Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mexican health officials issue cholera alert for Hidalgo

"Given the natural disasters we've undergone recently, a cholera outbreak is a considerable risk"

*Updated Oct. 20*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's Secretary of Health has issued a cholera warning for the east central state of Hidalgo. The alert was published Thursday, Sept. 26.

Mexican Supreme Court establishes U.S. style property division rules in divorce cases

Diaper changing and floor mopping are just as valuable as a desk job

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that in divorce litigation, a woman who never worked outside the home is nonetheless entitled to as much as 50% of the marital estate.

The judicial ministers recognized that household duties and the care of minor children have the same economic value as any other form of employment. The decision upheld a Federal District statute, passed Oct. 3, 2008, against a legal challenge filed by a man who contended that the law applied only to marital property acquired after that date. The court rejected the man's claim that by applying the statute to property acquired before its enactment, the constitutional rule against retroactive legislation would be violated.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Credit Suisse: storms will further reduce Mexican growth

Ingrid and Manuel left huge destruction in their wake - and the government a tab for $3 billion dollars

Guadalajara -
Zurich based financial services company Credit Suisse Group AG has reduced its projection for Mexico's 2013 economic growth from 1.3% to 1.1% as a result of two powerful storms which struck the country earlier this month, killing almost 150 people and causing billions of dollars in damage. Infrastructure repairs will likely take several years, and will place an added fiscal burden on state and federal governments which already find themselves in the economic ropes.

Soldiers kidnapped near Guadalajara

Covert mission wasn't covert enough

Guadalajara -
Four soldiers assigned to undercover duties were kidnapped late last night in the municipality of Magdalena, northwest of Guadalajara, a national news source reported early today.

The kidnappers seized the soldiers and spirited them away in a taxi, according to witnesses in the area. A municipality is the equivalent of a U.S. county. Magdalena's county seat is a town of the same name, and is home to over 20,000 people.

Officials of Mexico's department of defense have requested assistance from federal, state and local authorities.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jalisco prosecutor announces arrest of gang members involved in bar attacks which killed American citizen

Dirty cops linked to gang violence

Guadalajara -
On March 31, U.S. national Jeff Lydell Comer, 45, was killed during coordinated assaults on two Guadalajara bars located a few miles apart. The Easter Sunday evening attacks left eight persons dead and many others injured. The bars had common ownership. Toll in Guadalajara bar attacks rises to eight.

Two weeks later, facilities belonging to Mural, a metropolitan daily, were the subject of an early morning explosive device attack. No one was injured. Guadalajara newspaper hit by grenade attack.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Narco violence leaves 10 dead after a baseball game in Ciudad Juárez

Execution gang which murdered two U.S. nationals in March 2010 may have carried out these killings

Guadalajara -
Over the past year officials in Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, have been proudly pointing out that drug war homicides are dropping precipitously. But all is far from well in the city of 1.5 million, which is a major trafficking route to the enormously lucrative U.S. market (Mexican drug cartels operate in 1,286 U.S. cities).

Armed and masked gunmen carrying cuernos de chivo, or "goat horns" - a nickname for the the ubiquitous AK-47 - attacked family members celebrating a baseball victory about 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening, killing 10 of them, the Chihuahua state prosecutor has announced. Among the dead were a seven year old girl and two women. At least three other persons were wounded but survived. The victims included several adolescents.

Energy reform debate opens in Mexican Senate, with grave warnings of "foreign takeover" of PEMEX

"We're facing the grave reality that the foreign petroleum producers which were expropriated in 1938 - now with new names - may return to manage the industry, and to decide who will be the long term beneficiaries of Mexico's vast hydrocarbon deposits" - Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, today in Mexico City

Guadalajara -
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the 79 year old son of the man who seized foreign oil company assets and nationalized Mexico's petroleum industry three quarters of a century ago, today told a legislative committee in Mexico City that "call them whatever you want to call them, but the administration's energy reform proposals are a privatization plan."

The committee began public hearings this morning on a proposal by the 10 month old Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto to amend articles 27 and 28 of the federal constitution, which grant the government a strict monopoly in the hydrocarbon industry.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico

MGR's view

"The fix is in" on energy reform, says AMLO: new laws "designed for foreign business" will be passed Oct. 15

"Energy reform has been designed for the sole benefit of huge foreign enterprises, for which our last several presidents have been nothing more than puppets" - MORENA leader Manuel López Obrador

Guadalajara -
Leftist politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who hopes to lead a massive demonstration in Mexico City tomorrow against pending constitutional amendments which would open the state controlled oil company PEMEX to private investment, complained today that the new laws have already been approved behind the scenes, and will be officially passed Oct. 15.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Joe Biden makes things just a little harder for EPN

The Veep's Spanish is not so good, but he's happy to be here anyway

Guadalajara -
You have to wonder who plans (and times) the visits of foreign leaders.

Without energy reform, Mexico will need more than half a century to reach U.S. output

Guadalajara -
Mexico has plenty of oil and gas, but most of it is laying in the ground unexploited, making the country a net importer of natural gas. That was the conclusion in this McClatchy news service report filed two days ago.

Without the prompt enactment of energy reforms, it will take Mexico at least 60 years to reach U.S. production levels, the head of the country's department of energy noted this week. "By then it will be too late," said secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mexico's Left determined to shackle the nation to the past

MGR Opinion -
Hogtied to history, and on the wrong side of it

Guadalajara -
Leftist movements have frequently been on the right side of history. "Right" in the sense that they supported egalitarian principles, advocated the toppling of anachronistic regimes or systems which held power by might rather than by right, and championed the cause of the least powerful in society.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mexico is in full recession, say business executives, with major pension and social service funds "broke"

Mexico battered by Ingrid, Manuel and a national economy in free fall

Guadalajara -
The Mexican Institute of Financial Executives (IMEF) has joined in the gloomy assessment of Mexico's struggling economy, predicting that growth in 2013 will be but a paltry 1.5%. Earlier this year IMEF estimated that the economy would expand a respectable 2.7%. But officials of the organization have significantly revised their forecast, noting that the country is "already in a recession."

Canada tightens predator laws aimed at sex tourism

Retired Canadian who victimized many Cuban children provided the legislative impetus

Guadalajara -
Canada says it will update its criminal laws to protect foreign children from Canadian sexual predators, by opening up databases containing detailed information on offenders who present a high risk of pedophilic behavior

The announcement, reported in Toronto and redacted by the Latin press, follows last summer's conviction of notorious Toronto predator James McTurk, who became the first Canadian to be convicted of committing sex crimes against Cuban children while vacationing there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo

CNTE will be denied access, after local businesses suffer huge economic losses

Mexico City -
The Mexican government has announced that the Estado Mayor Presidencial (EMP) will remain in the capital city's largest square until at least Sept. 19, to prevent the reentry of striking school teachers who belong to the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE). Members of the powerful labor union occupied the Zócalo, as it is known, for months earlier this year, with the largest contingent arriving from Oaxaca state in southwestern Mexico in late August. They were just dislodged by federal security forces on Friday.

The EMP is a quasi-military tactical unit primarily charged with the duty of protecting the president and first lady of Mexico, and high ranking government officials. It is equivalent to the United States Secret Service.

Mexico City labor violence, through the lens

MGR photojournal report

Guadalajara -
Members of the radical teachers union Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) were kicked out of Mexico City late Friday by federal security forces, after they refused to leave voluntarily. Some of them had been permanently encamped near the center of government for months, while the main contingent arrived in late August. CNTE says they'll be back on Wednesday - unless of course the government prevents their reentry. CNTE's previous visit cost the Federal District millions of dollars in lost business revenues and security expenditures, as well as property damage.

The top image and those below were taken by MGR photo affiliate José Luna last week.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A wet Guadalajara celebrates Mexican independence

MGR photojournal report -
Tapatios turn out in force, despite endless rain

Guadalajara -
Mexico was battered over the weekend by a hurricane on one coast and a tropical storm on the other, bringing buckets of rain and jacket weather to Jalisco. But under gloomy skies and periodic showers the parade went on today in Mexico's cultural heart. Tomorrow it's back to school and back to work.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York

MGR's view -
80 tons of trash in Mexico City, and a call "aux barricades" in the Big Apple

Guadalajara -
Just in time for weekend festivities in honor of Mexico's 203rd birthday, government security forces finally recovered Mexico City's main plaza, the Zócalo, late Friday, dislodging tens of thousands of school teachers who belong to an ultra-reactionary labor union known as Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mexico remembers The Six Heroic Cadets, 166 years later

MGR video report -
Ejército mexicano parades on Chapultepec avenue

Mexican Independence Day festivities began this morning in Guadalajara, just as they did in hundreds of cities, towns and hamlets across the nation. They will run through the weekend.

Monday, Sept. 16 officially marks the Republic's 203rd birthday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yucatán teachers fold, agree to return to the schoolhouse

PRI governor Rolando Zapata Bello gets the job done - maybe he deserves that big check after all

Mérida,Yucatán -
Local 57 of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), which called for work stoppages in Yucatán primary and secondary schools last Friday, gave up the ghost today under the threat of frozen paychecks and deductions for every day missed by teachers. School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back".

After what were described as eight intense hours of labor negotiations, SNTE and state officials announced an accord. Teachers will return to their classes immediately, and will be paid even for those days they have missed since last week.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

National labor strike fizzles in Guadalajara and elsewhere, as federal education reforms take effect across the nation

MGR News Analysis -
An embarrassing turnout by protesting teachers in Mexico's second largest metro

*Updated Oct. 2*
Guadalajara -
Teacher unions have been making waves and making news in Mexico since Aug. 19, when the most radical of two major syndicates staged a state-wide walkout in Oaxaca, leaving a million kids without classes on the first day of the new school year. Teachers still have not returned to their classrooms.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Former San Francisco millionaire, philanthropist dies in Vallarta prison, 13 years after pedophilia charges filed

"These tourists live double lives. They come here to live out fantasies."

Guadalajara -
U.S. national Thomas White died in a Puerto Vallarta prison early today, the Jalisco state attorney general has reported.

More than a decade ago White was a millionaire businessman and philanthropist enjoying a life of luxury in San Francisco. But in the early 2000s his world of privilege came crashing down, when he was hit with civil lawsuits filed by young men who alleged White had sex with them while they were minors.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mexican Federal Police and military units capture 26 Zetas in Nayarit, northeast of Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco -
Security forces captured 26 members of the Los Zeta drug cartel early Saturday in Tepic, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Nayarit.

The operation was carried out by Mexican marine and army units assisted by the Federal Police, authorities said.

Tepic is about 100 miles from Puerto Vallarta.

The 26 suspects were heavily armed, according to the state prosecutor's office, which said they are Zetas. Most are reported to be from the border state of Tamaulipas, where Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are locked in a violent struggle for control of U.S. bound drug trafficking routes. Mexican army captures leader of Gulf Cartel.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ambush of Mexican army leaves 11 dead near Acapulco

Chichihualco, Guerrero -
Drug traffickers attacked a Mexican army unit in rugged central Guerrero state on Friday, and the ensuing gun battle left 11 persons dead.

Authorities said an infantry batallion on duty in Military Zone 35 stumbled upon a field of opium poppy under guard by the men, who opened fire on the troops. They responded, killing 10 of the assailants.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Peña Nieto picks up some cash in St. Petersburg

"Can you believe it? - I just got $500 million outta this guy!"

Guadalajara -
President Enrique Peña Nieto is returning to Mexico City at this hour, after a whirlwind trip to Russia where he attended the G-20 Summit.

Many problems await him at home, but at least he's not coming back empty handed. Peña Nieto got his personal chit chat with president Obama, who promised to look into that little matter about Peña Nieto's e-mail account. "That disturbs me," assured Obama. Then the Mexican president returned the favor by saying of the simmering Syrian crisis, "We condemn the use of chemical weapons, and we respect the right of every nation to respond as it deems appropriate." There's nothing like bilateral cooperation in times of trouble, especially between two old friends. Maybe the U.N. Security Council and most of the world is opposed to Obama's plan to launch missiles against the Damascus regime, but America can always count on its loyal ally Mexico.

And then there's the money, which is invariably a good subject for press releases.

School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"

Strikers plan to march along Paseo de Montejo tomorrow

Sept. 12 - Yucatán teachers fold, return to classes
Sept. 11 - National labor strike fizzles in Guadalajara

Mérida,Yucatán -
Mexico's three week old school teacher strike has spread to the Yucatán peninsula, where one union has shut down dozens of schools idling at least 50,000 students, and another will march down the city's famed Paseo de Montejo Saturday.

The powerful Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), which has forced the closing of most primary and secondary schools in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, claims that its members have darkened classrooms in 326 schools in Yucatán until further notice. The state board of education said yesterday that the actual number is perhaps half that. About 1,000 CNTE loyalists demonstrated outside the municipal palace on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teachers' union ups the ante, calling indefinite strike in Chiapas; Oaxaca governor holds tough and refuses to pay dissidents; major protests scheduled for Mexico City

Educators' syndicate refuses to yield to overwhelming votes in both houses of Mexico's congress

Images by MGR's photo affiliate in Mexico City, José Luna

*Updated Nov. 25*
Guadalajara -
Despite lopsided votes in favor of sweeping educational reforms this week in Mexico's senate and house of deputies, the powerful Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) called a strike today in Chiapas, a state bordering Oaxaca where the CNTE work stoppage began three weeks ago, shutting down 13,000 schools. Teacher strikes idle a million students in Oaxaca.

Enrique Peña Nieto will speak directly to Barack Obama about NSA electronic spying in Mexico

On his way to Russia, Mexico's president calls U.S. e-mail snooping "espionage"

*Updated Sept. 6*
Guadalajara -
Two days after a U.S. journalist based in Rio de Janeiro said he has written evidence that the National Security Agency conducted electronic surveillance against Mexico's president in June 2012, tapping into the then PRI candidate's personal email account, Enrique Peña Nieto says he plans to take up the issue with president Obama this week when the two meet at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg. Peña Nieto made his comments to the press during a brief stop in Canada, on his way to the former tsarist capital of Russia. The economic summit begins tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill, as labor unions threaten further civil disobedience in capital

Teaching jobs will no longer go to the highest bidder - or pass by inheritance

Guadalajara -
In Mexico City this evening the Senate passed the same educational reform package approved by the lower chamber of congress on Sunday night. Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms.

The legislation, which was carried with broad mutlti-partisan support from the political far left to right, will modernize an archaic system of teacher evaluation which has enabled powerful labor unions to completely dominate primary and secondary education for decades in some regions of the country.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mexico roars back over U.S. spying on Peña Nieto

Ambassador Wayne gets taken to the woodshed

Guadalajara -
Late this afternoon Mexico's Chancery announced the government's "energetic condemnation" of electronic surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency against president Enrique Peña Nieto, which an American journalist today said had occurred before the 2012 elections. Guardian journalist: U.S. spied on Enrique Peña Nieto.

Guardian journalist: U.S. spied on Enrique Peña Nieto before he was elected

It's not nice to read the president's private communications

Guadalajara -
On the same day president Enrique Peña Nieto delivered his first state of the nation address to Mexico, the American journalist who revealed details of the U.S. National Security Agency's PRISM electronic surveillance program three months ago reported that Peña Nieto was a target of NSA spying before he was elected July 1, 2012.

Peña Nieto's email account was tapped into and some communications were read, according to a story published today in Brazil and being carried at this hour by Spanish press sources in Mexico.

Peña Nieto delivers his first State of the Union address

Domestic security, economic claims will be open to many challenges

*Updated Sept. 3*
Guadalajara -
In a prototype state of the nation speech summarizing claimed achievements of his nine month old Institutional Revolutionary Party government, president Enrique Peña Nieto reminded the congress and the nation this morning that his promise was "not merely to administer Mexico, but to change it." EPN takes oath, but not all applauded.

The president arrived promptly at a press facility on the grounds of Los Pinos, Mexico's White House, just before 10:00 a.m. He spoke for about 65 minutes to an audience which included his cabinet, key legislative leaders, judicial ministers of the Supreme Court and foreign dignitaries.

Mexican presidents usually deliver their mandatory state of the nation address, known here as El Informe, in the official meeting place of the lower legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados. But two weeks ago the entire federal congress was dislodged from San Lázaro, Mexico's Capitol Hill, by striking school teachers, so for security reasons the presidential report was delivered within the safety of the executive grounds. PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers.

Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms

*Updated Sept. 3*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's Cámara de Diputados, the lower chamber of congress, approved a package of sweeping educational reforms late Sunday evening on an easy vote of 390 to 69.

The reforms are based upon federal constitutional amendments which were passed earlier this year.

The most critical measure, and the one most resisted by teachers' unions, will establish a federal agency for the evaluation of educators. The agency's primary duty will be to set uniform minimum teaching qualifications applicable across Mexico, and to administer periodic competency and preparedness examinations based on national, rather than local or regional, standards.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Manuel López Obrador: Peña Nieto has been a "disaster"

AMLO still firing in all directions

Guadalajara -
On the eve of Enrique Peña Nieto's state of the nation address to congress and 118 million Mexicans, two time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government's first nine months in office have been disastrous.

On a visit to Veracruz state, the firey leftist leader said nothing has changed because Peña Nieto is following the same policies of the center right National Action Party (PAN) administration which it replaced on Dec. 1.

"If things were bad before, then they've only gotten worse. Peña Nieto has done nothing," López Obrador told an audience.

Narco attacks on security forces continue in Zacatecas

Zacatecas, Zacatecas - In the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, Saturday evening brought renewed attacks by regional insurgents against local security forces in the community of Guadalupe.

One police officer was killed, as was an assailant. Two other police officers were seriously injured in the 10:30 p.m. ambush.

On July 11, a motorized batallion of Mexican infantry was attacked in the same area. None of the troops were injured, but they killed all 13 of a heavily armed commando team, whom authorities say belonged to the powerful Gulf Cartel. Mexican army kills 13 sicarios in Zacatecas shootout.