Sunday, November 30, 2014

López Obrador, "still crazy after all these years"*

MGR's view

Guadalajara -
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, twice defeated for Mexico's presidency but an already announced contender for the 2018 election, yesterday called upon Enrique Peña Nieto to resign before Monday, Dec. 1, the latter's second anniversary in office.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Enrique Peña Nieto offers new security plan for Mexico

Much heralded speech proposes expansion of federal government's role in local security

Guadalajara -
In Mexico City today the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto vowed to further strip local governmental entities of law enforcement responsibility.

Peña Nieto, who will complete two years in office on Dec. 1, has been under intense pressure to undertake a dramatic change of course with respect to security matters since the kidnapping of 43 college students in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26. Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, a key member of the president's cabinet, reported on Nov. 7 that the students were brutally executed, and laid full responsibility on the former mayor of that town.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas abandons PRD, 25 years after he founded it

More fallout from Iguala

Guadalajara -
The influential "moral voice" of Mexico's political left wing, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, yesterday resigned from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) which he and others founded on May 5, 1989.

Ten days ago Cárdenas challenged the party's top leadership after investigators revealed in October that the former PRD mayor of Iguala, Guerrero directly ordered the kidnapping of 43 college students there on Sept. 26. Mexico's attorney general has reported that the students were brutally executed in a neighboring town within hours. Both the mayor and his wife are in federal custody awaiting trial.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Control of Guerrero hotly disputed by six major drug cartels, and many local gangs

"A toxic mix of cartels, gangs and guerrillas"

Guadalajara -
Mexico's troubled Guerrero state has become a fierce battleground for at least six drug cartels which control 62 of 81 municipalities in the Pacific coast entity, the Milenio network reported this morning.

Only 19 municipalities are substantially free of a an organized crime presence, according to the network, which said it had analyzed intelligence reports prepared by Mexico's Secretary of Defense (SEDENA).

Friday, November 21, 2014

U.S. State Department warns of Acapulco dangers


"This message is to inform U.S. citizens that protests and violent incidents continue in Guerrero state in response to the disappearance of 43 students there. Embassy personnel have been instructed to defer non-essential travel to Acapulco, by air or land, to include the federal toll road (“cuota”) 95D to/from Mexico City and Acapulco. Furthermore, road travel in all other parts of the state remains prohibited. Travel by air to and from Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is still permitted. The Embassy cautions U.S. citizens to follow the same guidelines.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Palimony, more or less, arrives in Mexico

Guadalajara -
"Palimony" refers to the division of property and cash on the termination of a household relationship between two parties who are not legally married. It particularly includes the alleged obligation of one party to support the other for a period of time, generally because of a substantial income disparity. The term is derived from alimony, which is more commonly referred to as spousal maintenance in the modern domestic relations law of many jurisdictions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alleged butcher of Iguala faces more murder charges

Guadalajara -
Former Iguala, Guerrero mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, remain in federal pretrial detention while Mexico's Organized Crime Strike Force investigates their role in the kidnapping and presumed execution of 43 college students who vanished there Sept. 26.

Peña Nieto's wife responds to accusers: "I have nothing to hide. I am an independent woman."

Promises to sell part of $7 million family compound in Mexico City

Guadalajara -
Under fire for a controversial mortgage loan which enabled her to construct a 15,000 sq. ft. residence for the presidential family in one of the capital's most exclusive neighborhoods, Angélica Rivera, wife of Enrique Peña Nieto, promised last night she would divest herself of the real estate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Peña Nieto blames "destabilization forces" for Iguala massacre fallout

A rough week in Los Pinos, with some ominous statements by the prez

Guadalajara -
An increasingly impatient Mexican president today accused "social destabilization forces" of plotting to undo the political and economic reforms which have been the hallmark of his now almost two year old Institutional Revolutionary Party administration. 2013 was the year of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray receives more international recognition

"Without sustained economic growth there will be no jobs, no way to fight poverty and no prosperity to share" - Luis Videgarary, August 2013

The boss and the whiz kid from M.I.T. still have plenty of economic worries on their plate

Guadalajara -
Almost a year ago the prestigious American journal Foreign Policy named Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto one of the world's top 100 thinkers and decision makers. This month editors conferred the same honor on his finance minister, Secretary of Hacienda Luis Videgaray Caso.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bruce Beresford-Redman's "Prison Diary" offers brutal glimpse at a yet disgraceful Mexican justice system

This courtroom where Beresford-Redman's trial will soon complete its third year is typical in Mexico

Cancún, Quintana Roo -
Since 2008 Mexico has been struggling mightily to reform its antiquated colonial era criminal justice system with so-called oral trials designed to resemble Anglo-American ones, and a recently enacted uniform criminal procedure code which will be obligatory in every state and federal court throughout the nation. But the ongoing case of former Survivor producer Bruce Beresford-Redman in this world famous tourist destination graphically illustrates that enormous work remains to be done.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Father of Mexican Left says Democratic Revolution Party has "lost its moral authority" after Iguala disaster

And demands resignation of PRD's new national leader and executive committee

Guadalajara -
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the man whose father nationalized Mexico's petroleum industry in 1938 by seizing foreign oil company assets to the delight of millions in this country, lashed out this weekend at the nation's most influential leftist party of which he was the principal founder 25 years ago.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Remains of Ugandan priest, missing since May, found in one of Guerrero's many organized crime burial sites

A declined demand for a baptismal service may have cost him his life

Chilpancingo, Guerrero -
While Mexican authorities continue efforts to identify bones, ash and teeth recovered from Cocula, Guerrero last week, narcofosas all over the state continue to yield new evidence of the drug cartel brutality carried out daily in this Pacific coast state, most by Guerreros Unidos, according to the state's chief prosecutor.

John Ssenyondo, a Roman Catholic priest assigned to the Chilpancingo-Chilapa diocese, disappeared last May. Today Church authorities reported that his remains, discovered two weeks ago in one of several concealed graves near Chilapa, have been identified.

Chilapa de Álvarez, as it is officially known, is 55 kilometers from this often violent capital.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gender change in Mexico's Federal District gets easier

Guadalajara -
Leftist majorities which control Mexico City's local legislature easily passed a bill today which will simplify the process of officially changing or registering one's gender in the Federal District, the first legislation of its kind in the nation.

By a vote of 42-0, with six abstentions, the full assembly eliminated the requirement of a judicial proceeding in favor of a simple administrative process.

The measure was advanced by the far left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the Workers' Party (PT), although it enjoyed the support of the center left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which holds Mexico's presidency.

Center right deputies of the National Action Party (PAN) were mainly opposed.

Mexico's Black Friday approaches, but will there be buyers?

Acapulco hard hit

Guadalajara -
Mexico has its own answer to America's Black Friday, and it's less than 24 hours away.

El Buen Fin ("the good (week) end") begins tomorrow and will extend through early next week. Like U.S. merchants, this country's retailers hope to pocket some pesos as they oficially kick off the Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

China to Mexico: abide by what you sign

"President Xi Jinping and I have strengthened our political understanding, and we trust each other." Enrique Peña Nieto, in Beijing

Guadalajara -
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing today president Enrique Peña Nieto lobbied hard for Chinese investment in his country, which is struggling with far below projected economic growth for the second year in a row.

In route to the Chinese capital last weekend the president said his goal was to attract better paying jobs to Mexico, as well as infrastructure projects. But just five days ago Mexico abruptly canceled an almost $4 billion USD high speed rail contract which it signed earlier this year with an international consortium of seven builders, one of which is the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC).

Pregnant U.S. national, 14, in serious condition after being shot by Reynosa police

On the Tamaulipas border: shoot first, ask questions later

Guadalajara -
Police in the border town of Reynosa, Tamaulipas shot and seriously injured Indira Michel Blanco González of McAllen, Texas early yesterday morning, the Tamaulipas state prosecutor has confirmed.

Blanco González, 14 and a U.S. citizen, was shot after she and her boyfriend, also 14, stopped at a local convenience store about 12:30 a.m. Monday, according to Mexican press sources.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Angélica Rivera: a makeup man aboard, a gala Beijing dinner

MGR's view - No Chinese carryout on this trip

Guaranteed non-wrinkle removed, eye blinged, skin smoothed or retouched by MGR - neither of them. Pure perfection, the all-natural way. And that's Alfonso, not Enrique.

Guadalajara -
Mexico may have been smoldering, but the First Couple winged their way to the Chinese capital over the weekend nevertheless. And in style.

Acapulco International Airport under temporary siege

Guadalajara -
Mexican anti-riot police confronted family members and loved ones of 43 missing college students at Acapulco's International Airport (AIA) today, in a fizzled protest which only slightly impacted flight operations for about three hours.

Peña Nieto to China, Australia, while Mexico seethes

"We must carry on with our obligations"

Guadalajara -
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has arrived in Bejing to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. At week's end he will travel to Brisbane, Queensaland for a two day meeting of the G20 Economic Leaders Summit in Australia.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Not just in Guerrero: La Barca, Jalisco, at one year

Mexico's organized crime victims are buried everywhere

Guadalajara -
One of numerous local narcofosas discovered a year ago, this one a little more than an hour's drive from the city of the tapatios, on the far eastern shore of Lake Chapala. No evidence remains of the savagery which took place here. Many of the dead have yet to be identified by forensic investigators. The La Barca sites were among the largest unearthed in Mexico in recent years, as the nation's drug war enters its eighth year in less than a month.

Nov. 16, 2013 - Mass grave by Jalisco's Lake Chapala held 74 remains
Jan. 26, 2014 - 20 Michoacán police officers charged as "Zeta Killers"
Aug. 25, 2014 - Mexican press: homicides under Enrique Peña Nieto far exceed those under his predecessor Felipe Calderón

© MGR 2013-14. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

Friday, November 7, 2014

All hope fades for families of 43 missing students, as Attorney General Karam delivers devastating news

Guadalajara -
Less than two weeks ago Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced that the search for 43 college students, who were kidnapped by corrupt police officers and then handed over to drug cartel executioners in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26, had shifted to a municipal trash dump in the neighboring town of Cocula. That decision was based upon preliminary statements taken from three persons who had just been arrested in the case, each one of whom admitted participation in the crimes. Mexico hints at imminent break in search for the 43.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Imperial couple" of Iguala gets improved quarters in tough Mexican prison

Cooling their heels for 40 days with Mexico's most famous narcos

Procuraduría mugshots

Guadalajara -
María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, wife of former Iguala, Guerrero mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez, allegedly told Federal Police officers who tracked the couple down in a squalid rental house in Mexico City early Tuesday morning, "Get away from me." But today she and her husband - who apparently was relieved by the capture, telling officers he was tired of running - woke up in a high security prison in the State of Mexico (Edomex), with the curious name of Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1. The famous penal institution is known colloquially as El Altiplano.

Mexican economic analysts again dispute official 2014 growth estimate, citing violence as principal concern

How low will it go?

*Updated Dec. 2*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's central bank reported today that economists and business advisers whom it regularly surveys have warned that the nation's gross domestic product (PIB/GDP) will grow by no more than 2.3% in 2014. It was the fifth time since May 7 the survey group cut its prognosis for the year ending Dec. 31, from an original 3.01% to 2.77% to 2.56% to 2.47%.

In the latest reduction to 2.3%, 26% of survey respondents cited national security woes, especially in violent Guerreo and Tamaulipas, as a negative pull on domestic economic expansion - the highest vote on that question since May 2011, when 28% of consultants did so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Former Iguala mayor and wife arrested in Mexico City

Guadalajara -
Former Iguala, Guerrero mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, were arrested on federal criminal warrants in Mexico City early this morning, the government has announced.

The couple was taken into custody at a private residence by a special unit of the Federal Police described as "elite," and transferred to the headquarters of the Organized Crime Strike Force for questioning.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mexican Catholic Church lashes out at political parties, including the "false Left"

Continuing social and political disarray in Guerrero is the focus

From today's lead editorial in Desde la Fe, the voice of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City. Translated from the original Spanish and edited for brevity/clarity:

"The worrisome situation ripping apart Mexico is the product of social inequality, corruption, a grossly deficient educational system and the lack of values. Our economic situation has made us a dysfunctional society. Only a small percentage of our people enjoy the lifestyle of the First World, while 50% of the nation lives on the edge of poverty, with the barest necessities. And millions of others are consigned to extreme misery.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mexico releases U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on humanitarian grounds

Guadalajara -
Marine reserve Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was ordered freed yesterday by a federal court in Tijuana, 214 days after he was detained for the illegal possession of firearms in Baja California state.

The court did not adjudicate the case to a verdict of guilt or innocence. It merely accepted defense recommendations that Tahmooressi be returned to the United States for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Prosecution medical consultants agreed several weeks ago that the sergeant, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, suffers from PTSD.