Category Archives: News

Could his last act in Mexico City ruin Carlos Slim?

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on a tour of his Plaza Carso real estate development in 2010. (Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on a tour of his Plaza Carso real estate development in 2010. (Bloomberg/Getty Images)

By Feike de Jong / The Guardian

It is sometimes hard to tell where Carlos Slim stops and Mexico City starts. He controls most of the mobile phone, landline and internet markets. His telecoms company, Telmex, installed the city’s surveillance cameras. Grupo Carso, his flagship infrastructure conglomerate, runs the city’s principle water treatment plant. His bank, Inbursa, is Mexico’s sixth largest. He even owns the city’s only aquarium.

In 2015 Slim’s companies accounted for 6% of the entire country’s GDP, according to the Mexican media outlet El Universal. These holdings run parallel to a vast network of strategically located retail properties. But more than anywhere or anyone else, the 77-year-old tycoon and sometime world’s richest man has grown with the capital. Like a ghost in a shell, Carlos Slim has become part of Mexico City’s urban fabric.

Now, in the autumn of his career, the Valley of Mexico – Slim’s canvas – is running out of space.

The only large open area remaining lies to the east, amid the swampland of Texcoco – almost all that is left of the once-great lake system that filled the basin.

This is where the man known as el Ingeniero, the engineer, will make what is likely to be his last great urban intervention: a massive new airport, expected to be the third-largest in the world.

The stakes are high, and not just for Slim. Should this project be a success, it will be his crowning glory, a symbol of his role in shaping Mexican modernity and a great gateway for the country’s global ambitions. Should it be a fiasco, future generations will see it as an ostentatious monument in an era long on mathematics and short on wisdom, in which natural resources existed to be consumed, megaprojects were a way to keep the poor fed and occupied, and the future was an afterthought.

Mexico legalizes medical marijuana

Washington Post – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree this week legalizing medical marijuana. The measure also classified the psychoactive ingredient in the drug as “therapeutic.” The new policy isn’t exactly opening the door for medical marijuana dispensaries on every corner.

Heavy rain forecast for Pacific coast

Weather Channel – Tropical Depression Two-E is tip-toeing toward Mexico’s Pacific coast, and it will likely develop into this season’s next tropical storm. A tropical storm watch has been issued by the government of Mexico for a part of the coast of Oaxaca state. This does not include Acapulco or Zihuatanejo.

If the PRI can’t win in the state of Mexico, it’s in big trouble

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is surrounded by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event for Delfina Gomez. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
Andrés Manuel López Obrador is surrounded by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event for Delfina Gomez. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Associated Press

The banner stretched across the stage carried the face of Delfina Gomez, a teacher-turned-politician with the leftist Morena party seeking the Mexico state governorship, and that of her party’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a charismatic early favorite for a third run for Mexico’s presidency.

One year before Mexicans pick their new top leader, the impending gubernatorial election in Mexico state is seen as a referendum on the government of Enrique Pena Nieto, who was governor here before becoming president five years ago as the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI.

A PRI win could stanch the bleeding after the party’s loss last year of four governorships it had always held. Mexico state has long been a key source of the PRI’s so-called “voto duro,” or hard vote — voters it can count on year after year, most of them from a lower socio-economic status, less educated and many older than 50, said Ivonne Acuna, a professor in Iberoamerican University’s social and political sciences department.

A Morena victory in the state would give Lopez Obrador “an immense advance in his quest for the presidency in 2018,” Acuna said. But the opposition vote will be shared among several candidates, which will make it difficult to overcome the PRI’s deeply rooted organization.

A poll released Wednesday by the newspaper El Financiero put PRI candidate Alfredo del Mazo ahead of Gomez by five percentage points in the gubernatorial contest. Juan Zepeda of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, which Lopez Obrador left to form Morena, was a distant third and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the National Action Party came in fourth. The poll surveyed 1,200 eligible Mexico state voters from May 20-23 and had a margin of error of three percentage points.

With more than 11 million voters, the state of Mexico has been governed by the PRI for 88 years and is the largest potential prize of three PRI-controlled states holding gubernatorial races June 4. The others are Coahuila and Nayarit.

“For the PRI, winning Mexico state is indispensable to be able to have something to do in 2018” during the presidential election, said researcher Marcela Bravo Ahuja at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Center for Political Studies. “That’s not to say that if it wins Mexico state it’s guaranteed, far from it, but if it doesn’t win Mexico state there won’t be anything to do.”

Mexico Congress approves anti-torture law

Amnesty Intl – Mexican Congress passed the General Law on Torture which was promised over two years ago by the Mexican president after a national public outcry following massive human rights violations in the case of 43 disappeared students. Authorities must now ensure all those responsible for these heinous crimes under international law face justice.

Trump signals Mexico wall funding might wait several months for more pressing concerns

A sign marking the U.S.- Mexico border is seen from the Tohono O'odham reservation looking into Mexico in Chukut Kuk, Ariz. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
A sign marking the U.S.- Mexico border is seen from the Tohono O’odham reservation looking into Mexico in Chukut Kuk, Ariz. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Thomson Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump indicated an openness on Monday to delaying his push to secure funds for his promised border wall with Mexico, potentially eliminating a sticking point as lawmakers worked to avoid a looming shutdown of the federal government.

Trump, in a private meeting with conservative media outlets, said he may wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 to seek government funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the White House confirmed.

Trump, whose approval ratings have slid since he took office, is facing a Friday deadline for Congress to pass a spending bill funding the government through September or risk marking his 100th day in office on Saturday with a government shutdown.

“Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Monday night.

She met Chapo; now TV star can’t return to Mexico

LATimes -The new Netflix series “Ingobernable” — “Ungovernable” — is set in Mexico. But the show’s star had a problem: She couldn’t go there without risking arrest. Kate del Castillo, one of Mexico’s best-known actors, was wanted by authorities for having met with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s best-known drug lord, while he was on the run in 2015.

Full border wall not likely, Kelly says

NYT – John F. Kelly, the homeland security secretary, said Wednesday that it was doubtful that a wall along the full border with Mexico would ever be built, despite an oft-repeated campaign promise by President Trump. “It is unlikely that we will build a wall from sea to shining sea,” Kelly told senators on the Homeland Security Committee.

2 selfie-taking teens hit, killed by plane in Mexico

MySA – Two teenage girls were posing for selfies when they were killed by a plane in Mexico earlier this week, according to media reports. El Diario de Chihuahua said that Nitzia Mendoza Corral, 18, and Clarissa Morquecho Miranda, 17, were hit while standing on the plane’s landing strip after leaving a horse race March 26 in Chínipas, Chihuahua.

Trump wants $50m Great Lakes cut to pay for wall

MLive – President Donald Trump wants to squeeze this year’s Great Lakes cleanup funding to help make a down payment on a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. A $50 million cut to current fiscal year funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is part of $18 billion in immediate federal budget cuts proposed this week by the White House.

Archdiocese of Mexico calls firms expressing interest in Trump’s wall ‘traitors”

This Jan. 25, 2017, file photo shows a truck driving near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico. (Christian Torres/AP)
This Jan. 25, 2017, file photo shows a truck driving near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico. (Christian Torres/AP)

By J.J. Gallagher / ABC

In a withering editorial published on Sunday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico said that Mexican firms interested in helping build President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall are “traitors to the homeland.”

“It is not two or three, but more than 500 companies,” from Mexico expressing interest in Trump’s proposed border wall, the editorial says. “For them, the end justifies the means.”

Building a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico was estimated by congressional Republicans to cost $12 billion to $15 billion. An internal report prepared for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly estimated that a wall along the entire border would cost about $21 billion, according to the Associated Press.

After repeatedly claiming that Mexico would pay for the wall, President Trump requested $2.6 billion to start the initial planning and construction in his 2018 budget request. Congress is expected to take up the proposed budget before the end of the fiscal year in September.

The editorial, published in the Archdiocese’s weekly publication Desde la fe, lambasted the wall as “an open threat that violates relations and peace.”

90 from SD-Baja area travel to Mexico City to build bridges

San Diego Union-Tribune – With Donald Trump’s presidency creating a rift in U.S.-Mexico relations, dozens of San Diegans and bajacalifornianos are joining forces this week in Mexico’s capital, aiming to showcase their strong bilateral relationship and win support for border projects. Close to 90 people are making the trek from the border to Mexico City for three days of meetings with high-level Mexican officials that begin Monday. They carry a common message: that neither Trump’s plans for a fortified border wall and nor his call to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement will change the fact that Tijuana and San Diego are intensely inter-dependent on many fronts.

Rally at Del Rio-Acuna border shows unity

News4 – More than a hundred Americans and Mexicans came together for a rally between the two countries Saturday afternoon on the International Bridge between Acuña in Mexico and Del Rio in Texas. “It’s a reality on the border. Every border state – in the states, in Mexico – we’re interdependent and you can’t deny it,” said Jorge Ortiz, a dual citizen living in Acuña.