Parents lead protest of probe into missing 43 students in Mexico

4/27/16 Reuters

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Thousands of protesters gathered in Mexico City on Tuesday, angered by the government’s handling of an investigation into 43 students who apparently were massacred in 2014 and the government’s alleged treatment of international experts who have cast doubt on the official account.

The case of the 43 trainee teachers, who were abducted in September 2014 in the violent southwestern state of Guerrero, has tarnished the reputation of President Enrique Pena Nieto and highlighted the scale of human rights abuses in Mexico.

The parents and relatives of the abducted students led what appeared to be more than 2,000 protesters along the main thoroughfare of the Mexican capital, Paseo de la Reforma, carrying small torches along with large black and white photographs of the missing students.

Blanca Luz, the mother of one of the 43, said she wants to meet with Pena Nieto to discuss the investigation, a request frequently echoed by the parents.

“My heart can’t take anymore,” she said, standing near the main building of Mexico’s attorney general’s office. “I want my son back by my side.”

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Mexico proposes raising limit on marijuana for personal use

4/22/16 CBS news

marijuanaMEXICO CITY — Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Thursday he will ask Congress to raise the limit on decriminalized marijuana for personal use to 28 grams, or about one ounce.

Previously, only possession of five grams, or less than a fifth of an ounce, were exempted from prosecution.

“This means that consumption would no longer be criminalized,” Pena Nieto said. Possession of larger amounts would be punishable under drug trafficking laws.

“We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years,” Pena Nieto said. “Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking.”

“Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies,” he said. “A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities.”

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Mexico explosion: Families demand answers over deadly blast

4/22/16 BBC News

5337912858_1b19aea036_mRelatives of workers inside a petrochemical plant that exploded in Mexico are demanding answers from managers over what happened.

The blast hit the facility in the southern city of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz state on Wednesday. The cause of the explosion is unclear.

The death toll reached 24 on Thursday, with another 13 still seriously hurt.

Dozens of family members gathered near the gates of the plant to demand talks with plant bosses.

Some tried to force their way into the compound, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Mexico’s state oil company Pemex raised the death toll late on Wednesday, and said 19 people remained in hospital.

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The Real Reason Why Mexico Hates Donald Trump

4/19/16 Forbes

Donald_Trump)If you believe the Mexican government and its former president are worried about the plight of their poor workers toiling away on American farms, think again. They are worried about one thing: money.

Say what you will about FORBES’ No. 324, but he scares the Bank of Mexico more than he scares Mexicans.

The Associated Press was the first to point out just how important Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, are to the health of the Mexican economy. Last year, Mexicans in the U.S. wired $24.8 billion to family members. That’s more than Mexico’s economy brought in from oil revenue and is nearly half of what a country the size of Brazil brings in from foreign direct investment (FDI).

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox and current leader Enrique Peña Nieto can shout all they want about Donald Trump’s controversial border fence proposal. But their unvoiced concern is how U.S. immigration policy impacts for their biggest source of foreign capital.

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Mexico’s president says he is open to legalizing medical marijuana

4/19/16 Reuters

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera salute during the military parade celebrating Independence Day at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico CityMexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Tuesday he is open to the legalization of medical marijuana in Mexico and that his government would announce new measures in the coming days.

“I am giving voice to those who have (in public forums) expressed the necessity of changing the regulatory framework to authorize the use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes,” Pena Nieto said in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Speaking at a special session where world leaders gathered to rethink global strategy in the war on drugs for the first time in two decades, Pena Nieto said drug use should be addressed as a “public health problem” and users should not be criminalized.

Pena Nieto, who has traditionally been a vocal opponent of drug legalization, also called for a global shift in dealing with drug consumption while continuing to fight organized crime.

“We should be flexible to change that which has not yielded results, the paradigm based essentially in prohibitionism, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ … (which) has not been able to limit production, trafficking nor the global consumption of drugs,” he said.

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Leaked documents show the Mexican president’s close friend moved $100 million offshore after a corruption probe

4/5/16 Business Insider

Enrique PeñaNieto 2In 2015, a Mexican contractor — and a close friend of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto — moved roughly $100 million into accounts outside the country amid a corruption probe, according to details posted online by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The documents describing the transactions — which Business Insider has not seen — were part of a massive trove of financial documents revealing the offshore holdings of public officials, businesspeople, and other celebrities.

The records leaked by an international group of media outlets come from the Panama-based international law firm Mossack Fonseca, a global firm that also provides trust services and appears to have many high-profile clients.

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Mexico and the Nuclear Summit: Can Peña Nieto Seize the Opportunity?

3/31/2016 The Expert Take, Mexico Institute

expert I (2)By Duncan Wood and Cristina Contreras

President Enrique Peña Nieto is in Washington this week to participate in the Nuclear Summit hosted by U.S. President Obama. While most attention has been focused on the participation of other countries in the talks, the explicit request by the United States government for the Mexican President’s presence offers an opportunity to focus on Mexico’s highly positive role in the global nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards regime. Although Mexico is not a major nuclear player, with no nuclear weapons and only one nuclear power plant of note (Laguna Verde, a 1.365 GW capacity plant that produces 4.5% of the nation’s electricity), the country has nonetheless played an important role in the history of non-proliferation and continues to be a showcase for best practices in the nuclear safeguards realm.

Mexico is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratifying the treaty in 1969 and the Additional Protocol in 2004. It is also party to the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, ratified in 1988. Most importantly, however, Mexico became a pioneer of the non-proliferation movement through the 1967 hosting and negotiation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco (Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean).  This groundbreaking treaty among the nations of the western hemisphere was instrumental in making Latin America a nuclear weapons-free zone. Just as significant as the impact of the treaty in the hemisphere has been its legacy in Mexico’s foreign service, where it is seen as representing the pinnacle of Mexican diplomatic prowess. Mexico serves as the depository for the treaty. Alfonso Garcia Robles, the Mexican diplomat who was the driving force behind the treaty and who later became foreign minister, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his achievement.

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