Why trouble for Volkswagen made in Germany means Mexico headache

10/8/2015 The Economic Times 

autosAs Germany warns of a disaster for domestic employees of Volkswagen AG, fallout from the company’s emissions-cheating scandal threatens to reach its largest producer of cars for the US: Mexico.

VW has already cut Saturday shifts at its Puebla factory, the largest stand-alone plant making VW brand cars outside of Wolfsburg, where the company is based. That has led to increased concern among the estimated 15,000 workers that jobs may go next.

“Volkswagen messed with all of us,” said Alfredo Rodriguez, 29, who fears his lack of seniority at the factory makes him more vulnerable. The father of two boys 6 months old and 8 years old got a full-time contract only three years ago, and now helps install the wheels on the cars being built. “The thing that worries me most is we don’t know what’s coming.”

Mapping as Mexico Opens for Exploration

10/7/2015 The New York Times

MEXICO CITY —Sediment_in_the_Gulf_of_Mexico_(2) Now that Mexico’s potential oil and gas riches are open to outside investment, how does the industry figure out what’s there?

North of an east-west line across the Gulf of Mexico are United States waters, where the bedrock deep below the ocean floor has proved to hold vast reservoirs of oil and gas. But south of that line, there is very little information.

Geologists suspect that Mexico’s Gulf waters hold similar resources, but they lack the crucial first step in oil exploration, the seismic data that allows them to develop a picture of what lies beneath.

Until now, whatever seismic data existed was closely held by Pemex, the state-owned oil company, which commissioned the studies for itself. But that is all starting to change.

Not only did Mexico’s 2013 energy reform end Pemex’s monopoly on exploration and production, it also ended its monopoly on information.

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Transparency is key for Mexico’s deepwater block auction: GlobalData

10/7/2015 World Oil

532687354_fdef042d72_zLONDON — As Mexico’s first offshore bidding round for already discovered fields saw bids significantly higher than the minimum set up by the government, adding further transparency to the process would be positive for the round as it approaches its deepwater phase, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Adrian Lara, GlobalData’s senior upstream analyst for the Americas, says that the Mexican government’s announcement of the minimum profit oil worked out well, especially in discovered fields, as opposed to the disappointment surrounding the exploration blocks on offer during the previous phase of Round 1.

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Publication: Mexico’s Moment: The 2012 Presidential Transition

10/2015  by Robert Joyce – Innovation for Successful Societies, Princeton University

Mexico’s 2012 presidential transition tested the durability of the country’s democracy. Outgoing president Felipe Calderón ceded power to longtime political opponents. The new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, had to gather information on government programs, select a Cabinet and top aides, and set priorities—with no guarantee of significant cooperation from his predecessor’s administration. But to the surprise of some Mexicans, Calderón ordered his staff to cooperate by gathering and organizing information to brief their incoming counterparts. The process the two leaders put in place ensured an effective handover and helped pave the way for a landmark political deal early in Peña Nieto’s term. The 2012 transition, only the second between opposing parties in eight decades, followed steps other countries could find helpful for ensuring the continuity of core government functions during transfers of power.

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New Publication: How to Reduce Violence in Guerrero by Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés

10/5 Mexico Institute Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars ESSAY

This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Guerrero is one of the most violent and dangerous states in Mexico. According to the latest data published by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), Guerrero had the second-highest rate of intentional homicide in the country for 2014, with 1,394 intentional homicides taking place between January and November of 2014. Guerrero’s crime rate for 2013 is a matter of great concern, especially when taking non-reported crimes into account. Specifically, the 2014 ENVIPE survey estimates that 1,198,471 crimes took place in 2013, with 26 percent of Guerrero’s inhabitants being victims of crime at least once. The state’s dangerous conditions are adversely affecting inhabitants’ safety: 78.9 percent of persons residing in Guerrero feel unsafe living there. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer tourists visit the state each year, despite the fact that tourism is the state’s top productive activity.

One of the most pressing issues for the state’s security situation may very well be that the authorities responsible for law enforcement are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. This was made evident when 43 students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa were forcefully disappeared on September 26, 2014. Iguala’s municipal police officers, together with the municipality’s mayor, actively participated in the event in collusion with the criminal organization Los Guerreros Unidos, which was allowed to operate in the area in exchange for bribes.

In light of the gravity of the issues at hand, this article will aim to answer two closely related questions: Why did violence in Guerrero escalate over the last few years, and what can citizens and the authorities do to check the state’s worrisome levels of violence? In response to these questions, the article will conduct an in-depth study of each of the factors that have contributed to the spike in violence Guerrero has faced over the last few years. In addition, the article will provide several public-policy recommendations to help check and reduce Guerrero’s violence levels in the medium term.

Victor Manuel Sánchez is researcher at the Inter-American Academy of Human Rights at the Autonomous University of Coahuila. PhD student in Public Policy at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE); expert in public safety and drug trafficking.

The paper is available in both English and Spanish

Mexico central bank sees low inflation impact from weak peso

10/5/2015 Reuters

5504964078_df874cacb5_zMost of Mexico’s central bankers think that economic growth remains sluggish and see few signs so far that a weak peso has hit inflation, suggesting they could hold interest rates steady in the coming months.

Central bank board members voted 5 to 0 at their Sept. 21 meeting to hold their benchmark rate at a record low of 3.0 percent, minutes showed on Monday.

Minutes showed that most policymakers noted there was only “low passthrough” from the weak peso to consumer prices so far, which backs expectations Mexico will hold rates until the U.S. Federal Fed lifts borrowing costs.

Mexico’s peso gained for a second session in a row on Monday after weak U.S. jobs data on Friday backed bets that the Fed could wait until next year to raise borrowing costs.

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Charges Against Soldiers Dropped in Mexico Massacre

10/6/2015  InSight Crime

Charges have been dropped against four soldiers in the 2014 Tlatlaya massacre, in which Mexico’s military allegedly executed 22 individuals after they had been captured.

According to the AP, a federal judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to try a lieutenant and three soldiers for covering up the possible extrajudicial killings of the alleged gang suspects.

The decision to drop the charges against the four soldiers came after their lawyers demanded a review of the case on the grounds of “violations of due process,” reported Animal Politico. As the soldiers also face military charges, they will not be immediately released from prison.

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