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 remain 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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A peek at Peña Nieto's "State of the Union" address

PRI administration uses social media to get the message out early

Guadalajara -
In Mexico an administration's report to Congress and to the nation on the state of affairs - and its claimed accomplishments - is called the Informe. It's the direct equivalent of an American president's State of the Union address in January.

Next week president Enrique Peña Nieto will deliver his second. Like any smart politician he is offering a preview this weekend, taking advantage of Twitter, YouTube and all the electronic sites which this very youthful nation adores.

Here's what the president said, and what he'll elaborate on next week:

PRD's Marcelo Ebrard breaks with Left: "It's too late to undo the PEMEX reforms"

"(With two candidates in 2018), there is no doubt we will lose" - Ebrard

Guadalajara -
Former Federal District Governor Marcelo Ebrard, a key figure in Mexico's Democratic Revolution Party and an almost certain contender for president in 2018, split with other leftist politicians this week by acknowledging that a planned June 2015 citizen referendum to repeal energy law changes which went into effect earlier this month would be futile.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mexico's next challenge: a mega cartel?

Top narco bosses recently held a summit in Coahuila state, Mexican press reports

Guadalajara -
Mexico has dozens of drug cartels and hundreds if not thousands of local and regional gangs which work with them. But according to press reports appearing in many newspapers today, the 21 month old "bloody administration" of president Enrique Peña Nieto may soon have to face up to the mother of all cartels, despite its persistent claims in recent months that domestic security is on the upswing.

Proposal for minimum wage increase finds impetus in Mexico's Federal District

But experts disagree on inflationary impact

Guadalajara -
Article 123 of Mexico's federal constitution provides that "The general minimum wage must be sufficient to satisfy the normal material, social, and cultural needs of the head of a family and to provide for the compulsory education of his children." But in a nation where the official minimum wage is a mere $5.00 dollars a day, and 36% of families must go into debt each year just to keep their children in school, the governor of the nation's capital says the constitutional obligation is not being met.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mexican high court will examine controversial public assembly restrictions in Federal District

Broad language of regulations may be their downfall

These self-styled Red Guards in Guadalajara displayed contempt for all three major political parties, lashing out at the "bourgeois repression" of PRI, PAN and even the left wing PRD - Oct. 2, 2013

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court yesterday accepted for review a new law which requires that all public demonstrations in the capital be cleared with local authorities at least 48 hours in advance, exposing the regulation to constitutional challenge.

On its face the law applies to any type of street march - including social, religious or sports oriented - but it is well understood that its primary target is political protests, which almost brought Mexico City to its knees in the summer of 2013.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mexican press: homicides under Enrique Peña Nieto far exceed those of his predecessor Felipe Calderón

Intentional homicides by state, Dec. 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014

Guadalajara -
The numbers are difficult to decipher and the analysis is at times tortuous, but the Tijuana based news magazine Zeta today reported that during the first 19 months of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of president Peña Nieto, 36,718 people died in acts of violence which the journal largely attributed to Mexico's ongoing drug war.

That number represents so-called homicidios dolosos - intentional murders - during the period Dec. 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014. The average is 1,933 victims per month. Murders in just four Mexican states - Edomex (Estado de México), Guerrero, Michoacán and Jalisco - represent 35% of the total.

Survey: many Mexicans are more focused on lack of jobs than drug war violence

Attitudes on new government's success against organized crime vary sharply

Guadalajara -
The results of a national survey published today by the respected Mexico City newspaper El Universal found that six of 10 respondents believe the PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto should prioritize the creation of jobs over domestic security issues, and 49% said the sluggish economy should be the government's principal concern.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ice Ice Baby - but not in Los Pinos

Guadalajara -
While the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge races around the globe, with politicians, entertainers and prominent business leaders daring one another to douse themselves with cold water and make at least a $10 dollar contribution towards Lou Gehrig's disease research, Mexicans want to get involved, too.

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.