Monday, December 15, 2014

Today's headlines: Guerrero gets uglier, the peso gets weaker, and the Federal District gets closer to disappearing

Milenio (“CETEG beats and holds three federal place officers hostage”) and La Jornada (“Confrontations in Chilpancingo leave 22 injured”) both lead with the violence in the state capital of Guerrero that caused the cancellation of a scheduled concert in support of the 43 teacher trainees who were murdered in Iguala last September. The trouble —not hard to see coming — was precipitated either by members of the radical education workers organization CETEG, or the federales themselves, or both, depending on whom you believe. The number of injured has since been put at 25 — 17 civilians and eight officers, as well as three buses incinerated by the ceteguistas. One of the beaten cops is undergoing brain surgery .

La Jornada’s second front page story carries the header “Senate committees endorse DF political reform,” which is also Reforma’s No. 2, with a similar title. Passage in committee means the reform could go to a full Senate vote as early as today (Monday). This is major: If the change is implemented, the Federal District (essentially Mexico City), would sever its last structural links with the federal apparatus and probably become the 32nd state. Moreover, the plan calls for the formation of an elected assembly charged with forging a constitution for the new entity. Mexico City is notably more progressive than the rest of the nation, so its charter could serve as a model — or, if you prefer, a warning —if the nascent movement for a new national constitution ever picks up steam. (What might be the name of the new state? State of Mexico is taken. Anáhuac? Chilango?)

EL Universal covers the Chilpancingo violence extensively, but its lead story is an interview with the governor of Morelos, a state that borders both Guerrero and the Federal District: “Guerrillas and drug traffickers linked: Graco Ramírez.” (It’s common for all the dailies to give exclusivity priority over breaking news value.) Despite the title, Ramírez mostly warns us of the growing phenomenon of the “narcoestado,” with organized crime infiltrating local governments regardless of the party that runs them, including in his own state. The line between drug mafias and clandestine guerrilla groups has blurred, he said, as happened in Colombia. His prognosis is not rosy: “Shots haven’t been fired but they will be. These people have a lot of guns.”

Reforma, where it doesn’t need to bleed to lead, puts this ho-hummer on top: “Senate fails to curb debt.” The story: States and local governments are going through a debt crisis that the federal Congress has been trying to deal with, unsuccessfully, for more than a year. La Jornada reefers on the front-page, and all the dailies run somewhere, this: “Peso recovery not until mid-2015: analysts.” The peso had stayed around 12.50-13.50 to the dollar for several years, but has weakened in recent weeks to the point that it took 15 of them to get  you a dollar on Friday. It’s still near that mark. That’s good news if you’re earning dollars. But if you’re trying to make ends meet in this country, not so much.

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