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Tijuana Historical Society President Mario Ortiz Villacorta, in his column in Frontera newspaper Monday, objected to the prominence of English in the name of the new convention center that was inaugurated last week in Rosarito (Baja California Center). Ortiz Villacorta also said that Spanish is the official language of Baja California, and that therefore the name "Centro de Convenciones de Baja California" should be in large letters, with the words "Convention Center" in smaller lettering. A state ad that appeared in Frontera last week called the structure the "Baja California Center," but with California in much smaller letters. Ortiz said this conjured up the idea of the term Baja being used by itself, which he said is pejorative, particularly because that was term used by filibusters seeking to take over Baja California more than a century ago. Ad in Frontera (PDF). Frontera's April 24 story (PDF) on the Baja California Center's inauguration.
Ortiz Villacorta's column was entitled "The Government changes the name of the state."
Previous mention of convention center.
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday wrote about how the reaction against educational reforms in Mexico have taken a violent turn in Mexico state, with teachers essentially destroying the offices of Mexico's political parties in Guerrero state last week. Teachers also have blocked the toll road between Mexico and Acapulco, upsetting Mexicans' vacation plans.
Los Angeles Times story: "Angry teachers take a break, but threats to Mexican reform remain"
Update, May 3: Roadblocks continue in Guerrero. Story in El Mexicano (PDF).
National Action Party President Gustavo Madero said Monday that his party would stop participating in Pacto por México events in protest of alleged Institutional Revolutionary Party vote-buying in Veracruz state through the federal Social Development Ministry. The pact signed by the PRI, PAN and Democratic Revolution Party is designed to get major legislation passed to move the nation forward. Madero was upset that President Enrique Peña Nieto, who departed on a trip to Peru today, had told Social Development Minister Rosario Robles not to worry about the vote-buying allegations.
Story, SDP Noticias.
Leo Zuckermann's Excelsiór column: "Elections Kill Pact?"
Update, April 24: Los Angeles Times: "Mexico vote-buying scandal threatens president's agenda of reforms: President Enrique Peña Nieto's Pact for Mexico is on the verge of collapse after fresh reports of electoral dirty tricks by his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI."
Update, April 25: Sergio Aguayo column on the affair (PDF).
The first, 3.7-kilometer phase of the Via Rápida Alamar was inaugurated Monday by Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. He said the freeway would benefit 530,000 people and divert at least 60,000 vehicles away from other crowded freeways and traffic arteries. The 3.7-kilometer (2.3-mile) section along the Arroyo Alamar is between the Lázaro Cárdenas Boulevard bridge and Manuel Clouthier Boulevard.
Today, the new convention center will be inaugurated.
Story on freeway section inauguration, Frontera (PDF).
El Mexicano story (PDF) on shantytown families dislodged by the roadwork.
El Mexicano on the freeway opening (PDF). [The page also has a story on a political attack against PAN Sen. Ernesto Ruffo by PRI state legislator Carlos Murguía.]
Previous mention of work on the freeway.
The State Center for the Arts opened Friday in Tijuana. It was inaugurated by Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán and has a 4D theater.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, April 21: El Mexicano reports that Baja California is the first state to have four centers for the arts: Centers opened in Mexicali (2005), Ensenada (2007), and Tecate (Thursday). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Full-page ad from state touting center, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, April 26: CEART manager holds a media conference to discuss the center. She said the center needs to be all-inclusive for artists and the community. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán signed an agreement with Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, COPARMEX business leader Jorge Escalante and others Thursday for use of the EscuelaNet online system for Baja California middle schools, benefiting 181,395 students statewide. The system also can be used by parents to communicate with teachers, among other things.
EscuelaNet is to to be used in 629 middle schools:
Mexicali: 145 public, 34 private
Ensenada: 115 public, 19 private
Rosarito: 15 public, 9 private
Tecate: 21 public, 4 private
Tijuana: 172 public, 95 private
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Both the Los Angeles Times and U-T San Diego editorialized Thursday in favor of the bipartisan Senate "Gang of Eight" group's immigration reform proposal.
The U-T San Diego editorial also was accompanied by a telling cartoon from Steve Breen.
Both noted that the bill may face difficulty in the Republican-controlled House. Perhaps the most cogent quote came in Wednesday's U-T from John Skrentny, director of the University of California San Diego's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies: "A key unknown is the strategy of House Republicans, most of whom represent safe, overwhelmingly Republican districts."
L.A. Times editorial: "Breakthrough on immigration: The plan introduced in the Senate is a rational, pragmatic attempt to reform our unworkable system."
U-T San Diego editorial: "The best path for immigration reform"
Jorge Escalante, the head of Tijuana's COPARMEX business group, and Juan Manuel Hernández Niebla, the head of the Business Coordination Coordination, called for more action to curtail an uptick in violence in Tijuana this year. The killings are largely the result of a battle for territory by local drug dealers; in previous years, violence had more to do with a territorial battle over what group was able to move drugs into the United States from Tijuana.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
13 slayings in Tijuana last week
The Los Angeles Times reported that the cases brought by Mexico's anticorruption Operation Cleanup, begun in 2008, are a shambles, emblematic of Mexico's endemic corruption and weak judiciary.
Story, Los Angeles Times: "Mexico's Operation Cleanup has been a mess: The effort to rid the organized-crime bureau of corruption has been ruined by dishonest confidential witnesses and fake evidence, a judge says."
Frontera newspaper reported Tuesday that Tijuana runner Alicia Barrutia
Calderón, who participated in Monday's Boston Marathon, was not hurt in the explosions that killed three people and wounded more than 170. She told family members that she was 600 meters from the finish line when the blasts occurred.
The paper said she was running to raise money for a group that fights human trafficking, Red Binacional de Corazones. It and Grupo 100 por Tijuana were trying to raise 42,000 pesos — 1,000 for every kilometer run in the marathon — for a shelter that houses girls who were trafficking victims. The amount is about U.S. $3,500.
Barrutia Calderón's husband, who accompanied her to Boston, also was unhurt.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Three Mexicans shared in the Pulitzer Prizes awarded on Monday. Alejandra Xanic Von
Bertrab won in the investigative reporting category for her work with David
Barstow in New York Times stories about Walmart paying bribes to open stores in Mexico. Mexican free-lance photographer Javier Manzano won the feature photography prize for a photograph of Syrian rebels; the photo was distributed by Agence France-Presse. And Mexican photographer Narciso Contreras shared the news photography award for "producing memorable images under extreme hazard" in Syria. The other AP photographers sharing in the award were Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen. Pulitzer Prize website.
Meanwhile, a San Diego editor who used to edit Copley News Service stories on Mexico has now played key roles in the winning of three Pulitzers for three separate organizations. In the latest, InsideClimate News executive editor Susan White led a team that examined U.S. oil pipeline safety. White also was an integral part of a team that won a 2010 Pulitzer for ProPublica and part of a Copley News Service-San Diego Union-Tribune 2006 Pulitzer-winning team that exposed the corruption of San Diego Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. One of the reporters on this year's prize-winning team was former Union-Tribune reporter David Hasemyer, and he heaped praised on White. InsideClimateNews is the third Web-based organization to win a Pulitzer; White has played a part in two of them.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante are headed to Mexico City this week along with dozens of others as part of a mission organized by the Mexico Business Center of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, U-T San Diego reported.
Sandra Dibble's story: "Mission to Mexico begins Monday"
Update, April 16: Story, Frontera (PDF).
The dollar has been under 12 pesos in Tijuana the past three days, El Mexicano reported Saturday. The dollar was selling at around 11.98 pesos and being bought at 11.45, the paper said. That is the dollar's lowest level against the Mexican currency in a year, El Mexicano said. Photo at right was taken Saturday in Tijuana in front of the 1911 monument to the defenders of Tijuana.
On Monday, Bloomberg news service reported that Mexico ended a daily dollar auction intended to shore up the peso after the peso gained 5.4% against the dollar to that point this year, the biggest increase among major currencies tracked by the news agency. In November of 2011, a year when the peso dropped 11.4% against the dollar, Mexico instituted the dollar auction to "curb volatility," Bloomberg said. Bloomberg put the dollar-peso exchange rate on Monday at 12.1966; it put the exchange at 12.0745 on Friday, and said the peso had rallied 6.5% this year at that point.
Bloomberg said the peso has strengthened against the dollar in part this year because President Enrique Peña Nieto's proposed energy reforms are expected to boost the economy.
Update, April 15: Peso falls to 12.1394 to the dollar; the peso still has appreciated 5.9% against the dollar this year, Bloomberg reports.
Update, April 22: Peso at 12.2 975; report shows February retail sales fell the most in three years.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the administration of new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been downplaying the country's violence.
It said new Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong cited December-to-March figures showing violence down 17% under Peña Nieto as opposed to the same time period under former President Felipe Calderón, but that Reforma newspaper figures showed violence increasing.
Readers of MexicoPerspective have seen that violence in Tijuana has increased as a result of infighting between local drug peddlers.
Los Angeles Times story: "Mexico government downplays deadly violence: The Mexico propaganda campaign has some success as think tanks and newspapers ignore facts on the ground and promote discussion of the economy over violence."
An editorial in El Universal entitled "Disappearances, state liability" said that there finally exists a national protocol to be followed to catalogue missing persons. It lamented that the justice system is slothful in the entire nation, and said the disappearances are a liablity to the state, not least of which because authorities have been implicated in some disappearances. The editorial spoke of there being 27,000 missing persons. Editorial, El Universal.
Previous mention of disappearances.
March: Tijuana's Cristina Palacios de Hodoyán, who sought justice for the disappeared after her son's disappearance, dies
April 2012: Mexico passes victims' law.
April 2013: Hermosillo journalist missing eight years.
Kyocera Corp. founder Kazuo Inamori has donated $3 million that will go toward a new pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego's Balboa Park, U-T San Diego reported. Kyocera has manufacturing facilities in Tijuana.
The Japanese businessman's Inamori Foundation also sponsors the Kyoto Prize.
Story mentioning Kyocera operations in Tijuana.
Former Tijuana mayor Jorge Hank Rhon attended a big Institutional Revolutionary Party event at the Playas bullring and said he supported all the party's candidates, while naming none of them, Frontera reported. Baja California media have been full of rumors that Hank, who did not get the PRI nomination for governor that went to Fernando Castro Trenti, was going to secretly back National Action Party candidate Francisco "Kiko" Vega.
Political page, Frontera (PDF).
The page also had national PRI President César Camacho Quiroz denying that the PRI was not going to make its best effort to elect Castro Trenti; there have been widespread rumors that the PRI would "lose" the governorship in exchange for the PAN's having signed on to the Pacto por México that has seen the PRI, PAN, and Democratic Revolution Party working together on major legislation to push the country forward. Many experts believe that in the 1990s, in a process called concertación, or concertacesión, the PRI and PAN did negotiate who would win various political offices in the country. Book excerpt mentioning concertación.
The event at the bullring was marred by members of the CROC union departing en masse during the event. This reminded columnist José Aguirre (PDF file) of an event last year where large numbers of people attending a National Action Party event for presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota departed during her talk because their buses were programmed to leave.
Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, on a business trip to Europe, signed an agreement with France's Champagne region, Frontera reported. The story said Baja California produces 90% of Mexico's wines. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Meanwhile, President Enrique Peña Nieto continued his trip to Asia. Story, El Universal.
Financial Times advance story on Peña Nieto China visit
Daylight-saving time began in much of Mexico today, weeks after it began in border states such as Baja California.
This should mean that TV schedules such as those put out by U-Verse for much of the border region now will be accurate; they have been an hour off since the United States, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii and some territories, began daylight-saving time March 10. In recent years, Mexican states bordering U.S. states that follow daylight-saving time have been moving their clocks ahead in unison.
Mexican daylight-saving will end Oct. 27; in the United States, it ends Nov. 3.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, who is in his last year in office, began a trip to Europe to drum up business for the state. Meanwhile, it was announced that the Tijuana-Rosarito-Tecate convention center in the north of Rosarito will open April 23. El Mexicano said work on the center began in 2008 and that its cost has exceeded 625 million pesos ($51 million).
Tijuana's city government also shut down four electronic billboards it said were put up without necessary permission. They are operated by a business owned by Miguel Angel Ledesma Romo, the Green Party's candidate for síndico procurador for Tijuana. The Green Party and the PRI, which holds Tijuana's mayoral post, are in coalition for July 7 elections.
Governor's trip story (PDF). Convention center story (PDF). Electronic billboard story (PDF).
Previous mention of convention center.
Update, April 7: The National Olympics that will take place in Baja California starts April 26, with opening ceremonies taking place at the convention center. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, April 7: Green Party says move on Tijuana billboards is not seen as a political attack on the party. Ironically, the post of síndico is one that tries to ensure compliance with the law. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, April 10: Frontera columnist José Aguirre says infrastructure is lacking around the convention center: There aren't enough hotel rooms, and they are too far away, there aren't restaurants that are close, and access into and out of the center is terrible, among other things. Aguirre's column (PDF).
Update, April 21: U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble writes a comprehensive story about the opening, mentioning, among other things, that the land for the center was donated by Ejido Mazatlán and its name will be the Baja California Center. The ejido has grand plans to develop its property around the center.
Update, April 23: El Mexicano advance story on the opening (PDF). Second story (PDF).
Update, April 24: Center opens with dual names, Baja Center
Authorities said they had stopped an assassination plot against federal legislator brothers Ricardo (left) and David (right) Monreal and arrested three suspects at a Mexico City hotel. Officials said the plot may have been linked to a business dispute in Fresnillo, Zacatecas.
Monreal is a former PRIista who later become Democratic Revolution Party governor of Zacatecas state. He was the campaign manager for Andrés Manuel López Obrador's campaign last fall and now is a federal deputy representing Mexico City with the Workers Party. Sen. David Monreal represents Zacatecas for the Workers Party.
The family became subject to drug-trafficking rumors in 2009 after the military raided a chile-drying warehouse near Fresnillo owned by brother Candido Monreal and found more than 11 tons of marijuana, some of it being loaded onto trucks. The family claimed the warehouse had been broken into, and Candido Monreal was not charged.
Associated Press story. Story, Milenio. Story, El Universal.
Columnist explains Ricardo Monreal loyalty to López Obrador
Update, April 6: Zacatecas businessman Arturo Guardado is detained by federal agents in the case. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, April 10: Authorities were recording Guardado's conversations as they suspected he was laundering money, Carlos Loret de Mola reports.
State education Minister Javier Santillán said a reduction of more than 204 million pesos ($16.6 million) from the federal government's Multiple Contribution Fund (Fondo de Aportaciones Múltiples, or FAM). He said the state had hoped to build, expand or renovate 75 schools to meet demand. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, April 6: Official calls 62% reduction in federal funding "unacceptable." Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
State legislators say many of those affected by earthquake have been abandoned by the government and urge more action. But the
Agriculture Ministry says it has spent 355.5 million pesos ($29 million) to rehabilitate 54,440 hectares (21 square miles) of land damaged by the quake, and the state education system says 293 damaged schools have been repaired.
Update, April 5: Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán reinaugurates State Public Library in Mexicali, which was badly damaged in the Easter 2010 earthquake.
Update, Feb. 27, 2014: Dissatisfied farmers threaten boycott of Agrobaja conference.
David Shirk, who gave testimony last month to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, has resigned as director of the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute.
The announcement was buried in a Trans-Border Institute newsletter sent out today under the headline, "Message from Dean Edward Luck, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, USD."
Update, fall 2013: Luck would later resign; Shirk now continues his work on rule-of-law issues in Mexico as a USD faculty member.
The Tijuana newspaper Frontera on Wednesday devoted two pages the eighth anniversary of the disappearance of El Imparcial journalist Alfredo Jiménez
Mota. Jiménez covered security and drug-trafficking issues for the Hermosillo publication, which is Frontera's sister paper in Sonora state. Both are run by Healy newspapers.
The first page featured a photo of his parents holding an image of their son in Guaymas, Sonora. They said the investigation in the case has stalled. His father recommended that journalists not use bylines, as his son did, on stories involving drug trafficking. The second page writes about a ceremony Tuesday in a plaza in Empalme, Sonora, that has a plaque dedicated to the missing journalist. First page (PDF). Second page.
2008 Committee to Protect Journalists' story about missing journalists in Mexico; there have been 11 in 10 years.
Hermosillo journalist has been missing for eight years.
Work on a freeway along the Arroyo Alamar in Tijuana has been advancing rapidly, El Mexicano newspaper reported. It said 7.5 kilometers of hydraulic-concrete roadway are costing 490 million pesos ($40 million). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The bed of the Tijuana River tributary has been lined with concrete. The entire project was controversial because a city plan had called for the area along the waterway to be a meandering city park.
|Arroyo Alamar roadwork (7.5 km)||Peso cost
|Ermita connector||120 million||$9.7 million|
connector (3.5 km)
|111 million||$9 million|
|101 million||$8.2 million|
|Alamar-Clouthier bridge||88 million||$7.1 million|
|Other connections||70 million||$5.7 million|