Mexico News- Mar. 15
Posted by the Generals on March 21, 2011, 12:33 pm
Subject: Mexico News DAILY March 15, 2011 |
LatinNews Daily - 15 March 2011
Mexican judges resign after scandal
Development: On 14 March three judges in Chihuahua resigned over their role in releasing the killer of Rubí Marisol Frayre, the daughter of a prominent human rights activist.
Significance: This is the first time that judges have taken public responsibility for a miscarriage of justice. The chaotic state of Mexico’s judicial system prompts some commentators to assert that it is the most corrupt of the three branches of government. Most people in prison either have not been convicted or if they have been convicted, as a recent, hugely popular documentary, “Presunto Culpable”, makes plain, they should not have been, on the evidence submitted to the court.
• The three judges to resign were: Netzahualcóyotl Zúñiga Vázquez, Catalina Ochoa Contreras and Rafael Boudib Jurado. Technically, they resigned on 10 March, but the supreme court in Chihuahua only published its acceptance of their resignation yesterday (14 March).
• The judges freed Sergio Barraza Bocanegra, who had been accused by a prominent human rights activist, Marisela Escobedo, of killing her daughter Rubí Frayre, who disappeared in August 2008. Barraza was arrested in Zacatecas in June 2009 and confessed to killing Frayre and revealed where the body was buried. In April 2010, Barraza was freed by the three magistrates. He is still on the run.
• On 16 December Escobedo herself was gunned down outside the state government’s offices in Chihuahua where she was protesting over the authorities’ handling of her daughter’s murder.
• By resigning, the judges, apparently, halt the judicial disciplinary process which was seeking to prosecute them for dereliction of their public duty. They still face a separate case against them, brought by the Chihuahua state congress.
LatinNews Daily - 15 March 2011
PRI goes after PAN on economic policy
Development: On 14 March the president of Mexico’s biggest political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), launched a withering attack on the ruling Partido Acción Nacional’s handling of the economy.
Significance: The criticism from the PRI president, Humberto Moreira, has two goals. The first is to show that the PRI will attack the government on economic policy as well as its failed security policies in the forthcoming (2012) elections. Moreira’s secondary goal is to neutralise proposals by another priísta, senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones. On 10 March Beltrones presented a tax reform plan to the senate. Beltrones is a rival of Moreira’s ally, Enrique Peña Nieto, currently the governor of the Estado de México, for the PRI’s presidential nomination in 2012.
• Moreira claimed that in the first three years of the current PAN government led President Felipe Calderón, five people a minute had been pitched into poverty. He claimed that at the end of 2010 there were 54.8m Mexicans below the poverty line, up from 44.7m when Calderón first took office in December 2006. Mexico has a population of about 111m.
• Moreira’s analysis draws on official data from Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (Coneval) and the World Bank. He noted that 20m (of the 54.8m) live in extreme poverty, defined as not always getting enough to eat each day. Moreira’s political point was that the Calderón government has done little to alleviate poverty. He called on Coneval to update poverty statistics for 2010.
• The PAN’s president, Gustavo Madero, retorted that Moreira was taking statistics out of context and argued that between 1994 and 1996, under the last PRI government, 22 Mexicans a minute fell into poverty, or a total 16m in that two year period. The problem with Madero’s claim is that thanks to strong economic growth in the last four years of President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Léon’s administration (1994-2000), all of these new poor emerged from poverty again. This is unlikely to happen in Calderón’s final 18 months in office.
• Beltrones’s tax reform plan was launched at an interesting time. Usually, tax changes are discussed by congress when the budget is presented in the autumn session, which starts on 1 September. Beltrones’s big ideas are the obvious ones - broadening the tax base and simplifying the tax system. His main tool for doing this is to extend Value Added Tax (VAT) at 13% (reducing it three percentage points) to what he calls “luxury” foods. Under this scheme, for example, some dairy products (such as particular cheeses or yoghurts) would become liable for VAT, but milk and other basic dairy products would remain zero rated. Medicines would also remain zero rated.
• Beltrones also proposed raising personal income tax for high earners, but cutting corporate taxes. He would abolish Calderón’s main tax innovation, the Impuesto Empresarial a Tasa Única (Ietu), a flat tax on businesses.
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