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President Calderon’s visit to the United Nations and New York

7 Oct

President Calderon Addresses the United Nations in New York

Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, convened with other world leaders at the 66th General Assembly Session of the United Nations, in a time in which Mexico is plagued with violence in some regions by powerful Drug Cartels. President Calderon addressed at the General Assembly of the UN revolved around three main issues that are currently top priorities for members of the international community. Calderon stated that the United Nations must maintain its relevancy as an avenue from which world leaders can move forward to address and eradicate poverty, climate change, and international crime. These three issues are what Calderon stated to be some of the main factors that hinder the development of numerous countries throughout the world and jeopardize the legitimacy of governments. In addition, to his request for the international community to address these issues more aggressively, Calderon condemned the lack of leadership at the international level on behalf of countries with high consumption of drugs, such as the United States. This is not the first time President Calderon has condemned the United States for its lack of gun control laws and its lack of initiative to implement public policy to eradicate drug use and or create an “alternative market” from which the astronomical profits currently enjoyed by the Drug Cartels can be reduced. President Calderon also received the Gold Insigne Award, in a Gala organized by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, in which MATT participated as a special invite of the Council of the Americas; MATT was able to share our perspectives on the bi-national agenda with important guests such as, Claudia Palacios of CNN, Alejandro Ramírez CEO of Cinepolis, and Margarita Zavala Mexico´s First Lady. In this Gala the President talked about the importance of the integration, not isolation, of Mexicans into the American community and, mentioned that through the integration of the Mexican community, the United States could gain a more educated population. It was really interesting to listen to Calderon’s speech, because it  helps MATT, a bi-national organization, understand that the new Mexican Government’s vision corresponds with MATT’s mission, after three years of hard work directed towards advocacy in Mexico.  MATT works with issues pertaining to the integration and the education of the Mexican community on both sides of the border.  Calderon concluded his UN visit by participating in the general debate of the General Assembly on: The Role of Mediation in Conflict Solution by Pacific Means. Earlier in the week prior to his visit to the UN, Calderon was recognized and awarded the highest award given to a head of state by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas for his promotion of culture, politics, social and economic development in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, Calderon addressed and condemned the United State’s high consumption and demand for drugs, which he largely blames for Mexico’s current woes making this a revolving theme. Calderon’s visit to the US concluded with a visit to Los Angeles, California in which he met with members of the Mexican community and he was also in attendance of a special screening of The Royal Tour, a documentary about Mexico.

What You’ve Been Missing: Good News on Mexico

4 Jun

I am always on the hunt for good news about Mexico and the Americas. Something to distract me from titles like, “Border Bloodshed” and the “Immigration Problem”. If you dare to focus on Mexico in a positive way, does that make you crazy?

Courtesy of México Today's Facebook page

A friend of mine at ProMéxico, shared a Facebook page with me called, México Today. Thanks to a post on their page, I armchair traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula from the comfort of my desk, drinking my morning coffee.

México Today gives you something hard to come by: good news and an insiders perspective on what you’re missing in Mexico.

Their call to action: “…tell Mexico’s stories as part of a vibrant community of Mexico enthusiasts. Whether you’re an art and travel guru or intrigued by infrastructure and the economy, share your viewpoint here.

I’m hooked. After getting a dose of reality from my Google Alert “Mexico, binational” (try it yourself), I log onto México Today to get in touch (and go a little crazy) with the country’s good side.

Try listening to Gnarles Barkley’s song “Crazy” while checking out the site…

Yeah, I was out of touch.

But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough.

I just knew too much…

Does that make me crazy? Possibly…

Argentina y México: acuerdan mejorar vínculos económicos

1 Jun

By Doris Marquez    @Matt.org
Cristina Fernández, presidenta de Argentina y Felipe Calderón, presidente de México acordaron este lunes en fortalecer los vínculos económicos bilaterales y progresar en el combare al crimen organizado, para lo cual tuvieron que firmar unos instrumentos bilaterales.

La presidente de Argentina tenía previsto visitar México el 14 de abril, pero interrumpió el viaje a causa de un cuadro de hipotensión arterial, problema que ha sufrido en otras ocasiones.

En la visita oficial de la presidenta de Argentina, los gobiernos de ambos países firmaron un memorándum de entendimiento para la promoción de inversiones bilaterales y un tratado de extradición para reclamar a criminales o  a quienes se les haya iniciado un proceso penal en alguna de las dos naciones.

Fernández en un comentario  a la prensa posterior a un encuentro privado con su colega Felipe Calderón , le mencionó : “Nunca hubo un grado de relación tan profundo, tan cordial entre los Estados Unidos de México y la República Argentina”.

La mandatario mencionó, sin embargo, que aún son mayores “las posibilidades de articulación” entre ambos países.

El presidente mexicano comentó que el comercio bilateral se cuadruplicó en la última década hasta alcanzar actualmente cerca de$ 2.900 millones de dólares, lo cual ha colocado a Argentina como el cuarto socio comercial de México en Latinoamérica.

Calderón señaló,”Aunque estos avances son relevantes, es claro que tenemos un enorme potencial para lograr un mayor intercambio económico”

Foto: Cortesía de aol.noticias

Hilary Clinton Takes Latin America off Back Burner

24 May

By Tina Kosikowski @ MATT.org

In the past month, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has taken Latin America off the back burner and back into the spotlight through a series of speeches and engagements intended to mend relations with a region not prioritized by Washington D.C. and policy makers.

Image courtesy of: New York Times

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with the presidents from Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, left, from Chile, Sebastian Pinera, second right, and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, during the investiture ceremony of the new Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in Brasília in January. COURTESY OF: Fernando Bizerra Jr/European Pressphoto Agency

Following President Obama’s recent trip to Latin America, Secretary Clinton has spoken repeatedly on behalf of inter-american relations and Mexican-American leadership. She addressed the Council of the Americas at Washington’s Conference of the Americas, hosted a dinner attended by the former presidents of  Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Panama and El Salvador, and has even promoted educational exchange in the Americas through the initiative called One Hundred Thousand Strong in the Americas.

Commentary on the Washington Conference of the Americas states,

“’There is power in our proximity,’ said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her address to the Washington Conference. The secretary referred not just to geography, but also integrated economies, shared values in terms of democracy and human rights, and common culture across the Americas. She noted that, as the United States seeks to rebuild its own economy, it looks to its partners in the region. ‘For our security and strategic interests, we have to design an architecture of cooperation, and we are looking more and more to increasingly capable partners in the hemisphere,’ she said.”

Hear Secretary Clinton’s remarks for yourself. Is this genuine interest in inter-american relations or timely strategy in light of the upcoming elections? Get informed, decide for yourself.

Listen to remarks about President Obama’s trip by Dan Restrepo.

X-Ray Exposes Human Smuggling in Mexico

20 May

By Tina Kosikowski @ MATT.org

Go ahead, take a look… Take a close look at this x-ray exposing more than 500 total migrants jam packed into semi trailers. Those are people! You see them standing, crouching, sitting, leaning… holding on for dear life. They were crammed together up to 7 people per 1 square meter. The surprising part? None of them were Mexican.

An x-ray exposed hundreds of migrants packed into semi-trucks in southern Mexico.

According to Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Migración, the majority of migrants in this case originated from Guatemala, others represented El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Japan, India, Napal, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. This single image demonstrates the reach of organized crime and global smuggling routes. Antonio Mazzitelli, head of the UN office on Drugs and Crime for Mexico and Central America, stated, “this confirms the existence of powerful international smuggling rings that operate from Asia to Latin America in order to reach the United States.”

The lines between smuggling and trafficking often blur. The difference? In this case, a migrant who paid a coyote (most often between 7,000-25,000 USD) to smuggle him or her across any border becomes a trafficking victim when he or she is exploited by smugglers against his or her will. Perfect example: female migrants who pay coyotes to get them into the United States for work as a waitress, for example, become trafficking victims when those same smugglers kidnap them and force them into sex slavery.

How is this possible? In an article by CBS, Demetrios Papademetriou, the Director of the Migration Policy Institute, stated, “We’re talking about something that’s far more systematic than people realize. They learned how to do this by trying to move drugs and other contraband.”

Yes, illegal immigration is illegal; and no, it’s not fair. But next time you hear or read about sex slavery or human trafficking, take a closer look. Most likely, those trafficking victims were first smuggled migrants in a grueling quest for a future as a waitress, landscaper, construction worker, or nanny.

Want to “fight illegal immigration” or save 500 lives? Call the Polaris Project, a non-profit NGO created to report a tip and combat human trafficking, at 1-888-3737-888.

“Tren de la muerte” hacia el sueño americano

20 May

By Doris Marquez   @ Matt.org
El “tren de la muerte” o también conocido como la “bestia”  es un camino que lleva a muchos inmigrantes al suenño americano . Me encantaría compartir con ustedes un video acerca de como los inmigrantes arriesgan su vida en lograr el sueño americano , sueño que muchas veces los pone en riesgo.

Powerful New Latin American “Pacific Alliance” Formed

6 May

by Carlos Arredondo @ MATT.org

What could be a landmark agreement in Latin American economic history was signed last Thursday in the Golden Hall of the Governmental Palace of Lima, Peru’s capital. The Lima Declaration, or Pacific Alliance, was signed by the presidents of four Latin American countries that attended and who presently make up the accord: Mexico, Columbia, Chile and Peru. This comes just less than a month after Peru and Mexico signed a bi-lateral free trade agreement. While it was no secret that Peru’s agenda was to eventually create a larger alliance with multiple countries, the process has been perhaps speedier than expected. The Pacific Alliance agreement will supplant and augment a host of other bilateral pacts that the four countries currently share with each other, including the one Mexico just signed. One of its initial goals is to extend all the benefits of the existing bilateral trade agreements to all its own members, even while a strong emphasis of the agreement is to cultivate trading relationship with Asia.

            The purported purpose of the Pacific Alliance is to create a framework for deep integration in the region increasing economic competitiveness, and advancing a free market for the flow of goods, services, capital and labor, and to strengthen trade links with the Asia-Pacific region. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said that it would not only liberalize trade in goods but trade in services and ease the movement of investment capital and financial integration. The nations’ leaders agreed that in its first stage the Pacific Alliance would prioritize people and business by focusing on better migration facilities, easing immigration and custom procedures, and ensuring police cooperation. Additionally, the agreement presents the possibility of integrating stock exchanges as well. The four presidents decided that they would hold their next meeting in Mexico in December to evaluate and assess progress of the integration as well as to continue building upon the bilateral free trade deals already in place. It is not final yet either that these are the only four countries that will form the Pacific Alliance as Panama and Ecuador are already potential candidates to join, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos said that its members will “welcome those countries that wish to join this process.”
            The four leaders said that this trade alliance would make the largest trading zone in Latin America, surpassing Mercosur, the common market of Brazil, Argentinea, Uruguay and Paraguay. Calderon said that the four economies have a total combined value of $872 billion compared to Mercosur’s $543 billion, and that their combined exports of $443 billion also well exceed Mercosur’s $282 billion. But he added that the bloc would not be “just the sum of our exports and imports, it is a synergy of competitiveness.” Even though Peru, Mexico, Chile and Columbia combined represent 55% of Latin American exports and 35% of the continent’s GDP. Peruvian President Alan Garcia said, “Our four nations, and Panama in the near future, represent 200 million people. Our countries account for 55 percent of Latin American exports… This is not a romantic integration, a poetic integration. It is a realistic integration with the world and to the world.” Trade experts say that the Pacific Alliance could progress more rapidly than existing regional trade blocs like Mercosur that have been around for years but made few advances in eliminating barriers to trade. “Of the many integration projects in Latin America, this agreement has a better chance of success,” said Carlos Aquino director of economic studies at San Marcos University in Lima, “The four countries are stable democracies with open economies.” All four nations have leaders that are proponents of free-market systems, which may be in contrast to Mercosur.
            The Pacific Alliance is significant even though each of the four countries already have trade deals with the United States. The US has lost some of its appeal as a trade partner due to the recent recession in its economy. Additionally, forecasts like the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF)  prediction that China’s economy will outgrow the US as the dominant world economy by as early as 2016 don’t help either. Mexico, who sends nearly 80% of its exports northward to the US, found out how quickly the climate of its economy can change when an overwhelming majority of the demands on its exports are tied to one country. President Garcia was probably keen to this when he said “We firmly believe that the best way to face the global crisis and assure development, employment and justice is the integration and complementing of our economies and visions for the future.”
            Garcia also said, “What we are starting here, even though we won’t be here in the government going forward, will mean a decisive step forward for the true integration that we have all dreamed of”…“This is a decisive and historic step toward the modernization of our continent and toward the social development and justice for our people.”