Basic Political Developments



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Basic Political Developments

  • The U.S. embassy in Mexico announced an increase of fee for non-immigrant visas. The fee increased due to “advances in security, information processing systems and inflation”.


National Economic Trends

  • Mexico's peso fell after a report showed manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in December.


Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions

  • Many farmers throughout Mexico are calling for blockades of imports of subsidized US grains as the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US and Mexico came into full force Jan. 1.

  • Mexican telecommunications firm Telefonos de Mexico reported a 2.1 percent growth in revenues due to growth in internet access revenue, interconnection revenue and other revenue

  • Mexico’s ambassador to Paraguay said Jan. 2 that the two countries have great commercial opportunities between each other that they should take advantage of.

  • Mexico’s Coahuila state will invest $93.7 million in water infrastructure projects in 2008. The projects include potable water, drainage, sewerage and treatment plants.


Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)

  • Mexico was forced to close its main oil export ports Jan. 2 due to rough seas. It is unclear when the ports will reopen. Pemex said that the closure should mean only minor delays to crude shipments.

  • The import of gasoline has grown 300 percent from 2002 to 2007.


Terrorism and Social Instability

  • Mexico recorded its deadliest year ever of drug-related killings in 2007, and the violence is expected to increase if an initial $500 million U.S. aid package to Mexico is approved by Congress in 2008, officials and analysts say.

  • A Colombian senator said Jan. 2 that Mexico and Colombia should form a strong alliance against drug trafficking and increase bilateral cooperation in that area.

  • Two men have been found murdered in Michoacan – these are the first major crimes reported in 2008. Reasons for the murders have not been established, but both deaths are believed to be linked to organized crime.

Pemex

  • According to a Jan. 2 report, Pemex cleared nearly $100 billion of revenue in 2007, but the state oil giant is still in dire straits.

  • US oil and lubricant firm Bardahl has accused Pemex Refinacion, a subsidiary of Pemex, of disregarding a judicial order that authorizes the firm to sell its products in Pemex stations.

  • Pemex is intensifying its inspection and maintenance of its duct system throughout the country.


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Basic Political Developments

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=160497

U.S. embassy in Mexico announces increase of visa fees since beginning of 2008


MEXICO CITY (Xinhua) -- The U.S. embassy in Mexico announced an increase of fee for non-immigrant visas in the first day of 2008.
The visa fee will be increased by 31 U.S. dollars to 131 dollars due to the ""advances in security, information processing systems and inflation,"" officials of the embassy told reporters.
The increase will also be applied to Border Crossing Cards, which are commonly known as ""Laser Visas,"" for applicants in Mexico.
Embassy officials said the real cost of those documents has exceeded the fees paid by the applicants since 2004, while the last fee increase for non-immigrant visas occurred in 2002.
Application fees of 100 dollars paid prior to Jan. 1, 2008, will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2008, said the embassy, noting after Jan. 31, all applicants will be required to pay the equivalent of 131 dollars at the time of processing, regardless of the date of original application.


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National Economic Trends
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=au8l88cPgm9o&refer=news

Mexico's Peso Reverses Gains on Concerns Export Demand to Wane

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico's peso fell after a report showed manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted last month, fueling concern of weaker demand for Mexican exports from its biggest trading partner.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing report fueled concerns the U.S. housing slump is spreading to other parts of the economy. The U.S. buys about 80 percent of Mexican exports.

``The numbers suggest that market pessimism won't be over soon,'' said Federico Flores, head of the fixed-income trading desk at the Mexico City-based brokerage Invex Grupo Financiero SA. ``This is going to be a difficult quarter.''

The peso reversed earlier gains, dropping 0.1 percent to 10.8988 per dollar at 11:15 a.m. New York time from 10.8988 on Dec. 31. Mexico's currency fell 0.8 percent in 2007, the worst performance among the major currencies, following a 1.6 percent decline the previous year.

The ISM's manufacturing index fell to 47.7 in December, the lowest reading since April 2003, from 50.8 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Fifty is the dividing line between expansion and contraction. Economists expected the index to fall to 50.5, according to the median of 69 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.

Yields on Mexico's benchmark 10-year bond held near their highest since the security was first issued in January last year. The yield on the 7 ¼ percent Mexican bond due December 2016 was little changed at 8.17 percent. The price rose 0.02 centavo to 94.18 centavo per peso.

Bond Declines

Mexican bonds have fallen amid concerns inflation will quicken, eroding the value of the securities' fixed payments. Mexico's central bank in October raised its inflation forecast for this year because of new taxes and elevated global food prices.

Policy makers at Banco de Mexico said they won't meet their 3 percent inflation target until 2009. They raised the benchmark interest rate twice in 2007, to 7.5 percent from 7 percent.

``The concern now is that Banco de Mexico will have to raise rates again,'' Flores said.

Mexican central bankers next meet on Jan. 18.

http://www.bnamericas.com/news/waterandwaste/Coahuila_earmarks_US*94mn_for_water_infra_in_2008

Coahuila earmarks US$94mn for water infra in 2008 - Mexico

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Northern Mexico's Coahuila state water commission CEAS will kick off 2008 investing some US$93.7mn in water infrastructure projects, daily Milenio reported.
The projects include potable water, drainage, sewerage and treatment plants.

Of the amount, the state and federal governments have contributed 500mn pesos (US$45.7mn) that will go to infrastructure projects and providing service to CEA's poorest and most isolated communities.

In addition, the North American Development Bank loaned US$48mn for co-investments with municipalities in the state for projects such as wastewater treatment plants and environmental sanitation works, the release said.

The loan could be doubled, leaving the state's 2008 water budget at 1.5bn pesos, CEAS chairman Emilio Marco was quoted as saying.

PRIORITY FOR 2008

One of CEAS's most important projects for 2008 is removing arsenic from the water in the Lázaro Cárdenas and Francisco Zarco reservoirs in the Lagunera region.

This involves building a 70km aqueduct from the reservoirs to the city of Torreón to make water suitable for distribution through the network that serves Lerdo and Gómez Palacio Durango, the paper reported.

CEAS invested a total of 356mn pesos in 2006, of which 185mn came from a mix of federal, state and municipal funds, Marco said without providing figures for 2007.


Business News Americas
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Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions


http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID={FB8ACAAC-7336-4E97-8774-EAECBBC994D9})&language=EN

Mexico Farmers Stonewall US Deal


Mexico, Jan 2 (Prensa Latina) Though actions blocking imports of subsidized US grains ended Wednesday, rejection of the North American Free Trade Agreement keeps growing in Mexico.
In the state of Guanajuato, Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin urged the government to support farmers facing the serious problem caused by the elimination of tariffs to agricultural products from the US and Canada. Martin added the Mexican agricultural sector cannot compete with such foreign products, which entails serious, real risks.
The general secretary of the National Coordinating Office of Educators, Artemio Ortiz, announced they will hold demonstrations in the capital demanding a renegotiation of the agreement.
Farmers in Guerrero state, and students from the Autonomous University in that region gathered in Chipalcingo downtown to denounce the damage the agricultural chapter of NAFTA causes to the country.
The Emiliano Zapata Farmers' Union called its members to join ranks to face the loss of national food safety posed by the deal, while the National Association of Agricultural Commercializing Firms said free import of corn and beans is a real economic and social catastrophe, which will result in national insecurity, and affect the country's governability.
http://www.123jump.com/earnings-calls/Telefonos-de-Mexico-Third-Quarter-Earnings-Call/24365/

Telefonos de Mexico Third Quarter Earnings Call

Author: Albena Toncheva

123jump.com

Last Update: 7:36 AM EST January 02 2008
The Mexico based provider of fixed line telephones reported 2.1% growth in revenue to 48 billion pesos, on substantial growth in internet access revenue, interconnection revenue and other revenue. In Q3, TELMEX had 18.157 million lines in service, representing 21% of Mexico''s telecommunications market of fixed, mobile and voice services. In the third quarter, the firm added 296,000 broadband Infinitum ADSL accounts in Mexico, bringing the total to roughly 2.7 million services.
http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/ElFinanciero/Portal/cfpages/contentmgr.cfm?docId=97230&docTipo=1&orderby=docid&sortby=ASC

México y Paraguay deben potencializar comercio

Economía - Miércoles 2 de enero (15:03 hrs.)

Exportaciones mexicanas ascenderán a 33 millones 600 mil dólares



La nación sudamericana a su vez colocará productos por 9 millones 100 mil dls.
El Financiero en línea
Asunción, 2 de enero.- Las relaciones entre México y Paraguay atraviesan por un buen momento, pero ambos tienen un potencial en materia de comercio que deben aprovechar, consideró el embajador mexicano en Asunción, Ernesto Campos Tenorio.
El diplomático aseguró en entrevista con Notimex respecto de los vínculos bilaterales que "se percibe un mejoramiento sustancial en todos los campos de la relación, aunque quizás en unos más que en otros".
Admitió que "las cifras en materia de comercio creo que no corresponden al potencial de ambas economías porque todavía hay cosas que mejorar. Sin embargo, ha habido progresos porque se han diversificado los productos que se exportan a uno y otro país".
Las exportaciones mexicanas a Paraguay llegarán este año a 33 millones 600 mil dólares, mientras que las importaciones desde este país sudamericano sumarán nueve millones 100 mil dólares, según proyecciones oficiales de organismos de la nación del norte.
Campos Tenorio puntualizó: "se puede afirmar que entre México y Paraguay tenemos actualmente un moderado pero sostenido intercambio comercial".
Reconoció que existe "un evidente interés de los empresarios de mi país en Paraguay. Tuvimos varias visitas de misiones y se están analizando aspectos legales, comerciales y de mercado que hagan posible la radicación de capitales mexicanos acá (en Paraguay)".
"México y Paraguay también hemos tenido buenas coincidencias en las relaciones en materia política, se han logrado entendimientos y coincidimos en las posiciones sobre diversos tópicos en los organismos internacionales", añadió.
El embajador mexicano agregó que existe una "intensa relación" en materia educativa y cultural entre los dos países, "con un buen número de estudiantes paraguayos becados en México. Tenemos convenios que se están cumpliendo y que marchan muy bien".
"Creo que ya son más de 150 los estudiantes paraguayos que han cursado estudios de postgrado en diversas especialidades en universidades mexicanas e incluso algunos ya están de regreso en Paraguay", comentó el diplomático.
Indicó en el aspecto cultural bilateral que existe una "importante presencia" de México en Paraguay y recordó el éxito que tuvo este año la exposición del artista mexicano Francisco Toledo en el Museo del Barro de Asunción.
También colocó como ejemplo las muestras fotográficas, festivales de teatro y cine y las visitas a este país sudamericano de músicos y bailarines mexicanos, que además de realizar presentaciones efectuaron cursos y talleres para artistas paraguayos.
Campos Tenorio se refirió además a la cooperación técnica y científica bilateral, "especialmente en el fortalecimiento del sistema de maquila de Paraguay, en un programa trilateral conjunto desarrollado con Japón".
Puntualizó que en Paraguay se realizaron este año varios seminarios sobre gobierno electrónico, turismo y salud que contaron con la presencia de expertos mexicanos, además de una reunión de la Comisión Técnica y Científica Paraguayo-Mexicana.
Apuntó que la canciller mexicana Patricia Espinosa realizó en diciembre una visita oficial a Paraguay, donde se reunió con el presidente Nicanor Duarte para analizar temas de interés bilateral, entre ellos aumentar el comercio y la cooperación.
El diplomático comentó que "hay muchas cosas más que se mueven (en los vínculos entre los dos países), más allá de lo que hagamos los gobiernos, y que cada vez se acentúa y se afianza en la relación entre Paraguay y México".
Indicó que, además del cariño por la música mexicana que existe en Paraguay, varios futbolistas de este país sudamericano han emigrado a México, "lo que también es un reflejo de las buenas relaciones bilaterales y el amplio campo que resta aún por desarrollar".
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Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)
http://www.pr-inside.com/mexico-s-gulf-coast-oil-ports-closed-r368237.htm

Mexico's Gulf Coast oil ports closed by bad weather

2008-01-02 17:27:38 -

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's main oil export ports were closed Wednesday because of rough seas.

Port official Vladimir Romero said Dos Bocas was closed late Monday. The ports of Pajaritos and Cayo Arcas were closed Tuesday, port officials said. It was unclear when they would reopen.

The three Gulf ports handle most of the 1.7 million barrels a day of crude oil that state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos exports.


http://lta.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idLTAN0211431120080102

México cierra principales puertos crudo por clima

miércoles 2 de nero de 2008 16:26 GYT Imprimir[-] Texto [+] MEXICO DF (Reuters) - México cerró el miércoles sus principales puertos exportadores de petróleo debido al mal clima, dijo la Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes.
Los puertos de Pajaritos en Coatzacoalcos, Dos Bocas y Cayo Arcas en el Golfo de México, que mueven un 80 por ciento de las exportaciones petroleras mexicanas, y Salina Cruz en la costa del Pacífico, fueron cerrados a la navegación.
En total, una docena de puertos comerciales en México estaban cerrados junto con otros puntos de carga debido a un frente frío que causaba fuertes vientos, oleaje y poca visibilidad en el Golfo de México.
Una portavoz del monopolio petrolero estatal Pemex dijo que el cierre de los puertos sólo causará retrasos menores en sus exportaciones y que los embarques podrían reanudarse la mañana del jueves en caso de que las condiciones del clima mejoren.
"Los puntos de carga están cerrados (...) no afecta producción ni exportación. Si se abren mañana se mandaría lo que hubiera salido hoy," dijo la portavoz a Reuters.
En meses recientes, las exportaciones de Pemex han sufrido el impacto del mal clima que ha detenido los embarques durante días o causado en algunos casos el desalojo de trabajadores de las instalaciones de la compañía petrolera.
http://www.oem.com.mx/tribunadesanluis/notas/n543318.htm

Crecieron 300% las importaciones de gasolina Organización Editorial Mexicana 2 de enero de 2008 Jorge Olmedo / El Sol de México Ciudad de México.- En los últimos cinco años las importaciones de gasolina de México crecieron en casi un 300 por ciento, al pasar de 89 mil barriles en el 2002 a 306 mil barriles diarios durante el pasado 2007, lo que, sin duda, fue una de las causas de que México reportará el nivel más alto en costo en importaciones de petrolíferos, que hasta noviembre del año pasado superaron los 15 mil millones de dólares. Este resultado es consecuencia de la falta de una mayor capacidad de refinación, que no podrá ser atendida en tanto no se determine la construcción de una nueva refinería, para atender las necesidades de un mercado interno cada vez más demandante. Pemex Refinación ha realizado esfuerzos importantes para abastece el mercado nacional y una muestra de ellos, son las cifras de producción alcanzadas en el mismo periodo, ya que mientras que en el 2002 procesaba 398 mil barriles diarios de gasolinas para el 2007 el volumen creció a 456 mil barriles diarios, insuficientes para un consumo que creció de 565 mil barriles a 755 mil barriles diarios en el 2007. Obviamente y a pesar de las mejoras y actualizaciones realizadas en el sistema nacional de Refinación ha sido imposible cubrir las necesidades de un mercado que en sólo cinco años creció en su demanda en más de 210 mil barriles diarios, que sólo con por los menos dos refinería se puede atender. Los recursos destinados por Pemex para el pago de las importaciones de petrolíferos tan sólo en este año, superan y por mucho, el valor que tendría la construcción de por lo menos dos nuevas refinerías. El crecimiento del nivel de importaciones de petrolíferos debe ser una preocupación para cualquier empresa petrolera y más para la economía mexicana, cuya dependencia es una de las más altas del mundo. Sin embargo, mientras no exista capacidad en los funcionarios del sector responsables de la política energética, México seguirá acabando con sus recursos petroleros y más pronto de lo que se espera dependeremos en mayor medida de las compras en el exterior de los productos refinados que requiere el desarrollo del país, como son las gasolinas, los petroquímicos y el gas natural. El año que inicia, será sin duda, una oportunidad para corregir errores y deficiencias, en el sector energético y para ello, habrá que contar con funcionarios capaces que diseñen una política de acuerdo

la realidad del país y su entorno. Foro: AP
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Terrorism and Social Instability


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/nation/stories/DN-initiative_02int.ART.State.Edition2.16075.html

U.S. anti-drug aid proposal could heighten violence in Mexico


After record year of killings, cartels may have violent answer to plan for $500 million in U.S. anti-drug aid
12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

By ALFREDO CORCHADO and TIM CONNOLLY / The Dallas Morning News

Alfredo Corchado reported from Washington and Mexico City, Tim Connolly reported from Washington, and / The Dallas Morning News

Laurence Iliff contributed from Mexico City.


WASHINGTON – Mexico recorded its deadliest year yet of drug-related killings in 2007, and the violence is expected to increase if an initial $500 million U.S. aid package to Mexico is approved by Congress in 2008, U.S. and Mexican officials and analysts say.
Drug-related killings surpassed 2,500 in 2007, eclipsing 2006's figure of more than 2,100, according to the Austin-based Stratfor consulting firm.
The killings underscore the timing of the Merida Initiative, an anti-drug agreement forged by Presidents Bush and Felipe Calderón and representing a new strategy of "shared responsibility," U.S. and Mexican officials said in interviews. Much of the aid would be used for helicopters, technology and information sharing.
But U.S. law enforcement officials and analysts caution that even with the unprecedented level of anti-drug aid to Mexico, violence could actually rise as drug cartels respond forcefully to increased U.S. and Mexican pressure.
One U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned that 2008 "may prove to be even deadlier. We expect drug traffickers to respond aggressively to combined U.S. and Mexican actions and pressure."
Growing U.S.-Mexico cooperation will force "drug cartels to increase the political ante by increasing the level of violence," said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, a political consultant with Washington-based Peschard-Sverdrup & Associates.
Especially vulnerable are Mexican law enforcement agents, said U.S. and Mexican officials. Over the weekend, gunmen ambushed a convoy transporting three alleged kidnappers and killed seven police officers near Zacatecas. Hours earlier, a top law enforcement official was killed in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas.
"When pressure on them [drug traffickers] increases or continues from law enforcement officials, the usual response is to kick up the violence, especially directed at government and law enforcement officials, which might explain why deaths of law enforcement officials are up," said a senior U.S. official, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "Per the longer term, you certainly expect violence to decrease as the power of the cartels is broken, but not necessarily in the short term."

Cocaine seizures


Mexican authorities have made record cocaine seizures in recent months, including hauls of 10 tons and 26 tons in October alone.
A strong government represents a threat to the cartels.
"The goal of the cartels is to weaken institutions [and] to go about their illegal activities," said Roberta Jacobson, deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. "Therefore, our goal is to strengthen these institutions."
She added: "Through this request by the Mexican government and cooperation of the U.S. government, we will be able to work together in such a way that criminals can't exploit our differences. This is an initiative of shared responsibility for shared problems."
The Merida Initiative calls for $1.4 billion in U.S. assistance over three years, mostly in new equipment and services to fortify democratic institutions, with $500 million for Mexico and an additional $50 million for Central American countries in fiscal 2008. The aid package needs congressional approval in both countries.
Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán said the enhanced U.S. role is key.
"Between Texas and Arizona alone, you've got 12,000 gun shops along that border with Mexico. And a lot of these gun shops provide weapons that feed into organized crime in Mexico, so we really need the support of the Unites States," he said.
The cartels are also attacking new targets: the armed forces, mainstream musicians – including three killed in December – and even the Catholic Church.
In mid-December, two masked men burst into the offices of the Saltillo diocese in Coahuila state, northern Mexico, destroying property and holding a female employee, according to news reports. The attack came after Bishop Raul Vera denounced the government's efforts against drug traffickers as a farce.

Soldiers slain


As the year ended, three soldiers were shot to death in a shopping mall in the northern city of Torreón, Coahuila. That state also borders Texas.
Three journalists were killed in 2007, down from nine in 2006, when Mexico was the most dangerous place in the Americas for journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
The debate in Congress might mirror the intensity of the immigration debate last summer.
"Mexico won't get a free pass," one Republican congressional aide said. "Expect the knives to come out for this one."
A proposed U.S. trip by Mr. Calderón in early 2008 to cities with large immigrant populations may inflame anti-Mexico sentiment on cable television and in Congress, said U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
"If I had my druthers, I would tell him to wait until this thing is over," said Mr. Reyes. "A visit by President Calderón could hurt our effort."

Intense lobbying


A final vote is expected in late February or early spring. Intense lobbying is under way, an effort that includes Mr. Sarukhán making about 15 visits a week to House and Senate leaders. "I believe that the chances of passing it are quite good," he said. Such lobbying is uncharacteristic for a nation with a historic fear of undermining its sovereignty by accepting U.S. aid.
"This package goes against the golden rule of Mexican diplomacy: no handouts from the U.S. government," said Rafael Fernández de Castro, a Mexican political analyst and visiting professor at Harvard University. "In Mexico, there's always the fear that the U.S. Congress will find a way to meddle into Mexican affairs and in its sovereignty. But this is basically the last call for Mexico. The choices are limited."
While the proposed aid would be a big increase from the $40 million a year received in the past, it is also a fraction of the billions of dollars Mexico spends every year on law enforcement, much of it in the drug fight.

Symbolic shift


But the Merida Initiative is as much about a symbolic shift toward co-responsibility in the drug war as it is about money, officials and analysts said.
"President Calderón is leading a frontal attack on crime, and ... the results are very striking in one year in Mexico," said Ms. Jacobson of the State Department. "This is for us one of those situations where it doesn't matter what the domestic political situation may be in the U.S., the opportunity cannot be lost. It's simply an opportunity that won't present itself again to change the relationship."
Still, Arturo Yañez, who trains detectives for the Mexico City government and has worked in federal law enforcement, questioned whether Mr. Calderón's counter-narcotics strategy is really working.
"Where are the results, the numbers ... ? Information is thin," he said. The influence of organized crime "is growing across Mexico. How exactly are we winning?"
Alfredo Corchado reported from Washington and Mexico City, Tim Connolly reported from Washington, and staff writer Laurence Iliff contributed from Mexico City.
http://www.milenio.com/index.php/2008/01/02/170339/

Pide senador crear alianza antidrogas entre México y Colombia


El legislador Manuel Ramiro Velásquez señaló que en la actualidad existen planes bilaterales mediante los cuales se intercambia información para evitar que las drogas producidas en Colombia utilicen a México como puente para llegar a Estados Unidos.
Bogotá.- México y Colombia deben constituir una ‘alianza fuerte’ contra el narcotráfico e incrementar la cooperación bilateral en la materia, aseveró el senador colombiano Manuel Ramiro Velásquez.
El legislador, vocero de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores del Congreso, dijo en entrevista con Notimex que, ‘ante la cada vez más fuerte alianza de los cárteles de la droga colombianos y mexicanos, debe existir también una alianza fuerte entre ambos gobiernos’.
Velásquez, del oficialista Partido Conservador, consideró que el avance que ha tenido el narcotráfico en Colombia y México ‘obliga a los gobiernos de los dos países a estrechar sus esfuerzos para enfrentar esta amenaza común’.
Colombia es el principal exportador de cocaína pura, con unas 700 toneladas anuales, según cifras de las autoridades antidrogas de este país sudamericano.
‘Hay que seguir trabajando con México de manera estrecha en un mayor intercambio de información judicial, en una acción coordinada de las policías de los dos países y sobre todo en el tema de las oficinas de inteligencia’, añadió el senador colombiano.
Aunque reconoció que Colombia y México mantienen un alto nivel de cooperación, aseguró que se deben diseñar mecanismos bilaterales mucho más fuertes para garantizar los resultados y la efectividad de las estrategias contra el tráfico de drogas.
En la actualidad existen planes bilaterales mediante los cuales se intercambia información para evitar que las drogas producidas en Colombia utilicen a México como puente para llegar a Estados Unidos.
Velásquez recordó que, como socios en el Grupo de los Tres (G-3), los gobiernos de ambos países deben trabajar ‘de la mano, no sólo para combatir el narcotráfico, sino también para revitalizar la integración comercial’.
El senador oficialista Humberto Gómez planteó por su parte homologar las legislaciones entre ambos países y entregar un papel más activo a la Comisión Binacional entre Colombia y México para hacer más eficaz la lucha contra el narcotráfico.
Esa instancia, que fue reactivada en 2005, está conformada por las cancillerías, los ministerios de Defensa, la Secretaría de Gobernación de México y el Ministerio del Interior y Justicia de Colombia.
Gómez aseveró que México requiere no sólo de la ayuda de Estados Unidos, el principal consumidor de droga del mundo, “sino la de un país como Colombia, que lo puede asesorar con medidas para combatir ese flagelo”.
Puntualizó que se debe implementar un mayor flujo de información sobre las actividades del narcotráfico en los dos países, además de mecanismos de control mutuo y penas severas para quienes incurran en el delito.
http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/471497.html

Asesinan a dos hombres en Michoacán

Notimex

El Universal

Morelia, Mich.

Miércoles 02 de enero de 2008

Se trata de las dos primeras víctimas del 2008
Dos hombres fueron asesinados en las últimas horas en distintos puntos de Michoacán, con lo que las autoridades policiacas reportaron los primeros crímenes durante el presente año.
Reportes policiacos señalaron que en Lázaro Cárdenas, un hombre que fue identificado como Omar Pérez Barrera, de 32 años de edad, fue localizado ejecutado con un impacto de bala en el rostro, en el bulevar que conduce a Playa Jardín.
En tanto, en las margenes del río que bordea la comunidad de La Pastoría, en el municipio de La Huacana, fue localizado el cuerpo de un hombre estrangulado.
En ambos casos, las autoridades no han determinado las causas de los asesinatos, aunque no se descarta que estén relacionadas con el crimen organizado.
Durante 2007, en Michoacán se registraron un total de 360 ejecuciones, unas 200 menos que durante 2006, cuando las cifras se elevaron a 560.
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Pemex

http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN029079420080102

Mexico's Pemex sees only minor delays to oil exports

Wed Jan 2, 2008 1:52pm EST

MEXICO CITY, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The closure of Mexico's main oil exporting ports on Wednesday due to bad weather should mean only minor delays to crude shipments, state energy monopoly Pemex said.


"It will not affect production or exports. If (the ports) open tomorrow we will send what would have been shipped today," a Pemex spokeswoman said.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pemex2jan02,1,2900835.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=3&cset=true

Woes mount for Mexico's state oil titan

Output is declining rapidly, but national pride and politics may block possible fixes.

By Marla Dickerson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 2, 2008

MEXICO CITY -- With crude oil topping $95 a barrel, these should be heady days for Petroleos Mexicanos. Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly, known as Pemex, generated record revenue of about $100 billion in 2007.


But at a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the nationalization of Mexico's oil industry last year, Pemex General Director Jesus Reyes Heroles wasn't in a celebratory mood.
"The situation of Petroleos Mexicanos is critical and merits immediate attention," the company's top executive said.
Indeed, 2007 tapped a gusher of concerns for the world's sixth-largest oil producer.
Pemex managed to lose $1.2 billion in the third quarter. Output is declining, as are exports and proven reserves. Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel said last month that Mexico's crude production, which averaged about 3.1 million barrels a day in 2007, could fall as much as one-third in less than a decade if the nation didn't move fast to reverse the slide.
The consequences could be painful, not only for Mexico, which relies on oil revenue to fund about 40% of its federal spending, but also for world markets, which are feeling the pinch of tight supplies. Mexico is the No. 2 provider of petroleum to the United States, behind Canada.
The bad news isn't confined to the financial pages. An emblem of national pride and the nation's most important company, Pemex lurched from one humiliating episode to another in 2007. Among them:
* Leftist guerrillas pulled off a series of pipeline bombings that sent the government scrambling to deploy troops to protect company installations.
* An accident at an offshore oil platform killed 22 workers in October and crippled a major well. Public outcry forced Pemex to take the unprecedented step of appointing an independent commission to investigate the incident, reflecting lack of trust in the institution.
* A federal watchdog fined a former head of Pemex for using company funds to pay for his wife's liposuction and illegally funneling more than $150 million to the oil workers' union as part of a murky contract settlement. Separately, government audits turned up lucrative supplier contracts awarded to former company insiders.
* The national daily newspaper Excelsior reported in November that 11,500 oil workers, about 10% of Pemex's unionized workforce, get paid for sitting idle.
* Mexico imported nearly 40% of its gasoline in 2007 -- a record amount -- because Pemex lacks sufficient refining capacity to meet domestic demand. This is an embarrassment akin to Idaho importing potatoes.
"Definitely, Pemex is in a vulnerable situation, a delicate situation," said Ruben Camarillo, a senator with President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, which is working to introduce legislation early this year to loosen state control of Mexico's energy sector. "A profound change is required."
Much of the trouble stems from Cantarell, Mexico's largest oil field. Located in shallow waters off Campeche state in the Gulf of Mexico, Cantarell supplied about 60% of Mexico's output until recently. The field's production peaked in 2004, when it averaged more than 2 million barrels a day. Output has tumbled since then, down about 30% to an average of 1.46 million barrels a day through the first 10 months of 2007.
Analysts for years have predicted the decline of this aging workhorse, which has been pumping for nearly three decades. The real shocker, they say, is that Mexico's government did so little to prepare for its inevitable demise. Geologists believe there is plenty more oil to be found in the deep waters of the gulf. Pemex simply doesn't have the tools to go after it.
That's because deep-water drilling requires specialized knowledge, advanced technology and piles of money -- none of which Pemex has. Cantarell's oil was so plentiful and so easy to extract for so long that spending big bucks on tough drilling elsewhere wasn't a priority.
The lawmakers who approve Pemex's budget instead channeled oil wealth into roads, schools and social programs. Pemex is far and away the nation's biggest taxpayer, turning over more than half its revenue to the government.
How big a burden is that compared with industry peers? Consider this. In 2006, Pemex and state-owned Venezuelan oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, posted nearly identical sales of just under $100 billion. Pemex paid nearly $54 billion in taxes. That's one-third more than the $36 billion that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez extracted from PDVSA to pay for his "socialist revolution," which critics complain is crippling the oil company.
Mexicans remain fiercely proud that their country wrested its petroleum assets from foreign companies such as Standard Oil decades ago and committed them to social development.
"Mexico stood up to the United States and won," Enrique Bravo, Latin America analyst for consulting firm Eurasia Group in Washington, wrote in a recent report. "Pemex is thus much more than an oil company; it is a powerful symbol of Mexican national sovereignty."
But by operating Pemex more like an ATM than a business, politicians have left Pemex with few options.
Some deep-water experts, including Brazil's Petrobras, have expressed interest in helping Mexico tap its hard-to-reach crude in exchange for a share of production. That's currently impossible under Mexican law, which grants Pemex a monopoly on all aspects of oil production, refining, transport and sales and forbids outside investment in its energy sector.
That leaves borrowing. But Pemex has hocked itself to the hilt. The company ended 2006 with $52.3 billion in debt on its books, making it the most-indebted oil company on the planet. Time is running out. Pemex's proven reserves fell by nearly 30% to 15.5 billion barrels from 2001 to 2006. The company last year replaced only 4 barrels out of every 10 produced. Yet public officials continue to spend. The recent run-up in oil prices produced windfall revenue that paid for baseball stadiums, fancy government offices and other gimcracks.
"It's a scandal," said David Shields, a Mexico City energy analyst who has written two books on Pemex. "Pemex's money is being divided up among politicians with no control on how it's spent."
Company leadership is another issue, many say. The board is stocked with government bureaucrats and union officials. The top executive at Pemex is appointed by Mexico's president.
"Appointments are made with regard to political and electoral issues," said George Baker, a Mexico expert with Energia.com, a Houston-based energy consulting firm. "Those kinds of appointments do not find oil. Period."
With nothing on the horizon to replace Cantarell, talk of energy reform is gaining urgency. Most experts agree that privatization of Pemex is politically impossible, given Mexico's divided legislature.
But the three main parties have been meeting to see whether they can find wiggle room in Mexico's Constitution. PAN's Camarillo said a plan was emerging to permit private-sector investment in pipelines and refineries and to allow Pemex to form "strategic alliances" with firms that could help it extract crude from deep waters.
"There is no intention . . . to sell off Petroleos Mexicanos," he said. "Pemex will continue being national."
But such a proposal will face considerable opposition. Some fear that allowing any kind of foreign participation in the energy sector is a first step toward privatization. Defeated leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rallied thousands of supporters to Mexico's historic center in November, urging them to defend Mexico's patrimony.
Political discussions have also focused on more operational autonomy for Pemex, as well as ways to improve efficiency, oversight and transparency.
How even those modest goals are to be achieved remains to be seen.
Some have cited the examples of Norway's Statoil-Hydro and Brazil's Petrobras. Those firms are state-controlled, yet they are profitable and regarded as well-managed. Both are publicly traded and thus must answer to shareholders and analysts. They have partnered with foreign oil companies on projects around the globe. And their governments have opened their nations' oil fields to outsiders, which has fueled competition to find more crude.
But veteran observers say Pemex remains so sacred to many Mexicans and Congress is so divided that they see little chance for anything but tinkering this year. The hard truth, oil analyst Shields said, is that conditions will have to get a lot worse at Pemex to spur major changes.
"Things are going to be tough on every front," he said. "That's our new normality."
http://www.elsemanario.com.mx/news/news_display.php?story_id=4007

Bardahl acusa a Pemex de eludir orden judicial y proteger monopolio


Un juez falló a favor de que la empresa estadounidense pueda comercializar sus productos en las más de de 7, 500 gasolineras del país. Hasta el momento Pemex se ha negado a cumplir con la orden

MÉXICO, enero 2, 2008.- Bardahl , empresa estadounidense fabricante de aceites y lubricantes, acusa a Pemex Refinación, filial de Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), de eludir la orden judicial que le faculta para vender sus productos en las gasolineras del país.


La empresa estadounidense acusa a la paraestatal mexicana de eludir el fallo decidido por el Tercer Tribunal Colegiado en Materia Administrativa en el Estado de Jalisco, a finales del mes pasado, mediante el cual se le permite a Bardhal comercializar aceites, grasas y lubricantes en las más de 7, 500 gasolineras de la República.
Los abogados de Bardahl acusan, a través de un comunicado, que Pemex Refinación protege un monopolio del cual resultan beneficiadas la paraestatal y la empresa Mexicana de Lubricantes (Mexlub), con quien mantienen una sociedad para la elaboración de lubricantes de la marca Akron y Maxlub, que son comercializados con exclusividad en las estaciones de servicio.
A pesar de que el fallo del juez establece que los productos de Bardhal pueden ser comercializados en las gasolineras del país a partir del pasado 21 de diciembre, Pemex Refinación no ha permitido la venta de los lubricantes de la firma estadounidense
Pemex Refinación mantiene la negativa bajo el argumento de que legalmente la empresa Bardahl de México no puede comercializar sus lubricantes en las estaciones de servicio del país porque la filial de la paraestatal enfrenta un juicio que no ha concluido.

El pasado 27 de diciembre, Pemex publicó un desplegado en el que argumenta que Bardhal de México no tiene autorización para comercializar sus productos en las gasolineras del país porque existe una resolución de un juez que establece que mientras no se soluciones la situación legal que Pemex Refinación tiene con su socia Impulsora Jalisciense, el mercado de lubricantes no podrá abrirse.


“Las resoluciones dictadas en el incidente de suspensión promovido por Bardahl son para efecto de que las cosas se mantengan en el estado en que se encuentran actualmente y para que no se emitan o ejecuten órdenes tendientes a impedir la comercialización de sus productos en las gasolineras del país hasta que no se resuelva el juicio en lo principal”, aclaró la paraestatal.
Tras saber la decisión del juez que permite la venta de productos Bardhal en las gasolineras del país, el representante legal de la firma, Pedro Aguilera Esquivel, advirtió que si los funcionarios de Pemex no acatan la orden del juez en un lapso de 24 horas después de ser notificados (del 24 al 26 de diciembre), las autoridades judiciales iniciarían un procedimiento administrativo en contra de los funcionarios. Situación que hasta el momento no ha sido notificada.

De acuerdo con el gobernador del estado, Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, esa disminución se debió en gran parte a la implementación del Operativo Conjunto Michoacán que fue puesto en marcha desde diciembre de 2006 en la entidad.


http://www.oem.com.mx/eloccidental/notas/n543300.htm

Rehabilitará Pemex sistema de ductos en el sur Organización Editorial Mexicana 2 de enero de 2008 Jorge Olmedo / El Sol de México Ciudad de México.- Petróleos Mexicanos intensificará sus trabajos de inspección y rehabilitación de su sistema de ductos en la región sur del país, donde se localizan los activos Cinco Presidentes, en donde aplicará recursos por más de 270 millones de pesos. Para tal efecto adjudicó a las empresas Construcciones y Servicios Relacionados, así como a Ingeniería Aplicada de Agua Dulce estos trabajos, incluyendo la ampliación y modernización de la carretera El Portón- Ciudad Pemex, en la que se aplicarán recursos por 178 millones de pesos. La primera de las empresas que realizarán los trabajos de inspección y rehabilitación de los ductos en el activo Cinco Presidentes- Blasillo, ejecutará los trabajos, cuyo costo será de 147 millones. En este contrato trabajarán en forma conjunta las empresas Siroga del sureste y Construcciones y Servicios Relacionados. En tanto que en el caso del contrato correspondiente al sector Magallanes-Ogarrio y otros de la región sur, la empresa Ingeniería Aplicada de Agua Dulce será la responsable, con un costo de más de 130 millones de pesos. Las inversiones ascenderán 270 millones de pesos. Foto: AP


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