Mexico News Sept.22
Posted by the Generals on October 30, 2011, 7:08 pm
Subject: Mexico News (with Brazil Bonus) DAILY September 22, 2011 |
NOTE: At the end is a report on Brazilian President Rousseff's UN speech - it seems broadly of interest.
LatinNews Daily - 22 September 2011
Calderón vitriolic about Fast & Furious
Development: On 21 September President Felipe Calderón made his first public comment about the ‘Fast & Furious’ US sting operation.
Significance: Calderón was, justifiably, vitriolic in his criticism of the botched operation led by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). His strong public criticism (he called the operation a “massive mistake”) will complicate his relations with President Barack Obama’s administration but it may improve his standing with US Republicans, who believe that there has been a cover-up in the US administration over Fast & Furious.
• At least 150 Mexicans and two US law enforcement agents were killed by guns which ATF agents funnelled (indirectly) to Mexican gangs between 2009 and 2010 in a botched sting operation. The agency apparently lost track of around 2,000 of the weapons it was supposed to be tracking.
• Earlier this week, Mexico’s top law officer, Marisela Morales, told the Los Angeles Times that the US had yet to brief her on Fast & Furious or apologise for the deaths that resulted from the operation.
• Calderón made the comment about Fast & Furious at a meeting with some 1,500 Mexican migrants in Los Angeles.
LatinNews Daily - 22 September 2011
Mexican Left moves against Pemex director
Development: On 21 September at least 70 left-wing deputies in congress called for the dismissal of Juan José Suárez Coppel, the director (chief executive) of the state oil monopoly, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Significance: Pemex and Coppel have done two things in the past six weeks to upset the nationalist Left. The first was to sign a couple of deals with private sector contractors to boost production from mature onshore oilfields. The second was a decision to spend US$1.6bn to double Pemex’s stake in Repsol, a Spanish oil company. The Left-wingers argue that both of these deals are unconstitutional. Leading figures in the two major parties, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) have also questioned both moves, so Suárez Coppel is in vulnerable position.
• The Repsol deal is particularly odd. Some of Repsol’s other investors have complained that Pemex contributed to a false (i.e. weaker) market in the stock by failing to report, in the first instance; its shareholding-alliance with a Spanish construction company, Sacyr, and secondly; its purchases of Repsol shares as they occurred. Pemex and Sacyr now jointly control 29.8% of Repsol and want to set the company’s strategy. The implication is that if other investors had known that Pemex was stake-building with Sacyr, take-over speculation would have pushed the share price higher.
• The Left claims that Suárez Coppel did not get board permission, when Pemex’s balance sheet is already a mess, to double Pemex’s stake in Repsol and to borrow another US$1bn to buy Repsol shares. It thus argues that the moves were not only unorthodox but also unconstitutional.
• To be fair, Pemex appears to have covered itself against any fall in the price of Repsol shares, but this is at the cost of giving up any gains, if the Repsol price were to rise, over the next three years.
LatinNews Daily - 22 September 2011
Rousseff nails her global debut
Development: On 21 September Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, broke more new ground by becoming the first woman to open the United Nations General Assembly (Unga) in New York, where she said she was convinced that the 21st Century would be “the century of women”.
Significance: Rousseff’s speech was an eloquent articulation of the increasingly confident Brazilian world view. Resting her argument on Brazil’s firm demand for greater representation for emerging countries in forums like the UN, she pulled no punches whatsoever in ticking off the US and Europe for what she said was their “political failure” to find a solution to the global economic crisis, and, playing to a supportive audience, she warned that “the legitimacy of the UN Security Council increasingly hangs on its reform”. The fact that Rousseff’s call for Palestine “to be represented fully” at the UN was immediately shot down by President Barack Obama did not weaken her overall message. The US is looking isolated, and not only on Palestine.
Rousseff performed well all week in New York, earning her the approval of US heavyweights like Hillary Clinton and local notables including the former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002). She has, officially, stepped out of her predecessor Lula da Silva's (2003-2010) shadow.
• Rousseff highlighted Brazil’s sturdy economic position and emphasised its status as “an emerging country with practically full employment”, before warning of a looming economic crisis that “is too serious to be managed by a small group of countries”. “It is not for lack of financial resources that the developed countries have not yet found a solution”, she noted, “It is the lack of political resources and, sometimes, of clarity of ideas”. She accused them of being “caught in a trap that does not distinguish between partisan interests and the legitimate interests of society”. The challenge, she said, was to replace “outdated theories, originating in the old world, with new formulations for a new world”.
• “The world faces a crisis that is at the same time of economics, governance and political coordination”", she declared, warning against “defensive actions that, in their turn, lead to a vicious circle”. She repeated Brazil’s demand for stronger regulation of the financial system - which she termed “an inexhaustible source of instability” - an end to exchange rate manipulation and reform of multilateral institutions to reflect the fact that “emerging economies are chiefly responsible for growth in the global economy”.
• Moving on to Brazil’s major foreign policy priority, she insisted that “the security council’s strategies for achieving sustainable peace must be partnered with development policies” and stated that “the quest for peace and security cannot be limited to interventions in extreme situations”, arguing that the UN “must find a legitimate and effective way to aid those societies that call for reform, while keeping their citizens in the lead of the process”.
• Rousseff told the assembly that the former general assembly president, Joseph Deiss, “reminded me of an impressive fact: the debate on Security Council reform is entering its 18th year. We can delay no longer”. Noting that Brazil has lived in peace with its neighbours for over 140 years, she declared Brazil “a force for peace, stability and prosperity in its own region and beyond” and asserted that Brazil is ready to shoulder its responsibilities as a permanent member of the council. She went on to express support for Palestine’s UN membership bid.
• After reiterating Brazil’s commitment to a comprehensive global climate agreement, she ended where she began, with a gracious acknowledgement of “the women who dared to struggle, who dared to participate…and who forged the space…without which I would not stand here today. As a woman who was tortured in prison, I know how important the values of democracy, justice, human rights, and liberty are”.
Pointer: Brazil’s lower chamber yesterday approved the creation of a ‘Truth and Justice Commission’ to “examine and clarify” human rights abuses in Brazil between 1946 and 1988.
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