Thursday, January 31, 2013

Huge explosion at Pemex offices in Mexico City

A rising death count, with many injured; criminal investigators at the scene

Guadalajara -
Within the hour Mexican news sources have reported a major explosion at the corporate headquarters of Pemex, the state owned petroleum company, in the nation's capital.

At least 30 injuries have been reported, some of them said to be serious. There is one confirmed fatality. Other sources are reporting more deaths. Some people may be trapped inside.

HSBC hires former U.S. federal prosecutor to counsel anti-money laundering committee

Guadalajara -
Six months after it had to pay U.S. regulators $2 billion for years of laundering Mexican drug profits, financial giant HSBC has hired a former U.S. deputy attorney general to help it avoid a repeat of the problem.

James Comey was second in command at the Justice Dept. from 2003-2005, during the George W. Bush administration. Before that he was the chief U.S. prosecutor in New York City. Comey was a key figure in the obstruction of justice case filed against home style diva Martha Stewart in 2004.

Comey will provide legal advice to HSBC's new Financial Systems Vulnerability Committee, which reports directly to CEO Stuart Gulliver. He'll also serve as an HSBC assistant director.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RCMP criminal affidavit lends strong support to Mexico's case against Canadian Cynthia Ann Vanier

Self-proclaimed specialist at "diffusing and calming the most contentious and difficult environments" was paid a cool $740,000 to lead 2011 "fact finding trip" to Libya, as brutal Gaddafi regime collapsed

Guadalajara -
Cynthia Ann Vanier, arrested in November 2011 on charges that she was a key figure in a scheme to smuggle one of the sons of the late Muammar Gaddafi into Mexico, is on trial in Quintana Roo state. The case is now winding up, and a criminal court will soon hear final evidence and closing arguments. A decision could come within the next few weeks.

The Mount Forest, Ontario native faces years in custody if convicted. She's being held in a Chetumal prison. Last year Vanier claimed that she had been "physically, mentally and emotionally" abused by penal authorities while in the remote facility near the country's border with Belize. She was denied bail due to the seriousness of the offense. Canadian pleads not guilty; alleges abuse in Mexican jail.

All the familiar weapons used in latest assassination of Jalisco police chief - as kidnappings a la Cassez continue

MGR News Analysis -

*Updated Feb. 4*
Guadalajara -
For police chief Lucio Rosales Astorga, yesterday was business as usual in Hostotipaquillo, Jalisco, a sleepy town of about 10,000 northwest of Guadalajara, not far from the Nayarit state line.

At least it was supposed to be that way.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mexican peso "well anchored," says central bank director

No repeat of 1994 disaster remotely in sight

*Updated Mar. 25*
Guadalajara -
The director of Mexico's central bank had good news today for those who are paid in or hold the moneda nacional - the peso. The government has no plans to tamper with what it regards as a stable currency.

Banixco chief Agustín Carstens said the peso is on solid economic footing - "well anchored" - and he ruled out any possibility of a currency devaluation.

Carstens' comments echoed those of president Enrique Peña Nieto, who last week told a U.N. economic summit in Santiago, Chile that Mexico's economy is firing on all cylinders, with anticipated 2013 growth of up to 4%. Peña Nieto attributed the stability to low inflation, and above all, to a modest ratio (34%) of national debt to gross domestic product (producto interno bruto, or PIB, in Mexico). Mexico poised for 4% growth in 2013. Carstens concurred with those appraisals today.

Should narco criminals be forgiven? Mexico's Roman Catholic Church implores victims' families to do just that

With it's yet powerful social voice, Church pushes the envelope in "My Brother, the Narco"

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Roman Catholic Church remains an influential institution in this country, despite inroads by other faiths in recent years. Experts say that about 80% of the nation considers itself Catholic. And although there is a clear line of demarcation between church and state affairs in Mexico, as there is in the United States, that line not infrequently gets crossed.

Bodies of seven musicians found in Nuevo León well

Anybody can die in Mexico's drug war - anybody

*Updated Jan. 29*
Guadalajara -
The bodies of seven members of the popular musical group Kombo Kolombia have been found in a well near the town of Mina, in Mexico's northern Nuevo León state.

The corpses, dressed in the group's customary stage clothing, were located on a ranch known as El Coyote. Authorities expect to find more.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The fix was in, says Mexico's leftist pol López Obrador: Peña Nieto leaned on Supreme Court to free Cassez

Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!

Guadalajara -
Mexico's firebrand leftist politician, never short on words, came roaring out of the gates once again today, claiming the country's Supreme Judicial Court freed Florence Cassez on Wednesday under pressure from president Enrique Peña Nieto and the newly installed PRI administration.

Last week Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the ruling a "barbarous injustice" to Mexicans. Today he charged that EPN "wasn't far removed from the legal process; he wanted to curry favor" with France.

With Cassez case now history, France will assist Mexico in setting up new national gendarmerie

Florence is back in Paris, so two old partners can turn their attention to new matters

Guadalajara -
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in Santiago, Chile yesterday that his country will help Mexico set up its first national gendarmerie, a paramilitary force which Enrique Peña Nieto announced just days after he was elected July 1.

Ayrault's comments came at a summit sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL). Peña Nieto is attending the CEPAL forum, where he acknowledged on Friday that Mexico is confronting "grave security issues.". Ayrault said French consultants will arrive in Mexico in February.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Executions soar in Mexico's heart, as Peña Nieto's new PRI government passes half-way point in critical first 100

MGR News Analysis -
It wasn't supposed to work this way

*Updated Mar.27, 2014 (bottom of page)*
Guadalajara -
Eight weeks ago today, on Dec. 1, the new Institutional Revolutionary Party administration took the reins of power in this country. On its 57th day in charge of Los Pinos, Mexico's White House, things are not going exactly as planned.

Speaking at an economic summit in Santiago de Chile yesterday, Peña Nieto acknowledged "grave security issues" in many parts of Mexico. Coming from a president who at times has been noted for his mastery of hyperbole, that's perhaps an understatement.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Peña Nieto: Mexico poised for 4% economic growth in '13

"We want to create greater legal confidence in investing in Mexico" - Enrique Peña Nieto, in Santiago

*Updated Apr. 7*
Guadalajara -
On his first trip abroad as Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto delivered an optimist economic prognosis for his nation in the year ahead, predicting growth could reach 4%. He said it would likely be considerably higher before his term ends in 2018.

That number is almost certainly much better than the United States will post in 2013. (Jan. 11 - Banxico chief: grim prognosis for U.S. economic growth).

Peña Nieto is in Santiago, Chile, attending a regional summit sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL). CEPAL was established as a U.N. agency in 1948. It now has 44 member states, including 20 in Latin America and 13 in the Caribbean.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

No justice for Mexicans in Florence Cassez ruling

MGR's view - She beat the rap

"I believe that I was declared innocent" - Florence Cassez, on her arrival in Paris

"Pobre país, tan cerca del aplauso fácil y tan lejos de la auténtica justicia - What a sad country; so ready to applaud, so far away from real justice" - Sen. Javier Lozano Alarcón (Puebla)

Guadalajara -
To French poet and novelist Victor Hugo is attributed the statement, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Some in la République française surely will be thinking about those words as they take le petit déjeuner and devour the bold headlines in cafés this morning (it's already Jan. 24 for them).

Anybody who paid attention to the bizarre twists in L'affaire Florence Cassez, especially in the last year, was not surprised by today's Mexican Supreme Court ruling. The handwriting has been on the wall for months. But that doesn't make it good handwriting.

Mexico's Supreme Court frees Florence Cassez

"Grave violations of human rights, the wholly corrupting effect of which destroyed the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence, thus entitling Cassez to immediate liberty" - a SCJN opinion

Mexico City -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court (SCJN), the highest appellate tribunal in the country, today ruled firmly in favor of convicted French national Florence Cassez, and ordered her immediate discharge.

Cassez, a prisoner of Mexico's Dept. of Corrections for the last 85 months, could be set free in hours.

Some news sources are reporting that French diplomatic vehicles have already been spotted on the grounds of the women's correctional institute south of this city, where Cassez is being held.

(6:00 p.m. - A convoy carrying Cassez and French consular officials has just left the prison, on its way to Mexico City International Airport. Family members of Zodiac victims cried and cursed as it passed by, screaming out, "Kidnapper! Murderer! Damn you!" The convoy had a heavy federal and state police escort. Press photos of Cassez and her father at the airport show both wearing bullet proof vests.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Puerto Vallarta: tensions linger after brazen narco attack

MGR photojournal report -
Theories differ about what was behind the events of Oct. 15, but most agree, the city was changed

On an overcast afternoon, a placid Bahía de Banderas extends to the horizon. But the tranquil waters conceal an undercurrent of fear in the legendary resort, made famous in 1964 by Night of the Iguana.

*Updated June 20 - Puerto Vallarta sweats through the dog days of summer*
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco -
The corner of Insurgentes and Lázaro Cárdenas in old town Puerto Vallarta has nothing to distinguish it from thousands of such crossroads in Mexico. A visitor, looking around, might be almost anywhere.

The streets are a mixture of old bricks, rough stones and long crumbled asphalt. They suit Vallarta's historic charm, and its laid back, care free mood. People come here to swim, beach comb and soak up the sun, far from the bitter winds, ice and snow of northerly latitudes. They come here to eat and drink, with old friends and new ones just made. They come to forget about life back home for awhile.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Narco executions continue in the heart of Guadalajara, and near Lake Chapala

16th of September passes through Guadalajara's main plaza, in front of its largest cathedral

Guadalajara -
Guadalajara has recorded three homicides in the last 24 hours. All suggest organized crime murders.

The victims of the separate incidents were two men and a woman. Their bodies were found in central Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque and a community near Lake Chapala, about 45 minutes south of the city.

Weapons seizures in Mexico soared under Calderón

12 times that of previous PAN administration
"It's grossly unjust and offensive that so many lives have been lost in Mexico due to indiscriminate trafficking in weapons coming from the United States" - Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Sept. 24, 2012

Guadalajara -
Weapons seizures by Mexican security forces during the just ended administration of Felipe Calderón were nearly 12 times those of his predecessor, Vicente Fox, according to statistics released last week by the country's Secretary of Defense. Both men were National Action Party (PAN) presidents.

The data was requested by Mexican press sources under governmental transparency laws.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dirty money washed in Mexico represents 3.6% of GDP

$10 billion U.S. dollars annually, reports nation's Cámara de Diputados

Guadalajara -
A study conducted by Mexico's Cámara de Diputados has concluded that drug traffickers and organized crime wash at least $10 billion U.S. dollars annually in this nation, an amount representing 3.6% of its gross domestic product (known here as Producto Interno Bruto, or PIB).

The Cámara is Mexico's lower congressional chamber, equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The untaxed, off-the-books income is the product of narcotics trafficking, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, prostitution, human trafficking, gun running and a host of other criminal activities, many of which generate violence. "The ill-gotten proceeds can then easily be transferred to any jurisdiction, and in any form," the Cámara's published report said.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Fast and Furious" arms sold to Mexican criminals were found at scene of shootout which killed Miss Sinaloa

U.S. ATF agent allegedly "carried on a private trade," and sold guns to Sinaloa Cartel operatives

Guadalajara -
On Nov. 29 MGRR reported on the sad case of Susana Flores, better known to Mexico as Miss Sinaloa. A few days earlier she was killed in a shootout with federal troops while in the company of heavily armed gunmen. One was her boyfriend.

Flores, whose age was given as 20 or 22 by press sources, was known to family and friends as Susy. The men she was with the day she died were presumed operatives of the Sinaloa Cartel. Military officials said that at the last moment they tried to use her as a human shield, during a brief but deadly battle with an armed reconnaissance unit on routine patrol. Forensic analysis later indicated that she had fired one of the weapons found near her body. MGRR's report: Mexican beauty queen dies with AK-47 at her side.

"Violence on Yucatán soil" - against foreigners

MGRR News Analysis -
Mérida, Yucatán -
This city's main daily newspaper is Diario de Yucatán - a PAN (National Action Party) vehicle through and through, to be sure - but one that does a reasonably acceptable job of local reporting.

Today Diario noted that 2012 was a difficult year for foreigners, three of whom were murdered in the White City or its environs. The article's title is Violencia en suelo yucateco, and it reviews homicides of foreign visitors over the last decade or so. Victims have included Dutch, Austrian, Chinese and Cuban nationals. Some of the cases were solved, others were not.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Aeroméxico not worried about Boeing 787 fuel leak issue

Just ask for another glass of wine if gasoline spewing from wing tanks makes you uneasy

*Updated Jan. 21-
Guadalajara -
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner may leak aviation fuel, but no one's worried about it at Aeroméxico.

Last summer the nation's flag carrier signed an $11 billion contract with Boeing for new aircraft, including ten 787s (Aeroméxico places order with Boeing). That order was later increased to 19 of the state of the art jets.

Today a spokesmen for Grupo Aeroméxico said the company has "absolute confidence in the company and its products." The first Dreamliner will be delivered to the airline this summer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cancún turns its attention to hotel zone security

Watch out for muggers along beautiful Kukulcán Boulevard - and crocodiles

Cancún, Quintan Roo -
Cancún, which boasts that its world famous hotel zone is completely safe, had to contend with some difficult security issues in 2012, as well as economic ones (Cancún, no longer an oasis for most).

In January, a 15 year old Orlando, Florida girl on vacation with her parents was sexually assaulted at a major hotel while the adults were out of the room for a few minutes. The incident had nothing to do with organized crime, but it was an embarrassment for the establishment.

Two Canadian "gunmen" arrested in Playa del Carmen are alleged by local press to have organized crime links

Nabbed with handguns and ammunition at a strip club purportedly connected to dreaded Los Zetas
Canadians Stewart Goldstein, 50, and Daniel Selcer, 25, appeared in Cozumel criminal court today, together with the evidence of their crimes

*Updated Jan. 17 - Canadian Embassy in Mexico replies to MGRR*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
In Playa del Carmen, one of the Riviera Maya's premier tourist destinations, two Canadians were arrested yesterday and charged with violating Mexico's strict weapons laws. The charges could land them behind bars for years.

Daniel Selcer, 25, and Stewart Goldstein, 50, were taken into custody early Tuesday morning after their "luxury SUV" was spotted in the parking lot of Chilly Willy’s, a popular strip club and table dance establishment which authorities claim has links to the feared Los Zetas drug cartel.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Terror in Cozumel, as narco hit team gets the wrong guys

Executioners were "confused," reports local press

*Updated Jan. 16*
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco -
On Cozumel island, a world famous tourist destination popular with scuba divers, two men whom police say had nothing to do with drug sales or narcotics trafficking were shot to death by an execution squad yesterday morning, apparently the victims of mistaken identity.

Independent dealers in Mexico's drug war, usually referred to as chapulínes, are frequently targeted for elimination by cartels and organized crime. But these victims, 29 and 39 years old, worked in the tourism industry, police said.

Si no lo hablas español, que lo aprendas – lo más pronto

There's still time to get on the train ...

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco -
In Madrid, Spain's Cervantes Institute reports that Spanish is the second most widely used language on Twitter. Its presence in social media and throughout the internet has increased by 800% in recent years, it says.

In an interview Cervantes' director noted that those interested in learning Spanish are increasing by about 8% every year, and worldwide 18 million high school and university students are now enrolled in language classes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mexican drug cartels operate in 1,286 U.S. cities

Modern day narco influence far exceeds that of legendary border raider, say U.S. officials

*Updated Jan. 16*
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco -
The United States Justice Dept. says that Mexican drug traffickers have a presence in at least 1,286 American cities. The report was quoted today by Guadalajara's El Informador, and was attributed to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Although NDIC was formerly an agency of Justice, it ceased to exist in June 2012, when its functions were transferred to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Apart from its confusion over bureaucracies, El Informador's report is in accord with what U.S. officials have said several times. Ten months ago, General Charles Jacoby told Sen. John McCain (R. Az.) that Mexican traffickers were at work in at least 1,000 U.S. cities. Jacoby testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2012, when it held hearings on progress in the Mexican drug war U.S. general delivers qualified drug war report . McCain is Ranking Member of the committee.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Banxico chief: grim prognosis for U.S. economic growth

It may flatline, says Bank of Mexico chairman

*Updated Apr. 26*
Guadalajara -
The governor of Mexico's central bank offered a bleak assessment of the U.S. economy today, and suggested that there may be virtually no growth in the year just ahead.

The Bank of Mexico is the nation's lender of last resort, and the functional equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Agustín Carstens has been the governor of Banixco since Jan. 1, 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, and is married to an American citizen. In 2012 Carstens was considered for managing director of the International Monetary Fund. In 2011 he was included in the 50 Most Influential Persons ranking of Bloomberg Markets Magazine.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Florence Cassez, once more to Mexico's Supreme Court

Appeal of convicted French national serving 60 year sentence for kidnapping will be considered again

Jan. 23 - Mexican Supreme Court orders immediate unconditional liberty for Florence Cassez

*Updated Jan. 23*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's highest appellate tribunal, the Supreme Judicial Court, announced today it will rehear arguments in the long running Florence Cassez legal drama on Jan. 23.

The 38 year old Cassez, a French citizen, is serving a 60 year prison sentence for kidnapping and other crimes. Mexican prosecutors say she and her former boyfriend were the leaders of a vicious gang known as Los Zodiaco (the Zodiacs), which held numerous victims for ransom in the mid-2000s. Cassez' conviction has been upheld by several lower courts. On Mar. 21 a five judge panel of the Supreme Court did likewise, but in a split decision which reflected strong disagreement among the judges. The court will now reconsider the matter.

Mexico's impoverished grew by more than 11% in two years, with 13 million citizens in extreme conditions

"Mexico is not a poor country, but there are many poor in Mexico" - SEDESOL official

*Updated Jan. 21*
Guadalajara - Exactly 11 months ago, MGRR reported on Mexico's poor economic grade card (Feb. 10, 2012 - Increasing poverty and rising state debt in Mexico). The one issued today is equally disappointing.

Mexico's Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL) said that since 2010, the number of people living in the most extreme poverty rose from 11.7 million to 13 million. That's a jump of over 11% in just 24 months. The country will soon have a population of 118 million, with a median age of 26.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More attacks on Jalisco police; state homicides increase

Just as predicted, Guadalajara and Jalisco are the latest drug war battlegrounds

*Updated Apr. 7*
Guadalajara -
Following Christmas weekend attacks against police departments in several Jalisco communities, and in neighboring Michoacán state, which left at least 14 officers dead and others wounded, another ambush occurred yesterday in the streets of San Miguel el Alto, northeast of Guadalajara.

The town's female police chief and her armed escort were attacked by a commando team about 11:00 a.m. Monday. Chief Sara Chávez was only grazed by bullets, but her escort was not so lucky. He was hit 12 times and gravely wounded. A military helicopter evacuated him from the area.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Peña Nieto: no option but to follow Calderón strategy

MGR News Analysis -
One month into EPN's watch, everybody arrives at the same conclusion, while U.S. security firm Stratfor predicts continued violence in Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Guadalajara and Acapulco

Guadalajara -
Almost seven months ago, right after Enrique Peña Nieto won the July 1 presidential election, MGR told its readers that all of the talk about a new Mexican drug war strategy was just that - talk (July 7 - Security consultant elaborates on "new" Mexican drug war strategy - but is it?). MGR argued that Mexican voters had been suckered on drug war issues, which figured prominently during the spring 2012 campaign. It's not too much to say that last year's election was a referendum on the Calderón administration's handling of the nightmare-without-end conflict. Many voters were hungry for change.

At the time almost all of the "experts" on Mexican affairs were preaching a very different gospel, including many outside of this country. Just two weeks before the election, arguably the most prestigious newspaper in the United States carried a piece entitled Candidates in Mexico Signal a New Tack in the Drug War, which in essence forecast a quick abandonment of Calderón's policies once the government changed hands on Dec. 1. MGR criticized that article as an inaccurate and misleading statement of the candidates' positions, including that of Enrique Peña Nieto (New York Times got Mexican candidates' drug war strategies wrong), and predicted that no matter who won the election, there would be no fundamental change in the way the drug war was waged.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mexican drug cartels enjoy global presence via cocaine

They're on every continent, warn security specialists, with enormous buying power

*Updated Mar. 4, 2014*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's monolithic drug cartels now have a presence on every continent, and dominate the production, distribution and sale of cocaine, according to the U.S. security consulting firm Stratfor in a report quoted by news services today.

The cartels, which Mexico's new attorney general recently said number between 60 and 80, are constantly focused on expanding and developing new markets, according to the firm. Measured by revenues, cocaine sales have made them genuine business rivals to the world's largest corporations.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Organized crime hit claims four lives in Guadalajara metro

Executions attributed to narco violence

Guadalajara -
A brutal early morning attack blocks from this city's popular Plaza del Sol left four men dead today.

An unknown number of gunmen arrived at a private residence about 5 a.m. and killed the occupants execution style, firing at least 18 shots. The house is in the Ciudad del Sol neighborhood, in Zapopán, a prosperous community just beyond Guadalajara's core. The area of today's multiple homicides is minutes southwest of the American Quarter and Colonia Centro, the city's commercial heart. Ciudad del Sol is home to Plaza del Sol, one of the largest and best known shopping malls in Guadalajara, and purportedly the first mall ever built in Latin America. Plaza del Sol is close to the city's renowned Expo Center, as well as the Guadalajara World Trade Center.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Canadian national faces manslaughter charge in Jalisco

Fatal Christmas Eve crash left Mexican man dead; defendant was using drugs, prosecutors allege
Ajijic on Lake Chapala has long been a haven for Canadian and American expatriates

Guadalajara -
A 38 year old Canadian citizen is facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter in a Jalisco district criminal court after a Dec. 24 accident which left one man dead, a local press source reports.

Ryan Daniel Kewicz, originally of Maple Ridge, in British Columbia, was driving a vehicle which collided with one operated by a 33 year old Mexican man, who died at the scene. The fatal crash occurred about 7:30 p.m. on the highway between Guadalajara and Ajijic, located on the shores of Lake Chapala. The town is less than an hour drive from this capital. It has many foreign residents.

Mexico's new PRI government reports many arrests and seizures in its first month of organized crime offensive

Mexican army and federal police are on the move, especially in the countryside

Guadalajara -
Thirty-six days after taking the reins in Mexico City, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of Enrique Peña Nieto issued its first drug war report today.

The government said that security forces took 854 organized crime operatives into custody in December. During multiple operations they seized about $1.5 million dollars in cash - two thirds of it in U.S. currency, and the remainder in pesos.

Almost 1,500 firearms were secured, together with 38,373 rounds of ammunition and 156 hand grenades.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mexican governors continue to raise their salaries, while almost half the nation remains beneath the poverty line

On average, states pay their chief executives $5,500-$8,600 USD per month - and Yucatán's governor Rolando Zapata collects one of the fattest paychecks in the Republic
The other side of Mérida, and the reality of life for hundreds of thousands of residents

*Updated Jan. 17*
Mérida, Yucatán -
Mexican governors will continue to rake in high salaries in 2013, while much of the nation hangs on at a mere subsistence level. On average, a governor in this country earns 90,000 pesos a month. At the current exchange rate, that's $7,059, or almost $85,000 per year. The figure represents base salary, and does not include guaranteed benefits and perks of the job, known here as prestaciones de la ley.

Mexico has 31 semi-autonomous states and a Federal District, the nation's capital and largest city. A majority of the states pay their governors between 70,000 and 110,000 pesos per month. Several have raised them in recent years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Mexican, a Spaniard and two Americans are world's four richest men, all with huge net worth gains in 2012

Spanish textile magnate capitalized on soaring stock prices last year, catapulting into third place

Guadalajara -
Bloomberg Markets magazine, published monthly by Bloomberg L.P., a U.S. global business and financial news network, reports that the four richest men in the world aren't feeling the effects of the economic downturn which began in 2008.

The analysis was contained in its December edition.

Amancio Ortega, the 67 year old Spanish founder of the textile company Inditex, ended up third place in 2012, dislodging a famous American. He managed to parlay an already tidy sum into a fortune of $53.6 billion by year's end, increasing his net worth 52.1% - far more than any competitor. Inditex shares exploded last year, increasing in value by 68%, and Ortega's wealth skyrocketed.

Mexican narco violence stats after first month of new PRI administration not encouraging: 982 executions, 32 a day

MGRR News Analysis -
Mexico's 100 day domestic security plan? Well, there may be slight delays . . .

*Updated Jan. 25*
Guadalajara -
Enrique Peña Nieto, now 34 days into the job, made some very big promises in 2012 to capture his lifetime dream of becoming Mexico's next president. An immediate reduction in violence throughout the country (immediate as within the first 100 days of taking office), and the decrease of homicides and other serious crimes by as much as 50% once his new PRI government was up and running, were at the top of the list. A third of the self-imposed deadline has passed, and the first lab reports have come in for analysis. The results are not encouraging. Nor are they surprising (Mexican voters got suckered on drug war).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mexican stock market beat U.S., London, Brasil in 2012

BMV broke many records in year just ended, and is still riding high in 2013

Guadalajara -
The Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV), Mexico's answer to Wall Street, had good reason to celebrate New Year's Eve.

The BMV considerably outperformed other major world financial markets, and posted many bests during 2012.

Measured by the peso, the market returned 17.88% last year. Measured in dollars, gains were about 26%.