Mexico 2019-

Written by  //  June 4, 2024  //  Mexico  //  Comments Off on Mexico 2019-

Border Report – Mexico
Mexico 2012-2018
CUSMA/USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)

Mexico’s Next President: Challenges and Recommendations
(Wilson Center) The 2024 presidential elections will mark a milestone in Mexico’s history and will test the nation’s democratic system. Millions of Mexican citizens will go to the polls on June 2 to elect a new president, all members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, as well as eight governors, Mexico City’s Head of Government, 31 local congresses, and other representatives around the country. These elections will be the largest in Mexico’s history and for the first time, a woman could be selected to lead the country for the next six years.
These elections are significant not solely due to their size nor the gender of possible victors but also a result of the breadth and depth of the issues that will confront whoever takes office on October 1, 2024. All new leaders take office facing challenges and opportunities and Mexico’s next president will be no different. It is worth noting, however, that this presidential transition is a full two months shorter as inauguration day was moved forward from the traditional December 1 date.

4 June
Sheinbaum Made Mexico City the Digital Capital of the Western Hemisphere
During her time as mayor, the president-elect built world-class technological infrastructure that she can now bring to the national stage.
Mexico City has deployed the world’s largest free public Wi-Fi network. Mexico City emerged as a global digital services pacesetter. …it’s clear that CDMX has advanced the most radical digital reform in the Western Hemisphere — if not beyond.

2-3 June

Marian Carrasquero for The New York Times

Historic win gives Mexico’s Sheinbaum a landslide, spooks markets
(Reuters) Former Mexico City mayor Sheinbaum, 61, won the highest vote percentage in the history of Mexico’s democracy, according to preliminary results from the electoral authority. She secured 58.8% of the votes with 82% of the ballots counted.
The victory is seen as a major step for Mexico, a country known for its macho culture and home to the world’s second-biggest Roman Catholic population. She is the first woman to win a general election in North America, comprising the United States, Mexico and Canada.
But her party’s win was so large that markets fell on concerns that the ruling coalition could secure a congressional super-majority, allowing them to pass controversial constitutional reforms such as in the energy sector unchecked.

A scientist, a leftist and a former Mexico City mayor. Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?
Sheinbaum’s background is in science. She has a Ph.D. in energy engineering. Her brother is a physicist. In a 2023 interview with The Associated Press, Sheinbaum said, “I believe in science.”
Mexico’s likely next president would be its first leader with a Jewish background
… While she is of Jewish ancestry, she is not religiously observant.
Her four grandparents were Jews who immigrated from Lithuania and Bulgaria. She was born in Mexico City and her parents did not raise her under any religion. According to her campaign team, Sheinbaum considers herself a woman of faith, but she is not religiously affiliated.

Graphic Truth: Mexico’s political murder problem
(GZERO media) The Mexican political campaign season that concluded with the June 2, 2024, general election was the deadliest on record, with at least 34 candidates for local or state office killed during the preceding nine months.
According to observers at the Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City, nearly a third of the dead were members of current president Andres Manuel López Obrador’s ruling Morena party.
Over the past two decades, homicides have soared in Mexico, driven in large part by the rise of powerful drug cartels warring for territory and markets. Between 2000 and 2018, the rate of killings more than tripled to 16 per 100,000 people, before coming down slightly in the years since.
But within that, there’s also been a staggering rise in political violence specifically. This includes assassinations of candidates, officials, human rights defenders, journalists, and other activists.
During the presidential term of Vicente Fox, between 2000 and 2006, there were a total of 58 such killings. In the current term of López Obrador, which extends until October, there have already been 500.

2 June
Mexico election 2024 live updates: Mexicans vote in historic race
Presidential candidates: For the first time in the country’s history, two women lead the polls: Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, is trailed by Xóchitl Gálvez, an opposition senator and tech entrepreneur.
The stakes: Violence tops the list of issues that matters most to voters, with cartels and other criminal groups using local elections as an opportunity to make power grabs. Also at play is the economy, the political legacy of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Mexico’s often tumultuous relationship with the United States.
Challenges in opening polling places
Mexico’s National Electoral Institute reports that as of 11 a.m. – three hours after polls were to open — only about 82% of voting places had successfully opened.
The reasons stemmed from violence-plagued areas where it was unsafe to have to people vote to local conflicts among residents and poll workers who didn’t show up.
It was especially difficult in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, which has been torn by growing cartel violence over the past year.
Electoral authorities there said that they only managed to open 58% of polling places.

30 May
What to watch in Mexico’s elections: A supermajority and a superpower
(Atlantic Council) Sunday marks the biggest election day in Mexico’s history. One hundred million Mexicans are registered to cast ballots for more than twenty thousand positions across all levels of government. The task ahead for the most closely watched of those posts—the next president—will be a daunting one, with much riding on two other electoral outcomes: the composition of Mexico’s Congress and the US election five months later.
Following the official three-month presidential campaign, polling indicates that one candidate has a firm lead. Assuming former Mexico City Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum performs on par with expectations—the latest Reforma poll gives her a 20 percentage point lead over former Senator Xóchitl Gálvez—the candidate of the governing MORENA party will become Mexico’s first female president on October 1. The lack of movement in this poll since the campaign season began on March 1 is noteworthy. Sheinbaum has only dropped 3 percentage points (to 55 percent support) in the last three months. Other polls give Sheinbaum a lead of anywhere from 11 to 22 percentage points, with voter turnout one of the major factors to watch on Sunday.
More uncertain is what will happen in Mexico’s Congress. What has scuttled attempts by the current Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to fully carry out some elements of his government’s plan has been the checks provided by Congress. With a simple majority of seats—rather than the supermajority of two-thirds of the seats—the MORENA coalition rallied to pass some important pieces of legislation, but it has been impeded from making major constitutional changes, including controversial proposals for the popular election of Supreme Court judges and eliminating independent regulators.
Thus, this Sunday’s vote will determine whether López Obrador’s hand-picked successor, Sheinbaum, could advance the outgoing president’s stymied constitutional proposals. Polls—although less numerous and harder to calculate given the sheer number of candidates up for election (628 combined senators and deputies)—indicate continuity in Congress. Polls by the newspaper El Financiero, for example, predict that the MORENA coalition will secure 49 percent of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies with opposition parties taking 40 percent. The check on power provided by Congress in this scenario, in which MORENA would lack a supermajority, would likely give assurance to international markets, since uncertainty around such reforms and their repercussions can generate anxiety for investors.
… The next Mexican president will also have a keen interest in the vote-counting on November 5. The US election, and in particular how Mexico figures into the campaign leading up to election day, will set the stage for the coming years of bilateral ties. A newly inaugurated Mexican president may be forced to immediately respond to US campaign rhetoric.
Security and migration are top issues both north and south of the Rio Grande. While Sheinbaum has pledged to continue the current government’s focus on social and educational programs to reduce violence, Gálvez favors a strategy that puts greater emphasis on the security apparatus to combat crime. On migration policy, both candidates would continue to take a human-centered approach that recognizes and seeks to find solutions to the high demand for labor. A third important bilateral issue will be the review period of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, also known as USMCA, as the 2026 sunset clause approaches. This is all the more important now that Mexico is the United States’ number one trade partner. Here, a new Atlantic Council report suggests several ways that the next Mexican administration can unlock even greater border commercial efficiencies and new trade and investment.
Amid a fast-changing global order, a prosperous Mexico and strong US-Mexico ties will be increasingly important for the United States. US and Mexican security and economic concerns are deeply intertwined, as are their people. Sunday’s vote will set a crucial marker for how the relationship develops for the rest of the 2020s.

27 May
Mexico’s next president can reset relations with the United States
She will have much work to do on drug-trafficking, security, migration and trade
(The Economist) Mexicans elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador president in 2018 for sound reasons; his diagnosis that inequality, insecurity and a corrupt political class were damaging Mexico was convincing. But apart from poverty-reducing minimum-wage increases, Mr López Obrador’s “Fourth Transformation” has taken Mexico backwards. A statist, bent on tearing down the works of his predecessors, he is leaving the health-care and education systems in tatters. His reversal of pro-competition energy-market reforms has made Mexico’s electricity dirty and costly. Water is scarce. His hands-off security policy has let criminal groups strengthen their grip. He has attacked independent institutions, from the electoral body to the Supreme Court. In part because of his animus towards the private sector, the economic growth rate has been on average 2-3% per year in the non-pandemic years of his presidency, a mediocre figure given the huge opportunity facing Mexico, and momentum has slowed in the past six months.
Mexicans will decide who inherits this mess when they elect a new president on June 2nd. They are likely to choose Mr López Obrador’s protégée, Claudia Sheinbaum, who belongs to Morena, the ruling party. Her rival, Xóchitl Gálvez, who represents a coalition of older parties, is polling about 20 points behind. How the winner governs will matter not just for Mexicans suffering from violence and inequality, but also for the rest of the world. Mexico has become a crucial actor in the shifting global order. The number of migrants travelling through Mexico to the United States has surged, and illegal migration is currently the most important political issue in the world’s most powerful country. The West looks to Mexico to help it decouple from China, especially for manufacturing vital green technologies and electronics. Mexico’s next president will have great influence on both counts.
What’s behind the rise in political violence in Mexico?
Election campaign marred by assassinations of dozens of candidates.
Dozens of candidates have been killed ahead of Mexico’s general election amid surging political violence.
Dozens of public servants, party members and politicians across the country have also been attacked ahead of the June 2 election

26 May
Mexico City could run out of water in a month unless it rains
(Business Insider) Mexico City has long struggled to bring water to its millions of residents, but three consecutive years of low rainfall and high temperatures have created a serious emergency.
The Cutzamala water system — a series of treatment plants, reservoirs, and canals that provide water to tens of millions of people — is running dry.
Conditions are so bad that the North American Drought Monitor classified the federal district containing Mexico City as “severe” on April 30. Locals expect “Day Zero” could come as soon as June 26, according to Mexico Business News.

24 May
Election 2024: Continuity and Change in Mexico’s Political and Economic Landscape
(Wilson Center) The upcoming June 2 federal elections will mark a first for Mexico on many levels. Over 100 million Mexicans are set to vote for more than 20,000 federal and local posts, making these the largest elections in the country’s history. Unprecedented levels of violence have also tainted the process, with organized crime assassinating over 30 local candidates and community leaders. But most notably, it will be the first time a woman will become Mexico’s president.
Claudia Sheinbaum, the protégé of outgoing populist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and candidate for the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena), is expected to win the election. Continuing AMLO’s anti-neoliberal “Fourth Transformation” socioeconomic project is central to her campaign. Yet, kickstarting a renewables transition, promoting scientific education, and revamping Mexico’s security strategy are some proposals differentiating Sheinbaum from her predecessor.
Trailing Sheinbaum by double digits is Xóchitl Gálvez, the unity candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Undoing AMLO-era reforms and promoting middle-class-centric policies are core to her campaign. Last in the race is the Citizen Movement’s (MC) candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, an outsider whose appeal among millennial voters risks diluting support for the other candidates, but mainly for Gálvez.
Amid this context, the electoral distribution of Congress will largely determine the next president’s ability to govern. Polls suggest that Morena and its allies, the Workers Party and the Green Party, are likely to keep their absolute majority in the legislature. However, they would fall short of the three-fourths qualified majority required for substantial constitutional reforms. Therefore, if elected president, consensus-based politics are likely to define Sheinbaum’s government, at least until the 2027 midterm elections.

27 April
Migration roils US elections. Mexico sees mass migration too, but its politicians rarely mention it
(AP) Every 12 years, the coincidence of presidential elections in the U.S. and Mexico provides a valuable comparative snapshot. The different ways migration is resonating in the two countries’ elections this year reflects the neighbors’ very different styles of democracy.
Mexican politics are still dominated by institutional political parties, while Donald Trump disrupted the United States’ two-party system with his more populist approach, and moved anti-immigration sentiment to center stage in U.S. politics.
Mexican politics also revolve more around “bread-and-butter” issues like the economy than in the wealthier United States, which is increasingly consumed with questions of national identity, said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute.
What’s more, just about every Mexican family has an immediate experience with migration, with many still having relatives living in other countries. While migrants must travel through Mexico to enter the U.S., they are more dispersed as they travel and have not generated similar scenes of an overwhelmed Mexican side of the border.
… Mexico’s presidential frontrunner, Claudia Sheinbaum, didn’t even include a mention of immigration when she announced 100 campaign commitments last month. When she came to the state where Monterrey sits — Nuevo Leon — in February she talked about security and the water supply. Her main opponent, Xochitl Gálvez, visited the city last month and talked about her proposals to raise police salaries and combat gender violence.
But Monterrey, a three-hour drive from the Texas border, has increasingly become a critical waystation, even destination, for tens of thousands of migrants. Local authorities and international organizations have scrambled to find a place for the new arrivals.

23 April
Mexico’s next president must address violence against women in rural areas
Two of the leading candidates running to be the next president of Mexico are women. The vote on June 2 could see either Claudia Sheinbaum (the current frontrunner) or Xóchitl Gálvez elected to the highest office in the country, breaking the glass ceiling. Despite this testament to the progress made by Mexican women and society, a harsh reality persists: Women in rural areas face rising violence perpetrated by criminal groups.
According to recent studies, violence against women in Mexico has surged, with more than 70 percent of Mexico’s 50.5 million women and girls over the age of fifteen experiencing some form of violence. This brutal reality is heightened by the fact that many crimes in Mexico often go unreported, hindering governmental efforts to address the disproportionate impact of criminal violence on women in rural states such as Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. It is a serious problem in Mexico, and it is also a concern for its northern neighbor. It’s in the United States’ best interest to take a closer look at the increased effect of organized crime on women in Mexico and the growing migration pressures it is generating.

18 April
Extortion and kidnap – a deadly journey across Mexico
What is evident is that the cartels have diversified their economic activities to include extortion, kidnap and human smuggling
(BBC) The influx of migrants across the southern US border has become a critical factor in the US presidential election. But what is little known is the role of drug cartels in making a dangerous journey across Mexico even more perilous.
… After a record number of arrivals at the end of 2023, Democratic President Joe Biden proposed stricter immigration measures which include shutting the border when it’s overwhelmed. … What has stayed mostly under the radar in the debate about mass migration to the US is the role of Mexico’s deadly drug trafficking organisations.
… Abducted migrants, or those who refuse to pay the men with guns, may face a terrible fate. …the city of Tijuana has been a jumping off point for people entering the US illegally for decades.
And recently, bodies of migrants have been found in the hills east of the city – shot in the head, execution-style. There is speculation they were people who tried to make it onto American soil without paying a “coyote” or the criminal group that controls that part of the border.
What is evident is that the cartels have diversified their economic activities to include extortion, kidnap and human smuggling, says Dr Victor Clark Alfaro, a professor at San Diego State University.

21 March
Will Mexico’s president change the course of U.S. elections?
Eduardo Porter
(WaPo) In December, the Mexican migration authority said it had run out of money and stopped deporting migrants moving through the country. It also stopped flying them from Mexico’s northern border to the interior of the country. Coincidentally, perhaps, migrant encounters with U.S. agents at the border with Mexico surged over 300,000, the highest monthly tally on record.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had barely returned from Christmas break when they were dispatched to plead with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Dec. 27. And on the 30th, the Mexican government found the cash to start moving migrants away from the U.S. border again.
AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, took the opportunity to lay down some demands: an end to the Cuba embargo, removal of all U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, the legalization of some 10 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, and $20 billion for countries in the region. He forgot to ask for a unicorn.
… President Biden’s caution with his demanding counterpart south of the border has been, let’s say, uncharacteristic for the United States. Washington has said next to nothing about López Obrador’s campaign to dismantle the institutions underpinning Mexico’s young democracy or anything about the military’s encroachment on civilian life. Issues of direct national importance — the flow of fentanyl over the border, Mexico’s nationalist energy policy likely in breach of agreements with the United States — have elicited little more than a polite suggestion from Washington to reconsider.
The reason, of course, is immigration: AMLO finds himself in control of the most powerful political narrative in Washington, one that could determine the presidential election in November.
A Mexican Drug Cartel’s New Target? Seniors and Their Timeshares
(NYT) The operation is relatively simple. Jalisco New Generation employees posing as sales representatives call up timeshare owners, offering to buy their investments back for generous sums. They then demand upfront fees for anything from listing advertisements to paying government fines. The representatives persuade their victims to wire large amounts of money to Mexico — sometimes as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars — and then they disappear.

3 March
Organized crime attacks on local candidates raise fears Mexico may face its bloodiest elections ever
(AP) — As Mexico prepares for the largest elections in its history, organized crime is once again preying on local candidates across swaths of the country where cartels dominate, raising concerns among experts that these could be Mexico’s bloodiest elections ever.
Julián López, coordinator for the Citizen Movement party in the southern state of Guerrero, experienced it first hand when rifle-toting gunmen abducted him and two colleagues while they were driving on Feb. 7. The 43-year-old López was beaten, stripped of his possessions, made to kneel near a remote garbage dump and ultimately abandoned in the middle of the night.
Two mayoral hopefuls in the town of Maravatio in neighboring Michoacan state were not so fortunate. They were killed by gunmen within hours of each other Monday.

1 March
Why Mexico’s Ruling Party Candidate Is Already Dominating the Presidential Race
(NYT) Claudia Sheinbaum, a physicist and protégée of the current president, holds a commanding lead of about 30 percentage points in the polls over the opposition’s Xóchitl Gálvez, a tech entrepreneur.
Playing it safe at a time when the departing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, remains broadly popular, Ms. Sheinbaum has kept so closely to his policies and persona that she not only vows to adopt his priorities, she also sometimes imitates his slow-paced way of talking in appearances across the country.
But while Ms. Sheinbaum’s exceptionally disciplined campaign has cemented her front-runner status, the candidate who could be Mexico’s first female president remains something of an enigma to many Mexicans.
Mexico is about to have its biggest election ever. Here’s what to know
(AP) — Campaigning formally starts on Friday for the biggest election in Mexico’s history.
Voters will choose the president, along with the winners of 628 seats in Congress and thousands of local positions. Elections will occur in all 32 jurisdictions, with more than 20,000 positions up for grabs, making it the country’s largest election, according to the National Electoral Institute.
The country of 130 million people has often been marked by its “macho” culture. Now it is almost certain to elect its first woman president.
Also at play are issues such as escalating cartel warfare, the political legacy of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the long, often tumultuous relationship with the United States.

5 January
A drug cartel has attacked a remote Mexican community with drones and gunmen, rights group says
(AP) — A small community in Guerrero, a Mexican state plagued by unrelenting cartel violence, was attacked by drones and armed men, a local human rights group told the Associated Press on Friday.
The religious and human rights organization Minerva Bello Center said Thursday’s attack on at least 30 people was carried out by a drug cartel. … The community of Helidoro Castillo, on the fringes of Tlacotepec, is caught in an escalating war between the La Familia Michoacana and the Jalisco New Generation cartels.


Nov. 14, 2023 Event
Mexico’s Next President: Challenges and Recommendations
(Wilson Center) The 2024 presidential elections will mark a milestone in Mexico’s history and will test the nation’s democratic system. These elections will be the largest in Mexico’s history and for the first time, a woman could be selected to lead the country for the next six years.

26 October
At least 27 killed by ‘disastrous’ Hurricane Otis, damage seen in billions
(Reuters) – Hurricane Otis claimed the lives of at least 27 people, Mexico’s government said on Thursday after one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the country hammered the beach resort of Acapulco, causing damage seen running into billions of dollars.
Otis, which struck Mexico Wednesday as a Category 5 storm, flooded streets, ripped roofs off homes and hotels, submerged cars and cut communications, road and air access, leaving a trail of wreckage across Acapulco, a city of nearly 900,000.

5 September
Mexico’s Sheinbaum favorite to win presidential nomination, polls show
(Reuters) – Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum held a comfortable advantage in the race to be the leftist ruling party’s 2024 presidential nominee, according to opinion polls published on Tuesday, the eve of the announcement of the winner.
Mexico will probably get its first female president next year
(The Economist) Barring any big surprises, two women will compete to be Mexico’s president in the election next year. On September 3rd Xóchitl Gálvez, a 60-year-old senator, was named the candidate for an alliance among three opposition parties: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). On September 6th Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will almost certainly select Claudia Sheinbaum, the 61-year-old former mayor of Mexico City, as its candidate.

14 June
Mexican president picks veteran diplomat to be next foreign minister
(AP) — Mexico’s president on Tuesday named Alicia Bárcena, the country’s current ambassador to Chile, as the next foreign relations secretary, replacing Marcelo Ebrard who resigned to pursue the presidential nomination.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador noted the solid background of the Harvard-educated Bárcena, who served for almost 14 years as executive secretary of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. She has been Mexico’s ambassador to Chile since September.

11 June
Mexico’s governing party to decide its presidential nomination by polling
(AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s governing Morena party decided Sunday that a series of five polls over the summer will decide the party’s nomination for the June 2024 presidential election.
All of the four Morena contenders will have to resign their government posts by Friday, including Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is considered the frontrunner. That is meant to prevent primary candidates from using their posts to gain an unfair advantage. Each can campaign throughout the summer.
The party is desperate to avoid splits and accusations of manipulated polls that have marked past primary races in Morena. The four contenders joined hands and chanted “Unity! Unity! Unity!” after the announcement.
Mexico’s top diplomat, Marcelo Ebrard, has already said he will resign this week. Rounding out the field is Sen. Ricardo Monreal and Interior Secretary Adán López, who is no relation to the president.

5 June
Mexico president’s ruling party ousts once-dominant party in most populous state
the PRI is now a shadow of the old days when it ruled Mexico with a combination of hand-out programs and corruption.
(AP) — The ruling party of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the governorship of the country’s most populous state, dealing a life-threatening blow to the old ruling Institutional Revolutionary Part y — or PRI — which had governed the State of Mexico without interruption for nearly a century.
With over 99% of precincts counted in a preliminary report, electoral authorities said Monday that Morena’s Delfina Gómez won 52.7% of votes in the State of Mexico — which surrounds Mexico City on three sides — to 44.3% for the PRI’s Alejandra del Moral.
Del Moral later gave a concession speech acknowledging her defeat.
The result was a new low for the PRI, which held Mexico’s presidency uninterrupted for 71 years until losing power in 2000 elections; the party had governed the State of Mexico and its 17 million inhabitants for 94 years until its loss Sunday.

12 March
Mexico too dangerous for spring break, Texas officials say
“Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”
It comes after four Americans were kidnapped shortly after crossing the border last week. Two of them were murdered, while two were released unharmed.
Three American women who went to Mexico to sell clothes at a market have been missing for more than two weeks.
“Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into Mexico right now,” said DPS director Steven McCraw.

8 March
Ian Bremmer: Advantage Mexico
In most media, today’s Mexico conjures images of violent drug cartels and other organized crime groups, trouble at the US border, or large-scale protests led by an opposition that accuses the country’s president of a power grab that threatens democracy.
Mexico has its share of problems. But today, I want to give you three reasons for optimism that, politically and economically, Mexico is strong and getting stronger.
Mexico’s exports are surging. The country’s consumer confidence is close to its highest point in a generation. Add the reality is that the war in Ukraine has put strong upward pressure on global energy prices, boosting Mexico’s oil revenue. As the war grinds on, that advantage is likely to continue.
But the factor that matters most for coming years is souring US sentiment on relations with China. The Biden administration, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, and many US governors are pushing for a significant national security and strategic decoupling from China and Chinese companies. US businesses are increasingly less confident they can navigate complicated US-China politics, abrupt changes inside China like the 180-degree turn on COVID policy, and other factors to continue to do profitable business in China.

5-6 January
Mexico gives account of violence after ‘Chapo’ son nabbed
(AP) — The operation to detain Ovidio Guzman, the son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, unleashed firefights that turned the northern city of Culiacan into a war zone, authorities said Friday.
In a blow-by-blow description of the battles Thursday that killed 10 military personnel and 19 suspected members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said cartel gunmen opened fire on troops with a half-dozen .50-caliber machine guns.
… The gunmen also shot up airport buildings in a bid to prevent authorities from flying the captured cartel boss out of the city. But, Sandoval said, authorities anticipating the resistance had loaded Ovidio Guzman onto a military helicopter to fly him back to Mexico City.
The Mexican administration bagged the high-profile cartel figure days before hosting U.S. President Joe Biden.
Samuel González, who founded Mexico’s special prosecutor’s office for organized crime in the 1990s, said Guzmán’s capture was a “gift” ahead of Biden’s visit. The Mexican government “is working to have a calm visit,” he said.
Mexican city erupts in violence, residents ordered to stay indoors after drug cartel leader’s arrest
Multiple airports in Sinaloa state are closed after an Aeromexico flight was reportedly hit by gunfire
(CBC) Mexican authorities on Thursday confirmed the arrest of Ovidio Guzman, a 32-year-old senior member of the Sinaloa Cartel and a son of jailed kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.


25 November
How violence against journalists has intensified in Mexico
(The Current) Regina Martinez was a fierce investigative journalist in Mexico. The stories she covered pulled back the curtain on vast networks of corruption. Regina Martinez was killed because of her work, adding to a growing list of journalists murdered in Mexico.
Since her death, the violence against journalists in Mexico has only intensified. This year alone, 19 have been killed, setting a deadly new record. Katherine Corcoran was the Associate Press Bureau chief in Mexico when Regina Martinez was killed. Her investigation into the killing is the subject of her new book, In the Mouth of the Wolf: A Murder, A Cover Up and the True Cost of Silencing the Press.

22 November
Bret Stephens: Will Mexico Be the Next Venezuela?
(NYT) AMLO isn’t just another version of Trump. He’s worse, thanks to being a more effective demagogue and bureaucratic operator.
That was again made clear when Mexicans took to the streets on Nov. 13 in demonstrations against AMLO’s efforts to gut the National Electoral Institute, known by its Spanish acronym, INE. Over three decades, the state-funded but independent public agency (previously called the Federal Electoral Institute) has been vital to Mexico’s transition from one-party rule to a competitive democracy in which incumbent parties routinely lose elections — and accept the results.
AMLO is a product of the old ruling party, the P.R.I., which dominated nearly every aspect of Mexican political life from the late 1920s to the 1990s. Ideologically, the party was split between two wings: modernizing technocrats versus statist nationalists. But the party was united in its devotion to patronage, repression, corruption and, above all, presidential control as a means of perpetuating its hold on power.
AMLO may have belonged to the statist wing, but his ideas about governance are straight out of the old P.R.I. playbook, only this time in favor of his own Morena party. “His thrust all along has been to recreate the 1970s: an overpowering presidency with no counterweights,” Luis Rubio, one of Mexico’s leading thinkers, wrote me on Monday. “He has thus gone on to undermine, eliminate or neutralize a whole network of entities meant to become checks on presidential power.” That includes the Supreme Court, the country’s regulatory agencies and Mexico’s human rights commission.

27 August
6 of the 43 missing Mexican students were turned over to the army, official says
(NPR) Six of the 43 college students “disappeared” in 2014 were allegedly kept alive in a warehouse for days then turned over to the local army commander who ordered them killed, the Mexican government official leading a Truth Commission said Friday.
Interior Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas made the shocking revelation directly tying the military to one of Mexico’s worst human rights scandals, and it came with little fanfare as he made a lengthy defense of the commission’s report released a week earlier.

10 August
Arrest of cartel leaders leads to shootouts, burning of vehicles in 2 Mexican states
U.S. consulate in Guadalajara issues alert over violence; AMLO says soldiers ran into high-level meeting of two criminal organizations
…the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel for the past three years has been fighting local gangs in Guanajuato, a state in Central Mexico on the way to highways leading to drug corridors in South Texas.


16 October
Who Was ‘El Padrino,’ Godfather to Drug Cartel? Mexico’s Defense Chief, U.S. Says
Drug enforcement agents had long tried to solve the mystery of “El Padrino,” a shadowy, powerful force. They’ve now identified him as Salvador Cienfuegos, Mexico’s defense chief from 2012 to 2018.

3 August
Mexico’s criminal brazenness matters
Vanda Felbab-Brown
(Brookings) Mexico’s out-of-control criminal market remains not only terribly violent; the violence is once again becoming extraordinarily brazen. The ostentatiousness of Mexico’s criminal groups not only exposes its collapsed law enforcement capacity; it exacerbates impunity. The Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration finally needs to recognize how frail rule of law is in Mexico and to start taking meaningful actions against Mexican criminal groups.
Mexico Seizes Crime Boss El Marro, Under Pressure to Cut Violence
The Mexican federal authorities captured José Antonio Yépez, the criminal boss known as El Marro, on Sunday, landing a major blow against a cartel whose struggle for control helped spur record violence in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. After his arrest in an early-morning raid, low-resolution photographs of his capture were released by law enforcement agencies eager to highlight the latest success in their campaign against organized crime. What is less clear is whether Mr. Yépez’s imprisonment will make any meaningful difference in the violence that has subsumed Mexico — or in the prevalence of organized crime more broadly. “This is basically a short-lived P.R. victory, but it doesn’t provide a solution,” said Falko Ernst, a Mexico analyst for the International Crisis Group. “The big worry is that there is no backing in terms of a more cohesive security strategy.”

21 February
Mexican Radio Journalist Murdered in Ciudad Juárez
(Democracy Now!) In Mexico, a radio broadcaster was shot to death Tuesday afternoon outside her home in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. She was known as Bárbara Greco on air. The 37-year-old had recently spoken out on violence against women and children in Mexico in response to the recent killing of a 7-year-old girl in Mexico City. Her friends and colleagues reported that her real name was Teresa Aracely Alcocer. Last December, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Mexico had suffered the second-highest number of journalist killings in 2019, after Syria
‘This is our everyday Mexico’: Brutal murders of woman and girl fuel mass protests
More than 1,000 women and girls were killed in Mexico last year, according to the government’s records — a 10 per cent increase from 2018.
(CBC) The gruesome murders of a woman and a young girl have pushed Mexicans into the streets, with protesters criticizing the government for not doing enough to prevent and punish violence against women.
Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman, was stabbed to death late last week. Police released photos of her mutilated body and they were published by local newspapers. Days later, seven-year-old Fatima Aldrighetti was abducted from school. Her remains were later found stuffed in a garbage bag.
“This is our everyday Mexico,” said Erika Yamada, one of the organizers of this week’s protests and member of the feminist group Colectiva Digna Hijas.
“Yesterday a baby was killed, and another girl in Puebla was murdered just like Fatima…. It happens all the time.”
Amid the recent surge in protests, Mexico’s lawmakers in lower Congress approved a reform that would increase the prison sentence from 60 years to 65 — for femicide, which has a specific definition in the Mexican justice system.
“Femicide is killing a woman for gender-based reasons, for being a woman. And normally the victim shows signs of sexual violence, strangling, torture, burning, lacerations,” Yamada explained. “And normally the bodies are exposed, naked or in public places.”


18 December
Cities using the SDGs to reduce urban violence
(Brookings) … Mexico City is …combining improved law enforcement with programs to address the root causes of violence. Large investments and dedicated efforts are expanding access to education, sports, decent jobs, cultural activities, and social infrastructure in historically marginalized neighborhoods especially prone to youth violence. In 2019, 150 community centers—part of an initiative called PILARES—offer academic support, economic autonomy, and cultural engagement, with a target of expanding to 300 by 2020. These expanded opportunities for young people complement efforts to address high levels of impunity, fight corruption, invest in community policing,

1 December
As Troubles Grow, Mexicans Keep the Faith With Their President
One year into his term, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador faces a stagnant economy and spiraling violence, but Mexicans still place their hopes in him.

A Mexican cartel gun battle near the Texas border leaves 21 dead
(Vox) The attack comes days after President Trump announced he wants to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
Armed gunmen stormed Villa Union, a town near the Texas border with Coahuila state, on Saturday and attacked local government offices, including that of the mayor. Security forces responded, and 10 gunmen and four policemen were killed during the resulting shootout in the village. Seven additional cartel members were killed by security forces after the attackers fled.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it clear that he will not allow foreign intervention, and has offered to increase cooperation with the US on fighting drug gangs instead, according to Al Jazeera. His government already works with the US intelligence community and drug and law enforcement officials from the State Department to combat cartel violence.

28 November
Why designating Mexican drug cartels terrorists might not be the way to fight organized crime
Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that Mexican drug cartels be designated foreign terrorist organizations is likely to be ineffective in addressing the problem of violent criminal gangs, says a former Mexican ambassador to the United States.
Arturo Sarukhan, who was Mexico’s representative in Washington from 2007 to 2013, says the idea is another way for the U.S. president to use Mexico as a political piñata and would also seriously harm bilateral relations between the two countries, impacting trade and border security.
To determine whether a group should be designated as an FTO, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism looks at its past activities and whether it is planning or has the capability to carry out future acts that threaten the security and national interest of the U.S.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was quick to reject Trump’s idea, decrying it as “interventionism.” He said Mexico would take up the issue after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and his foreign minister would lead talks with his U.S. counterparts.
Sarukhan says Trump’s recent revival of the FTO idea seems to be a response to calls among conservatives and right wing groups to take action in the wake of the violent murder of nine members of an American Mormon family living in northern Mexico at the beginning of November
The designation has practical and symbolic power. It is illegal to provide an FTO with material support and resources, and members of such groups are barred from entering the United States.

8 November
Mexican cop involved in botched operation against ‘El Chapo’s’ son gunned down in hail of 155 bullets
(Fox news) Cristobal Castañeda Camarillo, the Secretary of Public Safety in Sinaloa, said that Eduardo N., was not directly involved in the botched arrest attempt of Guzman Lopez on Oct. 17, but that he was part of the wider antidrug security unit patrolling the region, according to El Heraldo de Mexico.
Guzman Lopez, who is wanted by U.S. authorities on drug trafficking allegations, was briefly captured by police in a house in Culiacan. But cartel gunmen ambushed the police convoy and burned road barricades in the area while Lopez was in custody. He was released and police retreated following the intense fighting. At least eight people were killed and more than 20 wounded.
The latest targeted attack came on the same day Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador again defended the officers’ retreat and subsequent release of Guzman Lopez, reiterating his belief that cartel violence cannot be fought with more violence.
Obrador’s so-called “hugs, not bullets” when dealing with the cartels has come under increasing scrutiny this week following the deaths of nine Americans – three adult women and six children – who were gunned down in Sonora state.
Since Obrador took office in December, Mexico has been on track to record more than 32,000 murders this year. In the last month alone, the country has been plagued by at least three deadly high-profile attacks – including Monday’s – at the hands of cartel members.

6 November
Killed American family may have been ‘bait’ in Mexican cartel fight: relatives
(Reuters) – The nine American women and children killed in northern Mexico were victims of a territorial dispute between an arm of the Sinaloa Cartel and a rival gang, officials said on Wednesday, and may have been used to lure one side into a firefight.
The Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels have for years been at odds over lucrative routes in the border region used to move cocaine, heroin and other narcotics into the United States. Mexico has long requested that Washington do more to control demand for drugs. Mexico has unleashed its military against cartels since 2006 but despite the arrests or killings of leading traffickers, the campaign has failed to reduce violence. In fact, it has led to more killings as criminal groups fight among themselves.

18 October
Mexico president defends release of El Chapo’s son in shootout with cartel
Government surrenders to the Sinaloa drug cartel, cedes control of state capital

8 June
Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal
By Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman
(NYT) The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.
Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.
The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was first reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas.
Mr. Trump hailed the agreement anyway on Saturday, writing on Twitter: “Everyone very excited about the new deal with Mexico!” He thanked the president of Mexico for “working so long and hard” on a plan to reduce the surge of migration into the United States.
It was unclear whether Mr. Trump believed that the agreement truly represented new and broader concessions, or whether the president understood the limits of the deal but accepted it as a face-saving way to escape from the political and economic consequences of imposing tariffs on Mexico.
Trump’s Mexico deal is victory for ‘hostage-taking’, ex-WTO head says
Pascal Lamy said Trump’s actions went against the spirit of diplomacy after Mexico agreed to expand asylum program
(The Guardian) The immigration deal imposed on Mexico by Donald Trump under the threat of punitive tariffs is a victory for “hostage-taking” over international rules, a former head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Saturday.
Late on Friday, the US and Mexico struck an accord to avert a tariff war when Mexico agreed to expand a contentious asylum program and deploy security forces to stem the flow of migrants from Central America.
Mexico made the concessions after Trump threatened to slap escalating tariffs of 5% on all Mexican goods from Monday if Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, did not do more to tighten his country’s borders.
“My reaction is it seems that hostage-taking works,” Pascal Lamy, a former director-general of the WTO, told Reuters, saying Trump’s actions went against the spirit of diplomacy.

7 June
Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on Mexico
(NYT) President Trump backed off his plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods and announced via Twitter on Friday night that the United States had reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. Mr. Trump tweeted the announcement only hours after returning from Europe and following several days of intense and sometimes difficult negotiations between American and Mexican officials in Washington.
The president’s threat that he would impose potentially crippling tariffs on the United States’ largest trading partner and one of its closest allies brought both countries to the brink of an economic and diplomatic crisis — only to be yanked back from the precipice nine days later. The threat had rattled companies across North America, including automakers and agricultural firms, which have built supply chains across Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Businesses had warned that the tariffs would increase costs for American consumers, who import everything from cucumbers to refrigerators from Mexico, and prompt retaliation from the Mexican government in the form of new trade barriers that would damage the United States economy.
But the trade war ended before it began, forestalling that economic reckoning and an intraparty war that Mr. Trump had created by threatening tariffs to leverage the immigration changes he demanded. That tactic had drawn stiff protests from Republicans, including many senators, who have long opposed tariffs and worried the measure would hurt American companies and consumers.
In an unusual show of force against their own party’s president, Republican senators had threatened to try to block the tariffs if Mr. Trump moved ahead with them, and had demanded a face-to-face meeting with the president before any action.

5 June
Kenneth Rogoff: As Populists Rise, Latin America’s Economies Will Fall
In the space of a year, populists with autocratic tendencies have taken office in Mexico and Brazil, and laid the groundwork to return to power in Argentina. With the three largest economies in Latin America destined for further mismanagement, the prospects for growth in the region are dim
(Project Syndicate) Populist autocrats have enjoyed a breathtaking rise to power in countries around the world, and nowhere is the trend more pronounced than in Latin America following the elections of Mexico’s leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), and Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro.
AMLO, like the charismatic Chávez two decades ago, was swept into office last year on the promise that he would improve the lives of ordinary people. One of his first official acts was to abort construction of a desperately needed new airport in Mexico City – even though the project was already 30% complete – on the grounds that airlines are for the rich. He then launched a new airport project in an impractical, mountainous location farther away, where it stands even less chance of being finished.Though AMLO campaigned on a promise to end corruption, his government has eschewed competitive bidding for more than 70% of the contracts it has awarded. Like Trump, he dismisses media critics as “fake news,” and warns reporters to “behave well,” or “you know what will happen to you.” Still, global investors are encouraged by the fact that AMLO has left the central bank alone, at least so far.

5 May
We get Cinco de Mayo wrong. But we’re not wrong to celebrate it.
The event commemorated on this holiday was a triumph of Mexican spirit and courage. For us, though, it just might have saved our nation.
When the future of the United States was threatened by the secession of 11 Southern states in 1860-1861, Confederate strategists looked for help in two directions. One was Europe; the other was Mexico. Europe’s textile mills ran on Southern cotton. By cutting off the supply with an embargo, the rebels hoped to force France and Britain to recognize Southern independence. Mexico, meanwhile, was a potential ally — or maybe even a future member of the new Confederacy.
As 1861 came to an end, only the French remained, camped on the Gulf Coast. French Emperor Napoleon III , nephew of the famous general, rued his uncle’s decision to sell French holdings in North America to Thomas Jefferson more than 50 years earlier. He decided to topple the Mexican government and reestablish Parisian power in the Americas.
So in the spring of 1862, the French began marching toward Mexico City, with the Confederate rebels cheering them on. After conquering Mexico, the French would be perfectly positioned to ally with the South and tip the balance of the Civil War.
Had a triumphant French army been raising the flag in Mexico City that summer, it might have made all the difference. The wavering Napoleon might have been emboldened to recognize the Confederacy, pulling the British along with him. Instead, the French army was licking its wounds, mangled by a smaller force of Mexican irregulars, and the emperor was momentarily chastened. Though France managed to topple the Mexican government the following year, its brief reign there came too late to help the South. The North had regained its momentum, and Lincoln was on his way to saving the Union.
Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate what-ifs that never transpired. What if Europe had taken the side of the South? What if the United States had shattered? What if there had been no superpower to defend democracy in the 20th century, only rival nations with incompatible goals vying for the real estate we call the United States? What if the men at Puebla had not saved America?

4 April
Trump Retreats on Threat to Close Mexican Border, Offering a ‘One-Year Warning’
(NYT) President Trump said on Thursday that he planned to give Mexico a “one-year warning” before closing the southern border, retreating on a threat he made last week that he would close the border in the coming days if Mexico did not halt all illegal immigration.
“The only thing, frankly, better and less drastic than closing the border is tariff the cars coming in, and I will do it,” Mr. Trump said, speaking to reporters after a meeting with the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “I don’t play games.”
He added: “If the drugs don’t stop, or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars — the whole ballgame is cars. And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border.”

16 March
El Norte review: an epic and timely history of Hispanic North America
Carrie Gibson has written an exhaustive corrective to historians who seek to whitewash a story of settlement and conflict
Gibson’s narrative begins much earlier, when the Spanish began their forays into the New World. The author reminds us that the indigenous urban culture of what is now Mexico was much more advanced than anything the conquistadors left behind in Europe.
Tenochtitlan (on the site of Mexico City) had a population of 150,000, “far larger than any European city”. Hernán Cortés arrived there in 1519 and reported to the crown he could “not describe one-hundredth of all the things which could be mentioned”, including a market where “more than 60,000 people come each day to buy and sell, and where every kind of merchandise … is found: provisions as well as … ornaments of gold and silver, lead, brass, copper, tin stones, shells bones and feathers”. When he met Emperor Moctezuma, Cortés was taken to a “vast compound of palaces, apartments, libraries, warehouses, and even a zoo”.
With the typical solicitude of the invader, Cortés soon kidnapped Moctezuma. But he was forced to retreat in 1520, after a battle that killed 400 Spaniards and thousands of Tlaxcala soldiers. A year later, Cortés returned. A plague in the Valley of Mexico would eventually kill millions. The capital fell.
Gibson paints an extremely broad canvas over eight centuries, from early Spanish colonies in Florida and the founding of Louisiana to the battle between the US and Mexico over Texas and Hispanic settlements in California. She reminds us of the immense diversity of Native American culture before the arrival of all Europeans. There were probably 300,000 Native Americans in Alta California before the Spanish arrived, and they spoke “roughly 90 languages under the umbrella of seven broader linguistic families”.

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