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Wikileaks creates storm in Mexico. Cancun climate change conference whimpers. Mexican airlines hike up flights to the United States. Mexico promotes adventure travel.
The scrawny 14-year-old suspect looked like he was a teenager caught smoking a cigarette in the school playing field. But in front of cameras, he confessed to brutally decapitating four victims. Edgar Jimenez, known as “El Ponchis,” had allegedly been recruited to a brutal drug cartel in Central Mexico. He was nabbed by soldiers heading to an airport with his sister, carrying cocaine, guns and a ticket to Tijuana. He also carried a cell phone, which contained videos of himself, posing with guns and beating hung-up victims.
Later, American media were shocked to find Jimenez is actually an American citizen. He was born in San Diego, where he was headed before soldiers arrested him. Under the juvenile law of the state where he was arrested, he could do a maximum of three years in youth detention center. After that, he could be back on American streets. Pundits expressed shock and horror at the grim tale. What can we do with a murderer like this, it was asked. Will this turn into a depressing movie, asked another.
Another movie will probably be made one day about the worldwide drama of Wikileaks. And Mexico, like all the other countries, caught some fallout from the historic revelation of U.S. cables. Among leaks were cables that the U.S. State Department believed that the Mexican government’s war against drug gangs lacked a clear strategy – despite public statements that Mexico is doing a great job. Another cable revealed how the United States trains and passes information to an elite Mexican marine unit. Yet another unveiled how a Mexican commander has suggested martial law. One more still found American officials say President Felipe Calderon seemed very stressed.
However, there was little outrage or surprise in Mexico over the leaks. Most pundits and politicians shrugged their shoulders and said it was all stuff we knew already; Calderon is stressed – who wouldn’t be? Analysts speculated that it would not damage U.S.-Mexican relations.
International relations between the world’s powers have also been on display in Mexico’s Cancun resort, which is hosting the 16th Conference of the Parties to the U.N.-sponsored Framework on Climate Change Conventions. Few had any great hopes that it would bring about any major breakthroughs on the crucial issues. And in the first days, little major progress seemed to be being made. However, there was some progress on some smaller issues. A pact appeared near on tropical forests.
Protesters also offered some interesting sidelines at Cancun. Some Greenpeace activists took their demonstration underwater, with a performance below sea level. Meanwhile, thousands of environmentalists beats drums and played flutes to protest for more radical emissions reductions. And were met by thousands of riot police.
Mexico’s economy continued on its steady rebound from its painful recession last year. New data released found that the Mexican economy was up in its third quarter by 5.3 percent compared to the same period in 2009. The growth was led by an increase in commerce, which was up 11 percent, and manufacturing, which was up 9 percent. Oil dampened the recovery, with a rise of just 0.7 percent due to falling production. Overall, Mexico’s economy is predicted to grow by 4.8 percent year over year. Last year, it shrank by 6.5 percent in the worst depression since the Great Depression.
In some good news for Mexican airlines, the federal authorities restored Mexico's aviation safety rating. Carriers immediately announced more flights to the United States. Mexican carrier Volaris said it would start flying from Guadalajara to Chicago while Aeromexico said it will add twice-daily flights between Mexico City and San Antonio and increase the number of flights between Mexico City and New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Mexico, according to President Felipe Calderon, is going to become the “champion of adventure travel.” The government is going to promote exotic and exciting pastimes such as cave diving in the Yucatan Peninsula, mountain biking on the Sierra Madre or surfing the waves of the powerful Pacific off the Oaxaca coasts. Mexico certainly has the natural resources to offer such attractions. And more adrenalin lovers could add to the tourist dollars of the millions who enjoy the more simple holidays, of sitting back on the white beaches and soaking up a margarita.