Mexico’s earthquakes complicate life for Central American migrants fleeing violence

10/30/2017 PRI

On a sultry summer morning, Central American migrants huddled together in the courtyard of the Hermanos en el Camino migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, discussing the complexities of checkers.

Joel Álvarez, 27, moved one of the plastic bottle caps that served as checkers pieces over a piece of plywood lacquered with blue and red squares, painted with nail polish. When Álvarez successfully got a piece into his opponent’s side of the board he flipped the bottle cap over, crowning it king. He calls checkers an “obligatory pastime.”

The checkers games at this migrant shelter are a fun distraction from long, boring days where the temperature often climbs up to 100 degrees. Most migrants standing here fled violent gangs in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. Álvarez had two older brothers who were recruited to work for rival gangs. They urged their younger brother not to take the same path; both were dead by age 24.

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Commentary | Why renegotiating NAFTA will expand economic growth

7/27/2017 The San Diego Union-Tribune

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Global Fellow & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute

NAFTA 2.0 is a big opportunity for San Diego and the entire U.S.-Mexico border region. With a good “modernization” of the 1993 treaty, the U.S.-Mexico border can expand economic growth and continue to be one of the most dynamic regions in North America. Elected officials and business groups from the border region should organize to weigh in regularly with the government negotiating teams and elected representatives in the months ahead to assure a good outcome.

Voices from the border cities and states must be well organized to have their voices heard in Washington and in Mexico City. Happily, San Diego and Tijuana are hosting mayors from throughout the region for the Border Mayors Association Binational Summit this week. This is an important opportunity for mayors to pursue a shared agenda.

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The View from Mexico | Border Adjustment Tax: Economic Impact & WTO Consistency

1/18/2017 Forbes.com, Mexico Institute Blog

By Luis de la Calle

Donald Trump has been elected U.S. President as disrupter in chief; somebody that can get things done and change the status quo.

One of the centerpieces of his program appears to be a complete revamp of the U.S. tax system. “I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone. And that is why I am one that can truly fix them,” he said several times in debates and rallies. The idea is to end up with a system that favors investment on infrastructure and capital goods.

His background as a developer and his penchant for not paying taxes have led him to believe that the best way to promote growth and generate government revenue is taxing consumption rather than investment. Furthermore, his infrastructure ambitions need significant private investment funds that might only come with a favorable regime. The idea is to prompt firms and banks holding more than a trillion dollars in cash to put it to work.

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With Trump Victory, Mexico’s Worst Fears are Realized

11/9/2016 The Washington Post

In America’s modern history, few U.S. presidents have come to power as openly hostile to their southern neighbor as Donald Trump. His opening campaign salvos — describing Mexican immigrants as criminals or rapists — seemed almost tame by the time he clinched victory, after so many threats to cut off jobs going to Mexico, deport millions of unauthorized immigrants and build a wall on the border.

His victory stunned, saddened and worried Mexicans, forcing the country’s highest government officials Wednesday morning to call for calm and pledge to work with the United States. The wave of national anxiety sent financial markets here into turmoil as a new, uncertain era in relations with the United States began.

[…] “I think there will be some tinkering with the U.S. approach to international trade, but I don’t see wholesale reversal of U.S. trade policies. There’s too much at stake here, and any change on that scale would take years and years,” said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “I think we’re looking at the beginnings of a conversation about where we want to be as a country in our international trade relationships. So we’re moving away from a model of free trade and back to a paradigm of managed trade.” […]

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Time is right for regional water planning for border

08/29/2016 Albuquerque Journal

Guate-MexborderWater supplies are a key factor as states like New Mexico and Texas struggle with drought and nearly empty reservoirs and at the same time try to attract new business and industry.

It’s not that the Southwest doesn’t have water. It does, in large caches underground. But much of that water is brackish, or salty. It would take tens of millions in investments to build desalination plants to make it potable.

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Mexico & the United States: Let’s Build Prosperity & Security

By Earl Anthony Wayne and Sergio M. Alcocer

12642332434_f5a427c4ea_zPresident Obama will receive Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto July 22 in Washington.  This is a critical opportunity to highlight the importance of U.S.-Mexico ties, to underscore the substantial progress in cooperation, and to accentuate how the campaign rhetoric in the United States is out of tune with the reality of relations.  With the U.S. election approaching, it is crucial to take steps to preserve the unprecedented U.S.-Mexico collaboration that exists today.

U.S.-Mexico relations touch the daily lives of more citizens of both countries than do ties with any other country in the world.  Over 30 million U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage, our interconnected economies, the 1,990-mile border and our shared environment link us uniquely.  The two governments have established a comprehensive network of mechanisms that put bilateral relations in the best place they have been in memory.  Officials work together to take advantage of mutual opportunities and to solve shared problems across a wide spectrum of issues, with input from “stakeholders” in the relationship.

There is still a lot of serious work to do to address the problems out there and to take advantage of the opportunities of the region.   Each government has experienced professional ambassadors and teams in place to help guide the work during the U.S. leadership transition.  But, simplistic explanations of the problems or solutions distract us from the good work underway and the hard work still needed to deal with the serious challenges ahead.  As the United States prepares for a presidential transition, the two countries should solidify the mechanisms and engagements that are doing the hard, policy and technical work of enhancing both of our nations’ economic and national security.  These include the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), the 21st Century Border process, the bilateral Security Coordination Group, and the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (FOBESSII).  The U.S.-Mexico relationship is too important for both countries not to continue this work.

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Life looking across the US-Mexico border in El Paso: ‘You are glad you are here’

06/28/16 The Guardian 

El Paso and Juarez by Flickr user dherrera 96Efren Macias, 70, lives in a one-room rented apartment, only 1,000ft from a 15ft-high fence splitting El Paso from Mexico. His apartment is immaculately kept, the walls decorated with religious icons and pictures of his family, many of whose members live in Mexico.

Efren and his wife do not have a lot of money. They make about $1,000 a month from a small pension he receives and from her occasional home-care work. Yet they are content. “I am happy. I have a roof. I have food. I am safe. I see my family. I am not sure what more you need.”

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