1) Eliminating the groups that threaten the state, either by corruption or assassination. This cannot just be about arresting the kingpins or attacking the lower level operators and financial networks, but both.The message for criminals would be, don't mess with the state, don't mess with civilians, and you have a better chance of surviving. Building on the assumption as long as the US has a drug prohibition, Mexico will have organized crime, the best-case scenario ten years from now is a nation in which the gangs are less violent, more defensive, and well aware of their relative weakness compared to the government. Of course, without dramatically reducing impunity, that message loses a lot of its force, and a dramatic improvement in the capacity and honesty of the police is a prerequisite.
2) Eliminating groups that threaten free society. This requires placing more emphasis on combating groups whose revenue is based more extortion and kidnapping than drugs.
3) Making Mexico’s most violent places safer.
4) Reducing the consumption of drugs in Mexico, and the flow of drugs northward.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
It is estimated that in Mexico, for every peso that comes into the theaters from ticket sales, around 65 cents stay with the theater company, 20 percent go with the distributor, and the remaining 15 percent wind up in the hands of the producer, who is the one who invests the funds so that the film is made.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Jorge Tello Peón is perhaps not only the most respected national security specialist inside and outside of the country, but also the man that, with a complete team and, as a result, very clear political direction, provided the best results to the Mexican state in those difficult tasks.While in the job, however, Tello Peón was virtually invisible, either because he was more comfortable working behind the scenes, or, what seems more likely now, because he was marginalized. Whatever the case, Fernández's high hopes never became a reality.
I say "sort of" above because, although I think Sarmiento's diagnosis squares pretty well with what I've seen from conservative Mexicans, nothing is stopping an ambitious governor from making a name for himself by leading the backlash. And while many conservative Mexicans might sympathize with the above logic, said sympathy would probably not be enough for them to try to block a ban on same-sex marriage. I should also add that I don't think becoming the preeminent anti-gay politician in Mexico would be a path the presidency, but it would certainly ensure national headlines.Maintaining the prohibition on marriage between homosexuals is a popular position because the majority of Mexicans aren't gay and think that this preference is a perversion. The correct question that a modern society as, however, isn't if people agree with gay marriage, but rather if it generates some harm to third parties. And the answer is no.With the absence of damage to third parties, it makes no sense to continue the prohibition of marriages between homosexuals. The government mustn't have the power to obligate one person to get married, nor the power impede two people from doing so only because they are of the same sex. Marriage is a simple civil contract that implies the commitment to maintain an enduring relationship with certain rights and obligations. The Church has, of course, the right to restrict religious weddings, but a secular state has no reason to assume the position of the Church as its own.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The scandal of the narco-photos reflects a deeper problem that lies at the heart of our transition to a democracy: the absolute absence of understanding for a good part of the population and the authorities of the rule of law and human rights. Ultimately the conflicts between the authorities and the criminals are only an issue of power and not legitimacy. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys" in this fight: just two bands looking to do away with the other.
[T]he benefits of this operation remain less clear, from the declared purposes of this strategy: reduce violence and insecurity. The participation of the marines on dry land leads specialists and observers to suspect that the army is already penetrated by the narcos, and that from the inside the could give a "heads-up" to Beltrán. It wouldn't be unusual, because everything that gets close to drug trafficking becomes corruptible. The Americans know it well and that's why they don't involve their army in direct fighting against drugs. Are the marines the only trustworthy institution we have left? Until when?
Meanwhile, the rule of law, and the Mexican state in general, continues deteriorating in this exhausting and counterproductive war, against which there absolutely are alternatives that don't equal surrender (such as those applied in Europe and the United States, where more drug consumption of drugs is registered).
Monday, December 21, 2009
- On such a short list it's impossible not to snub worthy players, but you'd think one could find room for Puyol and either Kaká or Robinho.
- You may have noticed more than a third of these players are Spanish, which is makes sense, given the fact that they've lost once in their past thirty-odd games, and are the top-ranked team in the world.
- The lack of Brazilian midfielders and strikers is surprising (see above). This doesn't, we should point out, reflect a lack of talent; with Robinho, Kaká, and Luis Fabiano, they are loaded as ever with world-class offensive players.
- It's kind of jarring to see zero Italians and Germans on the list. The two nations have tallied a run to the semis, the final, and the trophy over the past two Cups, and yet, not a one can crack the starting eleven.
The new governor of the Bank of Mexico's other challenges will be to deepen transparency and accountability in the Government Conference, making public the minutes of each of their meetings, with the goal of investors and analysts having greater tools related to the monetary policy strategies that will be implemented. The push toward competition and the reduction of commissions charged by the banking sector is no small task, with the spread between the active (credit) and passive (savings) interest rates continues to be among the largest in the world, coming to levels of about 4,000 basis points.The reduction in the rating of Mexico's sovereign debt and the inflationary pressures that the 2010 fiscal package will cause, thanks to the IVA and telecom tax increases, as well as the rises in the price of gasoline, electricity, and propane will test the new Banxico governor's ability to move interest rates in the direction that guarantees the stability of the peso with full autonomy, without compromising the economic recovery and the level of employment desired by the president and above all society.
Nafta's negative impact on Mexico's rural sector (exacerbated by the government's failure to plan for it) is pretty well accepted in Mexico, and is alluded to here:
American jobs did move south, particularly into the export sector. The growth in services — new supermarkets, banks, tourism — also created jobs. But overall, Mexico was unable to create enough jobs to make up for all the jobs lost because of competition from imports, particularly purchases of subsidized grains from the United States.But the biggest criticism isn't of Nafta per se but of the economic policies that went with it:
The authors conclude that “Mexico locked into place a set of economic policies that collectively produced disappointing results.” Mexico — and other countries seeking Nafta-style trade agreements with the United States — should reframe policies in terms of broader pro-growth strategies that channel the benefits from trade into other parts of the economy, the authors write.
For those of us who think reelection in Mexico is a good idea, this is disheartening (though not unexpected): 57 percent of respondents to an Excélsior poll are against the idea of mayoral reelection, compared to 60 who disapprove for legislators. Other portions of the proposal are widely endorsed: 93 percent favor the reduction in the size of the Congress, 68 percent like the president's line-item veto on budget issues, 74 percent support allowing the Supreme Court to propose laws, and 87 percent back permitting citizens to do so. And here's why reform has such wide backing (at least in part): 56 percent are somewhat or entirely dissatisfied with the state of Mexican democracy, an 11 point jump since 2000. (Although, aside from hopeless optimists, who isn't at least somewhat dissatisfied with the fruits of democracy?)
We still don't know anything about those funds, the Chamber of Deputies hasn't received information about that. I think there must be a visit so that we are informed about how it's working.If the relevant legislators in Mexico don't have a clue what is going on, what hope does the public have of staying informed? I'm not sure how Plan Colombia compares as far as transparency in spending, but this confusion doesn't seem to be a natural, inevitable part of an aid package.
The undercurrent of this outrage is that Messi plays a lot better for Barca than for the national team, but I can't imagine that this sort of stuff will motivate him to play a lot better.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The characteristics of the operation in which Arturo Beltrán Leyva, the Boss of Bosses, was eventually done in turns out to be, in their details, a real example of what can be and should be done. It wasn't about a simple exchange of bullets, but rather a true labor of intelligence. The strike was surgical and, in contrast to what goes on in Ciudad Juárez (for example), it gives us assurance that things can be done differently and much more effectively. The navy located and took apart at least four security cells, that network of protection, corruption, and impunity that allowed the capo's empire to take root in Morelos. Among the informants were soldiers, municipal and ministerial police, aside from an extensive network of hit man and lookouts. With all this the navy was able to deliver one of the hardest blows against organized crime. Windows of hope are opened.
As far as I'm concerned, this continues being a city of the Beltrán Leyvas, as [the media] asked me I do think they continue selling, that's what we are trying to attack, hitting them in the places where we learn that drugs are sold, which are the most public, discos and night clubs.And that's going to continue, one of the heads died but that doesn't mean that the organization is extinct or anything like that, there are thousands and thousands that work for them, as far as I'm concerned nothing has changed.
"A little while ago a group from the La Familia tried to come into town, we've already persuaded them to go, but they tried to enter San Pedro."He was asked if these comments were just an unfounded invention, to which he responded with an overwhelming no."It's real, there are lots of things I can't make known, but we're working on this, and the Family tried to enter.""How did you convince them not to?""I have good convincers for persuading people that this work in San Pedro is not accepted.""With what actions?""With the actions that you can imagine, we simply convinced them not to work in San Pedro.""Did you do so through the federal government?""No, we work at every level, our own, state, and federal. The reality is that you have to have information, if not you go crazy. Here and there we are looking for information."
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Communities are split by the wedge of abortion rights, with pro-choice and anti-abortion doctors working tensely together in the same public hospitals and protesters yelling outside: It's a familiar image in the United States, but lately abortion has polarized another country perhaps even more. Just two years after Mexico City became the first major Latin American capital to legalize it, abortion has become a flashpoint for social conflict throughout the country. Today, a wave of anti-abortion legislation is moving across Mexico's states and towns, and both abortion-rights and anti-abortion activists and legislators are preparing for full-blown war.
As in the United States, the conflict is as much about politics as it is about abortion. Mexican political parties here have found that the touchy social topic is a useful polarizer -- one that fires up voters on both sides. With the presidential election coming up in 2012, parties are already trying to line up fervent supporters. So recently, the moderate Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has joined the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN) in backing anti-abortion reforms. The PRI's decision is a major political gamble. A party from the center that was in power for decades before being unseated by PAN presidents Vicente Fox in 2000 and Felipe Calderón in 2006, the PRI is betting that abortion might just be the issue that could attract just enough conservative voters to bulk up its usual moderate core, snag PAN's base -- and repay Calderón the electoral favor.
Marcelo, however, despite resisting the "instructions" from López, ended up carrying them out. I imagine that he did so for a pair of very significant reason, more than, as has been said, simple subordination. First, so as to not destroy the PRD's increasingly fragile internal unity. Ebrard wants to be a presidential candidate, but he doesn't have a supporting party behind him. A few days ago we said that the mayor is much better evaluated by voters than López Obrador, but, within his party, the latter continues controlling a good part of the different wings...[Break]
[S]ooner rather later Marcelo will have to go about constructing his own answers that focus more on the people than a few tribes that will only make him a candidate if it is unavoidable. That's why he must work toward the outside: inside, the hard-core PRD won't accept any other candidate but López, although that means they will continue swimming in the political margins and personal isolation. The style difference, the method of exercising power, even the administrative capacity of Ebrard, is far superior to his predecessor, but that's not what the tribes evaluate.
That independence should be accompanied by something more. Ebrard must show signs of authority and in the Batres case [the openly defiant member of Ebrard's cabinet] is paradigmatic in that respect. It's true that he has removed responsibilities and budget money, but the same group will manage 4 billion [presumably pesos, or about $3 billion] in Iztapalapa. We shouldn't forget that López Obrador's group thank that the Juanito case is the norm: the boss is the one who gives and takes no one can nor should they resist him, and they continue thinking that the government of Mexico City is theirs, they've only lent it out for six years.
Mexico requires a more effective democracy and its citizens need to secure for ourselves better representation. This initiative is, without being stingy in our description, a line of hope along the horizon for Mexicans to transform our reality. The only way to kill the partidocracy is for the citizens to take over not the proposal but the discussion of the proposal.
As long as we're on boxing, this story from Larry Holmes, courtesy of Dan Rafael, is great:
I knew that I couldn't beat Mike Tyson. But again, Don King calls. I was off two years with my band, traveling around with Kool and the Gang, the Temptations, singing ding ding ding, you know? And drinking them Budweisers and stuff like that. And (a) knock on the door, Don King, 3 o'clock in the morning. 'Larry, open the door.' (I said), 'Well, what are you doing, man?' (King said), 'I want you to fight Mike Tyson.' (I said), 'You must be crazy. I can't beat Mike Tyson. I ain't did nothing for two years.' (King said). 'It's $3.5 million dollars.' I said, 'Well, come on in.' He said, 'But you got two months to get ready for the fight.' I have two months? I said, 'Man, two months?' He said, 'Well, you have $3.5 million.' And I said, 'I can't beat Mike Tyson in two months, man.' (King said), 'Here is $500,000 cash.' I said, 'OK.'
The marines entered the complex and each one of the residences in the towers was searched. The residents were concentrated in a gymnasium located in the same complex, which has pools and whose apartments, the smalles of which measures 136 meters squared, has a minimum value of 3 million pesos.Three million pesos is roughly $250,000, which I believe would be relatively cheap for most American cities, even after the explosion of the real estate bubble. Maybe that's why the Mexican traffickers have so much money to throw around corrupting officials: all their super-sweet pads cost just a few peanuts.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Let's leave behind one premise: no woman wishes and is happy about submitting her body and conscience to an unfavorable action. On the one hand, a clandestine abortion implies risks of health effects, including fatal ones; on the other, the social and spiritual culture that we have seems to turn the woman into the victimizer. Any woman who goes to submit herself to an intervention to terminate a pregnancy is exercising her freedom and faces the intolerance of the world around her. But that woman who does wish to submit herself or has done so because she has been the victim of a rape will should only receive the understanding, the affection, and the sensitivity of the society, but all the attention that must be provided by a state that watches over the respect for and belief in the rules and norms of a democratic society.
We mustn't be mistaken, the conscience of the state, its understanding, is related to the established laws and with the public health of its citizens and the legalization of the interruption of a pregnancy shouldn't change the setting of the discussion: it's an issue of public health that the state must deal with, whether it wants to or not, because, as with cancer and diabetes, it's a cause of deterioration of the health of the population. It's an obligation for the state to deal with public health, leaving other institutions (churches) to deal with the spiritual health --their version of it-- of their parishioners.
The state and its institutions are must be concerned about all harm that its citizens suffer or that are generated by any act of government. As evidenced, this also implies acts of admission. The freedom of their citizens is indispensable for the state to guarantee their legitimacy. A double standard, a double vision to evaluate the role of the woman and her rights, conquered over the course of the centuries, only further increases the blows of poverty and social inequality in our country.
That's certainly not the last word on the issue, and it seems that for the time being, at least, Zavaleta's voice will remain among the political minority, but it's nonetheless spiriting to hear a politician adopt the pro-choice point of view with some clarity and honesty.
After an intense confrontation between alleged criminals from the criminal organization of the Beltrán Leyva cartel and infantrymen from the Mexican Navy's Marines, tonight Arturo Beltrán Leyva, leader of the cartel of Sinaloa, was killed.Not a lot to say, other than a) the fact that Calderón is commenting on it at all must mean that they are pretty sure that it is in fact Arturo Beltrán Leyva, and; b) lots of passive voice there Felipe! Get on your speech writers about that.
This operation was carried out after an intense intelligence job completed by Mexican Navy personnel, which culminated in a confrontation in the "Altitudes" neighborhood in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos.
Four more gunmen were killed, among them one who committed suicide after seeing himself surrounded by the agency's personnel.
Three members of the Mexican Navy were also wounded by grenade attacks, and are being taken to Mexico City for medical attention, but without life-threatening injuries.
The countries and regions that know how to capture this potential will come out ahead with the rise of China. Latin America, with its strong agricultural capacity and production of raw materials, is without a doubt an area that can come out ahead. Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, for example, with 28 percent, 21 percent, and 3 percent, respectively, of total world production. Likewise, Chile, Peru, and Mexico enjoy 29 percent, 11 percent, and 7 percent of the world copper reserves. Together, the region has at its disposal 50 percent of the total production or reserves in the world.
In the next decade China will be a source of luck by also a challenge for the region. Whatever happens or stops happening in the country will have major repercussions in Latin America. In 2009 we are seeing (in this case in a positive way): while Mexico is suffering a historic drop in its GDP, due in large part to its proximity to the United States, the epicenter of the global crisis, Brazil has barely skipped a beat and in 2010 will already be meeting its potential with almost 5 percent growth, according to the forecasts of the OECD.
Which is to say, Brazil --also due partly to great diversification of its exports to Asia and a rebound in the prices of raw materials, oil, iron ore, or soy-- is experiencing the drive from Chinese demand. A symbol of the closeness between Brazil and China are businesses like Vale, one of the biggest producers of minerals in the world and whose income and sales have come almost 45 percent from the Chinese market in 2009, or like Petrobras, which just concluded a gigantic agreement for $10 billion with Chinese partners.
In the future the adjustments in the rise or fall in the Chinese GDP won't be indifferent for region. Although the old oft-used saying is, when the US sneezes, Latin America gets a cold, this will also be true for China: when Beijing accelerates or slows the pace of its growth, the region will also perceive the winds and tides of the Far East.
Another thing about Pascual: he is the second consecutive Latino to be sent to Mexico, and there has long seemed to exist a vague tendency to fill the ranks of the Western Hemisphere-focused areas of the State Department with people who have Spanish last names. I always wonder how Mexicans (and other nations' citizens) feel about that. I can't imagine they have a greater affinity for Pascual because of his Cuban heritage than they had for Jeff Davidow.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Fair point. The Federal Police here in Torreón stay at one of two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Fiesta Inn. When they are in town, they have a dozen or so trucks parked out front of their hotel, and men with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders walk around the lobby and parking lot at all hours of the day. Aside from being a logical target for gunmen that puts civilians in harm's way, the climate created by the presence of dozens of often ski-masked troops is not one of fun in the desert sun, but rather looming death. Which of course is not conducive to a successful hotel operation. It seems as though the Federal Police are expected to be the long-term answer to cities descending into violence, which means that dropping into towns where they have no permanent presence will be a basic part of their function. They should do as the army does and build makeshift barracks in abandoned buildings.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
But for all that, this has really been a year without a major international crisis. Russia hasn’t invaded any foreign countries. No terrorist attacks have struck the United States. The handling of the coup in Ecuador was, I think, quite deft but this was hardly a major event in the scheme of things.I'm not above mini mental meltdowns, but that's pretty bad from a guy who's written a book about foreign policy.
1) Reelection of local legislators and mayorsAs far as the last one, the language is a bit confusing, but I believe it's a line-item veto for budget bills. With the caveat that I just read this for the first time, and the devil is as ever in the details, here are some initial thoughts: the proposal of laws by citizens seems like a gimmick that has the potential to turn into a circus. The 4 percent minimum seems fair, especially when coupled with the long-overdue protection of independent candidacies. The second round of presidential voting will hopefully bring a sense of legitimacy to three-way presidential elections that is absent today, although I'm not as convinced that a lack of legitimacy is as big a problem for Mexican presidents as some argue that it is. Selfishly speaking, the second round will also provide followers of Mexican politics with more fodder. I'm a fan of reelection, and very skeptical about the inherent improvement of a smaller legislature. (There's some very good reading on that subject here.) The Supreme Court being able to propose laws is intriguing (are there other nations where this is part of the system?), but I wonder if, between the Court's investigative functions and its law-making powers, are too many democratic chores being concentrated in a mere eleven people? Also, as a child of American politics, I feel compelled to add: Activist judges! Activist judges! Activist judges!
2) Reelection of the national Congress
3) A reduction in the size of both houses of Congress, from 128 to 96 legislators in the Senate, and 500 to 400 in the Chamber of Deputies
4) A minimum of 4 percent for political parties to maintain their registration before the IFE (it had been 2 percent)
5) The proposal of laws by private citizens
6) Independent candidacies for office
7) A second round in presidential races in which no one reaches 50 percent
8) The proposal of laws by the Supreme Court
9) The use of popular referenda on proposed constitutional amendments in cases where Congress refuses to take up the matter
10) A modified veto
That's all for now.
The revelation of the match: Suazo is tubby! I can't find a picture, but he disrobed after the final goal, and he looks a bit more like Cris Arreola than one would want from a forward. No matter; Atlético de Madrid is showing interest in the Chileno.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Caputo's article has many errors of journalistic practice. It is based on few sources, all of them critical of the government. There's not one interview with official sources. In particular, the vision of the army is missing. It is, in summary, a biased vision. The article, nevertheless, is symptomatic of a certain narrative that has begun to circulate about the war against organized crime. The narrative is of a country in which there's been a military coup so that the military controls drug traffic; where there is a deaf, dumb, and blind citizenry that tolerates social clean-ups.I, of course, don't believe this narrative. But it's another demonstration of the natural deterioration of a three-year war that has left 14,000 deaths. The government should be worried about and occupied by this issue. It has to answer the various questions with serious arguments, not only TV spots or patriotic discourses from the president. There's a great deal in play: the perception that the Mexican state could be failing.
Relatedly, here was what Macario Schettino had to say last week:
As part of the political struggle surrounding the bank, the idea has been pushed that if Carstens goes to the Bank, this will imply a subordination of that institution to the president. Nonsense. The same thing happened at the end of the Zedillo administration, Ortiz left Finance to go to the bank, and the autonomy has been celebrated. I don't see why anything different will occur. As it happens, a few days ago the rumorologists were saying that Carstens had a decreasingly agreeable relationship with the president. And soon enough now they say Carstens will be his subordinate. If the topic is experience, or potential capacity, well Secretary Carstens doesn't have any problem. In summary, it's a good selection (or better yet, proposal, until the Senate ratifies him, as it should).Also, in an interview this morning, Cordero listed getting banks to extend credit more readily as a primary goal. On that count, sounds like he has his priorities straight.
...I imagine three basic scenarios: 1) AMLO becomes the only candidate for the left --at the margin of his popularity-- but with little chance of attracting sufficient moderate voters to win; 2) Before AMLO's refusal to cede the candidacy, there is a rupture in teh left, which presents two candidates and guarantees its defeat; 3) AMLO cedes the candidacy to a figure more acceptable and trustworthy for the moderate electorate and allows the left to become a real governing option. That seems to be Marcelo Ebrard's bet, judging from how he handled the Juanito case. The most likely scenario, however, seems to me to be the first.
The implicit theory of political change here, that pivotal members of congress undermine reform proposals because of “the White House’s refusal to push for real reform” is just wrong. That’s not how things work. The fact of the matter is that Matt Taibbi is more liberal than I am, and I am more liberal than Larry Summers is, but Larry Summers is more liberal than Ben Nelson is. Replacing Summers with me, or with Taibbi, doesn’t change the fact that the only bills that pass the Senate are the bills that Ben Nelson votes for.Applying this logic further south, Calderón may be the one who will be remembered as the president whose reforms didn't go far enough to make much of an impact, but as a practical matter of identifying the root of the problem right now, it's not simply because Calderón didn't push hard enough, as Leo Zuckermann has argued. It's because he doesn't enjoy a legislative majority, and the PRI wasn't interested in a thorough energy reform, or a deep fiscal reform, or what have you.
Of course, that's not universally true; on some reform issues, the blame starts with the PAN.
Drug dealers are not all work and no play, which is clear from the motorcycle section of the lot. There are custom-made choppers with impossibly long front ends, a handmade bike retrofitted with an engine pulled from a pickup and a ghastly black machine in which the handlebars are made to resemble bones.
Classic cars are popular, including a refurbished Chevy painted like a Chicago police car from the Al Capone days.
The devious nature of the traffickers can be seen in some of the weaponry they install, which General Solórzano suspects is done in their own chop shops. Traffickers put a turret in one truck, allowing them to raise a machine gun through the roof while remaining safely inside a bulletproof chamber below.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Drug traffickers employing high-tech drills, miles of rubber hose and a fleet of stolen tanker trucks have siphoned more than $1 billion worth of oil from Mexico's pipelines over the past two years, in a vast and audacious conspiracy that is bleeding the national treasury, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials and the state-run oil company.
The son of a general who fought in the Mexican Revolution, [Guillermo] Ortiz, 61, became one of Latin America's most respected central bankers by attacking high inflation and bolstering Banco de Mexico's independence, clashing openly with President Felipe Calderon in 2008.
As long as we're on the Premier League, with Liverpool's struggles, Van Persie's injuries, and improved performance from Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Man City, this season seems like a pretty good bet to be the first season 2005 that the top four weren't some combination of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United. (Everton squeezed by Liverpool that year.) If somehow neither team makes it into that group, I believe it would be the first time since 1996 that two of the above four remained outside the league's top four.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
“Over the medium term, we acknowledge that Cordero’s nomination may bode ill for the passage of reforms, as Carstens’ ability to build consensus behind the scenes will be hard to match,” Barclays said in a report yesterday.
“Agustin was very good at negotiating with Congress,” Federico Kaune, who helps manage $8.5 billion in emerging market assets at Morgan Stanley in New York, said today in an interview. “I don’t know whether Cordero has that ability or not.”
The peso fell as much as 0.8 percent after Calderon announced his decision to replace Carstens. The currency declined 0.6 percent to 12.9704 per dollar at 10:34 a.m. New York time today.
“We believe Cordero is not the best man for the finance minister post: He is a PAN loyalist and will be a less effective negotiator with Congress,” Nick Chamie, head of emerging-market research at RBC Capital Markets, said yesterday.
The yield on Mexico’s benchmark bond rose 1 basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 8.14 percent. The price of the 10 percent security due in December 2024 fell 0.13 centavo to 116.04 centavos per peso, according to Banco Santander SA.
“Markets would prefer Carstens stay as finance minister, as the next year will be very challenging in terms of budgetary and overall economic policy,” said Win Thin, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. “Such a move is not a good one for the peso.”
Friday, December 11, 2009
The commission [on police reform] that the president is proposing should build that route [to more honest, effective police] and foster an unprecedented diagnostic based, focusing not only on the symptoms, but also on their causes. For example, the poor police training and the low salaries are only symptoms, while the causes are in the institutional design that produces these conditions. The proposed commission should make an "institutional genetic map" that explains the relationship between the police officer and the institution upon which he depends. This is critical. The commission should patiently study the institutions, because each police only does or doesn't do what his institution promotes or permits.
The police have been trapped in a contingency problem, which is a chronic sickness that affects a good part of the authorities and many citizens, and which consists of improvising supposed immediate solutions, with the argument that "there is no time to lose".
This is a wrong that takes advantage of the desperation of the average citizen, who supports what look like overwhelming measures to resolve insecurity.
I couldn't agree more. The best example of this is last year's National Agreement for Security, Justice, and Legality, which was promoted very heavily by the Imagen/Excélsior media chain, with a healthy dose of the "there's no time to lose" rhetoric. But if you look at the specific points of the agreement, they were not the product of a careful study of the causes, and were vague to the point of incoherence. For instance, take point 15: Strengthen the customs administration. That could mean anything at all. Or number 39: Favor speed in judicial processes. Again, so unspecific as to be virtually impossible to measure, and therefore useless. Similarly imprecise objectives are littered throughout the document. As I pointed out at the time, the flaws of the agreement stemmed from the hurriedness and lack of attention, which is to say, they were built into it. It was a list of complaints turned into a media show, not an honest, long-term attempt to improve the performance of Mexico's security agencies. As long as Mexico's political and media elites treat the nation's biggest problems in such a way, they will be hard to resolve.