Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Peña Nieto’

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Monday, August 17th, 2015

León Krauze reports on Mexico’s Telenovela First Lady
Angélica Rivera may have dazzled on the TV screen, but her shady relationship with a government contractor has wreaked havoc on her husband’s presidency.

The disappearance and apparent brutal slaying of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero State started the downward slide. The government’s clumsy response, including the president’s reluctance to handle the issue personally, made things much worse. 

A couple of months later, Peña Nieto’s image was damaged even further by the publication of a blockbuster investigation into a luxurious residence owned by Mexico’s first lady, the actress Angélica Rivera. Known as the “Casa Blanca”—the White House— for its imposing white walls and interiors, it was built and financed by one of Peña Nieto’s favored government contractors, and it had a $7 million price tag, which is an excessive figure even for Mexico City’s swankiest neighborhoods.

Read the whole thing, and watch León’s report,
A year ago I asked @EPN [Enrique Peña Nieto] if he would commit to ensuring that #ElChapo would not escape again. ‘It’d be unforgivable.’


There’s no Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean this week due to server issues.

Mexico: Oh look, they did tape El Chapo’s exit

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

As you may recall, two days ago Mexican authorities said there were no cameras in El Chapo’s shower. The implication was that there was no video of his exiting the cell.

Oh look, they did tape El Chapo’s exit:

This ain’t exactly Shawshank Redemption

When prisoners manage to tunnel out of their confinement, their tunnels are rudimentary, dangerous, and short. This tunnel resembles those that cross the US-Mexico border, or those in Gaza leading into southern Israel. It’s clear that a number of people tunneled in to get Guzman out, and those people spent a lot of money to do so. Guzman wasn’t going to be able to install electricity and ventilation, after all.

Indeed, the LA Times calls the tunnel “a minor engineering masterpiece“.

Another corrido names him King of the Tunnel,

El gobierno mexicano
muy fácil es de comprarlo
[It’s very easy to buy off the Mexican government]

Speaking of which, Drug Kingpin’s Escape Sets Back Mexican Leader
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s jail break caps a run of bad news for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

The Mexican government set a $3.8million reward on El Chapo’s capture. What was the old saying, closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

The unsubsidized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.

Contraband Economy Booming on the Argentina-Bolivia Border
High Inflation, Tariffs Fuel Thriving Black Market

The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets

Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.

Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:

“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.

Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%

Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.

Chile’s Bachelet Hits New Low Approval Rating

Colombian army killed civilians to fake battlefield success, rights group saysA new report on “false-positive” killings looks into one of the darkest episodes of the country’s civil war.

FARC rebels kill four and rupture Colombian pipeline

Cardinal SinsA Castro cleric brings disgrace.

Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a price
What Tania Bruguera’s ordeal in Cuba says about the state of artistic expression “within the Revolution.”

Top Intelligence-Defense Lawmakers Introduce Cuban Military Transparency Act

Double surprise! Cruz and Rubio are “non-whites”!

State Dept: No Change in Iran, Cuba Human Rights, Despite Obama Overtures

Galápagos Residents Decry Fiscal Milking of World Heritage SiteIsland Representative Resigns, Parts Ways with Correa over “Unconstitutional” Law

Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.

A Haitian border town struggles with new rules in the Dominican RepublicThe Dominican’s new rules have Haitians nervously heading back to a homeland with fewer jobs.

Thousands march in Honduras to demand resignation of president

Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

PM: Jamaica’s Economic, Industrial Climate In ‘Delicate Situation’

Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.

Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.


Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.

Odebrecht Wins Contract to Renovate Panamanian City of Colon

Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’

Peru’s support for Bolivian sea access claim creates tensions with Chile
Chilean President Bachelet cancels next week’s meeting with Peruvian leader Humala

The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.

‘Gourmet cannabis’: Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

MUD, the Sausage Fest

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Bloody Friday: France, Tunisia, Kuwait terror attacks UPDATED
Morgenthau on the Iran-terror connection

Ecuador: Demonstrations against Correa

SCOTUS upholds Obamacare subsidies

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

The other flag controversy: US Embassy in London flies the rainbow flag

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Mexico: EL GRAN HERMANO del cartel TE VIGILA

Venezuela: Next stop on the Obama administration’s “normalizing” with dictators?

Podcast: The flag controversy plus US-Latin America stories of the week

Mexico: What happened to the 43 students?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015


As readers of this blog may recall, 43 student teachers disappeared four months ago in Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Now Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam says there is “legal certainty” they were murdered – raising even more questions, but Mexico’s president says it’s time to move on.

Read my article here.

The trip to China Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 12th, 2015

LatinAmerLast week Nicolas Maduro and a few others visited China in search of funds. How did that work out?

Ha! You Thought Argentina Would Negotiate

What the New Value Added Tax Means for Visitors to the Bahamas

Robert Downey Jr. helped out, too: A Devoted Sean Penn Helps US Man Recover From Bolivia Ordeal

Ostreicher, who is an Orthodox Jew, had the attention of the Aleph Institute, a foundation that helps incarcerated Jews. The Florida-based group asked Wahlberg to reach out to Penn, who is widely known for his Haiti relief efforts and closeness to leftist Latin American leaders.

Penn became convinced Ostreicher had been unjustly imprisoned since mid-2011 so corrupt authorities could drain the assets of the $25 million rice-farming operation in which he was a minor investor. Though he was accused of money-laundering, no evidence was ever presented.

Penn was self-effacing when asked about his odd-couple friendship with Ostreicher and why he decided to help. “What can I say? He was likable,”

When Penn asked Bolivian President Evo Morales to intercede, Penn got a tepid response.

So he exposed the extortion ring, sparking a scandal that eventually would see 14 Bolivian officials jailed ? the ring’s No. 2 figure entered a guilty plea last week ? while others fled the country.

Penn then got Ostreicher moved to a medical clinic. The New Yorker had withered to 107 pounds from a liquids-only hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. Penn leveraged his Venezuelan connections ? he was close to the late President Hugo Chavez ? to get armed Venezuelan security guards assigned to protect him, fearing he’d be targeted for exposing the extortion ring.

Even though he had endured more than 30 court hearings, Ostreicher continued to insist he wanted to clear his name in Bolivia.

Penn told him to let it go.

Ostreicher should have listened to Penn.

Brazil’s Inflation Rises Even Amid Low Growth
Inflationary Pressures, Sluggish Growth Create Challenger for New Economic Team

Robbers set off explosion in Chile subway station heist
The Franklin metro station in Santiago was filled with smoke after thieves blew up two ATMs Wednesday night,
the Santiago Fire Department said. Authorities have not yet said if there were any injuries.
This sort of thing keeps happening.

Colombia Passes Law for Referendum on Peace Agreement Along with Elections

Cuba dissidents says 36 activists freed as part of deal with US
Opposition activists are freed following Cuban and US governments agreeing to renew diplomatic relations in December

Dominican Republic Won’t Recognize Gay Union at British Embassy

Ecuador Debt: Vulnerable To Oil, But Safe W/China Loan Vs. Argentina, Venezuela. Maybe.


Hillary’s Half-Baked Haiti Project
Caracol Industrial Park is failing to deliver on the promises made to foreign investors and Haitians.

Successful industrial parks are built by people who know the business and who demand accountability. This park was put in the hands of State, the IDB and Bill Clinton. The results have been predictable

Kidnapped Honduras Aids activist Keren Dunaway freed

‘Blame the Government of Jamaica’

Terapia intensiva:

Edgar Borja en la UdQ:

Carso Energy Slim-Owned Company Gets Share of Contract for Texas Gas Pipeline

Human-Rights Failings Overshadow Peña Nieto’s US Visit
Pressure Mounts to Resolve Iguala Disappearances, End Impunity

Mexican President Offers Obama Help With Executive Amnesty

Obama Outsources Leader-Of-The-Free-World Job To Mexico

Springfield firefighters in Nicaragua to help build homes

The Expansion Of The Panama Canal Will Have A Huge Effect On Global Trade

Paraguayan rebel leader Albino Jara ‘killed’

Peru’s Fujimori Gets Eight Years for Tabloid Bribe
Cash for Coverage Conviction Joins Upheld Corruption Charges

Puerto Rico begins school semester with complaints of teacher shortage

Fake bomb prompted evacuation of Israeli embassy in Montevideo

No fries for you! Out of French Fries in Venezuela, McDonald’s Turns to Yuca

Ángel Vivas: Venezuela Must Resist the Cuban Invasion
Former General Will Defend His Homeland Through Any Means

Venezuela food shortages: ‘No one can explain why a rich country has no food’
Toilet paper, rice and coffee have long been missing from stores, as Venezuelan president blames CIA plot for chronic shortages
. Idiot.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Spoof?

And now, a post on eyeglass frames

France: Hostage situation

Charlie Hebdo’s next: 1,000,000 copies

Venezuela: Maduro does/doesn’t get $20billion UPDATED

France: Massacre on #CharlieHebdo

Venezuela: Maduro wants a Puerto Rican out jail

Argentina, Venezuela, chickens coming home to roost

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba: Is Fidel dead yet?

The Charlie Hebdo massacre

Cuba & US-Latin America topics

Mexico’s failures and immigration

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Monica Showalter writes an IBD editorial on how Mexico’s President Celebrates Obama Amnesty, But Should Be Ashamed
About That Gloating From Mexico
(emphasis added)

With the vast majority of America’s 11 million illegal Mexican citizens — who flee their country’s corruption, poverty, low growth, rampant crony capitalism and embedded socialism — protesting over the past decade against getting sent back there, Pena Nieto ought to be embarrassed to show his face in public.
Fact is, the Obama amnesty highlights the awful failure of Mexico as an economic entity that can’t even create an acceptable place to live for a large number of its citizens.

Two-thirds of the eligible beneficiaries of the Obama amnesty — 3.2 million people — are Mexican nationals who will benefit from the presidential decree, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

They’re the longest-term residents, and nothing they’ve seen in Mexico over the decades has enticed them to return.


Mexico, according to the State Department’s country page, experienced average GDP growth of just 1.9% from 1960 to 2011. Income per capita in the same period has risen an average of even less, at 1.8%.

By contrast, Mexico’s labor force has grown an average of 2.2% since 1998 and more than that in the longer run. An average of 54,000 jobs have been created in each of the past five years, while its labor force has grown by about 224,000 a year over the same time, according to CIA World Fact Book and World Bank data.

What’s more, productivity gains have been low, with none lower than in those states that ship the most illegals — Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guerrero, Durango, Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to OECD data.

Unable to employ anywhere near the number who need jobs, it’s no surprise that 58.8% of Mexicans are underemployed or in informal off-the-book employment in the struggle to survive. Faced with that struggle, millions just head north to America.

And by the way, that figure includes 15.47% of all Mexico’s college graduates, according to a study in the Journal of Inter American Studies. (The U.S. figure, by contrast, is 0.45%.)

Tangled tax laws, overregulation, corruption and an unstable currency have all had their hand in the substandard growth that has not kept up with population.

Add to that the ruinous criminality, which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

But perhaps Peña Nieto is right to gloat: the U.S. government has done what he wanted, to provide – for the foreseeable future – an escape valve for internal pressures that would otherwise require him to act on.

Mexico: No rule of law

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Teacher protesting the #Ayotzinapa disappearance of the 43 student teachers. His shirt reads “I AM A TEACHER. I defend education. I defend my people. I defend my country.”

Mary O’Grady looks at Mexico’s Rule of Law Crisis
The fate of 43 missing university students and corruption allegations test President Peña Nieto’s pledge to transform the country.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

That would be a first in Mexico’s history, a country that sees, as O’Grady puts it, “the traditional use of the criminal-justice system as a profit center for the state.”

Mexico: And now, for #Articulo39RenunciaEPN

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The latest hashtag, #Articulo39RenunciaEPN (say that fast three times!) refers to a corruption scandal, and twitterers are asking that president Enrique Peña Nieto resign,
Mexico Leader’s Woes Follow Him to China
Revelations that a mansion used by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s family was held by a Mexican company whose owner has won big government contracts reverberated from Mexico to China on Monday.
(emphasis added)

The president’s office defended the home by saying it wasn’t the president’s property, but rather the first lady’s, who was paying the home in installments. It declined to give more information.
. . .
As the president flew to China for trade talks he faced controversy there as well.

A Chinese partner of the Mexican company, Grupo Higa SA, threatened to pursue legal action against Mexico’s government after it abruptly canceled their consortium’s $3.7 billion contract to build a bullet train in Mexico last week.

“The company is extraordinarily shocked by Mexico’s decision,” state-run China Railway Construction Corp. said in a statement late Sunday. “The bidding for the high-speed rail project complied with the requirements of the Mexican government.”

The Mexican government canceled the concession for the high-speed train project Thursday, days before news broke that one of the partners on the project held the title to the first lady’s home.

The house title

The house title is in the name of a company called Ingenieria Inmobiliaria del Centro, according to property records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. That firm is owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú, the owner of Grupo Higa SA and its unit Constructores Teya, which won part of the bullet-train contract as well as several big contracts during Mr. Peña Nieto’s 2006-2012 term as governor of the State of Mexico, according to public information.

Eduardo Sánchez, a spokesman for the president, told The Wall Street Journal that the home in question, which has six bedrooms and is in one of Mexico City’s most exclusive neighborhoods, belongs to the first lady, Angélica Rivera, a former soap-opera star.

Which gives new meaning to the term “drama queen.”

Pardon my cynicism, but I’m having a Capt. Louis Renault moment,

There’s a candle vigil/demonstration scheduled for tonight at 7PM,

Could Mexico become the next Russia?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

In Russia, Putin is king. Paul Roderick Gregory writes that Putin’s Reaction To Sanctions Is Destroying The Economy And China Won’t Help

Things are not going well for Vladimir Putin. The price of oil and the ruble continue to fall. Top Russian officials admit that the economy is in big trouble, despite Putin’s denials. Likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has declared that Putin must be contained. Putin’s counter sanctions are making things worse. The most ominous sign, however, is that Putin is weakening the foundations on which his power is based. He is cutting off foreign investment by bailing out his friends, and he is breaking the social compact on which his KGB-Mafia state is founded.
. . .
Putin’s kleptocracy is based on the following principles of (mis)governance: 1) The state determines what is legal and what is not; there is no rule of law. 2) The state serves the interests of Putin and his inner circle, not of the people. 3) Putin’s kleptocracy uses its media monopoly to brainwash the people with Goebbels-like big lies. 4) Putin determines property rights – who owns what. 5) Disloyalty will be punished by confiscation of property, banishment, prison, or worse. Loyalists can rest easy, however. Their property is safe, or at least says their friend, Vladimir Putin.

Leon Krauze sees Russia as a cautionary tale for Mexico, and asks that Mexico’s President Must Not Ignore This Mass Grave of College Kids—or the Corruption It Represents. The mass grave refers to the 43 students missing since September 26

And then you have Guerrero, current epicenter of Mexico’s nightmare. For a while now, rival gangs have been fighting for control of the state. The result has been the usual parade of horrors: cities besieged (including Acapulco), governments infiltrated, journalists threatened, police corrupted. And death. And vengeance. The latest rearing of the beast’s head produced an atrocity: 43 college students were abducted by local policemen, reportedly under the order of both the police chief and the mayor of Iguala, a man allegedly in cahoots with organized crime (both are on the run). The whereabouts of the kidnapped students remain unknown, but authorities recently found a crude open grave filled with 28 severely burnt bodies. Some showed signs of torture. Forensics are still trying to figure out if the bodies are those of the kidnapped students. Relatives fear the worst.

Krauze points out,

Instead of trying to will reality into submission, the government should tackle Mexico’s biggest problem: corruption. Despite Peña Nieto’s penchant for structural change, his administration has failed to put in place even the most modest reform to fight the country’s deep-rooted corruption.

Updating the story yesterday, Mexico’s attorney general said that none of the 28 bodies found in a mass grave in Iguala belongs to the 43 missing students. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that nine mass graves exist in Iguala, or that none of the students’ remains have been found.

Iguala’s mayor Jose Luis Abarca (now missing, along with his wife and the town police chief), had numerous and serious complaints of corruption filed against him, which federal authorities ignored.

The thing is, Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) was based, and ruled Mexico for over 70 years with impunity, on a culture built on widespread tolerance of corruption, which Krauze calls a “gigantic structure of perverse political convenience.” About the only thing preventing Mexico from a Putin-type of president was that the PRI insisted on changing presidents every six years.

When Krauze asked Peña Nieto (emphasis added)

how Peña Nieto planned to prevent Mexico from turning into Russia, especially now that billions of dollars will be in play due to the recent opening of the country’s energy sector to private investors. Peña Nieto shrugged off my concern. Corruption in Mexico “is a cultural matter,” he said, not realizing the implications of the sentence.

Until and unless Mexico tackles corruption, the country is not going to flourish, no matter what other changes the president du jour may attempt.

[Post edited for clarity]

Today’s illegal alien invasion headlines

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

From Drudge:

375,000 pending immigration cases, Obama lawyers AWOL…

SHOCK POLL: One-third of Mexicans would come to USA…

DOJ quietly opens new asylum gate for Guatemalans…

More Dead Bodies Found in TX…

JINDAL: Feds. Dumped ‘Over a Thousand’ Illegals on My State… 

PAPER: Obama immigration decision could roil ’14 election…


Latin Post:
Immigration and Deportation Update: Mexican Authorities Deported More Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors than US