By Noah Bierman, Tracy Wilkinson and Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times
Donald Trump showcased his flair for the dramatic spectacle again Wednesday, flying his unpredictable campaign across the southern border for a hastily arranged summit with the president of a country he has repeatedly maligned.
The move was stunning for a nominee whose presidential run began with harsh denunciations of Mexicans, whom he called “rapists” when he announced his candidacy, and whose slogan-ready pledge to build a border wall includes the improbable idea that Mexico will pay for it.
Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had a cordial but frank discussion for about an hour at the presidential residence. The men said they did not discuss whether Mexico would pay for a wall along the countries’ shared border, a core campaign promise of the Republican presidential nominee. But Peña Nieto pointedly vowed to protect Mexican nationals living in the U.S. who contribute to prosperity and “deserve the respect of everyone.”
For his part, Trump said he was “straightforward in presenting my views about the impacts of current trade and immigration policies of the United States.”
The visit to Mexico, just hours before Trump planned to deliver a long-awaited speech on immigration enforcement, represented yet another gamble for the GOP presidential candidate.
A high-level meeting in a presidential palace with a foreign leader allowed the outsider candidate to demonstrate statesmanship and to assure voters that his tough talk will not prevent him from striking dialogue with foreign leaders.
Donald J. Trump will visit Mexico today (Wednesday) for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto — a trip that will take him to a nation he has repeatedly scorned — before quickly flying back for what is billed as a major immigration speech in Arizona.
Peña Nieto’s office said Tuesday night that the meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and Trump, on Twitter, said he looked “very much forward” to the visit.
The Mexican president’s office said Mr. Peña Nieto had sent invitations last week to both Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would not comment Tuesday on whether she had received the invitation.
Peña Nieto is reaching out to Mr. Trump in the face of the Republican candidate’s antagonistic attitude toward Mexico in his policies and campaign rallies. He has said many Mexican immigrants who enter the United States illegally are rapists, and he has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will pay for his proposed wall along the southern United States border.
He is widely reviled in Mexico, where the wall proposal has revived deep grievances over sovereignty and respect that have historically dogged Mexico’s relationship with the United States.
Washington Post – It is barely worth pointing out that Donald Trump’s surprise visit to Mexico today (Wednesday) won’t do President Enrique Peña Nieto much good. Peña Nieto is deeply unpopular in his home country, with one survey putting his favorability at 23 percent — a figure so low that it makes Trump himself, at 35 percent, seems positively embraced.
That 35 percent is in the United States, of course. In Mexico, Trump’s a lot less popular. A June survey showed Trump at 75 percent unfavorability in the country — compared with Hillary Clinton’s 6 percent.
AP – Juan Gabriel was more than just a singer and songwriter for the hundreds of fans who thronged Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi to wish him farewell Monday. He was a legend, an artist who marked an era in people’s lives. Every major Mexican newspaper had news of his Sunday death on its front page, along with large photos of his flamboyant costumes.
NY Daily News – A hickey may have killed a Mexico City teen, who suffered a fatal stroke not long after his girlfriend gave him the kiss of death. Julio Macias Gonzalez, 17, went into convulsions and died while having dinner with his family. His 24-year-old make-out partner, who has not been identified, is reportedly in hiding.
Mexico’s top police chief has been dismissed after a scathing report by the country’s human rights commission alleged the federal police executed at least 22 people on a ranch last year.
President Enrique Peña Nieto decided to remove federal police chief Enrique Galindo after the National Human Rights Commission released their report to allow for a more transparent investigation into the alleged events, the Associated Press reported.
“In light of the recent events and on instructions of the president, Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo has been removed from his position,” Interior Secretary Osorio Chong announced. “That is with the objective of facilitating that the corresponding authorities carry out an agile and transparent investigation in full view of citizens.”
In their report, the NHRC said that Mexico Federal police killed at least 22 suspected drug cartel members in a remote ranch in Michoacan in May 2015. Police then allegedly moved the bodies and planted guns on the victims to corroborate their reports.
“The investigation confirmed facts that show grave human rights violations attributable to public servants of the federal police,” said commission President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez at an 18 August conference.
Financial Times – Mexico, that most stable and reliable of emerging markets, may be sliding towards a credit rating downgrade. Last week S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook to negative from stable and warned it saw a one-in-three chance of a ratings cut in the next two years due to substandard growth and rising sovereign borrowings.
That caught up with Moody’s, which had lowered its own outlook back in March. And while Fitch, the third of the big three rating agencies, still sees Mexico’s rating as stable, it too warned in July of risks regarding the economy and fiscal consolidation. The problem is the pernicious interplay between growth and debt.
LAT – With his glittery capes, slinky dance moves and ultra-romantic lyrics, Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel was an unlikely king in a country known for its machismo. He never spoke about his sexuality, yet was widely assumed to be gay.
Financial Times – Mexico has spent more than $1 billion to lock in prices for oil exports next year to help protect public finances as its underperforming economy faces intensifying international headwinds, including the timing of a US rate rise and the US elections. The government’s annual hedging program seals in a price of $42 a barrel for 2017.
Financial Times – Protectionist trends in leading economies are threatening the world’s already laggardly growth potential, the head of Mexico’s central bank has warned. Agustín Carstens, the governor of the Bank of Mexico, said that anti-globalisation demands were not confined to the US, where Donald Trump has been vowing to rip up trade deals, but were visible across a range of G20 countries.
Hospitality Net – AC Hotel Guadalajara has opened its doors, inviting guests and locals alike to experience A New Way to Hotel in Mexico, catering to the creativity, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit of a new generation of travelers.
Violence in Mexico has been on the rise in recent months as fragmented criminal organizations clash around the country, competing with Mexican authorities and one another for control of illegal enterprises.
Data released by the Mexican government reveals that homicides, perhaps the most visible aspect of the country’s violence, reached an ugly milestone in July.
The 2,073 killings recorded that month were the most of any month since the President Enrique Peña Nieto entered office in December 2012, and it was the first time the country exceeded 2,000 homicides in a month since August 2011.
The previous high in monthly homicides registered under Peña Nieto was 1,895, recorded in May.
As noted by Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope, these numbers appear to be part of an upswing.
Guardian – Juan Gabriel, the legendary Mexican singer-songwriter , has died suddenly at his home in California. He was 66. Gabriel was Mexico’s leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist, with sales of more than 100m albums. His ballads about love and heartbreak and bouncy mariachi tunes became hymns throughout Latin America and Spain, as well as with Spanish speakers in the United States.
TeleSur – A new academic study revealed that only 25 percent of Mexico’s senior population counts on a retirement pension, with the remainder continuing to work or relying on family or community support to survive.
Reuters – Mexico’s environmental prosecutor said it had kept regular oversight of the country’s largest gold mine, days after a Reuters report on a prolonged leak of contaminated water there prompted activists to accuse the agency of failing its mandate.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s track record of winning ratings upgrades is in serious jeopardy.
On Tuesday, S&P Global Ratings revised the country’s outlook to negative and said there’s at least a one-in-three chance of a downgrade in the next two years if Mexico’s debt increases more than forecast.
It marked the second time in the past five months that a major ratings company lowered the nation’s outlook. The trend has been mirrored in the swaps market, where Mexico is seen as less creditworthy than peer Peru, as well as lower-rated Panama.
The negative outlooks represent a reversal for Mexico, which won upgrades from all three large rating companies as Pena Nieto pushed through historic overhauls of the nation’s energy, telecommunications and banking industries between 2012 and 2014.
But the changes have failed to spark the economic boom that Pena Nieto promised. Instead, his government has repeatedly slashed its growth forecasts amid low oil prices and a sluggish expansion in the U.S., Mexico’s biggest trading partner.
“The economy’s tanking,” said Luis Maizel, co-founder of LM Capital Group. “How many times have they reduced growth expectations? How many times can you use the same excuse: that the U.S. economy is slowing so the Mexican economy is slowing down?”
Vox – Fear the Walking Dead has commandeered Baja Film Studios, in the beach town of Rosarito. One of Baja Studios’ more recent customers was the Christian movie Little Boy, which used the studio’s location to simulate a coastal small town — and whose sets are being repurposed by Fear the Walking Dead for a plot introduced in the midseason premiere, which aired Aug. 21.
Reuters – Mexico’s factory-made exports and non-oil consumer imports rose in July, data showed on Friday, suggesting a possible renewal in economic growth after the gross domestic product contracted in the second quarter.