Elections

Mexico News and Analysis: March 26 - April 1, 2012

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN
2 - PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SEASON
3 - OBAMA’S CONFLICTING IMMIGRATION POLICIES
4 - CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM EXPANDS ROLE OF CATHOLIC CHURCH
5 - HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CONDEMNS STUDENT MURDERS

On March 22, Francisco Santiz Lopez reached the front gate of the Chiapas prison where he had spent the past three months, charged with a murder he couldn’t have possibly committed.  Just as he was about to walk out the door a free man, prison officials pulled him back, fabricating a new set of charges.  According to the Junta of Good Government in Oventic, “The fabrication of charges against our companero comes directly from Los Pinos [Mexico’s equivalent of the White House], in an effort to destroy the resistance of the Zapatista communities.  They are trying to impede at all costs the construction of autonomy among the indigenous population.  It is part of a plan of low intensity warfare against our communities in resistance.”

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Mexico News and Analysis: February 6-19, 2012

1 - STATE DEPARTMENT REISSUES TRAVEL ADVISORY
2 - BILLBOARD CALLS FOR END OF U.S. WEAPONS IN MEXICO
3 - ANONYMOUS STRIKES AGAIN
4 - U.S. INFLUENCING MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
5 - CATHOLIC CHURCH JOINS ELECTION BATTLES
6 - FAMILY OF FORMER CHIAPAS GOVERNOR IN HOT WATER  

In anticipation of Spring Breakers travelling south, the State Department reissued a travel advisory that includes 14 Mexican states, mainly along the US border.  Travel updates have become an annual event in anticipation of thousands of US students vacationing in Mexico in March.  In addition to border states, the latest advisory includes parts of Aguascalientes, Guerrero and Nayarit.  About 50,000 people have been killed over the past five years in drug-related violence, with US citizens accounting for about 400 deaths.  Despite the drug-related violence, Mexico attracted a record number of tourists last year as 22.7 million foreign visitors arrived by air.  These figures do not include the millions of US tourists who travel by land.  Visitors from the US travelling by air declined by 3%, possibly due to increased airline prices since the demise of Mexicana Airline, but Brazil, Russia, China and Peru registered sizable increases over 2010.  Tourism is Mexico's fifth largest source of foreign currency, following migrant remittances, illegal drug sales (mainly to the US market), petroleum exports and maquiladora production.

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Mexico News and Analysis: Dec 26 - Jan 1, 2012

1 - POVERTY INCREASING
2 - ENRIQUE KRAUZE ON THE REAL MEXICO
3 - POPE TO VISIT MEXICO
4 - MICHOACAN ELECTION ANULLED

More than half of Mexico's population now lives below the official poverty line, in large part because the economy is so tightly linked to the United States. About one-third of Mexico's production is exported, with 90% headed to the US. Mexico boasts the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, worth about US$74 billion, or about 7% of the annual GNP, while 58 million Mexicans live on less than US$150 per month. Economic growth under Felipe Calderon has averaged 2.2% annually, about half the overall rate for the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite the dismal figures, Calderon continues to bank on his expensive and largely ineffective "war on drugs" as the foundation of his political program.

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Mexico News and Analysis: December 5-11, 2011

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN (http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/)
2 - MARCOS RELEASES FOURTH LETTER TO LUIS VILLORO
3 - MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES BY 21 CENTS A DAY
4 - IMPUNITY AND FAILURE IN CALDERON'S "WAR ON DRUGS"
5 - U.S. BATTERY EXPORTS DAMAGE MEXICAN ENVIRONMENT
6 - PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER EXHIBITS "BRAIN FREEZE"

Residents of Santa Maria Ostula, an autonomous community that established its own police force in the midst of threats from drug traffickers and the army, denounced the kidnapping of J. Trinidad de la Cruz.  (De la Cruz was murdered shortly after the community released their denouncement.)

The ejido San Sebastian Bachejon denounced the Chiapas state government for intervening in community affairs on the side of corrupt local officials.  Members of the ejido re-assumed control last week of a toll booth leading to an eco-tourism facility and established by the community several years ago.

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Mexico News and Analysis: November 14-27, 2011

1 - PRI WINS MICHOACAN GOVERNORSHIP
2 - IMMIGRATION NEAR ZERO
3 - PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DYNAMICS
4 - CALDERON NAMES FIFTH INTERIOR SECRETARY
5 - GOVERNMENT ADMITS DIRTY WAR DISAPPEARANCE
6 - WTO RULES AGAINST U.S.
7 - INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CASE NAMES PRESIDENT CALDERON
8 - HISTORIC DROUGHT AND EARLY FREEZES DEVASTATE AGRICULTURE

The PRI candidate won the gubernatorial election last Sunday in Michoacan, Felipe Calderon's home state, defeating the President's sister, Luisa "Cocoa" Calderon, in a close race. The PRI took 35% of the vote, apparently winning many former PRD votes, against 33% for the PAN and 29% for the PRD. The election was marred by illegal use of federal resources by the PAN and probable PRI and PRD links to organized crime. The vote may be a harbinger of 2012 presidential elections in which PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto leads all candidates by substantial margins. Michoacan is a major producer of marijuana, opium and methamphetamines, and home to the Knights Templar, a cartel with strong roots in popular barrios.

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News and Analysis: October 17-23, 2011

1 - POLITICAL PARTIES SPAR AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
2 - NEARLY 1,000 POLICE FIRED IN VERACRUZ
3 - ALABAMA IMMIGRATION LAW WREAKS HAVOC IN SCHOOLS AND FARMING
4 - CALDERON COMPLAINS ABOUT DUMPING CRIMINALS AT BORDER
5 - FORMER PRESIDENT FOX CALLS FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH CARTELS
6 - CALDERON SUGGESTS ADVENTURE TOURISM FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) filed a largely ritual complaint this week with the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), accusing President Felipe Calderon of interfering with the 2012 presidential elections.  In an October 15 New York Times interview, Calderon suggested the PRI may cut deals with drug cartels, similar to agreements reached by party members when they ruled Mexico for seven decades.  Mexican law technically prevents sitting presidents from influencing elections, but complaints of this type are typical in election seasons.

Meanwhile, Enrique Pena Nieto, the likely PRI presidential candidate, called for privatization of Pemex, Mexico’s national petroleum monopoly.  The PRI nationalized petroleum in 1938 under President Cardenas, perhaps Mexico’s most beloved political figure.  Now 70 years later, Pena Nieto appears to have contracted the neoliberal bug, claiming the country would benefit from foreign investment – and ownership – in the oil sector.  Historically this has not been a popular position, either within the PRI or in the broader society.  This may be part of Pena Nieto’s campaign strategy to distance himself from the historic PRI while benefiting from the political clout and national structure of the party.

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News and Analysis: October 10-16, 2011

1 - DECREASE IN CENTRAL AMERICANS ENTERING MEXICO
2 - INTERNATIONAL CHARGES PENDING AGAINST PRESIDENT CALDERON
3 - ECONOMY STAGNANT
4 - U.S. MAY IMPORT WATER FROM MEXICO
5 - REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES OFFER BORDER “SOLUTIONS”
6 - CARTEL LEADER ON PRISON HUNGER STRIKE, SORT OF

Mexican immigration authorities report a drop of 70% over the past five years in the number of Central Americans crossing Mexico to reach the US.  The estimate is based on dramatic declines in the number of Central Americans detained in Mexico without documentation, from 433,000 in 2005 to 140,000 last year.  The downward trend continued this year, probably due to a combination of poor job prospects in the US and dramatic increases in cartel violence, including kidnapping, rape, forced labor and murder, directed against Central Americans as they cross Mexico.  More than 60% of Central American migrants pay human smugglers, with costs ranging as high as US$10,000.

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News and Analysis: October 3-9, 2011

1 - ANOTHER US GUN “WALKING” PROGRAM REVEALED
2 - CITY POLICE FORCES ARRESTED
3 - SANTA MARIA OSTULA SUFFERS ANOTHER MURDER
4 - ALABAMA LAW WREAKS HAVOC IN IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
5 - FIGHT OVER I.F.E. CONTINUES

The Bush administration allowed illegal exports of military style weapons to Mexico from 2006 to 2007 in an undercover program dubbed “Wide Receiver,” similar to the Obama administration’s Operation Fast and Furious.  Both programs were intended to track weapons bought in the US until they reached cartel leaders in Mexico, but agents quickly lost track of most of the “walked” firearms.   Watch for Republicans, who mounted a Congressional investigation of Fast and Furious in hopes of political gains, to quietly bury their efforts.  The Calderon administration, anxious to maintain cozy relations with the US, complained briefly about threats to national sovereignty, but appears anxious for the issue to simply disappear.

2 - CITY POLICE FORCES ARRESTED
Last Sunday, Mexican soldiers, federal police, and state investigators arrested the entire police force in the towns of Linares and Villadama, about 75 miles from Monterrey.  The detention of 145 local officers comes after a rise in kidnapping and extortion, with reports that local officials in Juarez, a suburb of Monterrey, allowed cartel members to hold kidnapped victims in the local jail.

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Anti-immigrant legislation

News and Analysis: June 27 - July 3

1 - NEWS FROM THE OTHER CAMPAIGN (http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/)

2 - PRI LIKELY TO SWEEP GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

3 - FAST AND FURIOUS GENERATES REPORT ON U.S. GUN LAWS

4 - GORDILLO FISHING FOR POLITICAL OFFERS

5 - IMMIGRATION CHIEF ADMITS WIDESPREAD PROBLEMS


-The Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center denounces death threats, harassment and an imminent risk of forced displacement in the Zapatista community San Marcos Aviles.
-The Junta of Good Government in Morelia denounces forced displacement and violent actions by ORCAO (Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo) directed against Zapatista communities. 

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