Obama looks to Asia as trade markets beckon south: One-up on China seen as objective

Washington Times, 9/12/2012

President Obama’s postelection trip to Southeast Asia presages a greater  second-term focus on that region, but some foreign-policy analysts say that  shouldn’t distract from the need to build better alliances with U.S. neighbors,  which could be key to restoring the nation’s sluggish economy.

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Analysis: Obama and Romney Don’t Care About Latin America

ABC, 10/19/2012

We are almost through another presidential election and there has been a complete lack of serious discussion about U.S. relations with Latin America. In other words, it’s become evident that the candidates just don’t care. Even if they should During the last two decades, thanks to globalization, U.S. and Latin American economies and societies have become increasingly linked. This new dynamic suggests politicians should place a new focus on how to take advantage of opportunities like Latin America’s emerging middle class and reduce threats posed to mutual ties, like the violence and criminal activity of the drug war.

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Live at the White House: Meeting between the presidents of the USA, Mexico and Canada

The White House, 4/2/12

At this moment at the White House, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper of Canada and President Calderon of Mexico Hold a joint press conference. The conference is being held live and can be viewed at here, at the White House.

A Class Trip Meant Much to Mexico

The New York Times, 3/22/12

After weighing the risks of traveling to Mexico, the parents of one American teenager decided to allow her to join a school trip to Oaxaca, where students volunteered at an orphanage, visited archaeological sites and sipped vanilla milkshakes on the honey-colored town plaza.

The fact that the parents were President Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, and that the teenager was their daughter Malia, thrilled Mexican tourism officials, who are trying to redefine the country’s image as it has struggled with drug violence.

“It’s a compliment that the daughter of President Obama and her friends have decided to live the experience of Oaxaca,” said José Zorrilla, the state secretary for tourism and economic development, slipping into promotion mode.

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Mexico ‘casino czar’ exposed by Obama money row

AFP, 2/9/12

A presidential donation row in the United States has exposed the shady past of a Mexican fugitive who fled US drug charges in 1994 but has since built a gaming empire south of the border.

US President Barack Obama’s re-election committee announced Tuesday it would return the donations, revealed by The New York Times, of some $200,000 by two brothers of Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, or “Pepe.” Across the border in Monterrey, an industrial hub in northern Mexico, Rojas Cardona is nicknamed the “Casino Czar” for his network of gambling houses and walks free, despite various allegations against him.

“At the moment the authorities don’t have proceedings open against this person (Cardona),” said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey lies. The 45-year-old keeps a low profile and rarely appears in public or in his casinos, which stretch across the country.

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Obama to Return Major Donations Tied to Fugitive

The New York Times, 2/7/12

Two American brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled drug and fraud charges in the United States and has been seeking a pardon enabling him to return have emerged as major fund-raisers and donors for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

The casino owner, Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, known as Pepe, jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and disappeared, and has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico. A State Department cable in 2009 said he was suspected of orchestrating the assassination of a business rival and making illegal campaign donations to Mexican officials.

When The New York Times asked the Obama campaign early Monday about the Cardonas, officials said they were unaware of the brother in Mexico. Later in the day, the campaign said it was refunding the money raised by the family, which totaled more than $200,000.

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Op-Ed: A border debate that counters sense with nonsense

The Washington Post, 11/13/11

WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA announced his decision to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexican border last year, his hand was forced at least as much by politics as by border security. The president acted under pressure from border-state governors shortly after Arizona passed a draconian law targeting illegal immigrants.

At the time, the number of illegal border crossings was already plummeting in the face of a beefed-up U.S. Border Patrol and wilting demand for cheap labor among recession-wracked U.S. companies.So it is no surprise that the modest force of guardsmen, who lack the power to make arrests or pursue illegal border crossers, has been little more than window dressing.

Though they have provided some help with logistics, intelligence and surveillance, their overall contribution to the clampdown on the southwestern frontier — on top of 18,500 Border Patrol officers plus personnel from an alphabet soup of other federal agencies — has been slight.

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