Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Mexico

Newsline: Mexican diplomat accused of sex crime in South Korea

A Seoul-based Mexican diplomat accused of sexually assaulting a local employee is currently in Seoul and plans to cooperate with the local police agency’s investigation, the Mexican Embassy in South Korea said Monday. A prior police probe indicated that the military attache sexually harassed a female employee at the Mexican Embassy on three occasions between June last year and January. He previously defied two police orders to show up for questioning and returned to his country. “The Embassy of Mexico in the Republic of Korea has been informed of the complaint filed against a member of its Military Attache Office for alleged harassment towards an employee of that office,” the embassy said in a brief press release. “The involved officer is in Korea with the willingness to cooperate with the local authorities towards the resolution of the case,” it said. “Mexican authorities will monitor the situation closely in coordination with their Korean counterparts.”

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170821000784

Newsline: Mexico’s top diplomat visits Cuba to seek help on Venezuela crisis

Mexico’s foreign minister is in Havana hoping to persuade Cuba, one of Venezuela’s top allies, to help resolve the tense political situation in the beleaguered South American nation, according to a senior Mexican official briefed about the trip. The minister, Luis Videgaray, has not gone empty-handed, according to the official and a document seen by Reuters, and has agreed with Havana’s request to expand a credit line with Mexico’s state-owned Bancomext bank from 30 million to 56 million euros as a gesture of goodwill. Cuba uses the credit line to pay for key imports. “The foreign minister is going to say, ‘We want to solve the situation in Venezuela. How do we do that?'” the official said. “He’s going to see what the Cubans’ view is, and how we can soften or manage the transition in Venezuela and its impact on Cuba.” Mexico may struggle to convince Cuba to join its effort. Venezuela is Cuba’s closest strategic and ideological ally, and has showered the island with billions of dollars of cheap oil and aid since the turn of the century. Mexico, on the other hand, has flip-flopped in its relationship with Cuba, with former President Vicente Fox famously snubbing Fidel Castro at a summit, a move that pleased the United States but damaged Mexico’s regional influence. Cuba has been loathe to support regional, U.S.-backed efforts to pressure the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro into restoring democratic order after months of deadly protests. Still, Mexico, which has ditched years of isolationist foreign policies to lead Latin American diplomatic efforts to pressure Caracas, believes there won’t be a peaceful transition in Venezuela without Cuba’s help, the official said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-mexico-venezuela-exclusive-idUSKCN1AY270

Newsline: Man accused of shooting US diplomat in Mexico faces competency hearing

A competency hearing has been scheduled for a California man accused of shooting a U.S. diplomat in Mexico. On Friday, a federal judge in Alexandria ordered the hearing for Zia Zafar of Chino Hills, California, to be held Aug. 11. Zafar is charged with attempted murder of a diplomat in the Jan. 6 shooting of consular officer Christopher Ashcraft in Guadalajara. Part of the shooting was captured on surveillance video, including footage of a man taking aim and firing at Ashcraft as he exited a parking garage. Prosecutors have offered no motive for the shooting. Court records indicate that Zafar was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation back in May. The findings of that evaluation have not been released.

http://www.bakersfield.com/ap/state/man-accused-of-shooting-us-diplomat-faces-competency-hearing/article_06ace326-6423-5999-a16b-228926ed8987.html

Newsline: Trump Keeps Obama Mexico Ambassador in Place in First Months

With less than one month to go before the start of formal talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, Donald Trump is keeping as his top envoy south of the border a Mexico expert promoted under Hillary Clinton and chosen by Barack Obama. While Trump continues to demand Mexico pay billions of dollars for a wall to stop undocumented immigrants and calls Nafta the worst trade deal in history, the tone of his ambassador, Roberta Jacobson, couldn’t be more different. Jacobson has spent more than 30 years at the State Department focused on Mexico and Latin America, with a career spanning two Democratic and four Republican presidencies. In that time, she’s won the respect of Mexico’s leaders and become a trusted interlocutor with Washington. With Nafta talks scheduled to start on Aug. 16, the difference in the rhetoric between Jacobson and her ultimate boss show how unpredictable those negotiations have become. Jacobson was nominated by Obama in June 2015, but her confirmation took almost a year, held up by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, over her role in improving the U.S. relationship with Cuba as assistant secretary of state. Trump has undone parts of that rapprochement.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-31/trump-sticks-with-mexico-ambassador-favored-by-clinton-and-obama

Newsline: Mexican consulates become welcome ally for anxious immigrants in US

First came the anxious calls in the days after the election of President Donald Trump. Now, people begin lining up before 8am and crowd the waiting rooms inside the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Mexican citizens come to renew passports that have been unused for more than a decade. They desperately ask lawyers if they can do anything to help them stay in the United States. They register their children for Mexican citizenship, just in case they are sent back and decide to move their whole family with them. When the consulate began to get reports of dozens of Mexicans being arrested by immigration officials last week, they immediately dispatched lawyers to the federal detention centre downtown. These are demanding times for the 50 Mexican consulates scattered throughout the United States. With Trump’s promise to crack down on immigrants living in the United States illegally and an executive order that vastly expands who is considered a priority for deportation, Mexicans living in the United States illegally are increasingly on edge. And consulates are moving quickly to help. As official representatives of the Mexican government in the United States, the consulates can provide legal guidance and resources for people and families dealing with immigration issues. Mexicans make up about half of the country’s 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The relationship between Mexico and the United States is at its lowest point in years. Mexican officials say they are eager to keep families living in the United States together. There are economic concerns too: Mexicans living abroad send more than $25 billion back home, with most of the money coming from the United States, according to Mexico’s central bank.

http://gulfnews.com/news/americas/usa/mexican-consulates-become-welcome-ally-for-anxious-immigrants-1.1980392

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Mexico Urgently Needs Security

There is “unusual and compelling urgency” for the United States government to hire security companies to protect U.S. personnel working at our embassy in Mexico City. The State Dept. has put out a solicitation for bids from companies that can thwart terrorist and other violent attacks. The State Dept. currently uses a company called Inter-Con, but that contract expired on December 31, 2016. There’s a 3 month grace period where the company will continue to work, but now the bid is out for a new contract. According to federal documents, the basis for hiring a security team without a long bidding process is when there is “unusual and compelling urgency.” In addition to the embassy, the Feds are seeking bids to protect 9 consulates and 9 consular agencies in Mexico.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/02/01/security-bids-mexico-us-embassy-protection/

Newsline: Mexico calls 2012 attack on U.S. Embassy vehicle a ‘crass error’

A 2012 incident in which Mexican federal police raked an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle with gunfire was the result of a “crass error” in judgment by the officers but was not an ambush ordered by organized crime, the nation’s top security czar said. In the Aug. 24, 2012, incident, federal police attacked a U.S. Embassy vehicle, riddling it with at least 152 rounds of assault weapons fire in what U.S. diplomats later termed an “ambush.” The attack occurred along a mountain road southwest of the capital. Speaking with foreign reporters, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said the jailing of 14 former federal police following the incident was proof that Mexico did not sweep the shooting under the rug. Rubido said the federal police in unmarked cars were patrolling an area near the hamlet of Tres Marias, where they had broken up a kidnapping ring a day earlier. “Suddenly they saw a vehicle with characteristics unusual for that region. They ordered it to stop. They were not in uniform because they were conducting an investigation,” Rubido said. “When the driver of the vehicle saw that armed people were ordering him to halt, he fled. But in a crass error, a crass error, the police began to shoot at the vehicle assuming that criminals were inside,” Rubido said. The gray Toyota SUV had visible front and rear diplomatic license plates, and the attack occurred in daylight. Inside were two U.S. officials, identified in U.S. and Mexican media reports as CIA employees, and a Mexican naval officer. All three men were injured in the attack. A separate unit of federal police arrived to defend the victims. The two Americans were hastily evacuated from Mexico. Rubido acknowledged that suspicions arose that the federal police unit was working for organized crime active in mountainous Morelos state, known for drug trafficking and kidnapping groups. “A deep investigation was conducted into why the police acted this way,” Rubido said, and “the overwhelming conclusion” was that the federal police were not linked to any organized crime group. Since the police used what Rubido termed as “excessive force,” the men are now in jail awaiting trial on that charge. None have yet been convicted, he said. “There are 14 police in prison, so you can see that there is no type of tolerance for this,” Rubido said. A U.S. Embassy spokesman offered no immediate response to Rubido’s remarks on the 2012 incident.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/20/237170_mexico-calls-2012-attack-on-us.html?rh=1