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.”
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.
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.
AP – Mexican authorities have rescued 14 crocodiles and found 20 others dead in a squatters’ settlement where people were apparently “milking” the crocs for their blood. The office for environmental protection said that some local residents in Chiapas wanted the blood because they believed it could cure cancer, diabetes, AIDS and other diseases. Scientists say there is no evidence that crocodile blood cures these diseases.
Mexico News Daily – Mexico’s ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index has declined for the fourth year in a row. The 2016 report puts Mexico in 77th place on the list of 185 countries. Norway placed first and the Central African Republic last.
Financial Times – Mexico has called on its national companies to “examine their conscience” and refuse to tender bids to build Donald Trump’s wall. Some 700 companies have registered interest for tenders for the 30-foot high structure.
NYT – Even as Mexico fumes over President Trump’s aggressive stance toward its people, the Mexican government is quietly trying to rip up basic legal protections for its citizens at home and gut longstanding efforts to fix the nation’s broken rule of law. Legal experts fear the move will set back human rights in Mexico by decades.
The budget plan the White House rolled out Thursday morning includes $4.1 billion for a border wall through next year — and no mechanism to follow through on President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise to force Mexico to cough up the money.
The plan falls far short on promises to dramatically expand the ranks of Border Patrol and immigration enforcement agents. But it does call for 20 new Justice Department attorneys to work on scooping up border land for the wall through purchases and, presumably, eminent domain.
The president is asking Congress for $1.5 billion toward the wall for the remainder of this year and $2.6 billion in fiscal 2018.
“It’s all that we think that we can spend this year,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Wednesday. “The next question is going to be how many miles of wall does that build. We don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t settled on construction types. We haven’t settled on where we’re going to start.”
Mexico News Daily – Monterrey is the best city in Mexico for quality of life, according to the latest quality of living survey by Mercer, the international human resources consulting firm. The capital of Nuevo León was one of two Mexican cities on the list of 231 and ranked 110th. Mexico City was ranked No. 128, down one position from last year.
CNN – With millions of gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Pacific Ocean surface and onto the shores of southern California, officials in the United States and Mexico have launched a bi-national investigation into the spill that apparently originated in Mexico.
Mexico’s top trade negotiator doubled down on threats to break off talks to rework Nafta, saying his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border.
“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars, I
get up from the table,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview. “Bye-bye.”
This doesn’t mean, Guajardo emphasized, that Mexico would be looking to scrap Nafta. But by saying it refuses to even discuss the kind of tariffs President Donald Trump has long trumpeted, the country is ratcheting up the pressure on U.S. negotiators and effectively daring them to pull out of the 23-year-old pact.
Trump has lambasted the accord — which also includes Canada — as unfair and responsible for a “massive” imbalance favoring Mexico. It last year shipped $294 billion worth of goods north while the U.S. sent $231 billion south.
Mexican officials have said they expect official talks to start in June.
VOA – Scientists have found living organisms trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old. The organisms were found in a hot, but beautiful cave system in Naica, Mexico. If the findings are confirmed, they will show how microbes can survive in extreme conditions.
In the first year of a big soda tax in Mexico, sales of sugary drinks fell. In the second year, they fell further, according to new research.
The finding represents the best evidence to date of how sizable taxes on sugary drinks, increasingly favored by large American cities, may influence consumer behavior. The results could have consequences for public health.
Mexico’s soda tax took effect in 2014, and applied to all beverages that included added sugar, including carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and sweetened iced teas. The effort was pushed by public health advocates who argued that liquid sugar was contributing to the country’s high burden of obesity and diabetes.
Studies on the first year of the tax found that sugary beverage consumption fell substantially, with the biggest decreases among low-income Mexicans — the group at highest risk of obesity-related diseases. But industry analysts and anti-tax advocates had argued that the one-year results could just be a blip that would reverse as companies retooled their products, or as consumers adjusted to higher prices for their favorite drinks.
The new study, published online Wednesday in Health Affairs, shows that the results of such a tax may be far more long-lasting. The research, based on shopping data from a large sample of urban Mexican households, showed that the first year’s consumption declines continued during the second year.
UPI – While Mexicans share a deep dislike of U.S. President Donald Trump, they are not fond of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto either. His 17 percent approval ratings are the lowest recorded for a Mexican president.
JTA – Three Israeli single fathers whose babies were born in Mexico to surrogate mothers cannot fly their children to the Jewish state because local authorities are refusing to issue birth certificates.
CNS – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. John Kelly has ordered a report detailing and totaling “all sources” of U.S. taxpayer money given to the government of Mexico over the past five years – and it’s due in 30 days.
A top Japanese company said Thursday it had dropped Mexico as a possible location for a new auto parts factory after Donald Trump rapped Toyota over a plant in the country — and economists warned more firms could follow suit.
The decision by Nisshinbo Holdings marked the first time a Japanese company has publicly abandoned a Mexican facility in response to the new US president’s protectionist outbursts, the Nikkei business daily said Thursday.
The announcement comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads to Washington today (Thursday) for meetings with Trump aimed at cementing ties and underscoring Japan’s commitment to investing in the US.
Mexico was among the locations being considered for Nisshinbo’s vehicle brake parts plant, reportedly worth up to 10 billion yen ($89 million).
The firm is a leading maker of friction-reducing brake parts with about a 15 percent share of the global market.
News18 – Mexico City’s first constitution was officially published on Sunday, a move that authorities called historic and which is a significant step towards transforming the national capital into this country’s 32nd state.
Mexico’s government kept gasoline prices unchanged Friday after a big jump in prices in early January prompted protests, riots and looting across the country.
The decision to leave prices unchanged in the first weeks of February followed a slight decline in international oil prices and an appreciation of the peso in recent weeks. A senior official at the Finance Ministry said no subsidies or tax breaks will be needed to keep prices unchanged.
But the move also had political implications, analysts said. A second jump in gasoline prices could have reignited protests at a moment when President Enrique Peña Nieto is enjoying broad support after canceling last week his planned visit to the U.S. to meet President Donald Trump, who is widely unpopular in Mexico.