Two consecutive days of shooting attacks that left a total of nine dead have put two of the jewels of Mexico’s Caribbean coast on edge and spurred a warning to tourists by the U.S. government.
As investigators worked Tuesday at the scene of a shooting the previous day that caused five deaths in the nearby beach town of Playa del Carmen, the region was stunned when gunmen assaulted the Quintana Roo state prosecutors’ offices in Cancun, and four people were killed.
Authorities attributed both incidents to organized crime, but made no comment on whether they might be linked.
The governor pleaded for calm, saying the federal government was sending more security forces to help local and state authorities. “Cancun residents and our visitors can go about their lives,” he said in a televised address.
Reuters – The United States, Mexico and Cuba aim to sign an agreement determining territorial water limits before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, three diplomatic officials familiar with the matter said.
CNNMoney – Just one day after Donald Trump was elected president, the U.S. company that distributes Corona took a 7% dive in the stock market — and it hasn’t recovered. The post-election slump is largely driven by fears that Trump’s aggressive stance towards Mexico will ricochet against Constellation’s portfolio of Mexican beer brands Corona, Modelo and Pacifico.
San Diego Union-Tribune – Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday it will start flying to Los Cabos from San Diego in April, marking the airline’s first nonstop service between Lindbergh Field and Mexico.
Reuters – Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s cell-phone company, America Movil, said it would launch a television channel in the United States targeting Mexican audiences later this year, putting it into competition with broadcasters like Univision and Telemundo. Named Nuestra Vision, the channel will be offered by the America Movil unit Publicidad y Contenido Editorial.
Reuters – Mexico’s state oil company Pemex began receiving imported fuel by train at a new privately run terminal for the first time in January as companies expand storage and transportation operations under the country’s energy opening, a senior executive said in an interview.
Reuters – Mexico said it will offer holders of undeclared capital abroad tax incentives to bring it home in a bid to lure some $10 billion in investment and steel itself against potential shocks from the incoming Trump administration. The government said it will offer an 8 percent repatriation tax on those funds returning to Mexico in six months, provided they go into investments including fixed assets and property for at least two years.
TeleSur – Isidro Baldenegro Lopez, an Indigenous environmental activist who fought against deforestation in Mexico, was assassinated last weekend. Baldenegro, the 2005 recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for North America, was found dead outside a relative’s house in Chihuahua. Witnesses claim the murder suspects are linked with known assassins of other Indigenous environmental activists in the region.
LAT – Spanish-language media giants Univision Communications and Grupo Televisa of Mexico are combining their programming units, a move that underscores the increasingly close collaboration between the two companies — and the magnitude of their ratings challenges.
ESPN – The truth is that the NBA has been playing games for 25 years in Mexico. So it’s apparent that growing the game for the fans remains at the forefront of the NBA’s goals. But where managing director for NBA Mexico Raul Zarraga’s excitement escalates is from the movement afoot locally to develop Mexican players for the international stage and potentially the NBA.
Mexico said on Wednesday it would throw its relationship with the United States wide open in talks with the incoming Trump administration, putting security, migration and trade on the table as it seeks to avoid a major economic shock.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to tear up a trade agreement that underpins Mexico’s export model if he cannot renegotiate its terms in his favor, battering the peso currency and fueling uncertainty over foreign investment.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said Mexico would take a broad approach to the challenge, seeking a settlement that would benefit both Mexico and the United States as he looks to carve out a platform that gives him room for maneuver in talks.
“All the issues that define our bilateral relationship are on the table, including security, migration and trade,” Pena Nieto said in a speech to diplomats in Mexico City, sketching out his negotiating position for the first time.
Reuters reported last month that Mexico’s government aimed to use security and migration to gain leverage over the United States in its talks with Trump, and could offer to reinforce its borders to get a better deal on trade.
Pena Nieto said Mexico would invest in a more secure border, but repeated his posture that it would not pay for the border wall Trump plans to build.
Financial Times – The price of tortillas, Mexico’s staple food, flummoxed Enrique Peña Nieto when he was asked by an interviewer in the run-up to the 2012 elections and did not know. Now the president’s most pressing task is to make sure the cost of tortillas and other basic goods does not go through the roof.
AS-COA – The booming auto sector makes Mexico the seventh-largest car producer in the world and the top one in Latin America. It’s also the world’s fourth-biggest vehicle exporter, as well as the sixth-largest largest auto parts producer, making $85 billion worth in 2015. All in all, the auto industry accounts for about 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP.
WSJ – Global investors are fleeing Mexico’s financial markets, sending the peso to record lows on mounting concerns that Donald Trump’s trade policy could end the country’s privileged status among developing countries.
Reuters – Mexico’s December annual inflation rose at the fastest pace in two years boosting chances the central bank will raise interest rates again at a time when prices are expected to be further fanned by a hike in fuel costs.
Reuters -Welcome to San Luis Potosi, home to the Ford plant that never was. What workers remain are now charged with taking apart the plant and packing up. Contractor Fernando Rosales says everything changed when Ford decided to scrap its plans for a $1.6 billion car plant.
Bloomberg – Ford Motor Co. is working on a plan to compensate parts makers that were preparing to supply the plant the company canceled last week and will return the land to the government of Mexico, an executive said.
By Kirk Semple and Elisabeth Malkin / New York Times
Amid nationwide marches, highway and border crossing blockades and looting stemming from widespread outrage over an increase in gas prices, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico went on national television to appeal for understanding.
With international oil prices rising and Mexico dependent on gasoline imports, he argued in the speech on Thursday, the government had no alternative but to raise prices at the pump. “Here I ask you,” he said, gesturing at the camera, “what would you have done?”
It did not take long for him to get an answer, as social media erupted with suggestions and disgust.
Combat corruption and impunity. Eliminate gasoline vouchers for elected officials. Collect more taxes from multinational corporations. Cut the salaries and benefits of high-level government officials. Sell the presidential plane. Reduce the first lady’s wardrobe spending. Resign.
It was a tough week for the president, who seems to be trapped in a slow, downward spiral of unpopularity, with two more years left in his term and Mexico reeling from myriad problems including rampant corruption, resurgent homicide rates, a thriving drug trafficking industry, a sluggish economy and a plummeting peso.
LAT – Mexican authorities have arrested a man suspected of shooting a U.S. official in the western state of Guadalajara. The suspect, Zafar Zia, 31, is a U.S. citizen. Mexican and U.S. State Department officials have not said why Zia was in the country or why he may have targeted Christopher Ashcraft, a State Department employee who worked out of the American Consulate in Guadalajara.