Control of oil behind Mexico-Spain tensions

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Feb. 9 called for a "pause" in relations with Spain, in a speech that explicitly invoked the legacy of colonialism going back to the Conquest. But the speech was clearly aimed principally at Spanish oil company Repsol, which had been favored during the presidential term of Felipe Calderón. Specifically, López Obrador questioned the granting of gas contracts in the Burgos Basin, in Mexico's northeast. He charged that Repsol operated the fields less productively than the state company Pemex had. "In the end, less gas was extracted than Pemex extracted" before the contracts, he charged.

Mexico: AMLO declares drug war 'over' —but is it?

Two months into his term, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared an end to his country's "war on drugs," announcing that the army would no longer prioritize capturing cartel bosses. The new populist president made his declaration Jan. 30, at the end of his second month in office. He told gathered reporters at a press conference that the "guerra contra el narcotráfico," launched in 2006 by then-president Felipe Calderón, has come to and end. "Officially now, there is no war; we are going to prusue peace," he said.

Mexico: narcos in assassination attempt on ex-gov?

Being the governor of Mexico's Pacific coastal state of Colima seems to be high-risk proposition —even once you're out of office. Two gunmen shot Fernando Moreno Peña, Colima's governor from 1997 to 2003, as he ate breakfast in a restaurant in the state capital on Oct. 12. He was struck six times, although doctors say he will likely survive. In 2010 another Colima ex-governor, Silverio Cavazos, who held office from 2005-2009, was slain outside his home. Gustavo Vázquez Montes, Cavazos' predecessor, met his fate in a plane crash while returning from meetings in Mexico City in 2005. The cause of the crash was never determined, but mysterious plane crashes appear to be a favored way of getting rid of members of Mexico's political elite. All three men were members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—Mexico's generations-ruling political machine, which once again holds the presidency after finally losing it for two terms starting in 2000.

Mexico: Colima campesinos declare mine-free zone

Vancouver-based IMPACT Silver Corp boasted in a press release this month of promising "second phase drill results" from the San Juan Project, located 150 meters north of its producing Noche Buena Mine and four kilometers southwest of its 500-tonne-per-day Guadalupe Production Center. These are all old mines that the company is now reviving in what it calls the "Royal Mines of Zacualpan Silver-Gold District" of central Mexico. (MarketWired, Jan. 7) But in a community assembly in November, campesinos from the local Nahua indigenous community of Zacualpan (Comala municipality, Colima state) voted to decalre their territory a mine-free zone. On Dec. 4, a delegation from the Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Territory of Zacualpan and Bios Iguana presented the decision to the Federal Agrarian Tribunal in Colima's state capital. Citing a threat to local water sources and the community's "right to consultation," the Indigenous Council pledged to resist any expansion of mining operations at the sites.

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