President Enrique Peña Nieto met with Mexican ambassadors from around the world to discuss ways to promote Mexico's international image. …
In a private meeting in Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto requested that the Mexican diplomatic corps take steps to strenghen Mexico's presence in the world, expand international cooperation, promote the value of Mexico in the world and protec the interests of Mexico abroad.
"We are committed to a peaceful and inclusive Mexico," Peña Nieto said. "We want to build a prosperous Mexico with quality education for all. From internal reforms, our goal is a Mexico as an actor with global responsibilities."
Peña Nieto outlined goals for Mexico with different regions of the world. In North America, he seeks the elimination of the visa requirement for Mexicans in Canada; foster greater cooperation on security and attract greater investment flows in the automotive, aerospace, energy and telecommunications sectors. In Latin America, Mexico wants to promote greater regional integration of the region.
Peña Nieto's goals in Europe are to promote the positive image of Mexico as a safe destination for investment, trade and tourism, strengthen strategic relationships, promote greater academic and business exchanges and encourage cooperation on global issues like human rights, the fight against poverty and hunger. In Asia, his priorities are to strengthen and deepen dialogue and political relationship; intensify tourism exchanges, trade and investment, as well as an expansion of programs of scientific and technological cooperation. In the case of the Middle East, the President Peña Nieto stressed the need to promote tourism and cultural exchanges as well as boost trade and mutual investment.
At a joint press conference at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Barack Obama reaffirmed the strong ties between the United States and Mexico at the beginning of this week's bilateral meeting.
"Mexico and the United States have one of the largest, most dynamic relationships of any two countries on earth," said President Obama. "Our success is shared. When one of us prospers, both of us prosper."
President Peña Nieto said, "Higher education is the great booster for our two nations, where science and technology are our best bet."
Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto announced the formation of a bilateral forum for education, innovation and research, in order to expand student exchanges and increase research in the education sector. The forum seeks to "expand economic opportunities for the citizens" of the two countries and will promote greater access to postsecondary education" for traditionally underserved demographic groups in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mexico and the United States have a long history of educational collaboration, with more than 18,000 college students exchanges between the two countries each year.
Upon his arrival on Air Force One in Mexico City, U.S. President Barack Obama travelled to the Palacio Nacional to begin his bilateral meetings with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Following a joint press conference, Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto will have a working… dinner at Los Pinos. Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to speak to Mexican youth at the Museo Nacional de Antropología before travelling to Costa Rica for the second leg of his trip through Latin America.
This is President Obama’s fourth trip to Mexico. President Obama previously visited Mexico in April and August 2009 meetings with then-President Felipe Calderón. President Obama also attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in June 2012. In November 2012, then President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto met with President Obama and invited him to visit Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden attended President Peña Nieto’s December 2012 inauguration ceremony.
On the eve of President Obama's visit to Mexico, two-thirds of Mexicans have a favorable impression of the United States, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. This represents the highest approval rating of the Mexico-US bilateral relationship in three years. 66 percent of Mexicans rated relations with the United States as… "good," up from 44 percent in late 2010. 70 percent of Mexicans rate economic relations with the United States as "good." Regarding President Obama, 49 percent of Mexicans express confidence in the American president to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs, up from 42 percent in 2012 and 38 percent in 2011.
The upcoming visit will be President Obama’s fourth trip to Mexico. President Obama previously visited Mexico in April and August 2009 meetings with then-President Felipe Calderón. President Obama also attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in June 2012. In November 2012, then President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto met with President Obama and invited him to visit Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden attended President Peña Nieto’s December 2012 inauguration ceremony.
A recent editorial in the Christian Science Monitor praised the political leadership of President Enrique Peña Nieto for breaking years of political gridlock in Mexico. The editorial discussed policies proposed by President Peña Nieto to reform the education, energy and telecommunications sectors. …
“The so-called Pact for Mexico signed by top political leaders has enabled President Enrique Peña Nieto to overcome legislative paralysis and either pass or present serious reforms,” stated the Christian Science Monitor editorial. “To the surprise of many, his own Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which once represented the entrenched status quo, has taken on big interests that have long held Mexico back.”
The Christian Science Monitor hailed the legislative cooperation in Mexico as a model to solve political gridlock in the United States.
“Mexicans have witnessed a rare moment in which their bickering political leaders came together for change,” the editorial stated. “At a time when the US Congress is struggling even to pass a budget, Mexico provides a model for what can be done”
High speed rail in Mexico is a key priority for the new President of Mexico. In a recent speech outlining a National Tourism Policy for Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto emphasized the need for improved infrastructure in tourist destinations. As an example, Peña Nieto proposed the completion of a rail… line across the Yucatán Peninsula linking the colonial city of Mérida to the beach resorts of the Mayan Riviera. The Mexican government plans to spend approximately 11 billion pesos on the project.
The Transpeninsular Train would feature air-conditioned cars carrying as many as 400 passengers and traveling at speeds up to 110 mph. The first stage of the railroad would run from the Yucatán capital of Mérida to Punto Venado on the Caribbean Coast, with links to the Mayan archaeological sites of Chichen Itza and Tulum.
The new focus on high speed rail in Mexico marks a change in transportation policy. With the exception of a few tourist trains, like the Tequila Express in the state of Jalisco and the Copper Canyon railway through the Sierra Madre, Mexico all but eliminated passenger rail service when it shut down the state-run Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (National Railways of Mexico) in the 1990s.
U.S. President Barack Obama will meet his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, during a visit to Mexico in early May. The bilateral meeting is expected to address issues of trade, economic growth and immigration. …
"The president welcomes the opportunity to discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries," the White House said.
While he was still president-elect of Mexico, Peña Nieto met with President Obama in November 2012, and invited him to visit Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden attended President Peña Nieto’s December 2012 inauguration ceremony.
The upcoming visit will be President Obama’s fourth trip to Mexico. President Obama previously visited Mexico in April and August 2009 for a meetings with then President Felipe Calderón. President Obama also attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in June 2012.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is making headway on his campaign promises and bringing a measure of optimism to his country’s government during his first two months in power. …
Showing a deft political touch, Pena Nieto has woven together a coalition of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI in its Spanish initials, with the major opposition parties for a broad agenda labeled “Pact for Mexico.”
Pena Nieto’s government has already pushed through a constitutional reform last month that returned the right to the government to hire and fire teachers and ended the selling of teaching jobs. Before the reform, the powerful teachers’ union and its despised, lifelong leader Elba Esther Gordillo retained such rights.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Jorge Buendia, the head of Buendia & Laredo, an independent polling firm. “It is without precedent to pull together the principal political forces on major structural reforms.”
The PRI does not hold a majority in either chamber of Congress, requiring it to seek coalitions.
“There’s a tide, a wave of optimism that this government can get issues through Congress,” Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said at a forum Jan. 9.
Pena Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Caledron, who left office Dec. 1, made the drug war the focus of his government. While crime rates remain an issue in Mexico, Pena Nieto has promised to also spend time on reforms that include pledges to broaden the tax-collection system and modernize the state oil company.
For decades, both Americans and Canadians have been supporting efforts to provide young Oaxacans with improved education; donating not only their time and expertise, but also books and related educational resources, food and clothing to make attending school easier for children of families with very… limited resources, and cash. But while US taxpayers have been able to deduct donations to certain registered Mexican charities from their income, Canadians have not. Finally change is in the wind, as a result of CANFRO, Canadian Friends of Oaxaca Inc.
CANFRO was incorporated as a non-profit organization pursuant to the laws of the Province of Ontario in January, 2012. It has applied for designation as a charitable organization pursuant to CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) regulations, and expects to receive approval by the end of the year. Once approved, it can issue tax-deductible receipts.
While on paper its objectives appear broad, such as supporting women, improving accessibility to healthcare for residents who survive only marginally, and more generally relieving poverty, each of CANFRO’s seven projects is directly related to improving educational opportunities for youthful Oaxacans.
Administrative Framework & Functioning of CANFRO
The Government of Canada does not allow Canadians to obtain tax relief for donations made directly to established Oaxacan non-profits, through CANFRO or otherwise. Rather, funds to support Oaxacans and / or pay for goods and services for their benefit, must be paid to the individual or a third party provider.
The implications of this are twofold. Firstly, administration costs are kept to a bare minimum, since by not donating through a Oaxacan charity no portion of the gift is used for the charity’s operating costs. Secondly, Canadians in Oaxaca, currently the CANFRO directors, must initially select worthy projects, and then devote their efforts to paying funds to the appropriate recipients, ensuring the money is spent as represented to the Canadian donors, and securing the necessary paperwork so that they obtain tax receipts from CANFRO as authorized by CRA.
However, Oaxacan charities do play an important role in the process. In most cases they are utilized in at least one of two respects: to identify the candidates and programs in need; and to act as a conduit or intermediary; CANFRO makes use of charity premises and established routines. An examination of its existing projects clarifies the scheme, while at the same time exemplifies precisely how Canadians can help educate Oaxacans.
Current CANFRO Projects
Some CANFRO projects overlap. However each has a distinctly unique mission, enabling Canadians to choose the form of aid which best suits their preferences, as well as their financial means. Donors who are familiar with an existing Oaxacan charitable organization, and are perhaps already contributing to it without getting tax relief, might gravitate towards it.
The Hearing Aid Project: If not detected early enough, hearing impairment results in lower educational achievement than would otherwise be attainable. CORAL (Oaxacan Center for the Rehabilitation of Hearing and Speech), is a non-profit organization consisting of an audiology clinic, hearing and speech therapy facility, early detection hearing loss program and a social work component which includes in-home training for parents in outlying communities. Hearing aid batteries often last as little as 10 days. On behalf of donors, CANFRO purchases solar powered hearing kits for children with hearing loss. CORAL selects appropriate recipients.
The Women’s Project: CANFRO donors can fully and directly support a bright young indigenous woman in her quest to obtain a high school education. Funds provided are used for meals, accommodations, transportation, educational costs, clothing and healthcare expenses. They also pay for costs related to attending monthly weekend workshops and extended summer sessions at Casa de la Mujer; for mentoring regarding sex, birth control, woman’s rights and self-esteem, as well as psychological and occupational counseling. Casa de la Mujer makes recommendations regarding worthy candidates.
The Advanced Education Project: This initiative is similar to The Women’s Project, but is for promising students of both sexes and not associated with any organization. It may include university education. It is more for donors wishing to decide upon their own recipients or rely on either another individual or one of the non-profits to assist in screening and selecting. The project does not include a workshop component.
The Tutor Project: University students from Oaxaca, as well as those from outlying areas who have migrated to the state capital for higher education, often do not have sufficient resources to complete their studies. CANFRO pays these young adults to tutor high school students in difficult subject areas, both individually and in groups. Thus, benefits accrue to tutors and their students alike. In addition, the tutors provide excellent role models for students of similar social class. Tutoring occurs at The Oaxaca Learning Center.
The Book Project: Reading is a major component of learning. Fifteen years ago a group of Oaxacan residents began a literacy program, Libros para Pueblos, opening children’s libraries in Oaxaca. It has annually expanded into the villages. Proof of its success is the fact that many books have become worn and even “lost.” CANFRO supplies replacement and new books for rural libraries.
The Food & School Sponsorship Projects: These two ventures involve participation of El Centro de Esperanza Infantil (The Center of Hope for Children). Years ago it was brought to the attention of The Center´s founders that many children were falling asleep in Oaxacan schools. As a result of a lack of parental resources students were not receiving the nutrition required to be physically ready to learn. CANFRO donors supply funds for daily hot meals served at The Center, giving youth the energy required to participate fully in their education. But the children require more. El Centro also assists in identifying students worthy of donor support in the form of resources to buy equipment, supplies, uniforms, shoes, books, school fees and medical services.
When to Begin Supporting the Education of Oaxacans?
There’s no need for Canadians to defer donating until tax deductibility is available, likely by December. Canadians have been helping to educate Oaxacans for years with after-tax earnings. Consider initially donating directly to a charity noted above, thereafter paying through CANFRO once CRA approval is confirmed.
Alvin Starkman is one of CANFRO’s directors. He and his wife Arlene operate Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast (http://www.casamachaya.com). Alvin can be reached at email@example.com for updates regarding supporting Oaxacan education. Alvin assists tourists in planning their visits to the state capital and central valleys.
Mexico and Brazil played a grueling 93 minutes of top notch soccer in the Olympic Men’s Soccer Finals. Mexico pulled through with a 2-1 triumph over Brazil earning Mexico a gold medal. Not only did Mexico’s soccer team beat Brazil’s soccer team, but their economy also seems to be… pulling ahead of Brazil’s economy.
According to an article from the Economist, “In recent years Brazil has outplayed Mexico, growing at 6% or more as Mexico bumped along in the slow lane. But lately that has changed. Last year Mexico grew by 4% and Brazil by 2.7%.” Mexico’s economy is on a positive trajectory of growth and expansion, and some predict that Mexico’s economy, which is currently half the size of Brazil’s economy, will be bigger than Brazil’s economy within the next 10 years.
Why are the expectations for the Mexican economy so high? Mexico has multiple factors working in their favor. First, Mexico’s ratio of debt to GDP is not even a third of Brazil’s ratio of debt to GDP. The debt to GDP ratio is an indicator of the wellness of a nation and having a low debt to GDP ratio demonstrates that the country can pay off any debt incurred in producing goods and services. Mexico’s low debt to GDP ratio indicates that the Mexican economy is healthy, and they have potential for growth. Next, Mexico has the demography for growth due to the ratio of workers in the labor force to those not working. And lastly, in December 2012, Enrique Pena Nieto will become the new president of Mexico, and he promised reforms to encourage economic growth. Currently, Brazil is less open to free trade than Mexico, which also hurts the economy.
Why is Mexico’s economy growing, while Brazil’s economy seems to be decreasing? Brazil’s GDP is projected to be below 2%, while Mexico’s GDP is projected to keep increasing. The Chinese economy has slowed down significantly, which directly affects the Mexican and Brazilian economy. Brazil’s economy benefits by exporting to China, but when China slows down, the number of Brazilian exports also decreases. In opposition, Mexico directly competes with China over exports to the United States. A decrease in the number of Chinese exports creates room in the U.S. for Mexican exports. The growth of the U.S.’s economy allows for expansion of the Mexican economy.
The economic growth projection is difficult to predict, but perhaps the Olympic Men’s Soccer Finals will act as predictor Mexico’s GDP in the coming years.
On June 20, as the G20 Summit ended at Los Cabos, Mexico, the White House published a photo of Air Force One at the Los Cabos International Airport next to President Obama’s car which had a Mexican flag on one of the front sides.
Private businesses and governments must work together in order to maximize the potential of the travel and tourism industry. That’s the word from a variety of delegates speaking at the Americas Summit during the first part of a two-hour presentation called “Working Together for Jobs and… Growth.”
“Growth in the tourism economy is attributable in no small part to the private sectors,” said Zhu Shanzhong, vice chairman of the China National Tourism Administration. “The government and the private sector must make joint efforts.”
“What is economic is strategic and what is strategic is economic,” said Thomas Nides, deputy secretary of state for the United States of America, who also emphasized the importance of cooperation within the western hemisphere. “We’re all asking what we can do to harness the power of proximity,” he told delegates. “It’s clear that Travel &Tourism will be a critical part of the equation.”
Session moderator Kathleen Matthews, executive vice president of Marriott International, posed a number of questions to Nides regarding the nation’s visa process for foreign visitors. “We’re doing an enormous amount to make it simpler to visit the United States,” according to Nides, who noted a goal for the United States to attract 100 million annual international visitors by 2021. “We just changed the rules in China. If you have a valid visa, and you want to travel in the second year, you normally have to get in your car and get the visa. Now, you can renew your visa online.” Nides noted that new U.S. consulates and increased consular staff in China, Brazil and India have also helped to speed the visa process.
The visa situation also arose as an issue during a subsequent panel discussion with tourism officials. “We’d like to go for ‘no visa’ sometime in the future,” said Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesia’s minister of tourism and creative economy, noting that the Asian region already allows travel without visa for its citizens. “Sharing databases would be a good way to progress.”
Government and the Private Sector
In the quest to grow Travel & Tourism, “one stumbling block is regulation,” according to Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s minister of tourism, adding that public-private cooperation “shouldn’t be only a partnership on paper.”
HRH Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Asud, chairman of the board and president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, agreed. “Smart governments make it easy for the private sector,” he said.
Private-sector insiders weighed in during the following panel. “There are some governments leading the way and making long-term commitments to tourism,” said Tom Klein, president of Sabre Holdings.
“Let’s start with government positions related to the growth of our industry,” Klein said. “Are they erecting obstacles or tearing down barriers?” Progress has come from “having a single voice that calls for more from our government,” according to Klein, who noted that working together “has delivered some promising results” — including the first-ever national tourism strategy for the United States, embodied in the new Brand USA campaign.
Thorsten Kirschke, COO of Carlson Hotels and president of Carlson Hotels in Latin America, noted that governments play an important role in creating the infrastructure that allows Travel & Tourism to thrive. “You can have the most beautiful heritage site, but if that infrastructure is not developed, that makes it difficult to build hotels and grow in ‘nowhere-land,’” he said.
Kirk Kinsell, president for the Americas at IHG, noted that the private sector, in turn, helps to support local communities in a variety of ways. “A great deal of [hotel] ownership is by local families, local institutions,” he said. “When we open up the doors and attract people to Mexico — to Cancun or Los Cabos — eventually they’ll find their way into these little local communities, and that’s where we need to make sure they’re partnered up for a great guest experience.”
“I think the takeaway is that it’s important for us to participate in the dialogue,” said Jim Compton, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at United Airlines. “Nothing changes overnight. But when you lose consistency, you take two steps back.”
The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a non-profit organization representing the interests of 45,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States, will be hosting their 16th annual conference on April 26-29, 2012 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington D.C. The health… conference will contain information on developments in the medical field and information on medical homes, care organizations, health insurance exchanges, disease prevention, integrative care, e-health, and medical and educational resources for the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. Workshops will focus on providing individuals in attendance with information and resources on current health conditions and technological advances in the medical sphere of the economy.
Developments in Hispanic healthcare will also be discussed during the workshops. Under the theme “Innovations to Improve the Health of Hispanics, Families and Communities”, national and international experts will present on a variety of different topics applicable and vital to today’s modern medical society. Key speakers at this event include: Maria Teresa Cerqueira, the Chief of the U.S.-Mexico Border Office of the Pan American Health Organization in El Paso, Texas and Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Executive Vice President of Multicultural Markets and Engagement for AARP.
The three-day NHMA conference on Hispanic healthcare will also include a briefing at the White House for Hispanic Health Professionals and a visit to Capitol Hill, where staffers from Senate and House Offices will provide an update on the U.S.’ current health policy.
The first and informal gathering of the 2012 G20 summit was held in Los Cabos, Mexico last weekend, where the foreign minister of Mexico proposed to expand the current G20 agenda to include political and security matters, an idea which received the backing of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary… Clinton.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Patricia Espinosa, argued when it comes to crucial issues that affect the lives of billions, ”the international community is failing.”
She continued to announce that the foreign ministers of the G20 would meet again this summer at the G20 leaders’ summit (June 19-20) where Mexico will be in attendance as first Latin American country to preside the G20. There, for the first time, the G20 will be lending thought to a slew of global issues ranging from green growth and food security to transnational crime. For those that are familiar with the G20’s macroeconomic focus, this represents huge progress.
Since its commencement at the November 2008 Washington summit, the G20 has been led entirely by finance ministers and central bank governors, who have fought to restrict its authority to macroeconomic issues.
The proposal coming from Patricia Espinosa and endorsed by Secretary of State Clinton, will help the G20 move to being a more general-purpose ‘steering group’ chaired by the most important developed countries -- including Mexico -- whose solid economy holds a pivotal role in the international financial system.