Mexican Congress approves budget after protests

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11/22/19 – AP News

Mexico’s lower house of Congress approved the 2020 federal budget Friday in an all-night meeting at a convention center after protests and blockades by farm groups surrounding the Congress building.

The protests were sparked by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s policy of giving money directly to farmers and poor families rather than distributing funds through groups that claim to represent them.

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Mexico to Allocate $5 Million for Science and Technology

 

shallow focus photography of microscope
Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on Pexels.com

10/09/19 – Nearshore Americas

By  Narayan Ammachchi

Mexico is planning to allocate over US$5 million for science and technology-related activities in its 2020 fiscal budget, as the government looks at technology to prop up the flagging economy.

The money is 6.5% more than what was allocated to the sector in 2019, according to the President of the Congressional Committee on Science and Technology, Marivel Solís Barrera, who announced the move on October 4.

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Mexican congress approves safeguards for new National Guard

5/24/2019 – The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress approved a series of safeguards Thursday intended to prevent abuses under the country’s new militarized police force known as the National Guard.

Critics worry the National Guard may transfer military practices to the subtleties of police work including rules of procedure, evidence and engagement.

The four new laws approved in the lower house set out specific guidelines on the use of force and respect for human rights.

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Bill to undo education reform passes in Mexico’s lower house

4/26/2019 – Associated Press

01mexico-security-superJumboMexico’s lower house has passed a measure that would overturn contentious elements of a 2013 education reform that was a key piece of legislation under then-President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The bill would eliminate teacher evaluations and return some power to unions. It goes to the Senate, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s allies have a majority.

López Obrador praised Thursday’s vote, saying: “This is one less problem” for the country.

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Headlines from Mexico

000-2Week of April 22-26

Bill to undo education reform passes in Mexico’s lower house

Mexico’s lower house has passed a measure that would overturn contentious elements of a 2013 education reform that was a key piece of legislation under then-president Enrique Peña Nieto. The bill would eliminate teacher evaluations and return some power to unions. It goes to the Senate, where President López Obrador’s allies have a majority.

FRANCE24, El Universal, Milenio

 

Peñafiel sparkling water accused of containing arsenic

Keurig Dr. Pepper stopped the production of Peñafiel soda in Mexico for two weeks, after a study by the Consumer Reports Organization warned that the Mexican mineral water contains high levels of arsenic. The suspension began on April 15 and, among the measures sought, improving filtration and reducing chemical levels are included.

Forbes México, Proceso, El Sol de México

 

Migration officers arrests hundreds in a massive raid

Central American migrants traveling through southern Mexico toward the U.S. fearfully recalled their frantic escape from the police, scuttling under barbed wire fences into pastures and then spending the night in the woods after hundreds were detained in a raid. In the Chiapas state town of Tonala, migrants flocked to one of the few places they felt they could be safe – the local Roman Catholic church.

Telemundo, Univisión, Associated Press

 

The incident between U.S. and Mexico soldiers escalates

Two U.S. soldiers made a routine tour near the southern border when Mexican soldiers intercepted and interrogated them and pointed their guns at them. At least, that’s Washington’s version of friction that occurred on April 13. The confusion escalated to a political conflict when President Trump threat to send more armed troops to the border.

BBC, El Economista, Milenio

 

Mexico becomes the U.S. largest trading partner

Mexico has now become the biggest U.S. trading partner, jumping ahead of Canada and China that have previously held the top spot, according to recent government data. Transactions with Mexico made up 15% of U.S. trade in February, according to federal data released last week, edging out Canada at 14.2% and China at 13.9%.

El Financiero, Forbes, The Hill

 

Minatitlán massacre prompts National Guard’s first operation

Gunmen burst into a party hall in southeastern Mexico on Friday and opened fire, killing at least 13 people, authorities said. The attackers raised a family party in the city of Minatitlán, Veracruz. Six men, five women, and a child were killed and four others were wounded, the state’s public security department said. President López Obrador later said that the National Guard’s first security operation would take place here.

El Sol de México, ADN Político, CNN

 

Outrage in Mexico over motion to ban sale of cold beer

A local lawmaker introduced a motion to ban the sale of the cold beverage in convenience stores. The motion – met with incredulity on social media –would modify Mexico City’s commerce laws to ban selling beer on beverages of 7% or less alcohol content, which are “refrigerated or in different conditions than the ambient temperature.”

CNN, El Universal, El Diario de México

 

Santa Lucia airport cost skyrockets over an unforeseen hill 

The estimated cost of the Santa Lucia International Airport in Mexico City project increased by 11.7% after a hill known as “Cerro de Paula” was not taken into account in the original plan, less than 10 kilometers from the southern runway. The new airport planning and development may have even bigger problems, including environmental considerations.

Reuters, El Economista, CNN

 

 

 

 

U.S. Congress and AMLO may finally force labor reform in Mexico

4/26/2019 – Bloomberg

aerial-aerial-shot-agriculture-1595108By Nacha Cattan

Mrs. Martínez earns $79 for a six-day week working in the produce section of a Walmart in Mexico City. A labor union bargained with the retail giant to get her that salary, but she’s never met a representative. She didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals, but she says she hasn’t even heard of the union.

“Bargaining” is a stretch to describe what the union actually did, which is more like rubber-stamping. The collective contract that covers Martínez’s store allows starting salaries around the minimum wage, which has fallen so far behind inflation that few in the capital actually work for it. Walmart Inc. pays dues on workers’ behalf.

That’s not how unions are meant to work. But in Mexico they do, and not by accident. Low pay has been central to the country’s economic strategy in the quarter-century since Nafta began, boosting its appeal as a cheap base for exports to the giant consumer market up north. Many businesses that took advantage of cheap Mexican labor were American, turning the wage gap into a bone of contention between the two countries. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, negotiated last year to replace Nafta, has more worker protections. But U.S. lawmakers—particularly House Democrats—insist on proof that Mexico is finally serious about boosting wages and threaten to block ratification of the deal until they get it. Mexico’s new labor-friendly president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, says he wants an economy that’s more driven by domestic demand anyway, which puts the unions in a political vise.

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‘Don’t mess with our beers’: outrage in Mexico over motion to ban sale of cold beer

4/25/2019 – The Guardian

photo-1546339166-72eaf6a67c3cBy David Agren

Mexico City residents may have to slake their thirsts with warm beer after a local lawmaker introduced a motion on Wednesday to ban the sale of the cold beverage in convenience stores.

The motion – met with incredulity on social media – would modify Mexico City’s commerce laws to ban selling beer or beverages of 7% or less alcohol content, which are “refrigerated or in different conditions than the ambient temperature.”

Stores would also be required to post signs warning patrons of stiff penalties for public drinking. Mexico City’s ubiquitous mom-and-pop stores often sell cold beer in big bottles – previously promoted as family-sized – and provide plastic cups, which people use to consume the product on-site.

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Headlines from Mexico

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Week of April 8 – 12

1. Luis Rodríguez Bucio, the new National Guard leader

President López Obrador appointed a soon to be retired military officer to head the National Guard. The appointment of Rodriguez Bucio caused controversy because it is established that the National Guard must have a civil command. However, the president said that there was no ill intention in placing a military in the process of retirement at the command of the National Guard.

BBC, Milenio, El Universal

 

2. Stagnated dialogue between CNTE and authorities

After five hours, leaders of the National Union of Education Workers (CNTE), the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), and the Chair of Education Committee of Congress, Adela Piña Bernal, failed to reach an agreement on the abrogation of the educational reform sought by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

El Economista, La Razón, La Jornada

 

3. Morena senator pushes Supreme Court of Justice reform

After Ricardo Monreal Ávila, leader of the Morena party in the Senate, proposed reforming the Mexican Supreme Court, he met with the president of the Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldívar, to review this proposal. The legal counselor of the Presidency, Julio Scherer and the counselor of the Federal Judiciary, Felipe Borrego, also attended the meeting.

ADN Político, El Financiero, El Sol de México

 

4. Michelle Bachelet: Violence in Mexico is war-like

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said Tuesday that she was alarmed by the violence figures in Mexico, after signing a cooperation agreement with the government. The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said it was “regrettable and sad” that this happened and blamed the “wrong policy” of the last governments.

CNN, El Sol de México, El Universal

 

5. AMLO commemorates Emiliano Zapata’s mournful centenary

President López Obrador led the ceremony for Emiliano Zapata’s mournful centenary in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Accompanied by his wife Beatriz Gutiérrez Muller, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Olga Sánchez Cordero and Marcelo Ebrard, respectively, as well as the governor of the entity, Cuauhtémoc Blanco.

The Guardian, Milenio, Aristegui Noticias

 

6. Congress approves labor law

The Mexican Congress approved with 417 votes in favor, 29 abstentions, and one opposed, the ruling of reforms in labor matters with which buries the “Charrismo” union and opens the door to democracy in the election of the workers’ leadership through free, secret and direct vote while leaving out outsourcing.

Forbes, ADN Político, El Economista

 

7. Mexico and U.S. business leaders met in Yucatan Summit

Several Mexican government officials and business leaders met with their U.S. counterparts for a second day on Friday, as they sought to ratify a trade deal, namely the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), resolve border delays that are hurting exporters, and discuss metal tariffs.

Reuters, Milenio, Yucatan Expat Life

Mexico’s lower house passes measure to cut short presidential term

3/15/2019 -Reuters

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REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Lower House on Thursday approved a constitutional reform that would allow for referendums to cut short the six-year presidential term, a move opposition lawmakers say opens the door to allowing re-election to the nation’s highest office.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said during the campaign that he would hold a referendum on his performance at the middle of his term and would cut it short if he loses the consultation.

Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party and its allies hold majorities in both chambers of Congress. The constitutional reform received the required support of two thirds of lawmakers in the Lower House. It now goes to the Senate for discussion and a vote.

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Mexico Congress Backs National Guard, Weakens Military Role

1/17/2019 – The New York Times

2-12-18-FOTO-13-SALUTACIÓN-FUERZAS-ARMADAS-AL-PRESIDENTE-ANDRÉS-MANUEL-LÓPEZ-OBRADOR-1024x710.jpgBy the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — The lower house of Mexico’s Congress has passed a measure creating a National Guard, though it was quickly criticized by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for weakening controversial proposals to give the military a greater formal role in policing.

Lopez Obrador said Thursday he hopes the Senate will modify it to restore a greater role for the armed forces.

“It’s going to end up as if it were a replay of the Federal Police, which we already know didn’t work,” Lopez Obrador said the morning after the measure passed.

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