A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
The peso was at 12.95 to the dollar on Thursday after having strengthened to under 12 to the dollar in April. It strengthened to 12.81 on Friday, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, the government said it had spent 42.35 billion pesos ($3.3 billion) subsidizing gasoline between January and April, 86.6% of what it had planned to spend subsidizing gasoline for the year. Stories, Frontera (PDF).
May 2012: 2012 is likely end of cheap gasoline for Mexico, Colef economist says
September 2011: Cross-border gas price differential nearly a dollar a gallon
At least a hundred people protested outside the bullring by the sea in Playas de Tijuana, Frontera newspaper reported (PDF). One banner read, "No bullfights in Tijuana without a Protest" and "Enough cruelty already!"
El Mexicano bullfighting page from Sunday (PDF).
2011 stories on bullfighting in Tijuana.
Tijuana Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz last week observed the 20th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo (left), killed by drug traffickers at the Guadalajara airport on May 24, 1993, El Mexicano reported (PDF). Posadas also served as the second bishop of Tijuana from 1970-1982. Romo praised Posadas after celebrating a Mass at the Jesús Posadas Ocampo Institute with the school's director,
Benigno Medrano Flores. The school, which serves elementary and middle-school students, is in Tijuana's Colonia Valle Verde.
Last week, columnist Sergio Sarmiento wrote about how the Posadas Ocampo case is still maintained as an active one for political reasons, even though investigations have clearly shown he was mistakenly killed in a confrontation between the Arellano Félix and Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán drug-trafficking organizations. Posadas was shot to death while riding in the same type of vehicle Guzmán was known to use.
Dr. Eduardo Arellano Félix, 56, of Tijuana pleaded guilty Friday in San Diego to money laundering and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors will recommend that he get a 15-year sentence in August, U.S. media reported. He was the fourth Arellano brother to be convicted in U.S. court. A fifth brother, Ramón, was killed in a 2002 shootout in Mazatlán.
The Los Angeles Times quoted William R. Sherman, special agent in charge of the San Diego office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as saying: “The AFO [Arellano Félix Organization], once a brutally violent cartel, now becomes a footnote in history books, while DEA and our partners focus on dismantling the drug trafficking organizations that have moved in since the [cartel’s] demise."
Previously convicted were Benjamín, given a 25-year sentence, Javier, given a life sentence, and Francisco, now released.
Los Angeles Times: "Eduardo Arellano Felix, Tijuana cartel leader, pleads guilty"
April 2011 story on Benjamín Arellano extradition.
2000 column: "Who will slay the dragon in Tijuana?"
About 4,300 students graduated from the Autonomous University of Baja California this month, Mexican media reported. There were 1,900 from the Mexicali campus, 1,600 from the Tijuana campus and 800 from the Ensenada campus. This marked the first year that students graduated with specialties in aeorospace engineering, renewable energy and bioengineering. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Los Angeles Times' Molly Hennessy-Fiske writes about the self-censorship practiced by the Nuevo Laredo paper El Mañana because of the threats posed by organized crime organizations.
Los Angeles Times story: In a border town, a newspaper forced to be silent: After violent attacks on its offices, El Mañana backs off from reporting on drug cartels. 'There's no freedom of speech in Nuevo Laredo,' says a reader.
Two Tijuana policewomen were killed early Saturday when an apparent drunken driver smashed into their vehicle at the intersection of Eighth Street and Avenida Ocampo. Police said the 44-year-old driver then hit five more vehicles before being detained, El Mexicano reported. The policewomen, assigned to the tourist police section of the force, were identified as Laura
González Zazueta, 32, and Esmeralda
Ortiz Maravillas, 36. Front-page story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, May 20: Ceremony for Laura González Zazueta (PDF).
Tijuana's El Mexicano newspaper editorialized Friday on the firing of a federal official whose daughter had sought to use her father's position to try to get a better table at a Mexico City restaurant. President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party fired consumer protection official Humberto Benítez Treviño in the "Lady Profeco" case this week; Profeco is the name of the consumer protection agency, Procuraduría Federal Consumidor. Benítez had been recovering from surgery when the incident occurred and had been exonerated from blame in the case, which caused a national uproar, with some asking whether this was the "new PRI" Peña Nieto has promised. Previously, four lower-level Profeco officials had been suspended. The incident occurred April 26 when Andrea Benítez went to the Maximo Bistro in Mexico City's colonia Roma. Hours after she did not get the table she wanted, Profeco officials descended on the restaurant and posted signs on its walls saying it was in violation of Profeco rules. El Mexicano editorial (PDF), "Fuera el Influyentismo" (Out with favoritism).
Story, Proceso. Story, Associated Press.
Sempra Energy's Carlos Ruiz Sacrisán requested Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo's request that it build an acqueduct from El Hongo to the Valle de Guadalupe, El Mexicano newspaper reported. The paper said Pelayo responded by saying that 780 million is not much money for a transnational corporation. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Cash-strapped Ensenada has been exploring ways to get more water to the city; a controversial desalination plant also is planned.
Pelayo has had conflict with Sempra during his 2010-2013 term, including attempting to shut down Sempra's Costa Azul natural gas import terminal in Ensenada 2011.
Pope Francis' recent canonization of a Mexican woman should strengthen the faith, Tijuana's Catholic archbishop, Rafael Romo Muñoz, said. The woman canonized was Madre
Lupita García Zavala (1878-1963). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Elsa Arnaiz, the head of Tijuana's Municipal Institute for Art and Culture, predicted that this year's Tijuana Book Fair, to be held June 7-16 at the federal Tijuana Cultural Center, will be a great success. In the last few years it has been held in the nearby Plaza Río Tijuana shopping center parking lot. One of the first announcements Pedro Ochoa made after returning to the CECUT director's post this year was that the book fair would be returning to CECUT. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The New York Times wrote Sunday about San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's efforts "building economic bridges to Tijuana," mentioning his opening an office in Tijuana and his (apparently stillborn) bid to try to co-host the Olympics with Tijuana. The story made it sound as if expansion had not already taken place at the San Ysidro port of entry; Phase I is nearly done, although money has not been appropriated yet for Phases II and III, and what originally was supposed to be finished in 2016 now might not be done until 2019.
In a recent week, Filner spent part of a day in Mexicali, and then attended a meeting on the border-crossing expansion in San Ysidro. Then he and his fiancee attended a border non-profit fair at Point Loma Nazarene University before then going to an event at Friendship Park at the border the next day.
Story, New York Times.
Filner, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante formalizing request for cities to co-host 2024 Olympics. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Los Angeles wrote Sunday about how Tijuana's nightlife has made a revival since 2010 that is aimed at a local, rather than U.S., audience. It said new establishments are opening in many of the vacant storefronts in downtown Tijuana.
It quoted Tijuanalandia blogger Jason Fritz as suggesting that Tijuana youth also may see them themselves as part of an Internet-linked global conversation.
Los Angeles Times story: "In Tijuana, creative energy brings new life: Local entrepreneurs and artists are driving a cultural revival on the border city's most popular streets as they move past a wave of drug-related violence."
Frontera newspaper's Spanish-language version of the article (PDF).
The Mexican bakery company Bimbo ranked 18th in the global brand footprint put out by Kantar Worldpanel. It was the only Mexican company in Kantar Worldpanel's top-50 ranking, Mexican media reported. Oreo cookies were in 17th place; Coca-Cola was first.
Kantar Worldpanel also said the Mexican dairy company Lala and Frito-Lay owned Mexican cookie maker Gamesa were strong regional brands. Lala expanded into the United States in 2008.
Bimbo expanded into Spain in 1964 and into the United States in 1996; it has become the largest bakery company in the United States.
Bimbo's Robert Servitje appeared at the Mexico Moving Forward conference put on by Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California San Diego in 2011.
Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez on Wednesday praised and analyzed Tuesday's reactivation of the Pacto por México by Mexico's top political parties. The pact is key for passing needed reforms. Fernández said seven federal Social Development Ministry officials who allegedly used the program for partisan purposes in advance of Veracruz's July 7 state election were fired. He said President Enrique Peña Nieto's public statement to Social Development Minister Rosario Robles not to worry about the matter was unfortunate, but also set political limits on the negotiations to restore the pact signed in December by his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Fernández said the PRD had gleefully jumped into the fray after the PAN raised Cain about PRI electoral shenanigans to even scores with Robles, a former top PRD official. Gov. Javier Duarte had to accept the resignation of State Finance Minister Salvador Manzur.
He said the federal electoral crimes agency FEPADE will investigate six suspects, but noted that the agency did not do so before because no formal complaint had been filed.
Fernández concluded that the restoration of the pact is good for all three political parties, but most of all for the PRI, for it will legitimize the electoral gains it is likely to make in most of the 14 states holding elections on July 7.
His column (PDF). Previous mention of PAN stopping participation in Pacto.
The Walt Disney Co. has withdrawn its application to trademark the phrase "Día de los Muertos" after a chorus of complaints from the Latino community. Disney's Pixar division has an upcoming movie that was going to be called "Día de los Muertos" but now may be called something else. KPBS Fronteras Desk story: "After Outcry, Disney Withdraws Effort To Trademark ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ "
The Celebrity Cruises' ship Solstice stopped in Ensenada for the first time; officials said the 1,041-foot, 122,000 ton ship is the biggest to visit the port, El Mexicano reported (PDF).
The $750 million, German-built ship made its first voyage in 2008. Mayor Enrique Pelayo made a visit to the ship, which arrived from Hawaii late Sunday. Its 2,800 passengers were bused to San Diego, the paper said.
State officials have been touting Ensenada's renaissance as a tour destination and saying the increased cruise ship traffic shows how safe Baja California is for tourists. They said the port has had 68 arrivals with a total of 171,476 passengers this year; last year saw 177 arrivals and 429,450 passengers, El Mexicano reported. In 2007, the port received 678,000 passengers. The Solstice is due to return Sept. 23 as part of a Wine & Americas Cup Cruise originating in Seattle, and then go on an 11-day cruise to Hawaii.
The Solstice arrived Tuesday morning in San Diego for its first visit there as part of nine-night West Coast Wine Cruise. KPBS quoted the port's Adam Deaton as saying San Diego's cruise visits had fallen 70% in recent years because of the economic downturn and Mexico's violence. San Diego also had two other cruise ships arrive Tuesday.
Gerardo Padilla Blanquet, a news anchor for En Vivo Radio y TV in Saltillo, is missing, Mexican media reported. His disappearance was first reported Tuesday. He also is head of administration and sales of Grupo Radio Grande de Coahuila. Story, Vanguardia.
Last week, a Saltillo photojournalist was dismembered.
A top Mexico expert said Thursday morning that many members of the U.S. Congress are miffed about Mexico moving the federal police force back into the Interior Ministry and that U.S. monies to help Mexico fight organized crime are in a state of flux.
Eric Olson of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center said some feel the United States had really invested in how Mexican agencies to combat organized crime operated and were displeased with the switch. Olson and several other experts spoke in Washington on the day President Barack Obama is visiting Mexico to meet with new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Olson said he thought a pause in U.S. funding would eventually end, but that the money would flow under a name other than the existing Mérida Initiative. He said he thought there would be a rebranding.
The Mexico Institute's program was entitled, "Report Launch: New Ideas for a New Era: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations."
Tijuana social development official David Saúl Guakil, who had hoped to get the Institutional Revolutionary Party's nomination for mayor, has been named the federal Economy Ministry's top official in Baja California, Tijuana media reported. He is the latest in a string of officials who have left the administration of Mayor Carlos Bustamante in search of greener pastures; a new mayor will be elected in July. Another who is reportedly leaving is top Bustamante aide Alcide Roberto Beltrones, to be the Mexican Social Security Institute's (IMSS) top official in the state. Beltrones is the brother of top PRI congressional leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones. Síntesis TV story on Beltrones.
Update, May 16: El Mexicano publishes editorial cartoon showing Beltrones with a doctor's bag now that he is at IMSS.