Saturday, November 30, 2013

Federal congressional grounds sealed, as energy reform vote approaches and PRD exits Pact for Mexico

"No to the biggest robbery of all time" - Mexico City, Dec. 1

*Updated Dec. 1*
Guadalajara -
One year ago, on Dec. 2, 2012, then just inaugurated president Enrique Peña Nieto called upon leaders of Mexico's three major political parties to put aside partisan bickering and to work together for the common good, without traditional backroom wheeling and dealing. The much heralded Pact for Mexico was born as a result. But it had an all too short life. Late this week the left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) announced it was withdrawing from the unprecedented 12 month old agreement.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto is "a marvelous husband"

Guadalajara -
Yesterday was the third wedding anniversary of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and telenovela (soap opera) star Angélica Rivera. They were wed in Mexico City on Nov. 27, 2010. It was the second trip down the aisle for both, but the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the nation's capital gladly obliged them. Peña Nieto was a widower, and Riviera had procured a formal decree of annulment from her first husband. They met and began dating when EPN was still governor of Edomex (the State of Mexico).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mexican Supreme Court rejects appeal of co-defendant in U.S. agent's 1985 murder case

Arrested in Puerto Vallarta in 1985, he'll remain in prison for another decade or more

Guadalajara -
In its second ruling this month on legal issues arising from the murder of a Drug Enforcement Agent in Guadalajara 29 years ago, the Supreme Judicial Court of Mexico today rejected an appeal filed by one of several perpetrators who claimed that he was tried in the wrong court.

DEA agent Enrique Camarena Salazar was executed in February 1985 on the orders of former Guadalajara Cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero. On August 8 a federal appeals court in Jalisco freed Caro Quintero, 70, on technical grounds after he had served 28 years of a 40 year sentence. He walked out of prison at 1:30 a.m. the following day, and no one has seen him since. The death house on Lope de Vega.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mexico's economic woes take a toll on Yucatán business

The White City has 45 less restaurants than a year ago, as recession hits hospitality sector hard

Mérida, Yucatán -
Innkeepers, restaurateurs and others in the hospitality industry in this capital city so heavily dependent on tourism won't be singing Auld Lang Syne with much enthusiasm 35 days from today. It has been a very difficult year for most, and yesterday a national restaurant association said the commercial challenges of 2013 have been the most severe members have seen since Mexico's economic crisis of 1994.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Revolution Day brings out everybody in Guadalajara

Mexico underwent a civil war in the early 20th century, which began on Nov. 20, 1910. The 103rd anniversary of the Mexican Revolution was remembered all over the nation yesterday and today. These are glimpses of Guadalajara's version on a gloriously sunny and warm day, where a little of everything was on display, no matter how tenuous the connection to the event being celebrated.

Mérida narco queen gets sentence reduction, is deported from Nicaragua

Mérida, Yucatán -
The Supreme Court of Nicaragua today authorized the deportation of 18 Mexicans who were convicted last December of narcotics trafficking and money laundering after entering the country in August 2012 while posing as reporters and technicians working for the huge Televisa network.

A convoy in which the defendants were traveling was stopped and searched by Nicaraguan customs officials and troops after it had crossed the Honduran border. They found $9.2 million USD stashed in several vehicles, all of which carried the Televisa logo. The network denied the Mexicans were its employees, and said it knew nothing of the caper.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mass grave by Jalisco's Lake Chapala held 18 74 remains

Daily body count increases, with no end in sight

*Updated Jan. 15, 2014*
La Barca, Jalisco -
The discovery of mass burial sites in Mexico's 83 month old drug war is not an unusual event, but the largest one which has been found in 2013 is located just to the east of Lake Chapala, long a haven for American and Canadian expatriates and retirees.

A total of 18 bodies have been recovered in the past week from La Barca, a county and town of the same name which straddle the violent Jalisco-Michoacán state border. La Barca is less than a 90 minute drive from metropolitan Guadalajara.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mexican deputies approve $344 billion USD 2014 budget

Guadalajara -
After nine hours of floor debate, Mexico's lower legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados, passed a 2014 federal operations budget early this morning.

By a vote of 466 to 18, with four abstentions, deputies authorized an expenditure of over four trillion pesos in fiscal 2014. At an exchange rate of 13 to 1, that represents about $343.6 billion dollars.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexico's far left MORENA achieves official recognition

The Left is alive and well in Mexico, and it comes in several flavors

Guadalajara -
Mexico's ultra left wing National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional, commonly known by its acronym MORENA) became a legitimate political party yesterday in Mexico City when it met minimum requisites set by the nation's Federal Election Insitute (IFE) for participation in federal and state contests.

MORENA was founded by two time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in September 2012, after he split with a consortium of leftist parties which supported his second run for Mexico's highest office in last year's election. AMLO breaks with leftist coalition, forms new party. Despite a slow start, López Obrador confounded political prognosticators by capturing second place in 2012 with 32% of the vote, leaving conservative National Action Party (PAN) contender Josefina Vázquez Mota - Mexico's first female presidential candidate from a major party - far afield.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are 1,555 drug war deaths a month encouraging?

MGR's view - Spin doctoring works well in any language

President Enrique Peña Nieto, today in Mexico City:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mexican Supreme Court overturns release of Guadalajara drug lord convicted of murdering U.S. DEA agent

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court today vacated a lower court ruling which freed former Guadalajara Cartel boss Rafael Caro Quintero in August.

The drug lord was convicted more than a quarter century ago of the torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar at a Guadalajara safe house in February 1985. State Dept. puts $5 million bounty on DEA agent killer.

LAN Airlines: The carrier of choice for drug smugglers?

Travelers' alert

Guadalajara -
LAN Airlines S.A. is a consortium of South American Airlines based in Santiago, Chile which form part of LATAM Airlines Group, Latin America's largest airline holding company. LAN is the Chilean flag carrier, the predominant airline in Perú and Ecuador and the second largest carrier in Argentina and Colombia through its local affiliates. It also appears to have become very popular with determined narcotics traffickers, who never give up looking for ways to move their products in international commerce. Innocent travelers are often the unwitting mules, and the consequences can be severe.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

State Dept. puts $5 million bounty on DEA agent killer

*Updated June 12, 2014*
Guadalajara -
The U.S. Dept. of State today announced a $5 million dollar award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of former Guadalajara Cartel boss Rafael Caro Quintero, a convicted killer who was liberated on a legal technicality three months ago.

Caro Quintero was released from a Jalisco prison last August, after serving 28 years of a 40 year sentence for the brutal torture and execution of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operative in February 1985. Agent Enrique Camarena Salazar was 37 when he was murdered at a cartel safe house. He was kidnapped in broad dalylight two blocks from the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara, and carried off by corrupt police officers on the payroll of the long defunct cartel. The death house on Lope de Vega.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Forbes praises Peña Nieto's "courageous" energy policy

Guadalajara -
Forbes magazine has praised the "courageous" energy reform proposals of Institutional Revolutionary Party president Enrique Peña Nieto, maintaining they constitute the "most significant change in Mexico’s economic policy in 100 years."

Forbes called the PRI president, who completes his first year in office on Dec. 1, the leader of a Mexican "oil revolution."

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mexico forgives $341 million USD in Cuban bank debt

In a separate statement the island government denies a move towards capitalism

Guadalajara -
Mexican internal revenue and budget planning secretary Luis Videgaray, a key member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto, has announced that his country will forgive 70% of the $487 million dollars Cuba owes to the Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext) under a 15 year old loan agreement.

Videgaray is secretary of the powerful Hacienda y Crédito Público, which manages the nation's financial life.

In a press interview yesterday the secretary said that Cuba has agreed to retire the remaining 30% of the debt over a 10 year period.