A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

March 21, 2011

Dog named Benito is Juárez when he is good, and Mussolini when he is bad

The magazine Mujer actual Baja California has a nice first-person column by editor Ada Oliver about Benito Juárez, whose birthday is March 21. She talks about being in line at a bookstore in San Diego with her mother and overhearing a conversation where a woman says her dog is named Benito — "when he behaves badly he is Mussolini and when he behaves well he is Juárez." This causes Oliver to reflect on the legacy of 19th century statesman Benito Juárez, whose standing in Mexico she likened to that of Abraham Lincoln in the United States. The column


Tourism minister touts bold agenda in interview with Cambio magazine

Cambio magazine interviews Gloria Guevara Manzo, Mexico's new tourism minister, who points out cambio coverthat tourism to Mexico rose last year, despite the country's violence. The increase came from U.S., Canadian and European travelers. Tourists, however, in general appear to be avoiding Mexico's more violent north. But the country's comparative advantage for tourism does not lie in the north, anyway: it lies in its beaches and its rich history. (However, plans are being made for greater tourism to the coastal states of Sinaloa and Nayarit.) Guevara tells the magazine that the infrastructure exists to duplicate, in eight years, the number of foreigners visiting Mexico. This year has been decreed the year of tourism in Mexico, which ranks 10th worldwide in visitors, but 19th in tourism spending. Guevara wants Mexico to rank fifth in both categories in eight years. Mexico also ranks eighth place in hotel rooms. Tourism represents 9% of GDP in Mexico, and 12% in Spain.

Cassez case: Cambio's Feb. 20-26 edition prints photos of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez and her parents in the company of alleged kidnapper Israel Vallarta. Florence Cassez, who is in jail after being convicted of being an accessory to a kidnapping, has become a cause célèbre in France. She says Vallarta was her boyfriend and that she was not involved in kidnapping. While witnesses testified that she was involved, there were anomalies in her case, including a staged arrest. Her final appeal was rejected this month and Mexico has declined to participate in France's "Year of Mexico" events after French President Nicoloas Sarkozy said he was dedicating the year to Cassez.

PRD woes: Cambio says former Michoacán Gov. Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, the son of three-time former presidential candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, refused a request for him to become president of the bitterly fractured Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

UPDATE (Feb. 28, 2011): 2006 presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejected Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas' entreaty that he lead the PRD. López Obrador said he was temporarily leaving the PRD, as he had planned. PRD leader Jesús Ortega, who has had major conflicts with López Obrador, said Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas was mistaken if he thought López Obrador, whom he called a "perpetual dictator," could responsibly lead the party. Story, Frontera.