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Mexico Basic Political Developments


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Mexico

Basic Political Developments


  • Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouriño, a rising political star and the second most powerful official in Mexico, came under growing pressure to quit March 10 over charges that he acted improperly by signing government contracts on behalf of his family's gasoline business while serving as a top energy official.

National Economic Trends


  • Mexico ran up a trade deficit of $2.26 billion in January as growth in imports outpaced that of exports, according to revised figures March 10 released by the Finance Ministry.

  • Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said March 11 that he was not worried for now about the effect of high world oil prices on Mexico's economy, but said the trend should be watched carefully.

  • Mexico's gross fixed investment, a measure of spending on machinery, equipment and construction, jumped a stronger-than-expected 10.6 percent in December from a year earlier, the government said March 11.

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions


  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon said March 10 that his government is in talks with China to make a deal regarding tariffs on Chinese textiles and other products. Presently, some of the tariffs are as high as 1,000 percent. Mexico has held these tariffs on Chinese goods since 1993, though they do not meet World Trade Organization regulations. Mexico indicated in 2007 that it would keep the duties in place while it completes a review of the imports for possible unfair trade practices.

  • Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission has had a 4.17 million ton supply contract confirmed after local supplier Ailia guaranteed it with a performance bond, a CFE source said March 11.

Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)



Terrorism and Social Instability


  • Mexican police hunting drug gangs seized a cache of automatic weapons and grenade launchers at a luxury flat in the Caribbean resort of Cancun March 10, near hotels full of foreign tourists.

  • An organized crime group proposed a pact with authorities in Jalisco March 10 – the group will hand over two kidnapped policemen in exchange for a detained narcotics trafficker. The group threatened today to kill the kidnapping victims if their member is not released.

  • Three elite security agents were killed in an ambush in Durango.

  • Four people were killed early March 11 in Sinaloa; the motive for the deaths is believed to be linked to organized crime.

Pemex


  • Pemex said March 11 that it has contracted out work for the modernization of fire control systems at two of its installations.

  • Pemex's E&P subsidiary has pushed back its international tender by nearly two weeks for a 3-D seismic survey on Tabasco state's coast, according to the Mexican federal procurement website Compranet.

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Basic Political Developments


http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-mourino11mar11,1,4701709.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

Mexico's interior minister under pressure to quit

Rising star Juan Camilo Mouriño denies acting improperly to benefit his family's business while he was an energy official.

March 11, 2008



MEXICO CITY -- Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouriño, a rising political star and the second most powerful official in Mexico, came under growing pressure to quit Monday over charges that he acted improperly by signing government contracts on behalf of his family's gasoline business while serving as a top energy official.
The 36-year-old Mouriño, a confidant of President Felipe Calderon who has been mentioned as a possible successor, denies wrongdoing. But the controversy, which has developed over the last two weeks, shows no sign of fading.
On Monday, critics issued fresh accusations that Mouriño helped his family's business while in office, and a newspaper poll showed dwindling public support. In the poll, published by Milenio, two in three respondents said he should resign.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist former mayor of Mexico City who was defeated by Calderon in the 2006 presidential election, has publicized the contracts in what has become an intensive effort to drive Mouriño out.
On Monday, Lopez Obrador presented two more contracts, from 2001 and 2003, that he said showed Mouriño had represented the family business in dealings with Pemex while serving in the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the energy committee. Previously, Mouriño had been accused of signing contracts with the state-owned oil monopoly while he was deputy energy minister in 2004.
Lopez Obrador and allies have urged a congressional investigation into whether Mouriño violated ethics laws.
So far Mouriño's critics do not appear to have enough votes in the lower house of Congress to launch an official inquiry, a possible step toward his removal from office.
But analysts said the controversy could hurt Calderon, who was Mouriño's boss at the Energy Ministry and has remained his political patron. The president has made no public comments on the matter.
As head of the Interior Ministry, Mouriño oversees a wide range of government functions, from domestic security to immigration, and serves as the president's point man in dealing with Congress and the political opposition.
Mouriño "surely will manage to survive this week's scandal, but his ability to arbitrate among the country's political forces and make himself useful to the president has been left seriously damaged," wrote newspaper columnist Jorge Zepeda Patterson.
Since being named interior minister in January, the Spanish-born Mouriño, youthful and handsome, has already faced questions over whether his heritage should disqualify him from holding a Cabinet post -- or someday assuming the presidency.
Mouriño, who moved to Mexico with his family in the 1970s, says he meets Mexico's nationality requirements for officeholders because his mother is Mexican.
Mouriño's family maintained business interests in Spain after emigrating, while striking it rich with gasoline stations and other enterprises in southern Mexico. It was in his role representing the family's gasoline transport business that Mouriño signed the 2004 contract with Pemex.
Mouriño acknowledged signing the contract. But he said that while he remained a legal representative of the family business at the time, he had dropped his interests in it two months earlier. In a television interview last week, Mouriño insisted that he had acted in "strict accordance with the law" and said he had no plans to resign.
The controversy over Mouriño's dealings with Pemex comes amid a growing debate over whether to allow some form of outside investment to modernize the state enterprise, whose production is falling.
Calderon has suggested that private funding is needed to boost exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. He has said that the only alternative to tapping public coffers may be to follow the lead of nations such as Brazil, China and Norway, which have allowed private investment in publicly owned oil companies.
The question of allowing private parties to invest in Pemex is politically explosive in Mexico, touching on deeply held sensitivities over the issues of sovereignty and national pride.

National Economic Trends


http://www.fxstreet.com/news/forex-news/article.aspx?StoryId=8398cc60-17d2-4c85-ad22-319a49e92d4d

Mexico's January Trade Deficit Revised To $2.26B From $2.16B

Mon, Mar 10 2008, 21:37 GMT
MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Mexico ran up a trade deficit of $2.26 billion in January as growth in imports outpaced that of exports, according to revised figures Monday released by the Finance Ministry.
The revised deficit was $100 million wider than the $2.16 billion preliminary deficit reported last month.
The ministry made slight downward revisions to oil and non-oil exports, while increasing estimates of imports of intermediate goods used in production processes.
Total exports in January were up 16.8% year-on-year to $22.18 billion, while imports rose 18.1% to $24.44 billion.
The country's import bill was increased by a jump in imports of equipment and machinery for the mining industry, the ministry said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN1135864820080311

Mexico's Carstens calm but watchful on oil prices

Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:44pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said on Tuesday he was not worried for now about the effect of high world oil prices on Mexico's economy, but said the trend should be watched carefully.


Asked by reporters at an investors' event whether he was concerned about global oil prices, Carstens said: "To begin with I think no, but we will have to be watching them carefully."
http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKN1134072020080311

Mexico gross fixed investment soars in December


MEXICO CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - Mexico's gross fixed investment, a measure of spending on machinery, equipment and construction, jumped a stronger-than-expected 10.6 percent in December from a year earlier, the government said on Tuesday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll ECONMX had predicted December gross fixed investment would rise 7.46 percent.
The government said in a statement that spending on equipment and machinery rose 17.2 percent, with spending on imported equipment and machinery up 24.9 percent and investment in domestically produced items down 0.2 percent.
Construction investment in December rose 1.8 percent over the year-ago period.
Gross fixed investment rose 2.34 percent compared with November, according to seasonally adjusted figures.

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aykNnzOzkfbM&refer=latin_america

Mexico, China May Extend Tariffs on Chinese Textiles (Update1)

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon said his government is in talks with China to reach a settlement over tariffs on Chinese textiles and other products currently as high as 1,000 percent.

The negotiations were disclosed by Calderon today at a gathering of textile industry executives in Mexico City.

In December, Mexico announced a plan to keep duties on Chinese textiles, toys and shoes while it reviews the imports for possible unfair trade practices. The tariffs, in place since 1993, don't meet World Trade Organization rules. Mexico said last year that it is allowed to keep the import duties while it completes the review.

``We have a very positive expectations that we will reach a satisfactory agreement with China,'' Calderon said.

An agreement that keeps some duties on Chinese imports would boost the industry and save jobs, said Rafael Zaga, former president of the National Chamber of the Textile Industry, at the same event.

Calderon said his government has reduced electricity rates and cracked down on contraband and pirated textile goods, measures that should help the industry compete.



http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKN1159685020080311

Mexico's CFE has guarantee from coal supplier Ailia


MEXICO CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission has had a 4.17 million tonne supply contract confirmed after local supplier Ailia guaranteed it with a performance bond, a CFE source said on Tuesday.
Ailia produced a $53 million performance bond on Monday which guarantees the deal and means the CFE will not need to re-tender or shop for coal on the market, a source at CFE's coal-buying arm told Reuters.
"They provided it yesterday. It's a bond for around $53 million," the source said.
Ailia could not be reached for confirmation.
Failure to post the bond would have made it necessary to repeat the tender, already reopened after it failed last year, and could have triggered power shortages in Mexico.
The source said the CFE would be seeking around 650,000 tonnes of coal from other suppliers for June and July, a period not covered by the Ailia contract.
The CFE already had written guarantees from a collective of small Colombian producers to supply coal through Ailia, a Mexico City-based company representing U.S.-based International Commodity Consultants.
Ailia, which has participated in one previous CFE tender but did not win, won a CFE supply contract for 2008 last month by underbidding global coal companies BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Glencore [GLEN.UL] and Macquarie.
The Texas-based commodity merchant beat rivals partly because it owns the vessels needed to transport the fuel by sea to the Petacalco power plant on Mexico's Pacific coast.
The CFE, which provides power to all of Mexico bar the capital, needs the coal to keep the plant running this year.
Ailia won the tender with an offer at $125.00 a ton CIF Mexico, $58 less per tonne than the next cheapest offer.

Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)




Terrorism and Social Instability


http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN10490912

Mexico police seize guns, grenades in Cancun resort

CANCUN, Mexico, March 10 (Reuters) - Mexican police hunting drug gangs seized a cache of automatic weapons and grenade launchers at a luxury flat in the Caribbean resort of Cancun on Monday, near hotels full of foreign tourists.
Tipped off by an informant, police found 22 guns, some with laser sights, 14 grenades and some 500 rounds of ammunition in the apartment at an exclusive beachside golf course development on Cancun's hotel strip, a spokesman said.
"We can tell by the number of weapons that this was not just some private gun collector," said police spokesman Javier Ortiz. "These belonged to an important group of drug traffickers."
Police also found police hats at the apartment and car stickers with official police insignia.
Tourist destinations like Cancun, and Acapulco on the Pacific coast, are famous for attracting planeloads of spring breakers but have been sucked into turf wars between Mexico's violent drug gangs over the past year.
President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to hotspots across Mexico, where cartel violence has killed more than 300 people this year and left more than 2,500 dead in 2007.
Cancun, best known for its mass of towering hotels crammed along a narrow strip of white beaches, has experienced shooting between drug hitmen and police in recent months.
The city is Gulf Cartel territory, although police did not immediately link the organization to Monday's arms haul.
The find came after the army confiscated more than 90 weapons -- one of the largest arsenals ever found in Mexico -- in the northern border town of Tijuana on Friday.
Separately, the army found over a ton of marijuana on Monday buried at a ranch in the northern state of Sonora, which is controlled by the rival Sinaloa cartel.
http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/158129.html
Crimen organizado exige pacto en Jalisco
Martes 11 de marzo de 2008

El crimen organizado propuso ayer un pacto a las autoridades de Jalisco: entregar a dos policías secuestrados, a cambio de un presunto narcotraficante detenido el domingo pasado.

Tras la captura de siete presuntos narcotraficantes de Sinaloa y Durango, autoridades de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Jalisco recibieron varias llamadas de amenaza, donde les exigían liberar a Ramón Chaidez González, “o de lo contrario empezarían a matar policías”, revelaron fuentes policiacas.

Dos agentes que resguardaban el inmueble donde se dieron las detenciones de los presuntos traficantes fueron “levantados” y fuentes de la policía local aseguran que amenazaron con ejecutarlos si no se ponía en libertad a Ramón Chaidez .

Por su parecido físico con el retrato hablado de El Patrón, a quien la Procuraduría de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF) señala como miembro del cártel de Sinaloa y de haber ordenado la ejecución con una bomba de un mando policiaco capitalino, las autoriades jalicienses enviaron a la capital la foto de Ramón Chaidez.

Sin embargo, la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Estado de Jalisco notificó ayer a las autoridades del gobierno del Distrito Federal que dejarían en libertad a Chaidez González.

Argumentaron que una de las acusadas de participar en el fallido atentado, Tania Vázquez Muñoz, al ver sus fotografías, negó que fuera El Patrón, el hombre que les ordenó la ejecución del jefe Pegaso.

Una vez que se supo la procedencia de los detenidos, las autoridades de Jalisco establecieron contacto con las del Distrito Federal, con el fin de intercambiar información y fotografías, sobre todo de Ramón, quien presentaba muchas similitudes físicas con el retrato hablado de El Patrón que elaboró la PGJDF, con base en las declaraciones de los detenidos, quienes se mantienen bajo arraigo.

Con las fotografías enviadas desde Jalisco, la Procuraduría capitalina efectuó las diligencias en las que mostró estas placas a los arraigados.

La Procuraduría de Jalisco envió a la del Distrito Federal una fotografía en la que Ramón Chaidez González aparece con una camisa color vino con rayas blancas, pelo corto, ceja poblada y barba de candado, igual que en el retrato hablado efectuado a raíz de las declaraciones de Tania Vázquez Muños y Karla Monserrat González Gallegos.

En Guadalajara, el secretario de Seguridad Pública de Jalisco, Luis Carlos Nájera Gutiérrez de Velasco, descartó que entre los detenidos el domingo se encontrara El Patrón.

En conferencia de prensa, el funcionario dijo que en diferentes operativos hubo seis detenidos que estarían relacionados con el secuestro de dos policías estatales la mañana del domingo en el cruce de Miguel de Unamuno y George Santayana, colonia Jardines Universidad, al suroeste del municipio conurbado de Zapopan.

Por separado, el jefe de la División de Secuestros y Extorsiones de la procuraduría estatal, José Alberto Saldaña Méndez, informó que los detenidos fueron siete y no seis.

Nájera habló con la prensa luego de reunirse con el gobernador Emilio González Márquez, y el procurador de Justicia estatal, Tomás Coronado.

Los detenidos fueron identificados como Israel Israel López Vizcarra, de 28 años; Ramón Chaidez Arellanes, de 38, y Ramón Chaidez González, de 32 años, los tres originarios de Durango; así como Andrés Félix Zamudio, de 23 años; Israel Saucedo Núñez, de 23 ; Isaías Torres López, de 32 y José García Martínez, de 22, los cuatro de Sinaloa.

Los siete serán acusados por amenazas, portación de armas, posesión de pequeños montos de droga y privación ilegal de la libertad, delitos considerados no graves en el Código Penal de Jalisco.

Referente a la participación de policías de Zapopan en el secuestro de los dos elementos de la corporación estatal, Saldaña Méndez informó que varios uniformados estatales y municipales fueron llamados a declarar ante un agente del Ministerio Público.
http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/30599.html
Amenaza narco a autoridad de Jalisco
Martes 11 de marzo de 2008

El crimen organizado amagó a las autoridades de Jalisco con matar a dos policías secuestrados, si no liberan a Ramón Chaiguez González, presunto narcotraficante detenido el domingo, quien tiene parecido físico con el retrato hablado de El Patrón.

La Procuraduría de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF) señala a El Patrón como miembro del cártel de Sinaloa y responsable de haber ordenado el bombazo para matar a un mando policiaco capitalino.

No obstante, la SSP de Jalisco notificó ayer a las autoridades del DF que Tania Vázquez Muñoz, una de las acusadas de participar en el atentado, al ver la fotos negó que se tratara de El Patrón, por lo que lo dejarían en libertad.

Fuentes policiacas relatan que tras la captura de siete presuntos narcotraficantes de Sinaloa y Durango, la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Jalisco recibió llamadas de amenaza, donde exigían liberar a Chaiguez González, “o de lo contrario empezarían a matar policías”.

Dos agentes que resguardaban el inmueble donde se detuvo a los presuntos narcos fueron levantados.

Los detenidos serán acusados por amenazas, portación de arma no exclusiva del Ejército, posesión de pequeños montos de droga y privación ilegal de la libertad, delitos considerados no graves en el Código Penal de Jalisco.
http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/158131.html
Matan a 3 agentes de élite en Durango
Martes 11 de marzo de 2008

Cuatro agentes de la Dirección Estatal de Investigación (DEI) en Durango fueron emboscados en el municipio serrano de Guanaceví, tres fallecieron y uno resultó herido.

Sólo se dieron a conocer los nombres de dos muertos: el jefe de grupo Nemesio Barraza y el agente José Segismundo Cuellar.

El herido fue identificado como Manuel Gallegos, quien permanece internado en el hospital San Jorge de Guanaceví.

Trascendió que el vehículo donde viajaban los policías fue incendiado por sus presuntos victimarios.

En tanto, en un lote baldío de la colonia Francisco Villa, de Culiacán, Sinaloa, fueron localizados los restos de un hombre identificado como Alexander Guadalupe Armenta García.

Ayer, sobre la carretera Acapulco- Zihuatanejo, a la altura de Tecpan de Galeana, Guerrero, fue localizado el cuerpo de un hombre con 17 tiros.Y el domingo, en Morelia, Michoacán, en su camioneta Voyaguer, placas PFZ-98-81, fue hallado el cadáver de Víctor Hugo Torres Hernández.

La víctima era de una familia de aguacateros de Uruapan y tenía su domicilio en el centro de Morelia.

Detienen a presuntos delincuentes
Cinco presuntos delincuentes que se desplazaban en una camioneta Ford Explorer fueron baleados por militares de un puesto de control sobre la carretera El Ceibo-Tenosique, en Tabasco, cuando huían, uno resultó herido.

Los detenidos trasladaban armas y cargadores adquiridas en Centroamérica e introducidos por la frontera sur tabasqueña.

Trascendió que dos de los presuntos delincuentes capturados son originarios de Tamaulipas y uno de Guatemala.
http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/ElFinanciero/Portal/cfpages/contentmgr.cfm?docId=109450&docTipo=1&orderby=docid&sortby=ASC
Ejecutan a cuatro personas en Navolato, Sinaloa

Culiacán, 11 de marzo.- Cuatro personas, tres hombres y una mujer, fueron asesinados esta mañana en la comunidad de Yevabito, municipio de Navolato, informó el vocero de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE), José Luis González Villa.

El funcionario señaló que hasta el momento las cuatro víctimas no han sido identificadas.

Estos cuatro homicidios se suman a los asesinatos de cinco policías municipales de Navolato, entre ellos un comandante de esa corporación, ocurridos el mes pasado.

En este mismo municipio, en el mes de febrero personal del Ejército Mexicano y agentes federales realizaron diversos cateos, decomisos de arsenales y droga, así como la detención de presuntos sicarios ligados al Cártel de Sinaloa.

En lo que va del año, más de un centenar de personas han sido asesinadas en diversas ciudades del estado, de ellas un promedio de 67 ocurrieron en enero y 47 en febrero. (Con información de Notimex/AYV)


Pemex


http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/489124.html
Moderniza Pemex sistema contra incendio en dos instalaciones
Martes 11 de marzo de 2008

12:56 Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) informa que contrató los trabajos para la modernización de los sistemas de contra incendio en los complejos procesadores de gas de Nuevo Pemex y Ciudad Pemex, Tabasco, con el fin de preservar el medio ambiente.

Desde el 28 de diciembre de 2008 se inició la rehabilitación de la redes en contra de incendio de los complejos procesadores de gas Nuevo Pemex y Ciudad Pemex respectivamente. Se estima que las obras concluyan en diciembre de 2010.

La paraestatal pretende fortalecer la seguridad industrial de los citados complejos procesadores de gas, instalaciones en las que Pemex Gas y Petroquímica Básica produce el 33% del gas natural que se consume en país.

De igual forma, Pemex informa que el monto de ambos contratos asciende a 773 millones de pesos, y la empresa que ganó el concurso para su ejecución fue la Compañía Abener Energía S.A./Abengoa México S.A. DE C.V. /CONIP Contratistas S.A. DE C.V.

Los lineamientos que Petróleos mexicanos sigue están basados en el Sistema para la Administración Integral de la Seguridad, Salud y la Protección Ambiental, fundamentado en las 12 mejores prácticas internacionales, el cual está encaminado a alcanzar la meta CERO en accidentes.


http://www.energycurrent.com/index.php?id=2&storyid=9333

Pemex postpones Tabasco 3-D seismic survey by two weeksFiled from Houston

3/11/2008 9:00:30 PM GMT

MEXICO: BNamericas reports that Mexican state oil company Pemex's E&P subsidiary has pushed back its international tender by nearly two weeks for a 3-D seismic survey on Tabasco state's coast, according to the Mexican federal procurement website Compranet.


Local firm Global Geophysical Services requested the delay. Global is one of five companies that purchased bidding rules as of the third project meeting, according to Compranet.
The other firms were: Compañía Mexicana de Geofísica; American Geophysical; PGS Mexicana; and Compañía Mexicana de Exploraciones. Bidding rules are now available through March 19 with bids due on March 25.
The Chopo 3-D Transicional study covers 286 square kilometers (110 square miles), of which 162 square kilometers (63 square miles) are in the Gulf of Mexico and the remainder on land.
The project will study various Mesozoic opportunities as well as identify other exploratory locations to incorporate new reserves in the short term, according to bidding documents.
The area is of significant economic interest to Pemex because it could confirm the extension of producing field structures, the bidding documents said.
The company has scheduled a fourth project meeting for March 12.
The tender number is 18575062-008-08.


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