A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Baja Caifornia officials and engineers unveiled new construction regulations designed to allow buildings to withstand a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Frontera reported. The regulations come in part as a result of damage caused in the Easter Sunday 2010 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the Mexicali area. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante said the city will not publish advertising about his administration's accomplishments during the political campaign period that starts Friday and ends with federal elections July 1. He said the city was taking the action so as not to violate electoral law. In the last week, the Baja California state government has been running numerous ads touting its accomplishments. Tijuana and Baja California's four other municipalities have Institutional Revolutionary Party majors; Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán is a member of the National Action Party. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Full-page state ad about state police getting 60 more police cars (PDF).
Tijuana city ad on infrastructure and other improvements (PDF).
Other state ads: Page 3, Frontera (PDF). Page 9, Frontera (PDF).
A Baja California legislative panel voted Monday to approve a bill to ban construction of new casinos. The initiative was proposed by Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán of the National Action Party (PAN). It passed even though PAN legislator Ricardo
Magaña Mosqueda sought to have the vote postponed. He said casinos bring a lot of employment to the state and said there likely would be many legal filings against the move. He also joked that Monday's 3.1-magnitude earthquake, which occurred around the time of the vote, was caused by casino owners. (Víctor Islas column, PDF).
Many officials say there are enough casinos in the state. Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, Voz de la Frontera.
Rosarito official says one casino about to open there and four others are in process. Story, Frontera (PDF).
A casino reopens with fanfare in Mexicali.
La Luz del Mundo church opened a temple in Mexicali on Monday. Spokesman David Alonso said the church has a presence in 44 countries and has been in Mexicali more than 50 years. Its headquarters are in Guadalajara. The charismatic church, founded in 1926, got a good start as a result of the Cristero war between the Mexican government and Catholics. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and former President Vicente Fox shook hands on Sunday at the papal mass in Guanajuato state after Fox extended his hand. Story in Milenio. Tijuana's Zeta newspaper was credited with the photo. German Orozco's photos of the encounter, La Jornada.
All the presidential candidates attended the mass: Story in Frontera (PDF).
The day before, López Obrador was quoted as saying he had forgiven President Felipe Calderón, whom he claims stole the 2006 election from him. Still, in the interview with Spain's El País, López Obrador called Calderón corrupt and dishonest. Interview, El País. López Obrador would not answer whether he also forgives Fox, El Universal reported.
Fox, president from 2000-2006, was behind a legal action known as a desafuero against López Obrador when López Obrador was mayor of Mexico City that could have prevented López Obrador from running for president in 2006. Still, the desafuero may have reduced López Obrador's standing just enough that Calderón was able to eke out victory. Both Fox and Calderón are members of the National Action Party.
Beatriz Paredes registered Sunday as the the Institutional Revolutionary Party-Green Party candidate for mayor of Mexico City. She also ran in 2006, losing to Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party. The PRD is the favorite to win again. PRI officials, however, said this year's PRD candidate, former prosecutor Miguel Mancera, has recently dropped 10 points in the polls. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Ceremonies to mark the 18th anniversary of the March 23, 1994 assassination of Institutional Revolutionary Party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana were held at the Lomas Taurinas slaying site Friday, Tijuana media reported. Hugo
Abel Castro Bojórquez, president of the Colosio Foundation, said Colosio would be honored by a PRI presidential victory this year. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story, Frontera (PDF). Among those in attendance were Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante and Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo.
Pelayo appears to have been a major factor in the National Action Party's cancellation of its planned March 30 presidential campaign kickoff in Ensenada; he had said the PRI would hold a competing event, and La Ch.com and El Mexicano reported that he or the PRI apparently reserved the main plaza for the PRI before the PAN could do so. PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota now is scheduled to make an Ensenada campaign stop April 3.
PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto says he does not fear assassination (PDF). Jump.
El Mexicano also wrote about a visit to the Lomas Taurinas site by Othón Cortez, who was acquitted of charges of being a second gunman in the assassination. The paper incorrectly said it was his first visit to the site since the slaying; he visited the scene last year. Story, El Mexicano. Story (PDF). Jump.
Last year's MexicoPerspective story on Othón.
Pope Benedict XVI, on the first day of his visit to Mexico, said the Catholic church must assume some responsibility for Mexico's drug violence, noting that Mexico is 80% Catholic. He said the church must do what it can to to battle the scourge to humanity and protect youth. He said he would petition God to help Mexico. Story, Frontera (PDF). Second page.
A Testa Marketing poll conducted in alliance with Síntesis Televisión has the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto far ahead in the polls even in Baja California, traditionally a National Action Party stronghold, El Mexicano reported. The poll had Peña Nieto at 41.1%, the PAN's Vázquez Mota at 29.4%, the PRD's Andrés Manuel López Obrador at 25.3% and New Alliance's Gabriel Quadri at 4.1% (much higher than Quadri's national numbers.) Item on El Mexicano political page (PDF). Gilberto Lavenant column.
The poll has the PRI's Baja California Senate ticket of Eligio Valencia and Nancy Sánchez at 35.4%, the PAN's ticket of Ernesto Ruffo and Víctor Hermosillo at 33.4% and the PRD's ticket of Marco Antonio Blásquez and Daniel Solorio at 19.4%; the Green Party ticket of Alfonso Blancafort and Claudia Aguirre at 8.1%; and the New Alliance Party's ticket of Serafín González Juárez and Amado Ovidio Gil Villarello at 3.6%. The Green and New Alliance numbers appear inflated, although Blancafort and Aguirre are both well known in their communities.
The way Senate races work is the two candidates from the winning ticket are elected to the Senate, and the first candidate on the second-place ticket also is voted in.
Mitofsky national poll from earlier this week.
The 2012 Baja California Senate race.
Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador registered before the Federal Electoral Institute on Thursday. He is running under the banner of the Democratic Revolution Party, the Workers Party and the Citizens Movement.
López Obrador lost the 2006 election in 2006 to the National Action Party's Felipe Calderón by a razor-close margin. He said Thursday: "That what happened in 2006 does not happen again, that they don't again step on the rights of citizens,
that they respect the will of the people, that you have the ability, with the law in hand, to guarantee clean and free elections."
Polls put López in third place. Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann's column Friday said the Prediction Market (La Bolsa de Mercados de Predicción) currently has a $7 bet for PRI candidate paying off $10, a $2 bet for the PAN's Josefina Vázquez Mota paying off $10, and a $1 bet for López Obrador paying $10. Zuckermann's column (PDF).
The Federal Electorial Institute voted 5-4 not to sanction President Felipe Calderón for stating, in a Feb. 23 speech to Banamex, that Josefina Vázquez Mota was only four points behind the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Enrique Peña Nieto in the polls. Both Calderón and Vázquez Mota are member of the National Action Party. Most polls show Vázquez Mota behind by double digits. Under Mexican electoral rules, the president is supposed to stay out of the presidential election. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Baja California Senate candidate Ernesto Ruffo said March 15 that he thought Vázquez Mota was only 5 points behind.
A Supreme Court panel said there were irregularities in the conviction of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez's in a kidnapping case, but voted 3-2 to keep her behind bars. Her case has become a cause celebre in France and Mexico. She claims she did not know her boyfriend, who still faces trial in the case, was involved in kidnapping. Story in Frontera.
The case now is being passed on to Justice Olga Sánchez Cordero, who said it will take some time to come up with a new recommendation in the case. She voted for Cassez's release. Story, Sol. Story, AFP.
Previous mention of Justice Arturo Zaldívar's recommendation in the case.
U.S. angle: Some of the testimony was taken in San Diego.
A 7.9 earthquake Tuesday damaged buildings in Guerrero and Oaxaca states and Mexico City and collapsed a bridge onto a bus with no passengers but killed no one. It also showed that President Barack Obama has enough confidence in Mexico for his daughter Malia to visit Oaxaca with other students from her Sidwell Friends school; the White House issued a statement saying she was unhurt by the quake. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Meanwhile, U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble also wrote about U.S. expatriates' efforts to promote tourism in Ensenada. U-T San Diego story.
Update, March 23: New York Times writes about Malia's visit: "A Class Trip Meant Much to Mexico." It quotes a waiter as saying she ordered quesadillas in Spanish. The Times also said: "Malia Obama’s Class Trip Delights Mexico Tourism Officials."
Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez writes about populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador's sources of income. While López Obrador has professed to living simply, on a relatively low income for a major Mexican politician, the columnist says the PRD presidential candidate has four homes. The column (PDF).
Catholic authorities announced that Pope Benedict XVI won't meet with sex-abuse victims of the late Legion of Christ leader Marcial Maciel during the pontiff's visit to Mexico, which begins Friday. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The columnist Catón noted that the pope has met with other sex-abuse victims of Catholic priests and hoped that the decision would be reversed. Caton's column (PDF).
Update, March 22: Los Angeles Times story notes that Mexican bishops needed to have requested such a meeting for it to take place, but never did.
Update, March 25: Book about Maciel's abuse put on sale during pope's visit. Story in Frontera (PDF).
New Mitofsky poll puts Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI at 39%, Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN at 24% and Andrés Manuel López Obrador at 18%. New Alliance candidate Gabriel Quadri did not even get to 1%; 19% were undecided.
A new federal agency to help crime victims has opened an office in Tijuana. Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra, the head of ProVíctima, came to Tijuana to announce the opening of the office, Frontera reported. She said 15 centers have been set up across the country. The agency was created in October by a decree from President Felipe Calderón. Its goal is to listen to victims, help them recover and assist them with their dealings with the legal system. Interview with Herrerías, Frontera (PDF). Jump.
Tijuana-Mexicali highway closed for 15 hours. Story, Frontera (PDF).
U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble writes about the documentary "Reportero," about Mexicali journalist Sergio Haro Cordero. Haro, who works for the Tijuana weekly Zeta, has been threatened, as have other Zeta journalists: Two of its journalists and a bodyguard have been killed, and one journalist was wounded when the bodyguard was slain. The documentary was directed by Bernardo Ruiz, and is to be shown at the San Diego Latino Film Festival at 3 p.m. today. The documentary is to air on PBS this fall.
U-T San Diego story.
Univision story. Latino Public Broadcasting story.
National Action Party presidential candidate Josefina Vásquez Mota registered with the Federal Electoral Institute on Saturday. She also submitted two other documents, results of a drug test that showed she was not taking illegal narcotics and results of lie-detector test where she said she does not have ties to organized crime. During the Jan. 31 PAN debate, she said she was going to be taking the tests, saying she hoped would provide an example for police officers across the country to do the same. Story on her remarks at the PAN debate.
Federal Deputy Francisco Moreno Merino (right) of Morelos state has lost his designation as the top Senate candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party as a result of a negative comment he made about women.
The PRI's national committee said Moreno had agreed not to be the candidate as a result of the controversy.
Merino made the remark during an appearance of the director of Issste, Sergio Hidalgo (left), on Tuesday. Issste stands for Institute for Social Security and State Services for State Workers.
The quote: "No hay caballo ﬁno que no tire a mula, ni mujer bonita que no llegue a ser meretriz, ni hombre bueno que no tire pelo. No es usted un hombre bueno, es usted un buen director general del Instituto".
"There is not a thoroughbred who does not wind up pulling like a mule, nor a pretty woman who does not become a prostitute, nor a good man whose hair does not fall out. You are not a good man, you are a good director of the institute." Hidalgo, as can be seen in the photo, has a full head of hair.
Moreno said he was quoting from Gonzalo Santos (1897-1978), the longtime PRI cacique of San Luis Potosí state.
Former Health Minister José Ángel Córdova
has been named education minister by President Felipe Calderón. Dr. Córdova resigned the health post last year to seek the National Action Party gubernatorial nomination in Guanajuato, but lost in the party's internal election Feb. 5.
He succeeds Alonso Lujambio, who took leave from the post last year to seek cancer treatment. Lujambio is No. 7 on the PAN's list of at-large candidates for the Senate; media reported he was going to have to resign to run for the post. At No. 7, he is a cinch to get in. Córdova also was on the at-large list, at No. 20. Córdova is likely to only serve until Calderón leaves office Dec. 1. El Universal reported that former INEGI head Rodolfo Tuirán, who has been running the education ministry in Lujambio's absence, did not qualify to be education minister because he was born outside the country.
Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 27: Córdova visits Baja California. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Baja California said to be state with second-most scholarships awarded. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Democratic Revolution Party presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in at the PRD's presidential candidate at the Poliforum
Siqueiros on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in Tijuana, historian Lorenzo Meyer said he had hopes that the populist López Obrador could get the lion's share of the undecided vote and win the presidency. Meyer spoke at an event where six students were honored by Tijuana Innovadora. Meyer urged the students to work hard to change Mexico's socioeconomic and political system. He said it was likely that the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto would win the presidency, but predicted that the PAN's Josefina Vázquez Mota would wind up in third place.
Stories on Meyer, Frontera (PDF). Story on Meyer, El Mexicano (PDF).
Story on López Obrador being sworn in as PRD candidate in Frontera (PDF). Meyer's webpage.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this item incorrectly said López Obrador had registered before the IFE on March 16, which did not occur until March 22.
Residents of La Rumorosa took over toll booths on a state toll road in Baja California for six hours on Thursday, Frontera newspaper reported. Residents said the government is not complying with a 1996 agreement that said a portion of the tolls would go to help improve their community, including school maintenance. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Map of area in question (PDF): It is 63 kilometers (39 miles) from Tecate and 78 kilometers (48 miles) from Mexicali. The toll road's website.
PAN congressional candidate César Alejandro Monraz Sustaita dropped out as the National Action Party's candidate for District 6 in Tijuana to allow the PAN to run a woman in his place to meet the party's gender quotas, Frontera reported. District 6 promises to be a tough race, with the Institutional Revolutionary Party putting forward Chris López, who garnered tremendous publicity over the past year as the city's administrator for the San Antonio de Los Buenos district. Monraz lost the PAN bid for mayor in 2010 to Carlos Torres and now has some major chips to call in for his future aspirations. Story, Frontera. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Second story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Three members of a musical group in Tijuana were shot by gunmen with high-powered weapons Tuesday while the band was practicing in a garage in the Sánchez Taboada neighborhood, Tijuana media reported. Vocalist Carlos Alberto Hernández Mancillas died after receiving eight gunshots, El Mexicano reported. It said he also was the manager of the group, called "Los Juniors." The paper said two other band members, identified as Luis Alberto, 17, and Francisco Javier Gutiérrez, 18, were badly wounded. A fourth band member had a bullet graze him, the paper said. El Mexicano said it was presumed that the Norteño group played narcocorridos such as "El R-7" or "Cuidando Tijuana", which the paper said makes reference to the Arellano Félix cartel being aware that other drug trafficking groups have arrived at the border and will confront them. "Juniors" from prominent Tijuana families joined the cartel when it was in its heyday. The Arellano Félix cartel has lost a lot of its strength and it appears that the Sinaloa Cartel is now dominant in Tijuana. La Familia Michoacana also has been operating in the city. Story, El Mexicano. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Sol de Tijuana (says Luis Alberto was the one who died). Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias story.
Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann lauded Supreme Court justice Arturo Zaldívar's actions in recommending that Frenchwoman Florence Cassez be freed because irregularities in her kidnapping conviction violated her constitutional rights. Cassez was the girlfriend of an alleged kidnapper. Zuckermann said Zaldívar is to be lauded for taking stands to shake up the system. He noted that Zaldívar (right), in 2010, sought to lay blame on various top public officials in the 2009 Hermosillo day-care fire, an idea that was rejected by the full court. Zuckermann's column (PDF).
PAN Mexico City mayoral candidate María Isabel Miranda de Wallace, whose son was a kidnapping victim, urged the whole court to review the case and to keep in mind the rights of kidnapping victims. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 14: Miranda de Wallace visits Supreme Court with kidnapping victims. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 21: Court panel does not free Cassez.
Enrique Peña Nieto, in his acceptance speech for the Institutional Revolutionary Party nomination for president, said in Dolores Hidalgo that the nation wants a change away from 12 years of blood, violence and death during two National Action Party administrations.
He spoke in Dolores Hidalgo, the birthplace of Mexican independence, before 780 of the 1,200 members of the PRI's National Political Council. The venue, and the limited but still large audience, gave Peña Nieto powerfully imagery for his campaign. On Sunday, Josefina Vázquez Mota wound up delivering her address to a half-empty stadium in Mexico City. Dolores Hidalgo is in Guanajuato, a PAN bastion.
The presidential campaign does not officially begin until March 30.
Frontera newspaper said more than 20,000 marched for peace and life in Tijuana on Sunday. Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz, who led the march, also said violence in Tijuana has been going down. He said parishioners are not complaining to him nearly so much as in the past. He also said kidnappings, although down, are still taking place. The archbishop has been in the forefront over the years in trying to make Tijuana a safer place.
Meanwhile, Frontera's Insecurity Barometer feature said there were 38 drug arrests, 34 car thefts, 19 major accidents but no killings in the past week.
Story on march, Frontera (PDF). Story on archbishop's remarks, Frontera (PDF). Front-page photo (PDF).
Story on march, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Insegurómetro (Insecurity Barometer), Frontera (PDF).
Josefina Vázquez Mota gave her acceptance speech as the National Action Party candidate on Sunday in the Estadio Azul in Mexico City. The media reported that the stadium was full at one point, but by the time the candidate spoke three hours later, with the sun blazing down, much of the place had emptied. Story, photo, in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 13: Campaign coordinator Roberto Gil Zuarth takes responsibility for stadium clearing out before Vázquez Mota speech, saying he should have altered program after it began late and not had three speakers before her. Gil also is No. 3 on the PAN's list of at-large (plurinominal) candidates for the Senate and a cinch to get in. Columnist Sergio Sarmiento reported that a Mexican Social Security Institute union member said Section 33 members were obligated to attend the event. If true, that is an "acarreado" tactic traditionally used by the PRI. Sarmiento's column (PDF).
Update, March 13: Columnist Leo Zuckermann calls Vázquez Mota campaign team amateurs who nonetheless still have time to make up for their mistakes, if they don't make any more big ones. His column (PDF).
At attempt to rob high-voltage electrical cables in Punta Bandera south of Playas de Tijuana caused a power outage for 112,000 customers in Tijuana and Rosarito on Friday night, authorities told Frontera newspaper. The cutting of the power lines caused wooden posts holding them to catch fire, authorities said. Colonia Rubí, Colonia El Cacho and TV Azteca and Televisa were among neighborhoods and customers affected. The outage was registered at 7:34 p.m.
The Mexican columnist Catón, also known as Armando Fuentes Aguirre, wrote Sunday in his Manganitas feature:
"They burn buses in Guadalajara to provoke panic"
All of Mexico, alarmed, sings with a voice stunned: "Guadalajara, Guadalajara,
You smell of pure burnt iron."
This is a play on the mariachi song "Guadalajara, Guadalajara," which calls the city clean-smelling, fresh as a morning rose.
On Friday, following an army operation that resulted in the arrest of Erick Valencia Salazar, the alleged leader of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel organized crime group, 25 municipal buses and other vehicles were set on fire in 16 locations by criminal elements. The group is believed to be allied with Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
Caton's verse (PDF).
Story on the arrest and burnings, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Editorial about the matter, El Mexicano (PDF). It said the nightmare experienced by Jalisco state residents Friday is similar to events that have taken place in many other cities, and decried the overall situation.
Update, March 12: President Calderón says Jalisco will not be left at the mercy of organized crime. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 15: Cartel apologizes for blockades, says it is trying prevent Zetas from extorting Jalisco residents. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
The Tijuana Archdiocese said it has 500 tickets to hand out for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Mexico, which begins March 23 in Guanajuato. The popemobile already has arrived. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mexico's regular Magna gasoline on Saturday reached 10 pesos a liter for the first time. That translates to $3 a gallon, still well below the U.S. price, at an exchange rate of 12.66 pesos to the dollar. California prices are generally exceeding $4 a gallon.
Despite incremental price increases in Mexico, the government subsidized gasoline sales to the tune of 166 billion pesos in 2011, or $13.1 billion. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Previous story on Mexican subsidies and energy issues.
Tijuana social development agency head David Saúl Guakil will be leaving his post to coordinate the presidential campaign of Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in Baja California, Frontera newspaper reported.
Political page, Frontera (PDF).
Guakil had hoped to become one the PRI's two candidates for Senate. The national PRI named as Baja California's top Senate candidate Eligio Valencia, a union leader who operates El Mexicano newspaper; an El Mexicano columnist later accused Guakil of trying to get the decision overturned, and Guakil ran a full-page ad in rebuttal.
Update, March 15: Guakil departure from city post is official; Oscar Sanabia to succeed him. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, March 16: Announcement on Guakil becoming state campaign coordinator has not been made yet, Frontera's political page says (PDF). It says Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti has been fighting the appointment.
Update, March 17: Guakil's new post confirmed. Item, Frontera (PDF). Part of the deal apparently is that state PRI leader René Mendivil is named special coordinator for Baja California PRI candidates by the PRI national committee. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 7: Guakil returns to his city post following the July 1 election.
Former Puebla Gov. Manuel Bartlett, an Institutional Revolutionary Party politician famous for being the interior minister who announced that the computer system had gone down in the 1988 election, is running for a Senate seat on the Democratic Revolution Party coalition ticket. Bartlett, 76, said he will remain a member of the PRI, while saying he is in the leftist, nationalist wing of the party. Bartlett said Thursday that he has the support of PRD co-founder Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who was leading in the July 1988 voting when the computer system was said to have gone down and trailing when it came back up during the election won by the PRI's Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Bartlett is the PRD coalition's top candidate in Puebla state; he served as a senator for the PRI from 2000-2006. The Senate seats in Puebla have always gone to the PRI or the National Action Party; could Bartlett's presence on the ballot make a difference? Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Cárdenas was quoted as saying Thursday in Jalisco state that he wants to hear from Bartlett exactly what happened when the computer system fell. Story, La Jornada.
Update, March 10: PRD presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador backs Bartlett, saying he has changed, while columnist Denise Dresser calls Bartlett a "chameleonsaurus," basically a dinosaur who has only changed his color. PRIistas have long been referred to as dinosaurs.
Stories in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 12: Columnist Leo Zuckermann calls Bartlett's candidacy a marriage of convenience for López Obrador, who hopes Bartlett can help get him more votes in a state that traditionally has not voted for the left. Zuckermann's column, in Frontera (PDF).
It was a quite a week involving education in Tijuana. It continues to make strides to bridge its education deficit, although some of the shortcuts it is taking are disconcerting to teachers without major health benefits and to environmentalists who just saw a park turned into property for a new high school.
Federal Deputy Manuel Clouthier, who recently won a court ruling allowing him to be the National Action Party Senate candidate for Sinaloa state, said he planned to run as an independent for president because he is disappointed with the other four candidates for the nation's top post. A Federal Electoral Institute official said it will not be possible for him to run as an independent. He said the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the Democratic Revolution Party and the PAN have become a "partidocracia," which perhaps could be translated as a party-autocracy. He is the son of 1988 PAN presidential candidate Manuel "Maquío" Clouthier.
Story in Frontera (PDF). Story, Milenio.
Previous story on the Senate race ruling.
Update, March 10: Clouthier says he is going to cause chaos and have fun with his independent candidacy. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 14: IFE President Leonardo Valdés rejects idea of Clouthier candidacy, saying the IFE only registers candidates of parties.
Update, March 16: Clouthier submits application to run as independent.
For the second month, Frontera newspaper issued a report card on the Baja California state legislature, this time including votes by the legislators. It even noted who did not vote. It said eight legislators, including Gregorio Barreto of the PRI, were present for every vote, while
Víctor Hugo Navarro Gutiérrez of the Green Party was present for only vote out of 18 and
Claudia Josefina Agatón Muñiz of the Workers Party was present for only two votes. Barreto is from Tijuana, Navarro from Mexicali and Agatón from Ensenada. Story, Frontera: First page (PDF), Second page (PDF).
Who's who in the legislature.
Update, March 7: The new president of COPARMEX, Jorge Escalante, criticizes the lack of action by state legislators. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The first ladies of Baja California's five municipalities began a campaign against domestic violence on Monday entitled "Ante la violencia familiar no te
calles" (Don't be silent about domestic violence). As part of the campaign, the emergency telephone number 075 now has more counselors who respond to cries for help. Officials said the system that provides shelter to abused women and children also has been improved. The program is being headed by Carolina Bustamante, the daughter of Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante. She said she wanted to help women understand that it is a myth that if their husbands or partners keep abusing them, that one day he will change.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Sunday's stories leading up to the introduction of the program: First page (PDF). Second page (PDF).
Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann writes that if the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Enrique Peña Nieto wins the presidency July 1, he likely will have to go through "old sea lions" in Congress, Emilio Gamboa y Manlio Fabio Beltrones. Zuckermann said Gamboa likely will head the PRI bloc in the Senate and Beltrones likely will head it in the Chamber of Deputies. Beltrones, 59, currently a Senate leader, is No. 1 on the PRI's at-large list for the Chamber. He previously served as governor of Sonora and twice previously in the Chamber of Deputies. Gamboa, 61, is No. 1 on the PRI's at-large list for the Senate. He led the PRI's Chamber bloc from 2006-2009, and previously served in the Senate from 2000-2006. He coordinated Francisco Labastida's 2000 presidential campaign that lost to the National Action Party's Vicente Fox.
Zuckermann's column. His column in PDF format.
Beltrones recently spoke at a binational mayors' conference in Tijuana.
A BGC-Excélsior poll gives PRI front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto an 18-point lead over National Action Party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota. Peña Nieto had 47% to Vázquez Mota's 29%, to 23% for Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party and 1% for Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance Party.
Columnist Eduardo Ruiz-Healy cites various polls, proclaims that Peña Nieto will win presidency (PDF).
Last week's story on polls.
Columnist Denise Dresser essentially calls New Alliance Party presidential candidate Gabriel Quadri a babe in the woods who has no business being the candidate of the party founded by teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo. Dresser said the party exists essentially to help win elections, by hook or by crook, for other parties willing to pay the price for her help. She said the candidacy of Quadri, an economist who advocates sustainable development, is an ingenuous one. Dresser's column.
Dresser will deliver the 16th annual Sister Sally Furay lecture at the University of San Diego at 7 p.m. May 4.
Carlos Bustamante was honored for work he has done as mayor of Tijuana and National Action Party Deputy Oscar Arce of Tijuana was recognized by U.S. Embassador Anthony Wayne for his efforts to improve the security situation in the country.
Bustamante, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, received the National Good Municipal Government Prize 2012 from the Federation of Municipalities at a meeting in Boca del Río, Veracruz. Bustamante was honored for his renegotiation of Tijuana's debt and reordering of city finances. Another Bustamante accomplishment was coming to terms with Tecate on the cities' boundary. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Recognized along with Arce by the U.S. Embassy were Deputies Humberto Benítez Treviño and Arturo Zamora, both of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Arec was praised for his work in passing anti-kidnapping and witness protection legislation. Arce said he asked Wayne to try to free up more Mérida Initiative money for police training and compensation.
Story, El Sol de Tijuana.
Frontera said in its "Insegurometro" report that in one week, 36 vehicles were stolen in Tijuana. It said all the vehicles were recovered. It said four people died and 14 were injured in vehicle accidents; 22 major accidents were reported. It said there were nine slayings. In addition, 34 were detained for drug possession; 18 were detained for arms possession; and 13 were detained in sexual abuse cases. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Story on two shot to death in Mariano Matamoros neighborhood Saturday
The Los Angeles Times' Ken Ellingwood writes Sunday about how drug corruption allegations against Tamaulipas governors could harm Enrique Peña Nieto's bid to retake the presidency for the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Peña Nieto continues to hold a wide lead for the July 1 election. The story is entitled: "Drug allegations may hamper former Mexico ruling party's return." Story, Los Angeles Times.
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich indicated on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Hispanics may help him in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. "Governor Perry has told me that he thinks I'll carry Texas the last weekend of May by a huge margin, which would lead into California, our biggest state the following week where we already have 17 Hispanic co-chairs statewide in California and a number of other folks ... (from) the Korean, Chinese and Thai and Vietnamese communities. So we are reaching out across all of California." He held out hope that delegates whom he said are not legally bound might switch to him.
Previous item on Gingrich and immigration.
Mention of Notimex story on GOP candidates and immigration.
The Week in Mexico: Immigration and Deportation.
The National Action Party has invalidated the nomination of Fernando
Yunes Márquez, son of former Issste director Miguel Ángel Yunes
Linares, for irregularities involved in the process. Fernando Yunes Márquez also is the brother of state coordinator of the Oportunidades program run by the federal Social Development Ministry, Miguel Angel Yunes Márquez. The 154 cited irregularities were reported to include vote buying and ballot-box stuffing. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Yunes Linares was an ally of teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo before dramatically breaking with her, saying last year that she had asked him during a meeting in San Diego County to fund her New Alliance Party with money from Issste, the Institute for Social Security and State Services for State Workers. Story on his charges.
The increase in organized-crime murders in Mexico slowed to 11% in 2011, far below the 58.8% increase in 2010, according to an annual report on drug violence issued by the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute. Despite the slowdown in the increase of the organized-crime murder rate, the report says, "2011 had 1,650 more deaths than the previous year and nearly six times the number of killings in 2007." In presenting the report on Friday, institute Director David Shirk said that although murders fell in Baja California, that was offset by increases in other states.
The report also says: "On average, for every day of 2011, 47 people were killed, three of whom were tortured, one of whom was decapitated, two of whom were women." It also says "Mexico urgently needs to implement police and judicial sector reforms."
The report, in PDF format.
Story, U-T San Diego.
Former President Vicente Fox, who visited San Diego a year ago, on Friday encouraged students at Coronado Middle School to set goals, U-T San Diego reported. He told students there is not as much discrimination in the United States now as there used to be when he briefly attended a Jesuit high school in Wisconsin and was called "a greasy Mexican," the paper reported. Story, U-T San Diego.
A Milenio poll has put National Action Party presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota within seven points of Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann notes that the tightness of the race is slightly exaggerated in the Milenio poll because undecided voters are included in the percentages: Peña Nieto 36%, Vázquez Mota 29%, the Democratic Revolution Party's López Obrador 17%, the New Alliance Party's Gabriel Quadri 1% and undecideds 17%. Taking the undecideds out of the equation, Peña Nieto goes to 43% and Vázquez Mota to 35%.
Zuckermann said a Parametría poll that came out Thursday in El Sol de México had Vázquez Mota gaining five points but still 17 points behind. It gave Peña Nieto 48%, Vázquez Mota 31%, López Obrador 19% and Quadri 2%. Zuckermann's column (PDF).
Zuckermann, who last week criticized President Felipe Calderón for saying Vázquez Mota was within 4 points of Peña Nieto, urged that pollsters tell the Mexican public who is financing their surveys.
Last month's El Universal poll.
Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti and María Elvia Amaya de Hank will be at-large deputies in the next Mexican Congress. Castro Trenti was placed at No. 5 on the Institutional Revolutionary Party's first at-large (plurinominal) list, while Amaya de Hank was placed at No. 8.
Castro Trenti and Amaya de Hank's husband, former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, both are planning to run for governor of Baja California next year.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Political page, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Political page, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, El Universal.
No. 1 on the first at-large list is Sonora Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, who recently spoke at the border mayors' conference in Tijuana. No. 12 is state legislator Virginia Noriega Ríos.
There are 200 plurinominal seats, and the PRI likely will get a fourth or them or more in the July 1 election.
Update, March 5: Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez (PDF) wonders why in creation María Elvia Amaya de Hank is on the plurinominal list; MexicoPerspective wonders why the heck Fernández repeatedly says she is on the Senate list, when she is on the Chamber of Deputies list.
Update, September: María Elvia Amaya de Hank dies.