The Office of the President denounced Arizona’s anti-immigrant law:
The Government of Mexico condemns the approval of Law SB1070 “Immigration, Enforcement of the Law, and Safe Neighborhoods” by the State of Arizona, signed on April 23d by Governor Janice K. Brewer.
The criminalization of the migration phenomenon, far from contributing to cooperation and collaboration between Mexico and the State of Arizona, represents an obstacle for the solution of the common problems of the frontier region and in North America as a whole.
The Office of the President of the Republic reiterates its absolute commitment to the protection of the Human Rights and the dignity of all Mexicans abroad, independently of their immigration status. The Government of Mexico will use all the means at its disposal in order to assist its nationals.
A useful Arizona state Senate fact sheet on the bill is available here.
As today’s NYT reports:
Armed men raided two hotels in the center of Monterrey, Mexico’s industrial capital, early Wednesday morning, hauling away four guests and as many as three staff members and sending a wave of panic across a city that has experienced a spate of violent episodes in recent weeks, the authorities said.
Dozens of gunmen were involved in the attacks, which occurred at 3 a.m. and were bold even by Mexican standards. They stormed through numerous rooms on the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn Centro, removing four guests but letting others go. The gunmen also abducted the hotel’s receptionist and clashed with a security guard outside the hotel, possibly taking him as well, the authorities said. A receptionist at the Misión Hotel across the street was also abducted, bringing the likely total number of missing people to seven, officials said.
The Frentes Políticos column in Excelsior noted:
They say that the Monterrey business community is very preoccupied, and they will make strong demand that governor Rodrigo Medina restore security to Nuevo Leon. If not, they are thinking of moving their belongings and their homes abroad.
The government for the first time gave its own tally of gang-related killings in a ‘confidential’ document to Congress, but the details were widely reported. According the official figures, there were 22,743 gang-related killings from December 2006, when Felipe Calderón took office, through last month, including 3,365 in the first quarter of 2010. Of the total, 92% are said to be gang members. The report also says the military and police detained 121,199 gang members during this period and seized US$9.5 billion in drugs and more than 71,000 firearms. (Milenio 4/14, Reforma 4/14)
With just six sessions remaining until the April 30th recess, Congress is expected to vote on a number of pending reforms and other legislation. Competition law reform and a new national security law are measures likely to come to a vote. The government is pressing for movement on political reform, but its fate seems uncertain without a consensus in the legislative commissions. In an op-ed, PAN party president César Nava said that the political reform should have at least five key elements: cut public financing for parties in half; reduce the size of Congress; give the federal electoral institute and federal electoral tribunal responsibility for organizing and adjudicating state and local races; allow independent candidates; and permit immediate re-election of congressmen and mayors. (Universal 4/18, 4/19, Excelsior 4/19)
The local electoral institute reported that thousands of voters have disappeared from Ciudad Juárez. By law, election-day poll workers are chosen by lot from among registered voters. The election agency notifies those selected in person and holds training sessions. However, the agency reported that in its first 11 days of trying to track down individuals, more than 13,000 could not be located because they had moved, their homes were abandoned or destroyed, or they were dead. This compares to just over 14,000 who were successfully contacted. The head of the Juárez municipal election assembly, Saúl Osollo Muñoz, said, “We knew were going to have this kind of panorama, but we had no idea of the number of cases that would result.” (Excelsior 4/18)
Most businesses in this normally vibrant city and popular weekend getaway shut down by 8pm on Saturday night, as rumors and threats of drug-gang violence spread on Twitter and Facebook. Commented El Universal: “By the afternoon, the collective psychosis was such that scores—hundreds—of businesses closed their doors. The city seemed to become a ghost town that night. The Army staged patrols, and the police were on maximum alert. Ultimately, nothing happened.” The number of gang killings and fire bombings of businesses in Cuernavaca and the state of Morelos has soared in the wake of the government’s killing of Arturo Beltrán Leyva last December, as the Beltrán Leyva cartel’s former enforcer, Édgar Valdez Villarreal, “La Barbie,” tries to take control of the market from what’s left of the family. Many of the bombings have been marked by the initials of a new group, the ‘South Pacific Cartel (CPS).’ (Universal 4/18)
Cell phone giant Telcel got a court injunction to prevent immediate disconnection of the 19 million cell phones that were not registered by the April 10 deadline. The unpopular measure to create a National Cell Phone Registry, known by its acronym ‘Renaut,’ is in limbo. There is no clear roadmap on how disconnect unregistered users or how to proceed to the second phase – the verification of the data that was provided in the initial registration. (More than 5,000 phones were registered in the name of ‘Felipe Calderón’, for example.) Columnist Sergio Sarmiento quoted a reader: “The Renaut was created to prevent extortions. Give me your money or I will kill your loved ones. But to implement it, the government is extorting phone users. Give me your personal data, or I will cancel your line.” (Reforma 4/14, 4/16)
First ladies Michelle Obama and Margarita Zavala carried out a number of enthusiastically-attended public events during the 2-day visit. After a round table with several of Mexico’s most prominent women in public life, political scientist Denise Dresser said, “The fact that [Michelle Obama] came to Mexico seems to me a testimony of friendship and solidarity and a recognition of Mexico’s importance. It was a praiseworthy gesture.” (Reforma 4/15)
The New America Foundation and the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute co-sponsored a broad-ranging one day conference last week on the theme of “Has Mexico turned a corner?” Excerpts from the presentations are available online.
Mitofky’s monthly national survey showed President Calderón’s approval rating continuing to move up to 56% from the January 2010 low of 52%. Generic party preferences for the 2012 presidential elections remain largely unchanged, with the PRI well in front of both PAN and PRD, but down slightly from its November 2009 peak. The overall mood remains negative, with 56.9% of respondents saying the nation is on the wrong course – just below the November 2009 peak (57.1%). (www.consulta.com.mx)