The Mexican indigenous community that ran politicians out of town

04/03/2018 The Guardian

michoacanenglishAll across Mexico, political billboards are springing up and candidates are hitting the streets, as campaigning starts for elections to pick a new president, renew the congress and replace hundreds of state and local officials.

Everywhere, that is, except for one small corner of the violent western state of Michoacán, which has found a simple solution to the vote-buying and patronage which plague Mexican democracy.

The indigenous Purépecha town of Cherán threw out all political parties after a popular uprising in 2011 – and it doesn’t want them back.

“The only thing the parties have done is divide us,” said Salvador Ceja, Cherán’s communal lands commissioner. “Not just here – in the entire country.”

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Mexico swinging against the establishment as presidential campaign starts

03/29/2018 Reuters

32544964290_3567cf50d2_hMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexicans tired of graft and chaotic violence look set to reject the party that has governed the country for most of the past century, embracing a global anti-establishment mood by favoring a leftist dissenter in a presidential election.

Campaigning formally starts on Friday for the July 1 election and major opinion polls show Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with a large lead, with the mainstream opposition challenger second and the ruling party candidate far behind.

Mexico suffered its worst murder toll on record last year as organized crime ran rampant smuggling drugs, fuel and people, while corruption scandals battered the credibility of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

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Mexico earthquake devastation spurs California cities to action, despite the costs

03/29/2018 Los Angeles Times

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Source: ABC News

A number of cities big and small in Southern California are taking steps to identify seismically vulnerable buildings for the first time in a generation, acting in part on the devastating images of earthquake damage in Mexico and elsewhere around the world.

“What happened last year in Mexico City, we don’t want to experience in California,” David Khorram, Long Beach’s superintendent of building and safety, said of the quake that left more that 360 people dead. “We want to be progressive.”

In hopes of mitigating the loss of life from a major quake that experts say is inevitable, Long Beach is discussing spending up to $1 million to identify as many as 5,000 potentially vulnerable buildings. The city of Moorpark already has agreed to spend up to $10,000 for its own survey of at-risk buildings.

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Mexico arrests 6 suspects in killing of journalist

03/28/2018 The Washington Post

Mexico CityMEXICO CITY — Six suspects have been arrested in the January killing of a journalist in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexican prosecutors said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, two former police officers were sentenced in the 2015 killing of another reporter in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

The Jan. 13 stabbing of Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez may have been related to his journalistic work but was not related to organized crime, prosecutors in the northern state of Tamaulipas said.

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Mexico appears to sign gas fracking contract with US company

03/26/2018 The Washington Post

energy - gas pumpMexico’s state-owned oil company has signed what appears to be one of its first big gas fracking contracts with a subsidiary of Texas-based Lewis Energy.

The Petroleos Mexicanos company said Monday it would drill and exploit non-conventional gas deposits with Lewis Energy Mexico in the portion of the Eagle Ford shale formation in Mexico.

While Pemex did not mention fracking, it is the method commonly used to drill for gas in the Eagle Ford area.

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Mexico to probe pension fund’s losing investment in indebted builder

03/21/2018 Reuters

taxes accounting businessMexican federal auditors are investigating an investment made by the country’s state workers’ pension fund, after Reuters reported it spent millions of dollars on shares in a company spiraling toward bankruptcy.

 PensionIssste plowed more than $20 million into construction company ICA (ICA.MX) and became the largest shareholder just before ICA suspended debt payments, Reuters reported this month. The fund is set to lose most of its investment in a restructuring.
The story sparked outrage in a country where corruption has become a major theme in the July 1 presidential election. It has provoked calls for further investigations by the head of the lower house social security committee.

Mexican leftist’s ‘big tent’ pitch puts presidency in sight

03/20/2018 Reuters

amloMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – After years of denouncing his political opponents in Mexico as stooges of a corrupt “mafia,” leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has extended his hand to them in a bid to make it third time lucky in the July 1 presidential election.

So far, it’s working.

In a few months, he has assembled a coalition stretching from socially conservative Christian evangelicals to admirers of socialist Venezuela and business tycoons, each with contrasting visions for Mexico.

Dozens of lawmakers from across the political spectrum have switched sides to join Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), a party that is not yet four years old.

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