Observatorio de Relaciones Internacionales


Obama nomina a Elena Kagan a la Corte Suprema de Justicia.

El pasado lunes 10 de mayo, el presidente Obama anunció su deseo de ver a Elena Kagan como miembro de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Estados Unidos. Si fuese ratificada por el Senado, sería la primera vez en la historia de la justicia estadounidense en la que hubiese tres mujeres en la Corte Suprema.

Actualmente, Kagan que es considerada una “centrista moderada”, desempeña la labor de abogada del Departamento de Justicia, encargada de representar al Poder Ejecutivo ante la Corte Suprema. Anteriormente fue directora de la Escuela de Leyes de la Universidad de Harvard. A sus 50 años, sería la juez más joven del máximo tribunal de justicia.

El nombramiento de esta mujer, de la que Obama ha dicho que es “una constructora de consenso”, con “una amplia gama de perspectivas” y que entiende que la ley “afecta las vidas de personas ordinarias”, ha despertado numerosas críticas entre las que destacan su falta de experiencia como juez, y que con su nombramiento se daría un giro conservadora la corte, ya que entraría sustituyendo al juez John Paul Stevens quien es considerado el líder del ala liberal del máximo tribunal.

Además, como lo subraya un artículo del New York Times, Elena Kagan estuvo hace algunos años envuelta en la polémica; fue partidaria de denegar el acceso dentro de las universidades, a los reclutadores del ejército americano, por lo que fue tachada de antimilitarismo.

A pesar de esto, no se prevé que su nombramiento corra peligro ya que sería apoyada por la mayoría conservadora del Senado.





Oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico

After the explosion and the sinking of the oil platform “Deepwater Horizon” an ecologic disaster is set. Beside the death of 11 crew members of the platform, BP will also have to face material losses. The President of the United States already made a public statement in which he blames the oil giant to be culpable of the oil lack in the Gulf of Mexico, which now daily spits over 800.000 liter a day into the Atlantic Ocean. He assures BP to “pay the bill”

But the “bill” can only refer to legal and capital losses due to the oil. Many aspects, which can’t be overseen right now, will influence human life in the northern American region . And by this, the perspective of the ecological system is still not included. Anyway Greenpeace Mexico warns for a 20 year court fight until people and nature comes to its legal rights.

As the “Deepwater Horizon” was presented as the modernist oil platform available, again the powerlessness of humankind in face of nature becomes obvious. The continuing dependency of the economy on oil and its everyday harder acceptable appearance also brings the question how often these kind of catastrophes is about to happen in future.





The Mexican Drug War is Becoming a Worldwide Fight.

The Mexican drug war is the name that is given to the armed conflict between the Mexican government and the drugs cartels. However, not only Mexico is suffering from this Drug War but also all parts of North America. The US and Canadian drug market are living a shortage in supplying what created tensions in both side. This tension is mainly concentrated in the border regions between Mexico and the US. As a consequence, the US is involve in the solution of this regional conflict.

Although violence between the cartels has long been hurting Mexico, the actions to combat drug trafficking, did not begin until December 11, 2006, when the Mexican president Felipe Calderon sent 6500 federal troops to Michoacán to curb the rising violence in that area caused by the attempt to create a new cartel.

One of the greatest successes of the government of Felipe Calderon has been to get the United States has admitted his responsibility in this conflict. Since a long time, the President of the US have to take measures so that to fight against narcotic-trafficking worldwide. Obviously, Mexico is one of the countries which receive more aids from the International Narcotics Control (more than 400 million dollar in 2010). Moreover, different acts have been established, such as the International Narcotics Control Act.

However, the current violence has been so important that the US’s government had to intervene directly. Recently, various attacks have been done and several American civil servants have been killed by cartels. As a preventive measure, all US American were repatriated. The problem is that nowadays, more and more people ask for a political asylum in order to cross the frontier and felling more secured in the US. Moreover, according to the Mexican government, the US government did not act like it should have. In fact, they think that the situation is also due to US citizens’ consumption and for that reasons, the US have to be more concerned about this issue (and not being present only at a financial level).

On the other hand, the government's strategy of using the army has had detractors. Numerous civil organizations have complained that the military presence on the streets has coincided with an increase in the number of human rights violations, while the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has warned about the increase of complaints received by this question: since the start of the fight more than 15,000 people have been killed, many of them civilians with no ties to the cartels. For this reason, Mexican strategy has been revised in March 2010. In order to develop the so-called “Mérida Initiative”, established during Bush’s governance and based on military assistance, American and Mexican agencies would be constantly in contact, so as to work better together. The new strategy consist in making civilian law more strict (such as screening people who want to cross the border) According to an article from The New York TimesNext year's foreign aid budget provides for civilian police training, not equipment”.

In addition to the difficulties to resolve this issue, Mexico suffers from corruption in the government and especially in the prisons.If you ask Mexican inmates to describe prisons they would answer that it is a place where drug dealers can recruit new members and bribe their way out. This is the reason why the Mexican government is shipping many drug traffickers to the United States, where it is harder for them to continue their crimes or make contact to their criminal networks. The United States are involved in program to help fix Mexico’s broken prisons with $4 million. Specialists from United States prisons have started to train Mexican guards to clarify the ethical guidelines and methods they have to use in their daily work.

The wealthiest inmates are able to pay to receive key for their cells. It is not uncommon to have pizza deliveries, prostitutes, drugs and alcohol inside the prison walls. Sometimes prisoners will pay to the guards to leave the prison for a while or make break out from prison. Some convicts manage to escape even before they get to prison or to court, usually with help of other cartel members or by bribing the guards.

Mexico´s prison system is full of flaws and jail facilities are very bad quality. The most dangerous prisioners should be locked to maximum security cells but there is huge lack of space. So these inmates are taken to less secure prisons. The government is planning to build prisons to get more beds. One major goal is to divide the cartel members from other inmates to prevent them from recruiting new gang members.

The uses of the Internet and newer technologies have also an impact in this conflict. This opens also new opportunities for headhunting or dealing in a very fast and effective way. As the number of daily murder rises in Mexico also the fight about information has become a field in which the government has to face certain issues. You Tube, Facebook, Twitter etc. are now used by the traffickers as well by governmental institutions to inform citizens and cartels or their enemies.

Due to the strong intervention on drug traffic in Mexico and the violent response from the drug trafficking groups, the number of killed people that were related to the cartels have increased from 2,837 people connected in 2007 to 9,365 people in 2009.

If we think in the number of civilians victims that the government strategy has produced, we have to ask if this really is the right way to secure and ease the streets of Mexico.

Anyway, since 2008 the government has tried to attack the issue from others fronts such as social programs aimed at preventing the consumption or the increased surveillance in areas where there are large masses of children and young people because they are the largest population risk.














Increasing drug trafficking

According to deport of US justice department mexican drug gangs have raised in number and activity. The production of the main trade products, the heroin, has doubled in the year 2008. The National Drug Assessment states, that the trade with ecstasy and methamphetamine has also grown despite US started to fund for the so called war on drugs. Drug trafficking groups with origins in Mexico were active in nearly every region of the US. Each year drug gangs were transferring about $40 billion back to the Mexico. Mexico has long been the main land of transit for illicit drugs smuggled into the US but this report suggests that the advances to reduce the rush on both sides of the border have had only small success.

The report found that Mexican heroin was clearly taking a "more significant share" of the market in US regions where South American heroin has usually dominated the consumption of illegal drugs. The Asian heroin is the second dominating importing region of heroin. Here still Afghanistan is one of the most important producers of the basic elements to produce heroin. Mexican drug suppliers have increased their distribution networks reaching also the prisons were former street “pusher” are locked away.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Mexico City earlier this week and called for more efforts to fight the social issues such as poverty that supports the drugs trade.



U.S. citizen sentenced for terrorism

A New York businessman was sentenced this Monday for over 120 months in prison for trying to transfer money to training camp for terrorism in Afghanistan through an agent working undercover posing as a rich person from Middle East. The name of the person to found guilty is Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari. He was charged in September of terrorism financing and conspiracy.

The New York judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 10 years, plus three years of supervised release. In the worst case scenario he would have been locked up to 20 years in prison. Alishtari was earning his money by a fake loan investment program and met the undercover agent to make an “investment” as he later calls it. According to the prosecutors he received an unspecified amount of money from the agent working undercover to transfer 152,500 US$ he believed that it was being sent by the agent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp.

The argument of the defence, that Alishtari was more interested in potential profits from his loan business than in terrorism activity, was rejected by the judge. Alishtari was also accused to steal millions of dollars with his fraud loan investment fund, so judge sentenced him to pay the stolen money back to the victims. No exact amount was mentioned. Alishtari donated about $15,000 US to the National Republican Congressional Committee between April 2002 and August 2004.





Atentado contra una embajada estadounidense en México.

El pasado viernes 9 de abril se producía un atentado, a las 23:00, en el consulado de Estados Unidos en Nueva Laredo (México) que sólo dejó daños materiales.

La seguridad en zonas estratégicas de esta ciudad fronteriza con Laredo, Texas, y que es uno de los principales puntos de paso de mercancías hacia los Estados Unidos, fue reforzada a partir del ataque al consulado.

El atentado "fue ocasionado con una granada de fragmentación", dijo Carlos Pascual, embajador de los Estados Unidos en México durante una visita a Nuevo Laredo, en la que se reunió con el cónsul Donald Heflin y autoridades locales. Según el embajador: "las investigaciones se están realizando en el interior del consulado con nuestro personal y las causas pueden ser desde alguien molesto porque se le negó la visa hasta algún asunto más serio”.

A pesar de que en las últimas semanas esta localidad se había visto envuelta en una ola de violencia atribuida a una división entre líderes del cartel del Golfo y los “Zetas”, ex soldados de élite, las autoridades locales no señalan por el momento a nadie como responsables del atentado contra el consulado.

Se ha asegurado que la representación diplomática reabrirá sus puertas en cuanto se pueda garantizar tanto la seguridad de los diplomáticos como de los usuarios.





Mexican government fights against monopolistic situation.

President Felipe Calderon has decided to propose to the Congress a bill which would give to the Mexican Federal Commission of Corporate Competition (called the CFC) the power to punish companies in monopolistic situation.

The penalty would both affects the economical part of the company (a fine mainly taken from the income collected by the enterprises) and also a prison sentence. All necessary measures would be given to the Federal Commission, in order to save the problem.

According to the president, the fact that Mexico is full of companies which have the monopole of different sectors curbs the development of the country. In fact, the competition in the international market is limited and it gives a bad image of the Mexican economy. Therefore, Mexico receives less money from foreign investment so company have less possibility to innovate or to hire new labour forces.

In his fight against the lack of competition, Mr Calderon argues that this trend is strictly related with the problem of poverty and inequality present in Mexico since a long time. Indeed, the consequence of monopolistic situation affects, in a large part, the poor families. They spend 40% of their income in goods and services provided by companies who control their sector.

In addition, this reform which would improve the competition of the Mexican market, have been tested by the developed countries yet. For these reasons, the president of Mexico is quite optimistic concerning the Congress final vote. He also declared that “if the Congress approves it, it would be a real and profound change which could bring Mexico up to date and to be in the vanguard in term of economic competition”.





Obama wants to limit the use of nuclear arms

On Monday President Obama announced that he wants to rework the nuclear strategy of United States. It states that United States would not use nuclear arms against countries which obey the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even though they attacked against United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack. Mr. Obama said that he would make exception with countries which violate the Nonproliferation Treaty, naming Iran and North Korea. He assures that he will do anything necessary to keep American people safe.

The new strategy will quite likely be tested with Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that in Iran there has been suspicious nuclear activity to manufacture fissile material. Iran wants to sign the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty but United Nations Security Council constantly finds Iran to violate the rules of this contract by hiding nuclear plants.

Mr. Obama descried his new policy as an incentive to other countries to make the world nuclear weapon obsolete. Barrack Obama will meet Dmitry Medvedev to sign agreement to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons in United States and Russian. The new treaty will decrease the amount of nuclear weapons by 30% in these two countries.

Next week Obama will host event for reducing nuclear weapons. In this event will attend dozen of world leaders. Mr. Obama said that his dream is the have nuclear-free world.

There are five Countries, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China which are members of Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty. Four countries have refused to sign this contract and these are India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.





Japanese carproducer Toyota under pressure of U.S. and Canadian legacy

The problems in the production of vehicles which are consumed in high numbers in the United States and Canada have now legal consequences for the wellknown international enterprise Toyota. The House of Commons became interested in the construction failures because of the accidents due to construction problems in the breaking paddels of Toyota cars.

Apart of having apologized to the public in the beginning of the year, the directory of the Toyota enterprise is rejecting to take more responsabilty in this case. The leaders of the company refuse to present themselves infront of the court.

But the problem with the vehicles is not only affecting to Canada. The accidents produced by the failures in production caused the recall of eight and a half million cars in all the world and more than 6 millions in the U.S.

While many experts advocate the failures are related with electronic problems, Toyoda (grandson of the founder of Toyota and the current president of the company) continues defending the first position of the enterprise wich was that the failures in the acceleration was produce by a locked table.

The companys strategy of the last decade to defend the first place of car salings has now got a hard slipback by this. Apart from that the german car-constructer has become a serious challenger of the pole position in car producing.





Mexico drug cartel attacked American officials.

Due to the recent attack of the Mexican drug cartel the white house recommended that “officials` families which are in the Mexican frontier should come back”.

Last Saturday in ciudad Juárez three members of American embassy was killed in the street. Two were American couple (couples seven month baby survived the attack) and one was Mexican. This attack is towards foreign people is unusual but it seems that it’s the only way for the drug cartel to make pressure to Mexican government. The president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, is known of his strong politics against drug cartel Supported by Mexican foreign ministry said that they “will coordinate with U.S. diplomatic officials as investigations progress". The president of Mexico is going to visit personally to Ciudad Juarez to measure the situation.

Because of the violence in Mexico the American government organized “voluntary departure” for the American officials which are supposed to be in danger. This human movement might concern 2000 people. In order to clarify the situation and to find the guilty, the FBI is involving in the proper investigations of this crime. Indeed, Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton declared that they will do “everything necessary” to resolve the matter. The attack created criticism against U.S president Barrack Obama.

First step of the investigation leads to several suspects who are known to be part of drug cartel called “La Línea” or another group “Los Aztecas”. These drug cartels are currently very active in north Mexico.

The recent attack in Ciudad Juarez happened on bloody weekend in the holiday Acapulco where totally 15 people got killed.




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