Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mexican Supreme Court upholds IVA tax increase in border zone, a keystone of Peña Nieto's fiscal reforms

Guadalajara -
Mexico's highest tribunal, the Supreme Judicial Court (SCJN), today unanimously upheld a controversial fiscal reform which was advanced by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto after his government took office Dec. 1, 2012.

After preliminary votes of 9-1 and 8-2, judicial ministers finally rejected 10-0 a lawsuit which claimed that last year's increase of the country's value added tax (VAT) in border areas was unconstitutional.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Violent Michoacán sets eight year record in homicides

Murder, kidnapping and extortion post sharp increases

Guadalajara -
The Pacific coast state of Michoacán broke an eight year homicide record in the first six months of 2014, according to statistics released this week by the Mexico's National Public Security (SNSP) Service, a federal agency.

Through June 30, the state reported more murders and kidnappings than it has since 2006. Criminal extortion cases exceeded by four times those reported in the same period of 2009.

SNSP reported that in 2013, 384 homicides - most connected to ongoing drug war violence - occurred in the first 180 days of the year. This year the number was 555, a 30% increase.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Peña Nieto: respect for human rights is Mexico's focus

Guadalajara -
In a major speech in Mexico City today, president Enrique Peña Nieto said that the recognition and enforcement of core human rights guarantees will be the most important reform of his Institutional Revolutionary Party administration, which has held the nation's highest office for almost 21 months.

During a ceremony celebrating the 15th anniversary of Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the president said his goal is for "every Mexican to fully enjoy the fundamental liberties protected by our constitution." But Peña Nieto also recognized that human rights standards have and still are evolving worldwide, and he promised to make them "a priority as concrete reforms" are adopted at home.

Narco violence continues in Guadalajara suburb

Guadalajara -
Police report that the decapitated bodies of three yet unidentified men were found today in Zapopan's Colonia San Marcos.

The vitcims' dismembered remains were dumped in black plastic bags in an empty lot.

Zapopan, a sprawling county which encircles much of the Guadalajara metro, is the frequent scene of organized crime violence. Stories below.

Mexico has big bucks banked - mostly greenbacks

Guadalajara -
Mexico's U.S. currency on hand rose $48 million U.S. dollars last week, leaving it with a tidy net balance of $190.552 billion dollars available for those rainy days.

The numbers were reported in a press release today by the the Bank of Mexico (Banixco), the nation's central bank and the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

There's more demonstrator, press freedom in Mexico City than in Ferguson, Missouri - even dealing with anarchists

MGR's opinion -

Credentialed photographer Scott Olson, of the world famous Getty Agency, was arrested yesterday for "standing in the wrong place." More excellent coverage of the militarization of American domestic police and last night's renewed violence in the St. Louis suburb is available in today's Huffington Post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mexico will award two million academic scholarships, hoping to turn the tide against huge dropout rate

"Many reasons for the high dropout rate rest within the schools themselves" - SEP official

Colima, Colima -
On the first day of the new school year, Mexico's Secretary of Education (SEP) has announced that the government will hand out two million scholarships to high school students in the year ahead, in an effort to keep them in the classroom.

"The dropout rate in middle and high school is an enormous problem," a SEP undersecretary acknowledged today during a formal presentation in this Pacific coast capital. The government says that about every year about 600,000 students leave school permanently before receiving a secondary school diploma. In 2012 that number represented 15% of all those who began elementary school.

Accused 10 most wanted Canadian murderer nabbed in Guadalajara

Guadalajara -
Cory Vallee, one of Canada's 10 most wanted fugitives according to Jalisco state prosecutors quoted by today's edition of El Informador, has been arrested in this city.

Vallee was detained Aug. 14 on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and organized crime activity.

He was taken into custody over "administrative issues," according to a press release, in apparent reference to migratory problems. Those in turn led to the discovery that Vallee had been "red carded" for international travel by Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization headquartered in Lyon, France.

Mexico's scaled back national gendarmerie is set to debut this week, PRI administration says

Guadalajara -
The day after he was elected on July 1, 2012, Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) president Enrique Peña Nieto told the New York Times in an op-ed piece that "There can be neither negotiation nor a truce with criminals." He promised that one of his first acts as chief executive of the Republic would be to create out of whole cloth a 40,000 strong national gendarmerie modeled after those used in some European nations, and most notably, Colombia's. Enrique Peña Nieto's Manifesto.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Oaxaca state tenses as Mexico's new school year begins

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca -
Mexican schools open tomorrow, amid continued violence and threats of same in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, a seedbed of unending teacher violence and civil disorder.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

U.S. State Dept.'s latest warning about Mexican travel risks angers Peña Nieto administration

Jalisco, Michoacán remain on list, while all of Yucatán peninsula is in the clear

The U.S. State Dept. released its latest Mexico travel warnings yesterday, and top officials in this country wasted no time in voicing strong displeasure.

State cautioned U.S. travelers about many areas in the Republic's 32 separate states, including Aguascalientes, Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Estado de México, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Zacatecas.

The full text of yesterday's release is below, which included these statements: "The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 71 in 2012 and 81 in 2013. Exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout areas for which advisories are in effect."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Michoacán mayor, a woman, in federal custody for murder, extortion and organized crime association

Guadalajara -
Dalia Santana Pinedam, the sitting municipal president of Huetamo de Núñez, Michoacán, was arrested Thursday by federal authorities and has already been transferred to a high security prison in the State of Mexico. Michoacán may have been secured from Los Caballeros Templarios (The Rural Defense Force, to the rescue in Michoacán), but it remains far from free of corruption and criminal infiltration. More local officials have been executed there than in any other of Mexico's 32 entities.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mérida police investigate suspicious death in Colonia Miguel Alemán

*Updated Aug. 16*
Mérida, Yucatán -
Colonia Miguel Alemán, a long settled and generally secure neighborhood just minutes from the White City's Grand Plaza, is rarely the scene of serious crime. But late this afternoon metro police announced they were investigating the discovery of a body at this location (Calles 23 x 24), directly across the street from the popular and often crowded Miguel Alemán Park. The area is high traffic, with many small shops, cafes, a grocery store and a heavily attended Catholic church.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mexican economy remains stuck on a southbound train

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

Guadalajara -
More than half of 2014 has come and gone, and all the official projections for economic growth in the current year just keep getting worse. Today Banixco (Bank of Mexico) director Agustín Carstens (left) - he's the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair - was forced yet again to reduce the central bank's prognosis for 2014 growth from the administration's original rosy prediction of 3.9%, to somewhere in the ill-defined range of 2.0-2.8%.

On May 21 Carstens said Mexican PIB - producto bruto interno, or gross domestic product (GDP) - expansion in 2014 would end up between 2.3% and 3.3%. More recalculation - all of it negative - is highly probable in the remaining five months of the current year.

20 billion barrels of crude: Mexican PEMEX legislation reserves for nation 83% of its proven petrol resources

Exclusive rights rule extends for two decades, covering vast geographical area

Guadalajara -
In the first implementation of new national energy legislation which became effective yesterday (Peña Nieto: "No more barriers to our economic growth"), Mexico's former state oil monopoly PEMEX - now open to private capital investment and foreign technical participation - has been granted sole and exclusive rights to extract 83% of the country's proven oil resources, together with another 21% of probable petroleum assets, within a defined region.