Lucrative deals flow to contractor tied to President Pena Nieto

A girl walks on land cleared for a contested highway project for a new Mexico City airport. (Adriana Zehbrauskas / New York Times)
A girl walks on land cleared for a contested highway project for a new Mexico City airport. (Adriana Zehbrauskas / New York Times)

By Paulina Villegas and Frances Robles / New York Times

Armando García has filed lawsuits, joined protests and gotten arrested trying to stop a highway from slicing through his hilly backyard in a nature reserve at San Franciso Xochicuautla.

But even with a court order on his side, bright green pines have been stripped away and tree stumps dot the hillside. Parts of protected forest have been slashed, exposing the path of a 20-mile highway to the new airport in Mexico City that is demolishing swaths of García’s indigenous community in its wake.

García and his neighbors say they never really stood a chance. After all, they are not battling ordinary construction crews. They are taking on a businessman so well connected that Mexicans have long called him the president’s “favorite contractor.”

After years of demonstrations and court battles, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed an executive order this month expropriating 91 acres of what many here consider sacred land. And is it any wonder he did, residents argue. The same contractor carving through their land has held the title to the president’s family mansion, provided a house to the finance minister for zero profit and does billions of dollars in deals with the government.

“We knew the president’s political grip in this state goes back for years and years,” García said. “We just didn’t know it would end up affecting us directly, so badly.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/world/americas/mexican-presidents-ties-to-contractor-raise-questions.html

Judge approves “El Chapo” extradition to U.S. – if caught

AFP – A Mexican judge has issued an order to extradite fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States — if he is recaptured after his jailbreak. Attorney General Arely Gomez said the US government had formally requested Guzman’s extradition on June 25, some two weeks before his escape, and that prosecutors had been analyzing the petition.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-extradition-order-issued-fugitive-mexico-kingpin-213250864.html

Mexico City bans restraints, cages for children

ABC – A Mexico City official said the city would ban the use of restraints and cages on children under its care and work to get many into homes, after a Disability Rights International and ABC News joint investigation uncovered youth, some with disabilities, living in deplorable conditions in government-funded facilities.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/mexico-city-bans-cages-restraints-facilities-people-disabilities/story?id=32788432

Bank of Mexico is betting $8.6 billion on ending peso’s plunge

Bloomberg – Mexico is taking unconventional steps to shore up the peso after painting itself into a corner with record low interest rates and signals it will hold them there until the Federal Reserve makes a move. The Bank of Mexico said Thursday that it will spend at least $8.6 billion in the next two months to prop up the currency, which has plunged to a record low amid an emerging-markets selloff.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-31/bank-of-mexico-is-betting-8-6-billion-on-ending-peso-s-plunge

Fitch affirms Mexico at “BBB+”; outlook stable

Business Wire – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Mexico’s long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at ‘BBB+’ and ‘A-‘, respectively. In addition, Fitch has affirmed the issue ratings on Mexico’s senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds at ‘BBB+’ and ‘A-‘, respectively.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150731005516/en/Fitch-Affirms-Mexico-BBB-Outlook-Stable#.VbuWODBViko

Amid rash of violence against women, Mexico state declares “gender alert”

A shrine dedicated to Rosa Diana Suárez Torres in the home of her father, José Diego Suárez Torres. (Alicia Vera / Al Jazeera America)
A shrine dedicated to Rosa Diana Suárez Torres in the home of her father, José Diego Suárez Torres. (Alicia Vera / Al Jazeera America)

Associated Press

Activists on Wednesday hailed the Mexican federal government’s first-ever “gender alert,” declared for a central state in response to a high incidence of killings and disappearances of women.

The Interior Department alert covers 11 municipalities in the State of Mexico, outside the capital, and cites “systematic violence against women” and “an atmosphere of impunity and permissiveness” toward such crimes.

According to the report, more than 1,700 women were slain in the state between 2005 and 2014, and at least 4,281 women and girls disappeared. Most of the missing reappeared alive, but 1,554 have never been heard from again. The state has a population of over 15 million.

“This is something historic that will set precedents for this mechanism to be more agile, and for guarantees for women’s life and access to justice,” said Maria de la Luz Estrada of the National Citizens’ Observatory on Femicide. “Now there has been a commitment. There is no turning back.”

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/07/30/amid-rash-violence-against-women-mexico-declares-first-ever-gender-alert/