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Is Mexico the next Silicon Valley?

Waterloo Region Record

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Wearing shaggy beards, wire-rimmed glasses and T-shirts with silkscreened startup logos, they look like your average 20-something coders. The young men huddle in the midday sun, smoking cigarettes, sipping coffee out of paper cups, scrolling through iPhones.

Behind them sits a bustling co-working space with 850 tech workers and dozens of startups building apps, tweaking online experiences, pumping out design. The vibe feels much like Silicon Valley. But they’re nowhere near Northern California. They’re hundreds of kilometres south, in Guadalajara, Mexico’s “Digital Creative City,” the capital of the state of Jalisco, where government subsidies and affordable talent attract foreign tech giants.

Many places claim to be the next Silicon something. New York as Silicon Alley, Los Angeles as Silicon Beach. None faces the same south-of-the-border scrutiny. Yet, there is a burgeoning scene in these agave-lined hills.

About $120 million US has been invested in nearly 300 Guadalajara startups since 2014, much of it coming from venture capital in the United States. With several thousand startups and blue-chip giants, too, Jalisco annually exports $21 billion in tech products and services, according to the state’s innovation ministry. Multinationals such as IBM, Oracle, Intel, HP, Dell and Gameloft have satellite offices. Jalisco has 12 universities, including the prestigious Tecnologico de Monterrey, creating an IT funnel of 85,000 graduates a year.

But Mexico is better known for other distinctions, which cast long shadows.

From 2007 to 2014, the drug war took 164,000 lives, more than all the civilians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during that time. Forty mayors have been slain in eight years. Repeated escapes of cartel bosses such as El Chapo, corruption snaking to the highest government offices, violence and intimidation bore an atmosphere of impunity. An astonishing 99 per cent of all crimes go unpunished, according to Insight Crime, a think tank that tracks law and justice in Latin America.

Stark figures from a nation of about 130 million — where much of this turmoil occurs in the neighbouring states of Michoacan, Guerrero and Sinaloa, but not as visible in Jalisco, which locals, called Tapatios, are quick to note.

‘Sense of opportunity’

Jalisco, known for mariachis, hot sauce and tequila, is comparatively tranquil. Most buchon, or less-violent crime, practised here is invisible: money laundering, graft, extortion. And yet, tech is thriving — outsourcing is a $12 billion a year industry, according to industry figures.

“Doing business here is almost like doing business in the U.S.,” says Anurag Kumar, CEO and co-founder of iTexico, an Austin, Texas, software development firm with 107 of its 121 employees in Guadalajara.

“Why isn’t there more American awareness of Mexican IT?” Kumar says over dinner at Andares, an open-air shopping centre with boutiques such as Burberry and Hermes. “You could be in California right now.”

Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers manufacture here. So do Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Mexico is the world’s leader in exporting flat-screen TVs. Local tech roots are deep. IBM and Motorola arrived in the 1960s to build semiconductors and silicon wafers.

Why? A well-educated workforce with salaries a third of their northern cousins, low kilowattage energy costs crucial for heavy industry, government subsidies for building and training. These plants were the first to produce silicon products outside of the valley, so the “Silicon” moniker stuck. IT became a no-brainer. Over the years, hundreds of electronics firms followed.

“It’s a question of promotion,” Kumar says. He believes Mexico has ideal startup conditions: “Proximity to the U.S., NAFTA, IP protection, the ability to have people travel back and forth, the visa ease — you don’t need H1s, you don’t need N1s.”

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) promotes tariffless commerce. It also allows Mexicans to obtain U.S. work visas (if they’re sponsored by a U.S. company). Free trade has globalized the middle class, an estimated 40 per cent of the population, creating a generation of educated, English-speaking, skilled workers. And NAFTA ensures U.S. companies here retain full copyright and patent protection.

“All the products made in Jalisco can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. in less than 24 hours,” says Jalisco’s governor, Aristoteles Sandoval. “We have a port two hours away; the time zone is almost the same.”

This makes Mexico more cost-effective than even India, long touted as the place for IT outsourcing. Other intangibles: Tapatios speak English like Americans, not Brits, and are more culturally aligned than South Asians or Eastern Europeans.

“When you ask someone to design a car, the guys in India won’t put the steering wheel in the same place,” Kumar says. “When you have teams in Mexico, you don’t have to explain the business concepts. They get it.”

Still, Kumar often has a hard time pitching fellow Americans who distrust the idea of viable Mexican talent — and security. So he invites prospective and current clients to visit, co-ordinating one-on-ones with developers. What Kumar shows them isn’t assembly-line production, but intellectual property workers: app creation, high-level engineering.

“I was totally blown away by the level of talent I saw,” says Drew Anderson, vice-president of engineering at xTV, an online TV service based in Redwood City, Calif.

Anderson, who travelled here for the first time in February, says working remotely with Mexicans is 20 per cent cheaper than the same work would be stateside. “I’m sold on Guadalajara as an IT centre,” he says.

The other Mexico

Without a doubt, “there are two Mexicos,” as the Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz once wrote. Two Mexicos, with distinct economies. One tied to the old world. And one speeding ahead.

The real issue is public relations. Mexico suffers from a negative stigma. Tourism has declined significantly. Clobbered by a drop in oil prices, inflation is rising. Fifty percent of all Mexicans are hobbled by poverty.

Last April, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel murdered 15 officers in a highway ambush outside Guadalajara, the worst police attack in a decade. In May, the cartel used a rocket-propelled grenade to down an army helicopter. Then in a string of narco roadblocks, hijacked buses were set ablaze in crowded downtown streets. Guadalajara holds the dubious title of Mexico’s money-laundering capital. Violence directed at police and women seems ever present.

Both Gov. Sandoval and Guadalajara’s new mayor, Enrique Alfaro, called these isolated incidents.

“It’s true that today Mexico is dangerous,” Alfaro says before describing the opportunities that technology creates. He says the tech sector accounts for 30 per cent of the city’s economy, and he’s implementing school programs to encourage STEM training, building a tech zone and municipal infrastructure to ensure future jobs.

Then going off-script, Alfaro admits it’s tough going in a nation where “the political system is designed so that nothing changes.” There’s tremendous unemployment here, he says, much worse than what’s officially reported, which can make recruitment easy for cartels. Graduates being courted by Google don’t pick up a gun — but most young people aren’t on that fast track. And it’s those who most need hope, he says.

These two Mexicos are in one place on a tour of Intel’s 220,000-square-foot campus, a $220 million mother ship on 25 acres built with state support, atop a hill that overlooks a shanty town on a dirt road with derelict structures and barking dogs.

On the hilltop, Intel’s general manager, Jesus Palomino, shows off “Intel’s only research lab in Latin America. Twenty-five patents made here in 12 months.”

Palomino came to Guadalajara 26 years ago from the city of Puebla, leading a joint project between IBM and the Mexican government to set up a PC design centre. He says that partnership helped lay the groundwork for the ecosystem that has emerged.

The Intel facility has 1,500 employees, 200 contractors and 100 students. Forty per cent are postgraduates focusing on wearables, IOT, chips, electromagnetics and acoustics, all part of the development cycle of phones, tablets, servers, desktops and laptops. The campus has a gym, yoga, internships, strict sign-in procedures — and a military-style checkpoint about a half-mile down the road.

There’s never been a security breach here, “and I hope that stays the same,” Palomino says, with a nervous laugh. He says there’s no armed security because “our weapon is technology. We’ve been working here for 15 years and never had an issue. Still, we have contingency plans and emergency response teams — depending on what happens we have a protocol to follow.”

That includes not just narco violence, but natural disasters and energy loss, Palomino says before showing lab after lab with men and women in white coats huddled over circuit boards.

As he sees it: “This is where the future is being built.”

Washington Post

Feature Photo
Mayapan Dean Miller


Photo by Dean Miller

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Is Mexico the next Silicon Valley?

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Guzman’s extradition to US moves forward

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by army soldiers to a waiting helicopter, at a federal hangar in Mexico City, after he was recaptured from breaking out of a maximum security prison in Mexico. The Spanish-language network Telemundo says it hopes to continue its growth with a non-traditional programming strategy that will include projects based on the story of drug lord El Chapo, the life of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and the late singer Jenni Rivera. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

 Mexico’s Foreign Ministry has decided that the extradition of drug kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States can move forward.CCTV’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City, it’s one of the most closely watched drug trafficking stories in the world.

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is the convicted leader of the Sinaloa cartel, one of the world’s most powerful and violent drug trafficking organizations.

Guzman, a billionaire, captured global attention by escaping twice from maximum-security prisons in Mexico – first in 2001, and then in the summer of 2015 through a $1 million tunnel.

Besides his convictions for drug trafficking in Mexico, he’s also wanted in seven U.S. federal courts on charges ranging from cocaine and marijuana trafficking, to money laundering and murder.

The decision by Mexico’s Foreign Ministry to allow Guzman’s extradition to move forward comes with this condition:

“The U.S. government provided sufficient assurances that the death penalty shall not apply to Mr. Guzman Loera if he is extradited and tried in that country.”

Mexico says the U.S. government has promised that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will not face the death penalty if he ends up serving jail time in that country.

Chapo Guzman’s two brazen escapes from the Puente Grande and Altiplano maximum security prisons have further damaged Mexico’s image as a country whose justice system is far too corrupt to contain a prisoner of this level.

Analicia Ruiz, Anahuac University expert on U.S.- Mexico relations, says by opening the way for this extradition, Mexico wants to show Washington that it is a good ally.

Guzman’s legal team says they’ll appeal the extradition all the way to Mexico’s Supreme Court if necessary.

The jailed drug kingpin’s lawyers are also waging a public-relations offensive, organizing protests and speaking to news media – all in an effort to make certain their client never ends up spending a life sentence behind bars in the U.S.

ACLU Alleges ‘Unchecked Abuse’ at US-Mexico Border

Those who claim to have been unfairly detained and abused at the southwest U.S.-Mexico border include American citizens, permanent residents and Mexican citizens with valid visas for visiting the United States.

Washington D.C. – Mario Molina was crossing the Ysleta Bridge into Mexico from El Paso, Texas, last May when he was stopped by a Customs and Border Protection officer. Molina, an American citizen, said the CBP officer asked him where he was going and how much money he had.

About $170 or $190, Molina thought at the time. When he reached into his wallet to check, the officer allegedly said: “That’s it – you’re under arrest. I’m taking you in for questioning.” Molina asked what probable cause he had, and he said the officer responded that he didn’t need one.

Then, according to Molina, he was taken into an inspection room where officers asked him about his hair color, eye color and skin color. When Molina said the answers were apparent, an officer allegedly slapped him across the face, saying, “You better stop playing your (expletive) silly games with me and do what I tell you to.”

After nearly three hours, Molina was released back into El Paso and his belongings were returned, he said. But he noticed that a few things were missing: a silver ring, and nearly $200 in cash.

Molina’s story is among 13 allegations detailed in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Border Communities Coalition on Tuesday.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, the advocacy groups call for an investigation into “unchecked abuse” at the southwest U.S.-Mexico border.

The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a collection of more than 60 organizations doing human rights work at the border.

“This complaint includes multiple individual complaints of abuse at Southwest border (Port of Entries) involving excessive force; the use of coercion to force individuals to surrender their legal rights and citizenship documents; and the lack of a clear, transparent, complaint process for individuals to seek redress,” the letter said, noting that the accounts reflect “broader patterns” of misconduct.

DHS has not commented on the complaint. At the close of an internal investigation into employee behavior in the agency, a March statement on the CBP website noted that the agency is moving “toward a more transparent and accountable approach to enforcement and workforce integrity, while protecting the public and the men and women of CBP.”

In a statement to Buzzfeed News, the Customs and Border Protection agency said: “CBP does not tolerate discrimination nor mistreatment and takes complaints, to include the allegations made in the May 17, 2016 letter, seriously.”

Those who claim to have been unfairly detained and abused include American citizens, permanent residents and Mexican citizens with valid visas for visiting the U.S.

Read the full article on Stars and Stripes

Feature Photo

Jeff Milan

Jeff Milan

 Mexico fights back against ‘The Clown’

Officials south of the border are mounting a counteroffensive to Donald Trump and his inflammatory rhetoric.

By Nahal Toosi Original article here


Mexican officials are pushing back against Donald Trump and his incendiary rhetoric about the country.

Mexican officials are pushing back against Donald Trump, planning a multi-layered campaign to burnish the nation’s image.

Now, Mexico is fighting back.

Mexican officials are pursuing a counteroffensive to Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, reaching out to U.S. business leaders, looking at ways to better use social media, and even encouraging qualified Mexicans to get U.S. citizenship. But they’re also trying to stay sensitive about taking more high-profile steps, such as running TV ads in an already overheated presidential race that promote Mexico as a friendly, vibrant neighbor and not a cesspool of criminals.

“We think that right now, in this phase where there is an electoral process going on, something that we should really do is stay out of it. An advertising campaign at this particular moment could just add confusion,” José Paulo Carreño King, Mexico’s new undersecretary for North America, said in an interview with POLITICO.

Carreño said the decision that Mexico needs to boost its image came after the country, which was being pummeled by Trump but trying to stay restrained, commissioned a series of polls and focus groups in the U.S. late last year.

“What we found out is, again, that the image in general terms of Mexico was quite undervalued or more specifically out of date,” he said. “The image of the contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans was damaged and undervalued. And there was no clear image of the importance of the bilateral relationship. That’s when the Mexican government decided that, again, we need to do something.”

There are several public signs of a shift in Mexico’s posture toward Trump, a man many in the Latin American country call “El Payaso” — “The Clown.”

The Mexican embassy in Washington on Thursday issued a sharp statement announcing that Carlos Sada Solana had assumed his role as the country’s new ambassador to the United States and that his “clear and precise” mandate is to defend the interests of Mexico and Mexicans.

In what appeared to be a swipe at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the statement went on to say that the new envoy “recognized the need to reposition the image of Mexico in the United States in its just and rightful place.”

For nearly a year, Mexican officials have chafed at Trump’s inflammatory comments, including his pledges to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to build a “great, great wall” along the southern border — and to have Mexico pay for it. Just last week, Trump drew scorn when he tweeted “I love Hispanics!” along with a photo of himself eating a “taco bowl” on Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, breaking with the diplomatic tradition of avoiding comment on another country’s internal politics, has slammed Trump’s “strident” tone and compared his rise to that of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

While U.S. lawmakers from southern border states have been trying to reassure their Mexican counterparts (mindful of Mexico’s enormous importance to U.S. trade) officials on both sides of the boundary line feel they now need to take greater action to counter Trump.

Carreño outlined to POLITICO a multi-layered initiative to burnish Mexico’s image. The plans, some of which are already launched, include greater use of traditional and social media, increased cultural outreach through Mexican consulates, and strengthened ties to American business and civil society groups.

The new undersecretary landed in his current position just weeks ago as part of a major Mexican leadership shakeup in apparent response to the Trump phenomenon. Around half of the consuls general at Mexico’s 50 U.S. consulates were reshuffled or replaced. The government also named Sada as the new Mexican ambassador.

Carreño, who has an extensive communications background, pointed out that educational campaigns about U.S.-Mexico relations aren’t new. In the 1990s, when U.S., Canadian and Mexican leaders were promoting the North American Free Trade Agreement (a pact Trump despises), similar efforts helped sell the deal, he said.

Many of the details are still being worked out this time around. Activities promoted by the consulates could include promoting Mexican art and Mexican cuisine, he said. Meantime, Mexican officials are more actively reaching out to U.S. leaders through numerous channels, including grassroots activists and trade organizations, to emphasize the importance of America’s third-largest trading partner.

Already, advocacy groups are pushing Mexicans with legal permanent residency in the United States to obtain U.S. citizenship and register to vote in this year’s elections. Mexican consulates have also been promoting U.S. citizenship workshops, though the official government line is that it is not an attempt to influence the election.

Peter Schechter, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, said Mexicans are stunned to find themselves “the centerpiece of a nativist rhetoric that basically holds them as symbols of all that is wrong with our immigration policy, with our trade policy.”

“Do they feel ransacked? Absolutely. Do they feel this has come out of nowhere? Absolutely. Do they feel that not enough Americans stood up and try to counter-punch and try to explain what the realities of the relationship are? Yes,” said Schechter, who has extensive contacts in the Mexican government.

The Trump-inspired focus on the U.S.-Mexico relationship has led to some uncomfortable moments for U.S. lawmakers from border areas who often deal with Mexican leaders. Some have tried to calm nervous questioners about the limits of what Trump could do if elected.

“I say that the U.S. government is bigger than just one person, and there are a lot of folks, and Congress is an equal branch of government,” said Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican whose Texas district runs some 800 miles along the border.

But many in Mexico, as well Americans with family on both sides of the border, wonder if there are deeper issues at play.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who represents the major Texas border town of El Paso, said one Mexican lawmaker told him that “what’s alarming is not necessarily what Donald Trump is saying. What’s alarming is that Donald Trump is saying this, and it is resonating with a significant number of Americans.”

O’Rourke and Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela, another Texan, are trying to organize a large-scale visit of border-area leaders to Congress, modeled along what the American Israel Public Affairs Committee does when it takes its activists to the Hill.

The event might not happen before the presidential election, but Vela and O’Rourke said it could go a long way to helping educate their fellow legislators on basic facts about the border and U.S.-Mexico relations, such as how 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, and how towns such as El Paso are among the safest in the country.

Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar said in his conversations with Mexican leaders it’s clear that they want to present a more up-to-date, positive image of their country to Americans.

He’s suggested they can’t be too subtle about it.

Gas stations selling low quality fuel will be fined

Gas stations (either licensed by Pemex or new ones of different brands), as well as companies that transport fuel, will be fined up to 22 million pesos ($1.2 million USD), for selling or carrying low quality gasoline.

This measure is part of the Official Norm (NOM-016), that will take effect shortly, and that seeks to ensure that gasoline complies with the environmental rules and regulations. The document is being reviewd by the Commission for the Improvement of Regulations (COFEMER).

This norm establishes a limit of 30 parts per million of sulfur for gasoline; 15 parts per million for diesel and up to 5.8% of oxidants such as MTBE or ethanol in case this fuel component is used.

Pemex franchises and manage the green characteristic same image, but also promote the brand owner of the franchise group. (Photo:


The rule covers 11,2000 Pemex service stations, 1,485 auto-tanks and 520 tank trucks owned by Petróleos Mexicanos, apart from 1,477 private companies that received authorization to transport oil using difeerent types of vehicles, and 30 companies (Pemex included), authorized to move oil products in tankers as well as five railway companies.

Mexico’s Energy Regulation Commission (CRE) will sample and control the fuel all the way from production centers to service stations.



Feature Photo

mango season by Laura Reyna

Mango Season

Photo by Laura Reyna

“¡Viva México!” — Obama and Peña Nieto exchange Cinco de Mayo greetings


WASHINGTON  — On Thursday May 5, US President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, to wish him and all Mexicans a happy Cinco de Mayo and discuss bilateral cooperation.

“A while ago I had a chance to speak with President Peña Nieto on our shared work to enhance the prosperity of both Americans and Mexicans,” Obama said during the annual reception at the White House to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

“He wished me a happy Cinco de Mayo and he asked me to wish the same to you,” he added, referring to the dozens of people who attended the reception.

At the reception, the US president shouted “!Viva México!” and listened to a concert by the Mexican rock band Maná.

(White House Photo)

(White House Photo)

Millions of Americans celebrate every year on May 5, which commemorates the victory of Mexican troops in the region of Puebla over Napoleon’s invading army, despite being fewer in number, poorly armed and with little training.

Obama and Peña Nieto are scheduled to meet June 29 in Ottawa, Canada, during the North American Leaders Summit hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


No, Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day — Here’s What It Is

Today marks the 154th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, a bicultural celebration that has become synonymous with margaritas, cervezas (beer) and the occasional controversy. But we found most people don’t know the real story behind this holiday.

So here are five facts that will probably surprise you about Cinco de Mayo:

  1. It’s not Mexico’s Independence Day: Cinco de Mayo commemorates the triumph of the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This victory occurred over 50 years after Mexico’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16.

“The significance of Cinco de Mayo is that it represents Mexican resistance to foreign intervention, it is a moment where Mexico as a young nation rallied to defend itself,” said Raul Ramos, Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston. “But it was not a struggle for independence. Instead it represented a struggle against imperialism.”

Ramos noted that prior to the first Cinco de Mayo, Mexico was a nation with strong regional differences, from the Pacific coast to Northern Mexico to the Yucatan. “The Battle of Puebla helped the country coalesce around the idea of a unified Mexican identity.”

  1. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a military victory over France — not Spain. Why was Mexico at war with France? Because the Mexican government had defaulted on its foreign debt to several European countries, so France invaded our southern neighbor.

Napoleon III hoped to install a monarchy in Mexico (which he was able to do for a few years before Mexico ousted the French). “The French army was considered the best army in the world at the time, and they had not been defeated in decades,” Professor Margarita Sánchez of Wagner College told NBC News. “So this was a real David versus Goliath situation that inspired Mexicans at home and in the U.S.”

  1. Cinco de Mayo is a bigger celebration in the U.S. than in Mexico. “Recent Mexican immigrants are often surprised at what a huge thing Cinco de Mayo has become here,” said Sánchez. “They do celebrate the holiday in Mexico, but it is only a big deal in Puebla.”

In fact, Los Angeles is host to what is routinely described as the largest Cinco de Mayo party in the world, a multiday event known as Fiesta Broadway. The scale of these festivities even dwarfs those in Puebla.

RELATED: Cinco De Mayo: A Quintessentially ‘American’ Holiday

“It (Cinco de Mayo) started out as a cultural celebration, then became bigger and bigger,” said Sánchez. “And at some point it became very commercial; with people taking advantage of the day to drink all the Coronas they can drink.”

The evolution of Cinco de Mayo can be seen as a metaphor for Mexican-American assimilation. The first American Cinco de Mayo celebrations date back to the 1860s, when Mexicans in California commemorated the victory. About a century later, Chicano activists rediscovered the holiday and embraced it as a symbol of ethnic pride.

In the 1980s and 1990s, corporations (especially the alcohol and restaurant industries) began promoting Cinco de Mayo as a way to reach Hispanic consumers and sell products like tequila and beer. So over time, this “foreign” holiday has become firmly ingrained in U.S. consciousness; Cinco de Mayo received its own commemorative postage stamp in 1998 and is also customarily observed at the White House.

  1. Cinco de Mayo has a connection to the U.S. Civil War. David Hayes-Bautista, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the University of California Los Angeles, has written that Cinco de Mayo is very much an American holiday.

His research shows that the celebration began among Mexicans in California in the mid-19th century. The Battle of Puebla, he explained, occurred at a time when the Confederacy was expanding into New Mexico and Arizona, getting closer to California (which was a free state).

RELATED: Want a Good Cinco de Mayo Celebration? Go To Portland, Oregon

“Back then, when Latinos here got the news that French were stopped at Puebla, it electrified the population, and propelled them to a new level of civic participation. Latinos joined the Union army and navy and some went back to Mexico to fight the French,” Hayes-Bautista told NBC News.

“For Mexicans in the U.S., the Civil War and the French invasion of Mexico were like one war with two fronts. They were concerned about France, which sided with the Confederacy, being on America’s doorstep.” Had the Battle of Puebla gone differently, there is a real chance that the Civil War might have gone differently.

  1. The hero of the original Cinco de Mayo was a Texan. General Ignacio Zaragosa, who led the ragtag Mexican forces to victory over the superior French army, was born near what is now Goliad, Texas. “This fact should make Americans, especially Texans, very proud of their connection to that event,” said Raul Ramos of the University of Houston. “But often it doesn’t resonate. The Mexican aspect of Texas history has been so marginalized and ghettoized, it takes extra effort for people to learn about it.”

Ramos pointed out that the fact that a Tejano (or “Tex-Mex”) has a link to Cinco de Mayo reflects the reality that Mexican history is part of American history. “It gives you a sense that our countries have had a shared history going back hundreds of years,” he said. “It is something that extends to cultural and national ties as well as family ties.”

Margarita Sánchez of Wagner College takes a pragmatic view of what Cinco de Mayo has become. “I wish it were celebrated with more depth, with more opportunity to learn about Mexican history,” she said. “But a day of celebration is a day of celebration — and that is good for everyone.”

Feature Photo
Castillo de Chapultepic Laura Reyna

Chapultepec Castle

Photo by Laura Rena

El Chapo will not escape from prison in our state: Governor of Chihuahua


I seems like the governor of the northern state of Chihuahua appeared enthused about having cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán occupy a prison cell in Ciudad Juárez – the border city once considered the murder capital of the world. Local leaders there are anxious to shed old stereotypes and show that security institutions are improved enough to house Mexico’s most notorious criminal and two-time escape artist.

“The decision of having him brought here is because there will not be any escape,” Governor César Duarte said on Saturday evening.
“This speaks well of the state’s [security] system, speaks very well of the environment that we are experiencing in Chihuahua and above all, the strengthening of institutions, which we have achieved,” Duarte said, according to the newspaper Reforma.

Guzmán was sent suddenly during the early hours of Saturday morning to a federal penitentiary in Ciudad Juárez, though his lawyers say the move in no way speeds up possible extradition to the United States.

Federal officials say the move was made so they could “reinforce security” at the Altiplano prison to the west of Mexico City, where Guzmán tunneled out of in July 2015 and was returned to after his recapture six months later. The Interior Ministry said in a Saturday statement that it regularly rotated prisoners around the country as part of a policy introduced last September while Guzmán was on the lam.

Guzmán’s lawyers have applied for injunctions against his extradition, though the process is proceeding slowly. The Interior Ministry said it advised the judges weighing the injunctions that Guzmán had been sent to Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

One of Guzmán’s lawyers, José Refugio Rodríguez, told the Guardian he was advised of his client’s transfer at 2am Saturday morning. He was not told why the government moved Guzmán, though he called the Interior Ministry’s explanation, “contradictory”.

“It’s a common practice that [the authorities] transfer prisoners around the country,” Refugio said.

Cefereso 9 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (Photo: USA Today)

Cefereso 9 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (Photo: USA Today)

Security analysts also expressed surprise with the transfer to Ciudad Juárez – where Guzmán is believed to have orchestrated a claim for a coveted smuggling corridor, causing chaos and violence in the city – but suspected the government wanted to avoid another embarrassing escape.

“Moving him from one prison to another is one way of delaying any potentially successful escape plans or they might have had some information that an escape plan had been hatched,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst in Mexico City.

Chihuahua state officials, who say crime in Ciudad Juárez has plunged by 92% since 2010, and who threatened to sue the producers of the movie Sicario for its unflattering portrayal of the city, expressed no misgivings about the local penitentiary.

“The security conditions are well above those in Altiplano,” Duarte said, “so there is no risk of an escape.”


In February, Pope Francis met with inmates at the state prison in Ciudad Juárez, once considered among the worst prisons in Latin America, in a visit publicized by state officials as an endorsement of their efforts in improving the city.

Details on Guzmán’s security inside Cefereso No9 prison in Ciudad Juárez are not known.

Guzmán has escaped prison twice. He is said to have wheeled out of a Guadalajara-area prison in a laundry cart in 2001 – though there have long been allegations that he walked out with corrupt officials – and in 2015 escaped from Altiplano by slipping through a shaft connecting a shower to a nearly mile-long tunnel. He was recaptured in his home state of Sinaloa in early January and sent back to Altiplano, where he was kept under constant guard in a cell with reinforced concrete.

Guzmán’s beauty queen wife Emma Coronel and his legal team launched a public relations offensive earlier this year, saying “El Chapo” was suffering ill health and was unable to sleep due to security staff constantly waking him.

Federal officials showed little sympathy. National security commissioner Renato Sales told reporters at the time: “He’s sleeping perfectly.


 What you need to know

The following is taken from

You need Mexico car insurance because it’s required and US /Canadian insurance coverage stops at the Mexican border. Every year Mexico implements stricter laws for uninsured motorists, meaning not having it can cost you money due to damage/loss to your vehicle, fines and more
When you drive your car to Mexico, travel with complete peace of mind, by being properly insured. Your U.S. or Canadian insurance policy, however comprehensive, won’t cover you in Mexico, but affordable insurance is available…

Mexican Auto insurance You Can Trust if you ever get into an accident in Mexico

Insuring Your Car in Mexico
Although your U.S./Canadian car insurance policy may be comprehensive, and might also extend some limited damage coverage in Mexico, you will still need to purchase policy that is legally valid in Mexico.
U.S. and Canadian auto insurance policies, however comprehensive, hold no legal jurisdiction in Mexico. This means that you must buy separate insurance cover for your car while you’re driving in Mexico if you want to travel with complete peace of mind.

If you are driving your car improperly insured in Mexico and you become involved in an accident it will, at best, cost you a lot of money and, at worst, leave you imprisoned in a Mexican jail house. Presenting a U.S. or Canadian auto insurance policy will be of no use because these documents have no legal or actual force in Mexico, and the companies backing them will not settle any claim arising when you or your car are situated south of the border.
Drivers who are involved in serious accidents in Mexico are usually arrested pending investigation. If you are not properly insured in Mexico and become involved in a serious accident—even if it’s not your fault—these procedures will likely place a great deal of stress and financial burden upon you.
This guide explains how insurance works in Mexico and how to go about buying the additional insurance protection you need to ensure that you, your passengers, and your vehicle are properly insured when driving on Mexican soil and that, in the event of a serious accident, you are properly covered by a legally-valid and adequate insurance policy.
Mexican Auto Insurance
Mexican Law stipulates that only insurance companies which are licensed in Mexico can provide the type of auto insurance coverage that is recognized and accepted by Mexico’s legal system.
A few U.S.-based insurance companies will extend physical damage coverage on cars and RVs while they are situated in Mexico, but they cannot and do not provide Mexican liability insurance. So, although these policies may cover your damage, they will not cover your liability to others in Mexico. This is why a special insurance policy is absolutely necessary to be properly insured in Mexico.
Mexican Insurance Companies
Mexican Law also stipulates that liability insurance must be purchased from a licensed Mexican company, so your auto insurance policy necessarily needs to be issued by one of Mexico’s insurance companies, or through a broker in the U.S./Canada working in conjuction with a Mexican insurance company.
Who’s Insuring You?
Buyers purchasing insurance for their car in Mexico are often times misled by believing that they can rely on the broker, rather than the Mexican Insurance Company, to properly handle any claim that may arise during their stay in Mexico.
The insurance company underwriting your policy is much more important than the Broker that sells you the policy.
As all insurance policies are sold through brokers, it’s important to know which insurance company (or companies) are underwriting the policies being sold to you by the broker. Click here to read more  Click here to get your free quotes


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Dog Friendly Hotels in MexicoThis is a partial list of Dog Friendly Hotels that we have found on the web. They are unverified so if you find one that does not accept pets or who has changed its policy, please send us a note. Click here to read the entire list of hotels

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Learn About Mexican Vehicle Insurance Canadian and American Vehicle insurance doesn’t work in Mexico. While insurance is not mandatory – you would be crazy to risk going without. Mexican insurance can be purchased before you leave or at the border. Click to read more Here:

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