A summary of events south of the border. . .
Peña plunges in the polls
The digits are so low he’d envy Trump’s numbers.
From teleSUR English:
Only 12 percent of Mexicans approve of the performance of President Enrique Peña Nieto, a new poll by newspaper Reforma found Wednesday, the lowest approval rating for a Mexican president since the paper began polling in 1995. At the beginning of his term in December 2012, Peña Nieto had a 61 percent approval rating.
His approval ratings hit a record low this month following the economic crisis and accusations of corruption, human rights violations and plagiarism. Most recently, his decision to raise gas prices by 20 percent has caused deadly riots and looting across the country.
The poll also shows 27 percent of voters favor the opposition leftist Morena party of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in next year’s presidential election, compared with 24 percent for the conservative National Action Party and only 17 percent for Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
The discontent with the ruling party also comes with the president’s decision to ignore public opinion claims regarding issues like the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students and the mounting human rights violations during his administration.
Peña Nieto and his political allies have been plagued by corruption allegations throughout his tenure while Mexico has endured escalating rates of violence, drug trafficking and forced disappearances.
More murders, this time in Cancun
Cartel violence is claiming bodies in a favorite venue for young U.S. tourists.
From El País:
Two shootouts in two days this week that left nine people dead and at least 15 people injured have shattered the calm of Cancún, threatening the beach resort’s position as the jewel in the crown of Mexico’s tourism industry.
On Monday, a man opened fire in the Blue Parrot nightclub in nearby Playa del Carmen, which was hosting the BPM electronic music festival. Five people died, among them a Canadian, US national and an Italian, and 15 were wounded in the attack, footage of which was posted on social networks.
The following day, armed men attacked the State Attorney General’s office in Cancún, killing a policeman. Four of the attackers were gunned down and five others arrested.
Security analyst Alejandro Hope says that the incidents were a spillover from mounting tension between criminal gangs fighting for control of the drugs trade, extortion and other illegal activities in the area.
“Things have been getting worse for several months; last summer there were attacks on massage parlors and brothels, but this has made the news because the shootout took place at an international event and there were foreign victims, while the attack on the State Attorney’s office is a direct challenge to authority,” he says.
TrumpOnomics™ worries in Mexico
And it’s not the cost of the wall that’s the biggest concern.
From teleSUR English:
Concerns about the policies to be pursued by the incoming Trump administration have caused a freeze on new investment in maquiladoras on the Mexican side of the border, where thousands of workers in that industry face an uncertain future.
Case in point is Ciudad Juarez, a city across from El Paso, Texas, where the first of the maquiladoras — plants where goods are assembled for export — was installed in 1968 and the maquila industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the local economy.
Trump, who takes office Friday, has said he will impose tariffs of up to 35 percent on U.S. companies who move operations to Mexico with the idea of selling their products back to the U.S. market.
Amid pressure by Trump, Ford made a surprise announcement early this year that it would cancel plans for a US$1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest that money in Michigan.
That would mark an abrupt shift away from the current climate of virtually tariff-free U.S.-Mexico trade for qualifying goods under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the president-elect says must be renegotiated.
Mass movement halts water privatization
From teleSUR English:
A privatizing water law in the Mexican state of Baja California was repealed Tuesday following mass demonstrations against further privatization.
The state’s Governor Francisco Vega issued the decree Tuesday but would not answer press questions, only stating that the decision will benefit the people of Baja California.
The head of Infrastructure and Urban Development Edmundo Guevara, who was the main target of protests for proposing to privatize potable water services, was also in attendance.
Meanwhile, protesters are blocking state facilities in the state capital to demand the resignation of the local president and the deputies who voted in favor of the water law.
They also demanded the state eliminate the gas tax and immediately pay salaries and benefits kept from state employees.