, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, and Querétaro experienced fuel scarcity after the federal government closed Pemex pipelines plagued with illegal fuel taps as part of its strategy against fuel theft. Fuel scarcity hit Mexico City earlier this week and panic buying of gasoline further exhausted service stations in several municipalities of Mexico’s capital.

    Read more: El Economista, Milenio, El Universal

  5. Representatives of Pemex and the Secretariat of Finance met investors, analysts, and credit rating agencies in New York City to explain and defend the federal government’s plan to tackle fuel theft and to strengthen the finances and the profitability of the state-owned oil firm.

    Read more: Milenio, El EconomistaEl Universal 

Headlines from Mexico

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  1. Mexico’s banking stocks plunged after Sen. Ricardo Monreal (Morena-PR) presented a bill proposal that would prohibit financial entities from charging clients in various areas, including checking a balance, withdrawing cash and requesting past bank statements.

    Read more: El Financiero, Milenio, El Economista

  2. Representatives of firms involved in the construction of the New International Airport of Mexico in Texcoco met with President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador after the incoming government announced the cancelation of the project and the contraction of a new airport in the air base of Saint Lucia.

    Read more: El Financiero, La Jornada, El Universal

  3. Mexico City residents have not had running water for over a week. Water trucks are being used to distribute water into water tanks around the city. The city government had originally shut off the system for short-term maintenance, but encountered issues that have caused the continued lack of water.

    Read more: Excelsior, Milenio 

  4. Olga Sánchez Cordero, the incoming Secretary of Governance, presented the General Law for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis. The initiative proposes a model of strict regulation but will no longer criminalize any step of the production chain, from growing to selling to consuming.

    Read more: Milenio, Forbes, El Universal