Tag Archives: Election

Monterrey Emerges From Cartel Carnage as Investment King: Cities

By Nacha Cattan in Bloomberg 05/04/15

The attack that burned 52 people to death at a casino in an upscale neighborhood was bad. But what really scared Idalia Villafana’s customers away were the body parts once strewn across the plaza near her restaurant.

Villafana, 41, says she still can’t believe that the barbarism wrought by the Zetas drug cartel has largely subsided here near Monterrey, Mexico’s third-biggest metropolis, just a few years after she’d almost given up hope for peace.

For that, she can thank local business leaders who got fed up with the penetration of the legal system by criminal syndicates and helped create and fund a unique program to take back the streets. The result: murders in this industrial hub on the steps of the Sierra Madre are at a five-year low and commerce is once again thriving.

A bustling symbol of the turnaround is the factory South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp. is building for more than $1 billion not far from where the Zetas once operated a paramilitary base. That’s helped push the wider Nuevo Leon region, which touches Texas, past Mexico City as the national leader in pledged foreign direct investment, with another $6 billion expected this year, state officials say.

The money is trickling down the way it should for small business owners like Villafana, who has a contract to feed 190 of the workers from the Kia project at her modest, white-washed eatery. At the height of the violence in 2011, she says she struggled to pay a single employee. Now she pays six and is struggling to keep up with demand.

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Carmen Aristegui: Mexico’s Voice

By Jorge Ramos in Fusion 04/27/15

I would imagine that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s worst fear is that Carmen Aristegui is keeping an eye on him and his cabinet. On any given day, the Mexican journalist is likely to unveil another scandal, another injustice, or another act of corruption connected to officials in the administration. And we can count on Aristegui to tell the truth.

In Mexico, many “journalists” tend to act as mouthpieces for Peña Nieto’s government. They don’t dare to question the actions of officials; in fact, they maintain personal relationships with them, dining with them and attending their parties. For many people working in the Mexican media, being close to power has its perks.

But Aristegui doesn’t want to be close to power. She wants to confront it.

Her team at Aristegui Noticias revealed late last year that the president’s wife, Angelica Rivera, financed a luxury home in 2012 worth $7 million (dubbed Mexico’s “White House”) in the exclusive Mexico City neighborhood of Las Lomas. She bought the home from a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, a company that has been awarded millions in government contracts.

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