Sunday, September 28, 2014

National Action Party secretary assassinated in heart of Acapulco tourist zone

*Updated Oct. 18*
Acapulco -
The Guerrero state chair of Mexico's center right National Action Party was assassinated here about 9:00 a.m. today after stepping out of the El Mirador Hotel restaurant in the heart of the Acapulco tourist district.

Braulio Zaragoza Maganda Villalba was shot three times and died soon after.

The Guerrero Attorney General's office is investigating the case, but PAN officials have asked that a special prosecutor be appointed.

Mexico's Guerrero state in extreme civil disorder

300 local police under investigative loupe for killing school teachers, civilians during an unruly protest

Acapulco -
Mexico's southwestern Pacific state of Guerrero remains tense today, after seven people were kidnapped and killed Thursday by organized crime operatives or local citizen militias at two different locations in the state's northern and southern limits.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mexican peso hits 2014 low against U.S. dollar

*Updated Oct. 16*
Guadalajara -
It'good news for American expats and U.S. travelers, but generally bad news for the Mexican on the street.

Measured against the dollar, the peso hit its 2014 low today according to Banixco, the nation's central bank.

Holders of pesos who wanted to buy dollars had to hand over as much as 13.74 in major Mexico City banks - but of course such transactions affect few Americans. In the more typical scenario, those who visited their local ATM machine to withdraw pesos against a U.S. bank account received an average of 13.45 pesos per dollar - one of the best exchange rates since 2012.

Mexico's angry Chamber of Deputies demands results in Gabriel Gómez kidnapping, murder investigation

"The insecurity that exists in Mexico today is a matter that demands the State's firm attention. We cannot afford to accustom ourselves to crime and violence that remains sheltered with impunity."

*Updated: No clues from security cameras where kidnappings occurred, Secretary of Government tells legislators (below)*

Guadalajara -
Mexico's lower legislative chamber, the Camara de Diputados, lost one of its own this week in an act of almost unimaginable violence, and yesterday the often politically divided chamber was fully united in demanding action from law enforcement officials at all levels.

The Camara observed a minute of silence on the day Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Deputy Dr. Gabriel Gómez Michel was interred in this city, where he received his medical degree 24 years ago. Gómez, 49, and an assistant were nabbed Monday afternoon while in route to the Guadalajara International Airport, seized by a well organized commando team traveling in at least six separate vehicles. The incinerated bodies of both men were found hours later in a remote area of neighboring, cartel saturated Zacatecas state. Jalisco federal deputy kidnapped in Guadalajara is found murdered. There have been no arrests and no announced suspects in the case.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Employment and other discrimination based on tattoos, body piercings could be outlawed in Federal District

Guadalajara -
A legislative deputy in the Federal District (Mexico City) General Assembly plans to introduce a bill which would criminalize discrimination against any person based upon tattoos or body piercings.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jalisco's chief prosecutor ordered to appear before state Congress, to explain downward spiraling security

"There are signs that things are not so good. We can't continue waiting for results which have been promised, but have yet to arrive." - State Security Commission chairman

*Updated Sept. 25*
Guadalajara -
State prosecuting attorney Luís Carlos Nájera has been ordered to appear before a Jalisco legislative commission to answer questions concerning an unprecedented increase in organized crime violence since the administration of Governor Aristóteles Sandoval took office on Mar. 1, 2013.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peña Nieto calls for multinational effort against drug traffickers during U.N. week appearances

. . . and insists that Mexico is becoming safer

Guadalajara -
Addressing the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations today, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto said that a unified multinational effort will be necessary to effectively take on drug cartels operating in the northern hemisphere.

"I believe that we must present a common front," said Peña Nieto. "The cartels are not just operating in one country; they have an international presence."

Jalisco federal deputy kidnapped in Guadalajara found murdered

He and his assistant were seized yesterday in route to the airport; no ransom was demanded

The tranquil appearance of Tlaquepaque's popular shopping district gives no hint that organized crime operates at will in the historic town and its environs, just beyond Guadalajara's city limits

*Updated Sept. 25*
Guadalajara -
Gabriel Gómez Michel, a federal deputy who represented the state of Jalisco in Mexico's lower legislative chamber, the Camara de Diputados, was found murdered today in Apulco, Zacatecas.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

In New York, Enrique Peña Nieto to receive prestigious World Statesman award

Guadalajara -
President Enrique Peña Nieto departed Mexico City this afternoon to attend next week's 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

It will be his first attendance at the General Assembly since taking office on Dec. 1, 2012. Peña Nieto's predecessor delivered his farewell address to the U.N. on Sept. 26, 2012. "Drug users are killing thousands of young people in the developing nations," Felipe Calderón tells United Nations.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jalisco, Baja California top Mexico's "Red Alert" list

*Updated Sept. 23*
Guadalajara -
The Enrique Pena Nieto administration is intensely focused on incipient security challenges in Jalisco and Baja California, and is "very worried about the deteriorating situation in both states," according to Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola.

Loret de Mola, a respected columnist for Mexico City's El Universal, called Jalisco and Baja California the two new decomposing states, citing sources at "the highest level" in a piece published yesterday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Calderón: local governments in Michoacán are corrupt, still work with organized crime

Guadalajara -
Mexico's now 93 month old drug war officially began in early December 2006, when then PAN president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa sent federal security forces marching into his home state of Michoacán, to confront violent drug cartels which had threatened to virtually take over a region long famous for its lemon, lime and avocado production.

In May 2013, six months after he took office, current PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto delivered an encore as Michoacán security continued to deteriorate. After admitting on July 25 of last year that "parts of the state have passed into the hands of organized crime," Peña Nieto flooded the state with federal troops once again in January 2014. Michoacán security accord more of the same old song.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The United States of Mexico is 204

Fr. Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo Costilla

Born May 8, 1753. Died before a firing squad, July 30, 1811. Roman Catholic priest, father of the Mexican Revolution. His simple challenge to parishoners early on the morning of Sept. 16, 1810 changed everything:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mexican Federal Police ambush of CIA agents in 2012 was no accident, press source alleges

Controversy lingers over what really happened at the village of Three Marys

Guadalajara -
Mexico City's investigative newspaper La Jornada reported yesterday that despite the conflicting claims of PRI administration officials, a bizarre attack by 14 Federal Police (FP) officers on two undercover CIA agents in route to Cuernavaca, Morelos in August 2012 was purposeful.

"The officers intended to kill the agents, because they regarded them as 'dangerous criminals' " alleged the paper, which said it had examined court documents in the ongoing trial of the 14.

Peña Nieto has harsh words for Texas Gov. Rick Perry

In a wide ranging interview, the president also acknowledges Mexico's enormous income disparity

Guadalajara -
In Mexico City's National Palace this week, president Enrique Peña Nieto called the militarization of the border with Texas National Guard troops "not only unpleasant, but condemnable."

"It's a completely unacceptable policy that will not promote friendship and cordiality between our nations," Peña Nieto told journalist Jacob Zabludovsky.

"And that's particularly true when we see that many other American states have changed their policies towards the Latin migrant population," added the 47 year old president.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hepatitis A cases skyrocket in Yucatán in 2014

No chlorination of water supplies is suspected

Mérida, Yucatán -
Diagnosed cases of Hepatitis A, an infectious disease of the liver which typically results from poor sanitation and feces-contaminated food and water, rose sharply in the state through Sept. 1 according to the capital city's main daily, Diario de Yucatán.

The failure by state municipios, or counties, to adequately chlorinate reservoirs in local water districts may be the reason, the paper reported in its morning edition today. Yucatán has 106 municipios, each with an administrative center (county seat) and commonly other towns as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No Tijuana exit today for Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi

*Updated Sept. 20*
Guadalajara -
U.S. Marine Reserve Sgt. Andrew Paul Tahmooressi claims that he arrived in Tijuana involuntarily on Mar. 31, 2014, attempting to do a quick U-turn before touching Mexican soil. Criminal defense attorney Fernando Benítez tried to demonstrate what had happened in a Baja California federal court today, but the impact was not immediately clear and the session adjourned without a ruling.

The judge reviewed B&W security tapes of the Tijuana entry station, just across from San Ysidro, California, where Sgt. Tahmooressi was detained with several weapons and an ammunition stockpile. He has been in custody for 165 days, and faces years in prison if convicted.

Mexico rolls out low earner tax plan to stimulate anemic economy

"Let's Grow Together" unveiled by PRI administration

Guadalajara -
Mexico, beset by seriously lagging economic growth for two years running, is using every tool at its domestic disposal to stimulate worker productivity and overcome chronic business malaise.

In the Federal District yesterday president Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) team officially rolled out a new program called "Let's Grow Together," designed to get millions of workers out of the "informal sector" - a term for self-employment, where income is not reported to any authority, taxes are not paid and eligibility for many government benefits is never established. Often they are street vendors and home based businesses, which none of the family may ever escape.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Former Mexico City governor Marcelo Ebrard, a moderate leftist, loses bid to capture PRD helm

And its aging "moral leader" Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas is likewise rebuffed by the party rank and file

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), the nation's primary leftist voice since 1989, held its internal election Sunday for the man who will lead the party into the 2018 presidential contest.

Preliminary counts showed that the Progressive Movement coalition led by Marcelo Ebrard, 55, the popular governor of the Federal District (Mexico City) from 2006-2012, split about 27% of the votes cast with two other candidates. A faction known as the New Left, whose favorite son is Mexican Senator Carlos Navarrete, garnered 73%. Ballots are still being counted at this hour. The winner must obtain at least 60%.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hillary Clinton sees "a brilliant future in Mexico"

Everybody wants to shake hands with EPN these days

Guadalajara -
Mexico City was popular with several prominent Americans this week, politicians and businessmen alike.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mexico's 2015 federal budget submitted to Congress: 4.6 trillon pesos

And the president suffers a slight pay cut

*Updated Oct. 30*
Guadalajara -
Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray today delivered to the nation's Chamber of Deputies a proposed 2015 federal operations budget of 4.7 trillion pesos. At the current exchange rate of about 13.5 pesos to the dollar, the sum represents $348 billion U.S. dollars.

Peña Nieto, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are wired

Guadalajara -
Last spring Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed that internet access is a fundamental right to which every citizen in this nation is entitled. He promised to extend service to the remotest regions of the Republic by the time his term ends on Nov. 30, 2018, on the theory that an uninformed electorate cannot make intelligent, long term decisions for the country. Three weeks ago he repeated the guarantee. Peña Nieto: respect for human rights is Mexico's focus. Perhaps, too, it's so everyone can keep up with messages like this one.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mexico's National Electoral Institute gets 4 million signatures demanding referendum on PEMEX reforms

Mexico's energy reform controversy is far from over

Guadalajara -
The lower chamber of Mexico's federal Congress, the House of Deputies, has delivered to the National Electoral Institute (INE) 2,360,000 signatures from citizens across the nation demanding that sweeping energy reforms which became law on Aug. 12 be submitted to a public yeah or nay vote in 2015.

Zacatecas violence continues, security forces targeted

Zacatecas, Zacatecas -
Brazen attacks by organized crime against security forces in this north central Mexican state show no sign of abating, more than a year after they began.

State Security Police units were ambushed Wednesday by yet unidentified gunmen near a remote hamlet in Villa González Ortega county. Mexico's Gulf Cartel is one group operating in Zacatecas.

Mexico a major player in Dengue Fever vaccine trials

French manufacturer hopes to market in 2015

Guadalajara -
Mexico, which last year reported more than 60,000 cases of Dengue Fever nationwide, is playing a key role in clinical tests being carried out by the French pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi. The company hopes to have a vaccine on the market by 2015.

More than 20,000 persons from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Puerto Rico, including 8,000 Mexicans, participated in the third stage of trials which have been underway for more than 20 years.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mexican Human Rights Comm'n. holds Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué responsible for state education disaster

"A violation of students' human rights" - CNDH

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca -
One year ago today Mexico's southwestern state of Oaxaca was plagued by a teachers' union strike which left tens of thousands of darkened classrooms and nearly 900,000 students idle at home. Today the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) laid the blame squarely on Governor Gabino Cué, contending that his conduct in tolerating the events deprived students of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights. Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca (Aug. 19, 2013).

Jalisco schools face junk food fines - but who will pay?

Guadalajara -
Mexico, a country which faces critical obesity issues, especially among its juvenile population, is doing its best to penalize one of the many causes.

Last fall the lower chamber of Congress passed by a solid majority a comprehensive revenue package which increased the cost of so-called comida chatarra - junk foods like chips and snack cakes - as well as soft drinks, of which Mexicans are purportedly the world's largest consumers. Peña Nieto two for three on reform packages, as Mexico's House of Deputies easily passes tax bill.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mexico's Gendarmería Nacional takes up duty in Jalisco

Guadalajara -
Mexico's National Security Commission (CNS) has reported that the first units of the Gendarmería Nacional, which became operational 10 days ago, arrived in Jalisco last weekend. Mexico's scaled back national gendarmerie debuts.

The state is only one of five where the paramilitary forces were dispatched. The others are Baja California, Chiapas, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas. On the border: Tamaulipas, now a virtual Michoacán II.

Mexico's 31 states slow to recognize gay marriage

Courts, not politicians, are leading the legal charge

Guadalajara -
The legislature of Mexico's Federal District passed a same sex marriage law five years ago, and gay unions contracted in the capital city have enjoyed full legal legitimacy since 2010. Yesterday the border state of Coahuila became only the second jurisdiction in the nation to follow suit, despite repeated court rulings clarifying and enforcing marriage rights.

In December 2012 Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court rejected as unconstitutional a provision of the Oaxaca state civil code which had defined marriage as "the union of persons of opposite sex with the capacity for and purpose of procreation." Mexico's Supreme Court takes another step towards nationwide recognition of gay marriage. The court ruled that homosexuals are protected by human rights provisions implicit in Mexico's federal constitution, as well as by others to which the nation has explicitly subscribed in international treaties and conventions. Yet most of the nation's state governments have refused to change their rules until a court ordered them to do so.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Heineken sells Mexican sub to U.S. firm for $1.23 billion

Guadalajara -
Dutch beer manufacturer Heineken has announced the sale of its subsidiary in Mexico, Empaque, to U.S. packager Crown Holdings.

Empaque maks cans, aluminum tabs and related products for the beverage industry.

Crown paid $1.23 billion dollars in the transaction, which will close in 2015. Heineken acquired Empaque four years ago, but said it wanted to divest itself of the satellite business so it could "focus fully on the production and sale of beer in international markets."

Company officials said Empaque will continue to be a key partner of and supplier for the Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma brewery, a huge Heineken bottler in Monterrey, Mexico.

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

Despite U.S. warnings, Mexican tourism is posting record results

Guadalajara -
The U.S. State Dept. warns American travelers once or twice a year about the hazards presented in many of Mexico's 32 states. It did so most recently on Aug. 15. State's latest warning about Mexican travel risks angers Peña Nieto administration.

But while officials here invariably express annoyance with such ominous notices from north of the border, calling them distortions and overstatements, they appear to have had virtually no impact on a staple of the national economy.