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09/25/12 – Alonso Lujambio, a Mexican senator who also served as Secretary of Public Education (Secretario de Educación Pública) under President Felipe Calderón’s administration, passed away on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Diagnosed in November 2011, Lujambio battled bone marrow cancer for almost a year, seeking treatment in the United States for three months and taking a leave of absence from his government duties. In addition to the ongoing vigil being held in his honor in Mexico City, he was remembered today with a mass in the Lorraine del Panteón Francés chapel in Mexico City, as well as an homage held in the Senate chambers. Lujambio had just turned 50 in early September.
Although passing away at an early age, Lujambio was a well-accomplished politician who was preparing to run for president under the National Action Party (Partido de Acción Nacional, PAN) before he was diagnosed last year. Many remember Lujambio for his former role as Secretary of Public Education, a position in which he actively pushed to improve the quality of education in Mexico. He implemented several programs in order to encourage participation among parents and students in their schools, passed reforms to increase the distribution of scholarships and grants to students so they could continue their education, and increased teacher evaluations to help streamline and standardize academic content throughout the nation.
In addition to serving as a senator and secretary, according to a profile provided by El Universal, Lujambio also belonged to the General Council of the Federal Electoral Institute (Consejo General del Instituto Federal Electoral, IFE) in the 1997, 2000, and 2003 elections; as commissioner for the Federal Institute for Access to Information (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información, IFAI) from 2005 to 2009; as an advisor to the United Nations, a role in which he specifically worked on establishing elections in Iraq; and as a professor for more than 20 years at institutes including the Ibero-American University (UIA), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Autonomous Institute of Technology of Mexico (ITAM), the latter where he received his Bachelor’s degree in political science before obtaining a Master’s at Yale University.
Among the nationwide outpouring of support in remembrance of Lujambio was President Calderón, a close friend of the senator, who tweeted, “Rest in peace, dear Alonso. We will very much miss you. We will follow your example of sensitivity, joy, honesty, patriotism and love of life.” Secretary of the Interior Alejandro Poiré also added, “More than anyone else, he was always an example of courage and love for Mexico, and of service [to his country].”
Located along the El Paso border, Cuidad Juarez is notorious for its violent crime. Lately though the city has noticed a seen a shift in calling to young people effected and forgotten by the violence to express themselves. Last month the city hosted their first fashion show. Designer such as Eli Valle promoted her work, stating that the city has hope now and businesses are opening. The show was organized by a group called Amor por Juárez (“Love for Juárez”). The group plans to open a boutique in downtown Juarez next year. They have been on a campaign to end the violence in Juarez, work for peace and liberty.
There has also been a call for singers, composers and bands who are being asked to participate in a song-writing contest seeking to promote civic participation and solutions Cuidad Juarez crime. Diego Mesa, coordinator of Pacto Joven, the youth branch of Plan Estratégico Juárez, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting solutions for the city said they are, “inviting young people to demand, to propose, to express themselves and to leave passivity aside,” Mesa said. “We want young people to wake up and to leave their comfort zone.” The winner of the contest will receive about $1,666 (20,000 Mexican pesos), and the song will be recorded in a professional studio in both audio and video. The winner’s music also will be played on Orbita 106.7, a popular radio station in Juárez.
Yet Cuidad Juarez still remains a place- as Gustavo de la Rosa, a Chihuahua State human rights investigator describes- where people work for 60 dollars a week assembling black berries and car parts destined for foreign markets. As night life beckons in Juarez so does the reminder that 15 high school students were gunned down, mistaken for being members of a rival gang. The investment of the youth in the city to balance the reality of their situation with the means to express themselves though can be just what inspires a city to not oppose drug violence but move beyond it, and live.
A broken sewer line near Mexico’s Rio Alamar released 2 million gallons of sewage, which drains into the Tijuana River and eventually into the Pacific Ocean this past Tuesday. Officials stated the leak lasted for about 12 hours before anything was noticed and none of the sewage was recovered before spilling into San Diego County. It is unlikely their will be any consequences to the environmental disaster because the incident happened in Mexico, where California authorities have no authority. Cross border contamination is a common theme in the Tijuana-San Diego region though, and all along the entire border. It is said contaminated runoff from neighborhoods in Tijuana regularly stream down into the San Diego county following rains. This is the second spill to happen within the last month.
On April 4th, a spill from the San Ysidro treatment plant released millions of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River and made its way to imperial beach. The spill was caused by a software malfunction in the treatment plant that went noticed for 3 hours. The public was not made aware in this instance, but surfer’s in the area took notice. Their were description of the water is that it smelled and tasted like detergent, an indication that the water is contaminated. The plant also has amnesty against penalties under the Clean Water Act because it is owned by the United States Government.
The Summit of the America’s is a gathering of heads of state and governments of the Western Hemisphere (excluding Cuba), where leaders discuss issues and common policy concerning the region. Often there is an agenda and the summit concludes with some sort of theme, which the region sets forth to promote. This year there was an agenda, but no thematic consensus came to fruition. If anything cohesion of the America’s broke down. This year was the Sixth Summit of the America’s, which took place this past weekend (April 14th-15th) in Cartagena’s, Colombia. The agenda for the summit was, “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity.” The conclusion to the summit though was nothing short of division. With the predominately U.S. funded drug war helping to officially confirm Latin America as the most violent continent in the world, the Western hemisphere has been producing more boisterous leaders expressing their discontent with the US strategy.
The US strategy to militarization, police and secure producer and transport countries have seen their gangs and insurgents be sustained and funded by the illegitimate drug trade. It is true of the FARC in Colombia, the transnational Maras gang in Central America and the competing Cartel families in Mexico. The US strategy to combat the drug trade though has existed since the Nixon administration some 30 years ago. It is a strategy that was recently reaffirmed by Obama in his introductory statement discussing his “National Drug Control Strategy” for 2012.
Boisterous leader such as Nicaragua’s president though have been promoting the idea of decriminalization in solidarity with the rest of Central America; absolved by Portugal’s recent reports of a 50% drug abuse reduction since decriminalizing drugs a decade ago and the reduction of homicide by nearly half in El Salvador thanks to a truce between gangs brokered by the church. The Ex-president of Mexico has Vicente Fox has since leaving office has also voiced his support in decriminalization. If anything, effectively combating drug violence has been proven by nontraditional means. In anticipation of the drug war being discussed at the summit Vice President Biden stated, “There’s no possibility the Obama-Biden administration will change its policy on legalization.” Though there has been a 40% drop in cocaine use in the US since 2006 and the amount of land dedicated to cocaine production has reduced by 2/3rd, Latin American leader’s still point out that the US remains the world’s largest cocaine market, as Mexico’s current President has pointed out. The reduction in cultivation in Colombian can be attributed to the increase in cultivation in Bolivia and Peru, what some call the “balloon effect”- a phenomenon where closing one channel of drugs pushes production up elsewhere; a common theme with illicit drug trafficking.
At the summit Obama declined to discuss the strategy of legalization, even though Colombian President Santos compared their largely US funded drug war to being on a “stationary bike.” He then called for an examination on all policies, including legalization. During the summit Obama announced he would increase $130 million of funds dedicated to bolstering security and going after narco-traffickers and “gangs” in the region. The following day he announced a free trade agreement with Colombia that is said to create thousands, millions of jobs in the United States and Colombia. The summit concluded with no formal declaration of signing ceremony.
Mexico’s lower chamber has recently passed legislation that could make Mexico the second nation in the world to pass comprehensive national climate change legislation. On Wednesday the lower house passed the “General Law on Climate Change”. This could have major benefits for the economy of Mexico and could bring new hope to a country who’s largest export commodity comes from it national oil company PEMEX. The bill must be passed before the congressional session adjourns at the end of the month and to be passed must have senate and presidential approval. This seems likely in the Senate considering they passed their version of the bill in December.
In effect the bill:
-Will require the whole country to reduce its carbon emissions 30% by 2020 and 50% by 2050.
- Establish goals for increasing electricity generation from renewable sources, with a goal of 35% of electricity generation coming from renewable sources by 2024.
-Establish the National Institute of Ecology as the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change.
-Establish a climate fund and request the Ministry of Finance, among others to develop a system of incentives that favors renewable energy by 2020
-Establishes a national emissions registry and mandatory emissions reporting
Though the bill does not mandate the creation of a domestic greenhouse-gas emissions trading system it does enable it. This essentially is the idea government would provide economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) predicts if were to do so Mexico would achieve its goals at low cost and significant profit and attract international investment. The EDF says it would be able to do so if the system were to include an absolute carbon cap set near their current target and allow trading both domestically and in international markets. Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology have found that smart mitigation action could trigger a 5 percent incremental GDP growth, and create 3 million additional jobs, distributed among the poorest sectors of the population.
Mexico is the 11th largest emitter of global greenhouse gases and hosted the latest summit on Climate Change in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. The summit in Cancun and previously in Copenhagen seemed to have produced few and loose results. The biggest challenge to global progression into the green economy is its lack of profit compared to those of large emission emitter economies. If Mexico can induce a profitable green economy it may act as a model for other developing nations or produce competitive investment into green technology from other nations.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Mexico accroding to U.S Geological Survey. It was located 82 miles North-East of Guerrero Negro and 6.4 miles below the surface. No damages or casualties yet reported. Oleg Starovoit, PhD, deputy director of the Geophysical Service of Russia’s Academy of Sciences states, “Had it happened in a densely populated area, the resulting damage would have been catastrophic.”
Earlier Wednesday morning a earthquake hit the state of Michoacan with a magnitude of 6.5. No reports or major damages or casualties there either. The effects are reported to have been felt as far away as Mexico City. At nearly the same time an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia.
The quakes two quakes in Mexico come after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake had struck the southwest part, March 20th.
1.5 million acres for developing oil and gas reserve are to be leased in the Gulf of Mexico under the Trans-Boundary Agreement
The United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to co-regulate the exploration and development of oil and gas reserves along their maritime border in the Gulf of Mexico. It will allow for 1.5 million acres of offshore territory claimed by the United States open for lease. Now American and Mexican energy companies can partner to jointly tap cross-border reservoirs and the two governments will share in oversight of the sites regarding compliance with environmental and safety standards. It also opens up an area that was previously off limits to both nations due to a moratorium set to expire in 2014.
The area is the size of Delaware and is said to contain 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion dollars in cubic feet of natural gas. The discussion for this agreement has been going on since 2010 between President Obama and Calderon, the same year of the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement also comes at a time when oil prices have reached 105$ a barrel after Iran announced it would halt oil exports to Britain and France.
The United States interior secretary Ken Salazar has stated that, “The most significant part of the agreement, is that we’re moving forward jointly with Mexico to ensure we have a common set of safety protocols.” The agreement also benefits Mexico’s growing middle class demand for energy and increases their production output, which has been slowing for the past decade.
What you need to know:
Who? The University of San Diego will be hosting Chivas USA vs. Club Tijuana
When? Tonight at 8:00pm
Where? Torero Stadium.
How Much? Tickets go for 45, 35 and 25 dollars. (purchase tickets here)
What else? Traffic expected to start from Linda Vista by 6:00pm, get here early! If any special assistance is needed call parking services at 619-260-4518.
Chivas USA is a professional American soccer club based out of Carson, California that competes in Major Soccer League (MLS). Club Tijuana (or more properly Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente) is a Mexican association football team from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. They were promoted last year to compete in Mexico’s first division. This is Chivas USA’s first preseason friendly, before the March MLS season begins. *OJO* Club Tijuana’s midfielder, Joe Corona was just awarded rookie of the year in Mexico. He is a San Diego native and played collegiate soccer at San Diego State University for a year. Also two players recently associated with Chivas USA have recently signed with Club Tijuana, forward Bryan del la Fuente and Esteban “Stevie” Rodriguez.
Mexico’s Presidential elections are to be held July 1st and the National Action Party (known in Mexico as PAN), one of the three biggest political parties in Mexico has nominated Josefina Vasquez Mota. Mota is 51, a former congresswoman, education minister and has embraced her role as being the first possible female president of Mexico with pride.
With 32 percent of support ahead of the June 1st deadline Mota is claiming, “I will be the first women president of Mexico.” She was chosen early this month by PAN in hopes she will pull in independent women voters and young people away from her rival Pena Nieto. She is said to be branding herself as traditional everyday women in order to appeal female homemakers and female workings stiffs. As a child of seven, married to her first boyfriend and having three daughters, she definitely has the potential to pull in the their target constituency.
PAN is also the party of Felipe Calderon, with their approval ratings down, it seems the party is hoping to introduce Mota as a motherly soothing remedy to exasperate public unease about the escalated drug violence in Mexico. PAN is also a conservative party and promises much of the previous parties policies and offers feminist little hope. So will Mexico the same without a senora for President, much like Mota claimes a home without a senora “would not be a home”? Mota trails leading rival Nieto by 16 points.
Calos Slim is the richest man in the world, he is worth a total of 63 billion dollars. He originally gained his fortune by acquiring property, mining and other business ventures. With his acquired wealth he then bought “Telemex” in 1990, a state run telephone company. The majority of his fortune has now amassed in Telephony. He now owns one-third of Mexico’s stalk market, owns 80% of telephone landlines, 75% of the broadband connections, and 75% of the mobile market through its sister company, Telcel. Slim eventually merged the two in a joint venture under the name, América Móvil. América Móvil is the world’s third largest mobile pone company and 60% of Slim’s wealth. The rest of his wealth comes from retail, banking, construction and among other’s, an 8% stake in the New York Times.
Slim seem’s to have his hand in everything but there is one industry stongly related to his that he has been unable to tap into, pay-television. Slim forfeited the right to enter Mexico’s pay-television business in exchange for buying Telemex. It therefore, limits him in his biggest market from selling his most proftiable packages, known as “triple play packages which include which include, phone, internet and television.
Slim’s company is starting to suffer too as he becomes one of the most negatively rated companies in Mexico on consumer report websites. The complaints consist of slow and pacthy internet connections, as well as black outs. Slims relentlessness in trying to tap into the pay-for television market has even lead the organization for Economic Development Co-operation and Development (OECD) to claim that he has slowed the economic policy making of Mexico, resulting in one of the lowest phone owner’s populations in Latin America and a loss of 26 billion a year in purchasing power parity from excessive pricing. This does not account for the cost to business’ from slow and patchy Internet connections. They have also estimated that he has overcharges users by $13.4 billion each year from 2005 to 2009. Slim’s overpricing is said to even efect foroeigners, especially Americans who make more than 20,000 calls a year to Mexico. Slim refutes the numbers given by the OECD.
Slim has been faced with a number of restrictions from the state nontheless, which inihibits him an changing telephony market. In March of 2011 The federal telecommunications comission (COFETEL) ordered that interconnection fees be reduced from 0.95 pesos ($0.08) to 0.39 pesos. COFETEL has is also considering taking more moves which to force Slim to charge less to its rivals than they charge it. In april of that year Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (CFC) fined Telecel with a 1 billion dollar fine for abusing its dominant position by charging high fees to rivals for connecting calls. The market for telphony is changing as well, a quarter of fixed broadband costumers now get online via cable, which Slims venture cannot enter. This worsens as the demand for get bigger because of Mexico’s growing middle class. Televisa, a pay-TV company, even tried to go into the mobile phone sector. Many companies are seeking to step in on Slim’s turf as he tries to do the same, but with a need for competition and his near monopoly failing to provide adequate support, Slim could possibly the second richest man in the world one day.
This comes before the most recent investigation ordered by the Federal Competition Commission (COFECTO) of alleged secret business deals between Slim and Spain’s Telefonica. Several other claims by competitors have been ruled for investigation as well.