Model transparency law weak in practice

Quartz – Mexico can boast having one of the world’s best right-to-information laws. But that means little in practice, journalists and activists say, because authorities regularly skirt the spirit of the well-regarded law—starting, it is alleged, with the government agency charged with upholding it.

Obama administration seeks to restore aid to Mexico despite abuses

On the second anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico, hundreds of people protested in Guadalajara last week and accused the government _ of responsibility for the crime. (Eiuropean Pressphoto Agency)
On the second anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico, hundreds of people protested in Guadalajara last week and accused the government _ of responsibility for the crime. (Eiuropean Pressphoto Agency)

By Tracy Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times

The Obama administration wants to restore financial aid to Mexico that it cut last year to protest the country’s human rights record, even though abuses have continued, officials said.

Last year, the State Department cut about $5 million in aid to Mexico, part of a broader package allocated under the so-called Merida Initiative that was generally aimed at fighting a drug war.

The money was withheld because U.S. officials said Mexico had not lived up to its commitments to investigate egregious atrocities, including the kidnapping and apparent killing of 43 college students by local authorities in September 2014.

The Obama administration’s action sent a strong political message of rebuke to Mexico, a close ally of Washington.

But the State Department has notified Congress that it plans to restore the aid, even though, by most accounts, the abuses are as bad or worse.

The disappearance and suspected killing of the students, for example, remains unsolved and international investigators have accused the Mexican government of deliberately obstructing justice in the case.

“If you ask yourself, what has changed since last year, not very much,” said Maureen Meyer, senior associate for Mexico at the Washington Office on Latin America, a nongovernmental research and advocacy group. Some cases, she added, suggest abuses are “even more concerning.”

Barely half illegal border crossers from Mexico caught

AP – Immigration authorities caught just over half the people who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico last year, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security report that offers one of the most detailed assessments of border security ever compiled. The report found that 54% of people who entered illegally between border crossings got caught in fiscal 2015. That’s much lower than the 81% success rate that Homeland Security cited publicly using a different counting method.

Binational concert planned at U.S.-Mexico border

Huff Post – On Oct. 15, a slew of talented musicians and celebrities will head to the U.S.-Mexico border for a free, bilingual concert called “RiseUp AS ONE.” The show will include performances by Juanes, Carlos Vives, Andra Day, Jesse & Joy, Los Tigres del Norte, Lila Downs and Alejandro Sanz, as well as appearances by special guests Gael García Bernal, Jonás Cuarón, Mía Maestro and Wilmer Valderrama.vThe event, staged by Univision and Fusion, will be held in San Diego at the Cross Border Xpress, an airport terminal and enclosed skywalk bridge that provides access to Tijuana Airport. 

Two arrested who allegedly “catfished” kidnap victims

UPI – Mexican police said they have arrested two gang members who used women to lure victims on social media for kidnappings — killing most victims even after the ransom was paid. The gang is accused of carrying out 12 kidnappings related to the scheme.

5 cases of Zika-linked Guillian-Barre reported

Indian Express – Five cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with the Zika virus infection have been confirmed in Mexico. The cases, found in the southern part of the country, were identified in three men and two women averaging 18 years old. To date, Mexico has reported a total of 3,268 locally acquired cases of the Zika virus, which has also been linked to the birth defect microcephaly.

Ford CEO met with Trump over “infuriating” Mexico comments

CNBC – Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said on Wednesday he has met with Donald Trump to talk about the Republican presidential candidate’s extensive criticism of the automaker’s investments in Mexico. Ford told the Economic Club of Washington that he thought Trump’s criticism of the No. 2 automaker’s foreign investments were “infuriating and “frustrating” because of the company’s extensive investments and employment in the United States. Trump has threatened if elected to impose hefty tariffs on Ford imports from Mexico.

Citi to invest $1 billion in renamed Mexico unit

WSJ – Citigroup Inc. added its name to its closely watched Mexico unit and announced plans to upgrade its retail business in the country with an investment of more than $1 billion by 2020. The unit, previously called Banco Nacional de México or Banamex, will now be known as Citibanamex. The change ties the Mexican unit, which ran into problems while operating relatively independently a few years ago, more closely to its U.S. parent.

Bidders given extra week to comment on Mexico deep-water oil venture

The Trion light oil field is located in the Perdido Fold Belt, which lies just south of Mexico's maritime border with the United States.
The Trion light oil field is located in the Perdido Fold Belt, which lies just south of Mexico’s maritime border with the United States.


Mexico’s oil regulator on Monday gave oil companies an extra week to submit comments and questions about the country’s first-ever deep water joint venture covering state oil company Pemex’s Trion field.

Potential bidders will now be able to submit comments through Oct. 10, the regulator, known as the CNH, said.

The CNH also approved a week-long extension on the final publication of clarifications to the joint operating agreement between Pemex and its future partner to Oct. 14.

The regulator left unchanged the Dec. 5 date on which bids from pre-qualifed companies or consortia will be unveiled and a winner announced.

“This is an additional space for participants to study, analyze and comment on this new version of the joint operating agreement,” said CNH President Juan Carlos Zepeda.