Poverty Figures, Navy Officials murdered & Energy Reform Proposals – Weekly News Summary: August 2

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

This week, figures on poverty rates in Mexico were at the center of a debate in the media. Recently, Mexico’s National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) released the most updated figures on poverty for the country. The main results show that Mexico’s poverty rate fell slightly between 2010 and 2012, dropping 0.6 percent, from 46.1% to 45.5% respectively. The number of poor people changed from 58.8 million in 2010 to 53.3 million people in 2012. Figures on Extreme Poverty figures show the percentage of Mexicans living such a condition fell from 11.3 percent in 2010 to 9.8 percent in 2012, or 11.5 million people. According to Reuters, the figures presented by CONEVAL underscore the challenges President Enrique Pena Nieto faces as he tries to lift millions of people out of poverty and boost growth in Mexico, which has a huge wealth gap

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Energy reform in Mexcio & Z-40 – Weekly News Summary: July 26

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

This week, the potential reform of the Mexican energy sector dominated the public debate. Such a reform was cataloged by The Financial Times as “Mexico’s trickiest challenge” given the historical ban on foreign companies extracting oil.  The energy debate is taking place in an environment of declining oil reserves for Mexico but, at the same time, North America is experiencing an energy revolution , according to the Wall Street Journal. Continue reading “Energy reform in Mexcio & Z-40 – Weekly News Summary: July 26”

Infrastructure, Drug Lords and Reform Proposals in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: July 19

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

This week’s most important headline was the capture of Miguel Angel Treviño MoralesZ40 head of Zetas Cartel and one of Mexico’s most brutal drug lords. The capture of Mr. Treviño is the first arrest of a top cartel leader since Mr. Peña Nieto took office. During the capture, a navy helicopter intercepted the truck which Mr. Treviño was riding. The capture may have remarkably weaken Zetas, a cartel Mr Treviño Morales is believed to have controlled for about eight years, however, other Mexican cartels such as the Sinaloa and Caballeros Templarios remain powerful.

 

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Elections, Espionage and Obesity in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: July 12

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

Last Sunday’s local elections in Mexico dominated the headlines this week. The aftermath of the process has seen widespread confusion, with rival parties claiming cheating strategies against each other throughout the country. Overall, election results are expected to define and strengthen the attitude of the opposition parties and their strategy to contribute to Mr. Peña Nieto’s reform agenda, as the parties prepare to negotiate energy and fiscal reforms. The most closely watched election was Baja California, a northwestern state where the PAN has governed since 1989. With almost all the votes counted, a PAN-PRD alliance represented by Francisco “Kiko” Vega held the advantage early on Monday. However, Mexican election officials ordered a recount citing a glitch in the vote-counting system.

The Economist labeled the Pact for Mexico the ‘political workhorse’ in Mexican politics, highlighting the fact that none of the opposition parties appear ready to abandon the pact just yet. Both the PAN and PRD hope to use the alliance to negotiate political reforms that would weaken the PRI in some of its regional strongholds. The Economist also pointed out that now that the electoral process is over, President Peña Nieto is likely to face a hard choice between maintaining the Pact intact or going against the Left to reform Mexico’s energy sector. If it comes to that, the British weekly argues he should ditch the Pact to prevent it from becoming an obstacle to reform.

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Immigration Reform, Fences and Corruption in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: June 21

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

This Thursday, the Senate voted 68-32 to approve an immigration reform bill which will now make its way on to the House, where it faces a much tougher battle. 14 Republican senators joined all Democrats and 2 Independents in voting ‘yes.’ Republican support, however, came at a high cost: over $30 billion in new border enforcement measures, including 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents, building 700 miles of fencing, and spending billions on technology used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mexico’s Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade reacted to this border ‘surge’ by saying, “Walls are not the solution to the migratory phenomenon, and they aren’t congruent with a modern and secure border.”

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Immigration, Energy Reform & Protests – Weekly News Summary: June 21

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

This week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a study that concluded the current Senate immigration bill would reduce the federal deficit by $150 billion during the first 10 years and by another $700 billion over the second decade. The Washington Post interpreted the report as yet further proof that immigrants are “strivers, and not burdens” on the American economy. In response to conservative opposition to reform, moderate Republican senators proposed doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 – a ‘human fence’ between the U.S. and Mexico. According to The Christian Science Monitor, the compromise could give the bill enough momentum when it comes to a final vote in the Senate next week. The Economist, however, argued the border is already secure enough, and warned that further spending on fences and drones could do more harm than good.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said he is negotiating with political forces within Mexico to break the state monopoly over oil in order to boost economic growth and expects to have an energy reform bill ready by September. Political support within the framework of the Pacto por México, he said, should ensure the bill is approved by year’s end. Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported widely on the subject.

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Middle Class & Separation of Church and State in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: June 14

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

This week, new and ongoing crime-related stories, including the kidnapping of 12 teenagers in Mexico City and a prison break in Guerrero, prompted CNN to publish a piece arguing the country remains as dangerous and safe as ever, depending on the region in question. The Los Angeles Times looked at the evolving security situation in western Michoacán’s tierra caliente, the site of Peña Nieto’s first military operation since he took office in December. AFP featured the story of 275 ‘slave’ workers who were rescued from a tomato processing plant in Jalisco. The Economist, meanwhile, praised the results of public-private partnerships to reduce violence in Monterrey.

Bloomberg reported on the corruption case involving former governor of Tabasco Andrés Granier and his state treasurer, José Saiz. McClatchy noted that the telecommunications reform, signed into law by President Peña Nieto on Monday, is expected to significantly alter the industry. Energy and fiscal reform will be next on the agenda, according to Reuters. TIME joined the ongoing debate regarding Mexico’s ‘middle class’ after a Mexican government report determined only 40% of the population can be considered as such. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Carlos Puig explored how several Mexican mayors’ participation in evangelical ceremonies raises constitutional questions about the separation of church and state in Mexico.

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China’s Xi Jinping Visits Mexico – Weekly News Summary: June 7

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mexico as part of a three-day Latin American tour. The AP interpreted the encounter between Xi and Peña Nieto – the second one this year – as a move by China to profit from Mexico’s opening economy (i.e. energy sector) and an effort by Mexico to close its large trade deficit with China. USA Today argued the visit also represented a desire by both nations to improve relations following a series of recent setbacks, including President Felipe Calderón’s audience with the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government’s decision to quarantine Mexican tourists following the H1N1 outbreak. The Economist opted for a more cynical view, arguing China’s decision to visit America’s “free-trade partners” in the region was meant as a retaliatory move following the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.

Xi and Peña Nieto signed agreements on areas ranging from energy and mining to education and infrastructure. Increasing Chinese tourism to Mexico was one area of opportunity that the Mexican government seemed particularly interested in.

In the U.S., the Senate began debating the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. The Wall Street Journal published a piece arguing immigration reform could improve Social Security’s finances as some 75 million baby boomers plan to retire and fewer young workers are available to keep the pension system afloat. The Atlantic, meanwhile warned that Republican opposition to reform could cost them the election in 2016.

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Housing Woes, Immigration Reform & #LadySenadora – Weekly News Summary: May 31

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

Mexico’s economic performance was once again the focus of much media attention, though the press offered a less optimistic and more nuanced view than in recent weeks. The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, for instance, both reported on the crisis affecting three of Mexico’s leading homebuilders. Government subsidies that fueled the construction of at least 2 million low-income homes since 2000 have stopped, prompting homebuilders to miss debt payments. Many homes built far from urban centers remain empty, and the government has announced its policy will now favor vertical (i.e. high-rise) construction in cities.

On a more positive note, the Journal reported that foreign clothing retailers, motivated by relaxed tariffs and youthful demographics are now flocking to Mexico. In a survey of foreign and domestic firms conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, 42% of respondents said they believed the country’s security situation had improved, and almost half of the firms surveyed said they expect additional improvement over the next five years. The same survey, however, suggested extortion has become a problem for more companies, with 36% of respondents reporting it in 2012 compared to only 16% in 2011.

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U.S.-Mexico border, security cooperation & state elections – Weekly News Summary: May 17

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

A bipartisan immigration reform bill survived another week under review by the Senate Judiciary Committee [see this useful graphic by The Washington Post containing rulings to key amendments to the bill]. A  Los Angeles Times editorial pointed out that as baby boomers retire and U.S. birthrates continue to decline, immigrants will be needed to fill labor gaps. A different article in the same paper questioned whether or not a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would lead to an increase of the unauthorized population similar to the increase that followed the IRCA legalization of 1986.

VOXXI, a news website, argued that while border security should be a factor in the immigration reform debate, improving the efficiency of cross-border flows would provide a huge economic boost to both countries. The New York Times, meanwhile, highlighted San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s efforts to reach out to his counterpart in Tijuana and address border inefficiencies.

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