Aug 24, 2015

In his hometown, fugitive Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' is a hero to many

LA Times: A new shipment of caps arrived at Isaias Rodriguez's Culiacan store, black canvas with the image of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman — once again the world's most-wanted drug lord — embossed in gold on the front.

The hats came in just a week or so after El Chapo escaped from a high-security prison in July, via a ventilated, well-lighted tunnel just under a mile long.

Rodriguez, 46, said this is the first time he has sold merchandise that depicts Guzman, who was born and made in Culiacan. The latter's escape has been good for business. Read more. 

Ship Belonging to Government-Seized Mexican Oil Services Firm Reported Missing

Latin American Herald Tribune: A ship considered key to the financial restructuring of Mexican oil services firm Oceanografia, which the government seized last year after it allegedly defrauded U.S. financial giant Citigroup’s local unit out of hundreds of millions of dollars, has gone missing, a judge said.

“The vessel Caballo Maya has been taken from its place of storage, and its whereabouts is unknown,” Mexico City-based federal Judge Felipe Consuelo, who is presiding over Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico-based Oceanografia’s bankruptcy proceedings, said Thursday. Read more. 

China's Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn't Find It

Bloomberg: Deep on the southeastern side of Lake Nicaragua, along a bumpy dirt road that climbs gently through lush-green forest, sits the tiny town of El Tule. It is quintessential rural Central America: Chickens roam outside tin-roofed homes while pigs stand tied to trees, awaiting slaughter; the sound of drunk locals singing along to ranchera music greeted visitors on a recent weekend afternoon.

The village, if you listen to Nicaraguan officials, is a key point in what will be the biggest infrastructure project the region has ever seen, the construction of a $50 billion canal slated to run 170 miles from the country’s east to west coast. Awarded two years ago by President Daniel Ortega to an obscure Chinese businessman named Wang Jing, the concession calls for El Tule to be ripped up, erased essentially, in order to make way for the canal right before it plunges into the lake and then meets the Pacific Ocean a few miles later. Read more. 

Aug 20, 2015

Truth and Justice Will Never, Ever, Come from Above - Zapatista Army for National Liberation Mexico

Enlace Zapatista: As Zapatistas, we have realized that the intellectual authors of the murder of the compañero and teacher Galeano have returned, fat and happy, to their homes in the village of La Realidad. They were supposedly being held prisoner for the murder of our teacher and compañero. We already know that they have been declared innocent of this crime by the same people who financed and supported them: the federal and Chiapas state governments. On August 12 of this year, the self-proclaimed “judge” Victor Manuel Zepeda López, of the criminal court in Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas, declared that Mr. Carmelino Rodríguez Jiménez and Mr. Javier López Rodríguez are innocent, despite that fact that they and their accomplices in the CIOAC-Histórica know that they are guilty of organizing the crime. They aren’t the only ones responsible, but they are guilty. Read more. 

Mexican Billionaire’s Firms Swept Up in U.S. Probe of Citigroup

Bloomberg: The U.S. Justice Department is looking into Citigroup Inc.’s dealings with companies linked to Mexican billionaire Carlos Hank Rhon as part of an expanding investigation into the bank’s money-laundering controls.

In a subpoena issued earlier this year, U.S. officials asked Citigroup to provide information on accounts tied to four businesses affiliated with Hank Rhon, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. These include two units each of Grupo Financiero Interacciones SA and Grupo Hermes SA, which are controlled by Hank Rhon and his family. The Justice Department asked the bank to provide similar paperwork for a fifth firm, Banco Monex, that’s not connected to Hank Rhon; for a number of money-transfer businesses, and less-detailed information on more than a dozen other companies. Read more. 

Critics of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal warn about arbitration clause

The LA Times: When Australia began prohibiting brand logos and requiring grim pictures of smoking-borne diseases on cigarette packs, tobacco giant Philip Morris fired back using a novel tactic.

It turned to an obscure dispute-arbitration clause in a 1993 trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong to argue that the Australian government's new public-health law amounted to discrimination and an expropriation of a foreign investment. Read more.

Aug 19, 2015

Ayotzinapa Evidence Goes Missing

Frontera NorteSur: Editor’s Note: Frontera NorteSur still has a few more stories to go before ceasing publication. In today’s story, we report news that crucial evidence in the mass disappearance of the Ayotzinapa college students in Mexico last year was lost, hidden or destroyed.

Reminiscent of the Ciudad Juarez women’s murders and disappearances, evidence related to a bloody police attack on Mexican college students has been lost, destroyed or withheld from relatives.

The revelations were made by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) reviewing the killings of six people and the mass kidnappings of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa rural teachers’ college in Iguala, Guerrero, at the hands of local police and alleged drug cartel gunmen last September 26 and 27.