In low-growth Mexico, poverty rises – but few are extremely poor

Children stay in front of their home in El Magueyito, Guerrero, this month. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)
Children stay in front of their home in El Magueyito, Guerrero, this month. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

By Anthony Harrup / Wall Street Journal

Mexico’s government lost the battle of the headlines when a state agency reported that the number of poor people in the country increased by two million between 2012 and 2014, even though some measures of economic adversity eased.

While economists saw low economic growth and lagging wages behind the increase in the number of poor, critics attributed the results to a failure in government programs aimed at tackling one of the country’s biggest problems, where the top 10 percent of the population enjoys 35 percent of the income and the bottom 10 percent just 1.9 percent.

Coneval, the government agency that evaluates the performance of social development policies, said last week there were 55.3 million poor people in 2014, two million more than in 2012. The ranks of the poor amounted to 46.2 percent of the population, up from 45.5 percent two years before.

While income fell, deficiencies in education, health, social security and housing were down last year from 2012, although insufficiency rose in access to nutrition – such as people having to switch to cheaper foods, or in extreme cases miss meals.

“In Mexico poverty affects those who work. It’s not just the unemployed that fall into poverty, as happens in developed countries. In our country, income from labor is insufficient to be above the poverty line,” said the nongovernment organization Acción Cuidadana Frente a la Pobreza, or Citizen Action Against Poverty.

“Mexico isn’t poor, but most of its population is, and this needs to change,” he said.

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Mexico sacks coach Miguel Herrera after he allegedly punched a journalist

TV Azteca's Christian Martinoli, who has been one of Herrera's strongest critics, said the Mexico coach hit him in the neck with his fist before being separated by fellow commentator and former Mexico player Luis Garcia.
TV Azteca’s Christian Martinoli, who has been one of Herrera’s strongest critics, said the Mexico coach hit him in the neck with his fist before being separated by fellow commentator and former Mexico player Luis Garcia.


The Mexico Football Federation voted on Tuesday to sack coach Miguel Herrera following an alleged incident that took place at Philadelphia International Airport.

The move comes just two days after Mexico won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the nation’s first major title since 2011.

Incoming federation president Decio de Maria explained the decision at a lengthy news conference.

“After listening to all my colleagues who are part of this federation, and reasoning I have made the decision to take Miguel Herrera out of the national team,” De Maria said. “It is not a simple decision, but it is the correct one.”

Mexican television commentator Christian Martinoli on Monday accused Herrera of assaulting him in the TSA line at the airport, despite denials from airport officials that any such incident was captured on security cameras.

Soccer coach Miguel Herrera denies punching journalist after Gold Cup win

Azteca issued a statement calling for "a prompt and urgent investigation" of the incident.
Azteca issued a statement calling for “a prompt and urgent investigation” of the incident.

Sky Sports

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera denied punching a journalist at Philadelphia airport, one day after Mexico clinched the Gold Cup with a 3-1 win over Jamaica.

Christian Martinoli of TV Azteca told AS Mexico that he ran into the Mexico team after clearing security at the airport.

Martinoli, who had been critical of Herrera during Mexico’s run to a seventh title in the biennial North American football championship, said the coach punched him in the neck after threatening him in the security line.

“He threatened me, he challenged me to fight and he told me ‘this is how it is going to be every time I see you,'” Martinoli said.

Herrera, however, denied striking Martinoli, admitting only to pushing him.

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