June 14, 2013
Jesus Villaseca (Flickr)
The Economist, 6/13/2013
ON ONE side of a low hill in the middle of Monterrey, Mexico’s biggest industrial city, lies Independencia, a district so run down that donkeys still carry heavy goods to the top. On the other side is San Pedro Garza García, one of Latin America’s most affluent neighbourhoods and home to some of its biggest companies.
In the past four years, the yawning social divide between them has been bridged by violence. First, the sound of gun battles between drug gangs fighting in Independencia carried over the hill to the mansions of San Pedro. Then the killings began in San Pedro itself. In a place once considered by its residents to be safer than Texas, just a few hours’ drive away, murders, carjackings and extortion became everyday occurrences. Some rich families fled to Texas—and were branded as “cowards” by Lorenzo Zambrano, the boss of Cemex, a cement-maker which is one of Monterrey’s (and Mexico’s) biggest firms.
May 16, 2013
In the last decade Mexico’s tech industry has flourished, growing three times faster than the global average. Most of that growth is fueled by demand from the United States. But without certain reforms Mexico’s progress can only go so far. On the cover of April’s edition of Forbes Magazine in Mexico is Blanca Treviño. She is the 53-year-old CEO of Softtek, the country’s biggest technology service.
Softtek spans four continents and provides software support to clients that include Fortune 500 companies. The business sector represented by Softtek is one that’s growing rapidly in Mexico thanks in large part to its proximity to the United States, the world’s largest consumer of tech services. “I think it’s safe to say that without the U.S. the Mexico market would not be doing very well,” said Morgan Yeates, an analyst with the IT consulting firm Gartner.
February 25, 2013
The New York Times, 2/23/2013
In India, people ask you about China, and, in China, people ask you about India: Which country will become the more dominant economic power in the 21st century? I now have the answer: Mexico.
Impossible, you say? Well, yes, Mexico with only about 110 million people could never rival China or India in total economic clout. But here’s what I’ve learned from this visit to Mexico’s industrial/innovation center in Monterrey. Everything you’ve read about Mexico is true: drug cartels, crime syndicates, government corruption and weak rule of law hobble the nation. But that’s half the story. The reality is that Mexico today is more like a crazy blend of the movies “No Country for Old Men” and “The Social Network.”
February 21, 2013
Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years. But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town’s mayor.
In May 2007, on his way to work, two men wearing police uniforms stopped Dionicio on a busy street, pulled him from his car and drove him away. That same day, the mayor’s other two bodyguards were also abducted. Witnesses say the kidnappers wore uniforms of an elite anti-drug police unit. The three men haven’t been seen since.
October 31, 2012
Los Angeles Times, 10/30/2012
Pastor Andres Garza had told the American evangelicals to stay away from his troubled city. The drug war made it too difficult to guarantee their safety.
The way Garza saw it, the Americans’ return on this September weekend was part of an epic spiritual battle for a city, like Babylon, that had fallen into decadence and was in need of salvation. There was also a little of Jesus’ story in their visit.
September 17, 2012
While Nuevo Leon is suffering from the worst wave of violence in its history, the military is leaving the streets of Monterrey and is being replaced by a new civilian police force called the Fuerza Civil which was created by the state’s governor Rodrigo Medina last year. There will be an 80% reduction in military presence, and they are recruiting many new police officers.
August 27, 2012
The Wall Street Journal, 8/26/12
Five and a half years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated an all-out war on the Mexican cartels that run drugs to American consumers, organized-crime rages in Mexico. But it is not limited to narcotics trafficking. Having made a bundle off prohibition, mastered the art of corrupting officials, and provoked a generalized breakdown in the rule of law, other gangster businesses are booming. When the press dares to expose their operations, it gets the El Norte treatment or worse. The paper has reported that 47 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, 13 have disappeared and there have been 40 attacks against media properties.
The Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice (CCSPJP), a Mexico-based nongovernmental organization which tracks homicide statistics, found that five of the 10 deadliest cities in the world last year were in Mexico. The Council has also reported that of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world in 2011, 40 are in Latin America. Last year, for the first time, Monterrey joined that list as cartel violence spiked.