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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico

President Calderon’s last request before leaving office is to change Mexico’s name – to Mexico

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent a bill to congress to change the official name of the country.

The current name, the United Mexican States, was adopted in 1824 and was intended to emulate its northern neighbour…

Mr Calderon, who leaves office on 1 December, said Mexico no longer needed to copy any foreign power…

“Forgive me for the expression, but Mexico’s name is Mexico.”

The name United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) was brought in after independence from Spain.

It is used mostly on official documents, money and other government material…

The BBC’s Will Grant in Mexico says if the reaction on Twitter is anything to go by few Mexicans see this as a serious issue.

Suggestions flooded in for a new name for Mexico, many of them mocking Mr Calderon, such as “Fraud-land” in reference to widespread corruption…

With a week to go till Calderon is out of a job, this request is symbolic at best. Not that there’s any surprise about a politician making symbolic gestures instead of trying to accomplish some real measure of change.

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Written by Ed Campbell

November 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Majority of Mexican prisons run by the gangs on the inside

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Six in 10 of Mexican prisons ‘self governed’ by gangs…Prisons are also plagued by overcrowding, a shortage of guards and corrupt employees who sometimes help with breakouts, according to Mexico’s human rights commission.

Representative Andres Aguirre said 60 percent of the country’s 430 prisons or jails are controlled by criminal elements.

He added that the escape of 521 inmates over 14 incidents since 2010 – often with the help of corrupt prison officials – constitutes a grave problem for the country.

Earlier this month, more than 130 inmates escaped from a prison near the U.S. border in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, one of numerous mass breakouts tied to organized crime in the past few years.

Initial reports indicated the Piedras Negras inmates escaped through a 23-foot-long underground tunnel, but it was later revealed that they had merely walked out the facility’s front door with the help of prison guards…

The commission’s findings are a reminder of the challenges that await Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s incoming president, who has pledged to reduce crime in the country after six years of increased gang-related violence under President Felipe Calderon.

Same as it ever was. Anyone who believes decades of political corruption can be wiped away by one term of a reformist president is deluded. But, then, that isn’t just true of Mexico – is it?

Written by Ed Campbell

September 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

What tunnel? 129 convicts walked out front door in Mexico!

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Police guarding the prison after the escape – in case anyone tries to return, I guess…

The 129 inmates who escaped from a northern Mexico prison did not flee through a tunnel, as authorities first reported. They walked out the front door.

Federal and local authorities launched a manhunt after the inmates escaped Monday in Piedras Negras, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.

Authorities arrested 16 employees, including the prison director, after the escape…

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the escape, calling it “deplorable” in a series of Twitter posts Tuesday.

“In the past six years, more than 1,000 inmates have escaped from state prisons. From the federal prisons, not one,” he wrote.

Authorities originally said the inmates in the latest escape slipped through a 23-foot tunnel, sliced through a chain-link fence and ran through an empty lot.

But they released new information saying the inmates went through the front door.

Police set up blockades on roads leading to the Mexico-U.S. border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection placed its officers and agents in the area on alert, a homeland security official said.

“At this point, CBP has no reports of escapees attempting to cross the border. We will continue coordinating with our Mexican counterparts as we monitor this situation,” the source said.

Golly. I’m so relieved to know that Homeland Security is on the job. Har.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

17 bodies found along Mexican road – and your point is?

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Seventeen mutilated bodies were found along a road in west-central Mexico’s Jalisco state, authorities said Sunday…No one had claimed responsibility for the slayings, the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana reported.

Witnesses said they saw men in two black trucks stop and unload boxes containing the bodies along the highway to Morelia. Police determined they were the bodies of 17 young men who had been shot to death and dismembered…

The newspaper El Universal reported the remains would be sent to the Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences for identification.

In other news from Mexico:

Mexicans celebrated their country’s 202 years of independence Sunday with President Felipe Calderon calling on them to join together to transform their nation…”Mexico needs all of us,” Calderon said in a post on his Twitter account.

The day also was an opportunity for Mexico’s military to parade.

“May the strength of feeling and the legacy of our founding fathers always inspire us to be better and give [our] all for Mexico,” the president said in another post on the social media service following an elaborate military, federal police and civilian parade outside the National Palace in Mexico City.

The Organizacion Editorial Mexicana news service said thousands of people attended the parade with no incidents reported.

Anyone see any contradictions here?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Decades of corrupt government allowed gangsters to achieve prominence, safety, sufficient participation in the day-to-day administration of governance that even a very public and deadly war has apparently changed nothing.

Which means the contradictions that brought this corruption to significant control of all life and livelihood in Mexico – still haven’t been addressed or changed.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

Feds want to send veterinarians into Mexico — where the State Department says tourists shouldn’t risk their lives

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering sending federal veterinarians in Texas across the border into Mexico to inspect cattle, a practice that ended years ago over safety fears.

Government workers have come out against the plan, confounded as to why they would be required to work in a Mexican state under a travel warning by the State Department because of carjackings and robberies…

According to its most recent travel warning, the State Department urges U.S. citizens to “defer non-essential travel” to the Nuevo Leon, except for the major hub of Monterrey, which itself carries other warnings.

The closest major city to the facility is Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a place known for the drug cartel violence that has been recorded there.

A lawyer for the government veterinarians along the border said the federal workers are unwilling to work there because of fears of being kidnapped or killed.

“Nobody is holding a gun to their head … yet,” said Bill Hughes who represents the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, which opposes the plan. “But USDA officials have told them in no uncertain terms that when they’re assigned there they better go or there are going be serious consequences to their careers, such as losing their jobs…”

Until March 2010, cattle inspections were routinely done in Mexico, but due to the rise in drug cartel violence along the border, U.S. authorities transferred inspections to U.S.-based facilities. During inspections veterinarians are tasked with clearing the cattle for fever ticks, hoof and mouth disease and other illnesses.

The real question is, why would (the) USDA even be taking a chance? How much risk is acceptable to place its civilian employees into for even the slight convenience of having the animals inspected in Mexico?” Hughes said.

Idiots. Hughes says reassuring things about the bureaucrats considering this decision. All well and good. He represents veterinarians employed by the USDA. No need to jostle the flunkies who can threaten their jobs, their careers.

I doubt there is any portion of the US meatpacking industry that cares much about the safety of veterinary professionals compared to profits. They’ve already proven that by ridding their packing plants of American citizens and replacing them with undocumentados – cutting wages in half. Experience tells me that political pressure with an emphasis on pace and costs is motivating USDA bureaucrats to consider a procedural change this stupid.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

Mexico wins Gold in the Olympics football final

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REUTERS/JORGE SILVA used by permission

Mexico’s Oribe Peralta scored twice in their victory over Brazil, today, for the Olympic gold medal in football. This was the celebration after his first goal – in the first 30 seconds of the match. Final score Mexico 2 – 1 Brazil.

Bravo, Mexico!

Written by Ed Campbell

August 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

Reshoring — some manufacturing heads back to USA

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Faced with rising costs, General Electric is moving production of its new energy-efficient water heater halfway around the world. The country it’s leaving? China. The one it’s bringing 400 jobs and a newly renovated factory? The United States.

A small but growing band of U.S. manufacturers — including giants such as General Electric, NCR and Caterpillar — are turning the seemingly inexorable offshoring movement on its head, bringing some production to the U.S. from far-flung locations such as China. Others that were buying components overseas are switching to U.S. suppliers.

Ford Motor said Wednesday that it’s bringing nearly 2,000 jobs to its U.S. plants by 2012 from suppliers, including those in Japan, Mexico and India.

Experts say the initiatives could moderate job losses that have dramatically shrunk the U.S. manufacturing industry. “I think we’re going to start to see a slowing of lost jobs, and we’ll see some jobs coming back,” says Simon Ellis, an analyst for IDC Manufacturing Insights. “At some point, it will balance out, and we’ll reach an equilibrium…”

“A lot of companies who have gone there to take advantage of cheap labor are starting to tell us that if you (calculate) total … cost and don’t just look at wages, it’s actually not worth it,” says Jeremy Leonard, consultant for Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an industry-funded research group…

Products that are labor-intensive and churned out in high volumes, such as apparel, textiles and TVs, will likely continue to be made overseas. So will those that are relatively inexpensive to ship but high-priced, such as laptops and cellphones, Ellis says. Goods are increasingly being made near customers, a trend that’s driving U.S. makers to build factories in fast-growing China.

Still, says Jim Campbell, CEO of GE’s appliance unit: “The biggest difference is the U.S. is in the game now.”

RTFA, Long and detailed – and I don’t agree with the priority of reasons assigned by the authors; but – so what? The facts remain the same. Many significant industrial firms are moving back to the United States from China, Mexico, Japan, India and elsewhere in developing nations.

Most often – IMHO – the cost of shipping finished goods back to the US is key. The arguments about wages pale when you compare American industry with nations like Germany and Japan which are important leaders in big ticket exports. Their industrial workers earn 25-50% more than American workers. You won’t find anyone in the Republican Party or the Chamber of Commerce who will admit that – but, it’s the fact.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 23, 2012 at 6:00 am

Mexican government to probe Wal-Mart?

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Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Mexico’s federal government should investigate allegations of a vast bribery campaign by top executives of Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary to build stores across the country, the head of a watchdog group said Sunday.

Eduardo Bohorquez, director of Transparencia Mexicana, said international conventions obligate Mexico’s government to get involved even though only local officials have been linked to the scandal. “The laws in Mexico and the United States relating to bribery are in effect, so the practices (of legal business) should be the same in both countries,” he said.

Government officials declined on Sunday to comment on the allegations contained in a New York Times report that said Wal-Mart Stores failed to notify law enforcement after its own investigators found evidence that millions of dollars in bribes had been paid in Mexico to spur the company’s rapid expansion there…

A lawyer for Wal-Mart de Mexico, Juan Manuel Torres Landa, said the company had no comment on any of the allegations.

Jose Luis Manjarrez, spokesman for the federal Attorney General’s Office, said the agency had conducted no investigations on such matters and had no other comment.

One of every five Wal-Mart stores now is in Mexico and it is the country’s largest private employer, with 209,000 employees.

I’m not certain if there are any major corporations doing business in Mexico which aren’t involved in bribery. I’m not certain if there are any government officials in Mexico who aren’t involved in bribery. I’d certainly be surprised if there are any traffic cops in Mexico who don’t ask for bribes. :)

Saying all that – US law is reasonably strict about bribery even when it’s conventional protocol in some nation or other. Sounds to me like Wal-Mart is between the veritable rock and a virtual hard place.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 23, 2012 at 2:00 am

Toy company busted for laundering drug cartel money

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They were sellers of pastel-toned huggable plush toys with names like “Baby Frenz Forever” and “Jungle Pals.” At the same time, authorities say, they were receiving bricks of U.S. dollars wrapped in cellophane that were drug proceeds to be laundered into clean pesos for drug lords in Mexico and Colombia.

On Monday, authorities announced charges against the City of Industry-based Woody Toys and seven owners, employees and customers in what marks the second case in two years involving toy exporters allegedly acting as conduits for the drug trade.

Woody Toys was a key player in a sophisticated international financial scheme that converted more than $1 million into pesos each year, according to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations…

In all, the company is accused of laundering about $6 million in suspected drug profits since 2005, according to the indictment…

According to investigators, the company received suspected drug proceeds either through in-person deliveries — a hand-off at a McDonald’s parking lot and drop-offs at warehouses — or through anonymous bank deposits. Employees “structured” deposits into the company’s bank accounts, keeping sums under $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements…

The sums were then credited to accounts of toy dealers in Mexico or Colombia, who in turn made payments through the black market peso exchange to drug trafficking groups. The foreign toy dealers got a discounted exchange rate, the company received a boost in its business and drug traffickers got laundered proceeds that appear to be generated from a legitimate trade…

The money laundering charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to ICE.

Such a kind, thoughtful business culture. Toys for the kiddies. Millions for the owners. Clean pesos for the drug cartel.

Cross-border commerce at its inventive best.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Arrests for Saint Death ritual human sacrifices in Mexico

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Police in northern Mexico have arrested eight people for allegedly killing two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman in ritual sacrifices. Prosecutors in the state of Sonoru say the alleged suspects belong to the cult of La Santa Muerte, or Saint Death.

Jose Larrinaga, a spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors, said the victims’ blood was poured around an altar to the saint, which is depicted as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes.

The cult, which reveres death, has been growing rapidly in Mexico among drug traffickers and criminals in recent years, but there have been no confirmed cases of human sacrifices in the country…

Authorities began investigations after 10-year-old Jesus Octavio Martinez Yanez was reported missing on March 6 by his stepfather. Investigations led authorities to an apparent altar site in the Sonora city of Nacozari, about 110km south of Douglas, Arizona.

Larrinaga said the arrests were made after tests by forensic experts on Thursday found blood traces spread over 30 square meters there…

Those arrested included Silvia Meraz and her son Ramon Palacios, who allegedly killed the victims.

Speaking to reporters, she said: “We all agreed to do it. Supposedly she [one of the victims] was a witch or something.” She did not respond to questions about the boys’ killings.

Often, reasonable educated people find the rituals and trappings of religion simply laughable. A sensible reaction to a serious look at what people truly believe will result from prayer, tithing, repeating gestures leftover from trying to scare away things that go boomp in the night while a frightened and ignorant clan huddles in their cave. But, no unusual stretch of the imagination is needed to extend belief in, say, transubstantiation — partaking in the body of Christ, cripes! — into an act of human sacrifice.

It happens all the time and usually results in an arrest of some singularly demented individual like Jeffry Dahmer. That something similar can move to become a public cult, growing along with parallel hero worship of the leaders of drug gangs speaks volumes about a massively ignorant population accustomed to being led at the local level by a broad hierarchy of superstition.

Don’t kid yourself that Americans are above this, that it can’t happen here.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

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