Trump and Slim meet for “lovely dinner” at Mar-a-Lago

The Guardian – Donald Trump once described Mexico’s wealthiest man as the string-pulling manipulator who orchestrated a media conspiracy to defeat his election campaign. Carlos Slim has previously scrapped a TV deal with Trump on the grounds that he was a racist. But the two billionaires appear to have set aside those differences, for now at least, sitting down to a meal at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last Saturday.

Gay couples fight same-sex marriage backlash

The Guardian – Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Mexico since 2009, when the country’s capital became the first city in Latin America to pass marriage equality laws. But in recent months, a well-organized and well-funded backlash has emerged, claiming credit for derailing a presidential proposal to entrench marriage equality in the country’s constitution.

Trump isn’t even president yet and China is already moving in on Mexico

China and Mexico have been talking about getting closer for years, yet the results have so far been modest.
China and Mexico have been talking about getting closer for years, yet the results have so far been modest.

By Ana Campoy / Quartz

China and Mexico have been friends for a long time, but after Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential elections, both countries are looking for more in their relationship.

Over the weekend, Chinese ambassador to Mexico Qiu Xiaoqi promised Mexicans his country is standing by them through the uncertain times ahead. His comments were made during a press conference to launch a year of cultural festivities to celebrate the two countries’ 45 years of diplomatic relations. A day later, the two countries signed an agreement to expand food shipments from Mexico to China. Separately, Chinese oil major CNOOC made two handsome bids for contracts to explore Mexico’s offshore oil fields, and won.

“This means that they see Mexico as a trustworthy country,” said a beaming Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s energy secretary.

As the two main targets of Trump’s anti-globalization tirades, China and Mexico have a lot to commiserate about. The president-elect’s talk of tearing up trade deals, starting trade wars and closing borders irks both countries, which have big stakes on international trade. Strengthening their ties is a symbolic snub to Trump’s vision of the world.

Plus, both countries could benefit economically. Latin America is already a big piece of China’s international expansion strategy, and Mexico is one of the region’s largest markets. In turn, Mexico could use some Chinese investment at a time when it desperately needs to diversify its US-heavy portfolio.

But before they get carried away with the potential geopolitical and economic boon of closer cooperation, a few words of caution, via Enrique Dussel Peters, who runs the China-Mexico Studies Center at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “Given the differences with Trump, today it’s popular to postulate that China is going to be a solution for Mexico,” he said. “That could be, but today there are no concrete conditions for that.”

The women lost to Mexico’s drug war

The Guardian – Over the space of three nights in November 2011, at least 50 women disappeared in similar circumstances from Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state, which had been convulsed by cartel violence and political volatility. Most were in their 20s and came from modest families. Some were single mothers, some full-time sex workers, others were students and wannabe beauty queens.

According to documents from the official investigation seen by the Guardian, many of them worked as high-class escorts or hostesses contracted for political events – as well as more exclusive parties attended by government officials and leaders of the feared Zetas drug cartel.

Their fate remains unknown, but they are believed to have been forcibly disappeared because they knew too much about corrupt relationships between Mexican politicians and cartel bosses.

Will next Deepwater Horizon be in Mexico?

NYT – Mexico’s Energy Ministry began auctioning off the crown jewels of its oil reserves, deepwater tracts that, along with those for fracking, are supposed to set off an oil-and-gas rush south of the border. The auctions are a result of a 2013 law that opened the country’s oil and gas industry to private companies, after 75 years of public ownership. What could go wrong?

Plenty, as recent experiences in the United States suggest.

Invite to 15th birthday party attracts 1.2 million acceptances

15th-party-inviteBBC – Police will be deployed to a village in Mexico after an invitation to a girl’s birthday party went viral and 1.2 million people said they would attend. A video in which the girl’s father says that “everyone is welcome” to the party featuring local bands, a meal and a horse race was posted on Facebook on a public setting. He said the idea had been to invite neighbors and friends only. But he has since confirmed he would not turn anyone away.

Mexico: Land of impunity

Al Jazeera – Over the past decade Mexico has been beset by violence, as the state has battled drug cartels and criminal gangs for control of the streets. But critics say this endemic conflict has created a culture of impunity in law enforcement, with even ordinary citizens now routinely subjected to human rights abuses. So what lies behind Mexico’s troubled relationship with justice?

Proposal to ban embryo research would stifle science

Nature – Mexico’s legislature is weighing an amendment to the national health law that would ban experiments with human embryos. The amendment is intended to regulate assisted reproduction, including the payment of surrogate mothers, donations to egg and sperm banks and the fertilization of more than three eggs at a time. But it would also ban the creation of human embryos for any purpose except reproduction and any research with existing human embryos.

Mexico, China very different trading partners

Bloomberg – Although China and Mexico both trade a lot with the U.S., and have both been running significant trade surpluses with the U.S. for decades, that’s where the similarity ends. The China-U.S. trade relationship is spectacularly unbalanced, with a gap between goods exports and imports that exploded not long after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and that, while it has subsided a bit since last year, is still of a scale never seen before “Chimerica” came into being.