Category : Mexico
Falling oil prices are putting a cloud over the one thing Mexico’s struggling government had been clinging to in its attempts to invigorate a sluggish economy ”” its historic energy reform.
The government had been planning to auction 169 oil and gas blocks next year. It was to be one of the most ambitious bid rounds the industry had seen in a country whose sector has been closed to private investment for nearly 80 years, and where production is at its lowest level in two decades.
But the oil price fall has sobered what one executive called the “frothy, crazy bidding environment” Mexico had been expecting, unsettling a government reliant on oil revenue for a third of its budget. Officials are hastily striking off shale and other fields that might now look unappealing to bidders. Long-awaited initial tender terms are likely to be published on Wednesday.
GONZALEZ: It’s a scene that captured the attention of the country and world. Anti-immigrant protestors blocking buses filled with undocumented Central American migrant children, some adults, from reaching a border patrol station in the southern California community of Murrieta.
The children aboard the buses were just some of the more than 52,000 minors, many of them unaccompanied by adults, who have been detained by immigration authorities since October. It’s the largest influx of asylum seekers into the U.S. since 1980.
There are so many migrant children arriving, temporary immigration holding facilities along the border have been filled to capacity, and the children have been flown to other parts of the country, for shelter and care at military bases and other facilities. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of migrants, the government has turned to faith communities for help.
The flood of North American crude oil is set to become a deluge as Mexico dismantles a 75-year-old barrier to foreign investment in its oil fields.
Plagued by almost a decade of slumping output that has degraded Mexico’s take from a $100-a-barrel oil market, President Enrique Pena Nieto is seeking an end to the state monopoly over one of the biggest crude resources in the Western Hemisphere. The doubling in Mexican oil output that Citigroup Inc. said may result from inviting international explorers to drill would be equivalent to adding another Nigeria to world supply, or about 2.5 million barrels a day.
That boom would augment a supply surge from U.S. and Canadian wells that Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) predicts will vault North American production ahead of every OPEC member except Saudi Arabia within two years.
Mexico’s deadly drugs war is not just a question of supply and demand but a symptom of the rise of Satan, according to some Catholic leaders. With the death toll at about 80,000 and counting, the number of exorcisms is rising.
Father Carlos Triana, an exorcist in Mexico City, said: “We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he [the Devil] is here behind the drug cartels.”
Exorcisms and spiritual cleansings are common in Mexico, a superstitious country where Catholicism overlaid the religious beliefs of its indigenous inhabitants, including the Aztecs.
Read it all (subscription required).
M. had been in prison for about three years. He was normally a regular at morning Mass, skinny and skittish, with light eyes, and he had recently grown a scruffy beard. “You look like you belong on ”˜Lost,’ ” [the Rev. Robert Coogan] said when he greeted him. Unlike other prisoners, M. actually had a family of some means, and in a prison system without uniforms, his style often seemed more appropriate for an indie rock club. His sneakers were clean and hip; his jeans had designer labels.
Inside maximum, M. shared space not just with hard-core Zetas but also with inmates too insane to be kept anywhere else ”” including one who refused to wear clothes and spoke to angels. He slept little, like any prey encircled by predators, and that morning he anxiously greeted Coogan’s arrival, signaling immediately with darting eyes that he needed to talk privately. Coogan followed him into the yard, where M. pulled out a Bible for cover and positioned himself near a faraway wall. There, he explained that the Zetas wanted him to pay them 2,000 pesos ($165), with the first half due at noon the next day. Coogan, brightening the dusty pen with his purple robes, nodded as M. spoke. He had paid small ransoms to keep M. safe from the Zetas twice already, but this latest demand was larger, more than a week’s pay. He wasn’t sure whether the Zetas were serious or if they were just toying with M. He also didn’t know if M. could be trusted. M. claimed to be locked up because a friend stole a television and he was taking the rap, but other inmates doubted his story and said he was a schemer. Coogan considered his options. Paying the Zetas would encourage extortion, but ignoring the threat, or confronting the Zetas directly, could get M. beaten or killed.
Three men, field laborers by day, huddle on a bench as night descends, a mess of empty bottles of hard liquor strewn nearby. Another man gets a refresher on how to ring the bell in case of emergency. One listens attentively to orders from their leader.
It is time to guard the churches of Cholula.
A small, picturesque city 80 miles southeast of Mexico City, Cholula is said to have a church for every day of the year. There are, in reality, about 80 in all, many dating to the 17th century and filled with paintings and sculptures from that time. It is enough to draw hordes of worshipers ”” and thieves.
With mangled corpses turning up on street corners and inside restaurants, hung from bridges, and buried in mass graves, Mexicans seem to have grown inured. Outrage, fear, anxiety, sadness ”” it is tough to muster such emotions again and again, especially with 50,000 people dead in drug-related killings since President Felipe CalderÃ³n began his assault on traffickers six years ago.
Other countries, of course, have gone through some version of this collective numbing: Israel in 2003, after a series of bus bombings; Iraq in 2006.
But Mexico seems to have fallen to new depths of deliberate distraction this year, and many Mexicans are increasingly disturbed by their own attitude.
Pope Benedict XVI said that during his recent journey to Mexico and Cuba, he experienced “unforgettable days of joy and hope.”
While he went as “a witness of Jesus Christ,” it was also an opportune occasion to call for reform, especially in allowing greater religious freedom, he said.
At his weekly general audience April 4 in St. Peter’s Square, the pope told an estimated 11,000 pilgrims and visitors about his March 23-28 visit.
Santa Muerte has various names: she is la Flaquita (Skinnybones) or la Huesuda, the Bony Lady, and she has attracted many other euphemisms in the centuries that she has enjoyed underground devotion. But whatever we call her, this sinister folk saint has acquired astonishing popularity in very recent years. During the present century, she has become an unavoidable presence across Mexico and Central America. As Chesnut writes, “In just ten years, Santa Muerte has become one of the most important religious figures among Mexicans from all walks of life and thousands of Mexican and Central American immigrants in this country.” Many specialized stores cater to the needs of devotees in search of herbs, potions and powders, votive candles and statuettes, many of which bear threatening slogans: “Death to my enemies!” or “Law, stay away!” Increasingly, such items appear in the religious goods sections of U.S. supermarkets as well (I have seen them in Texas, Arizona, and California). Although we have no exact idea of the scale of her following, Chesnut deliberately errs on the side of caution when he estimates a constituency of perhaps five percent of all Mexican citizens, some five million people. In underclass and criminal settings, she has far outpaced the Virgin of Guadalupe in popularity. In fact, she can well be considered an anti-Guadalupe, a dark shadow of Mexico’s beloved mother figure.
Mexican prosecutors are investigating a poor family living near the Mexican border in connection with the ritual killings of three people.
It was a family people took pity on, one the government and church helped with free food, used clothes, and farm animals. The men were known as trash pickers. Some of the women were suspected of prostitution.
Mexican authorities are now investigating whether the any of them are tied to the sacrifices of two 10-year-old boys and a 55-year-old woman to Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, a figure adored mostly by outlaws but whose popularity is growing across Mexico and among Hispanics in the United States….
The Catholic faith has significantly marked the life, customs and history of this continent, in which many nations are commemorating the bicentennial of their independence. That was an historical moment in which the name of Christ continued to shine brightly. That name was brought here through the labours of outstanding and self-sacrificing missionaries who proclaimed it boldly and wisely. They gave their all for Christ, demonstrating that in him men and women encounter the truth of their being and the strength needed both to live fully and to build a truly humane society in accordance with the will of their Creator. This ideal of putting the Lord first and making God’s word effective in all, through the use of your own native expressions and best traditions, continues to provide outstanding inspiration for the Church’s Pastors today.
The initiatives planned for the Year of Faith must be aimed at guiding men and women to Christ; his grace will enable them to cast off the bonds of sin and slavery, and to progress along the path of authentic and responsible freedom. A great contribution will be made to this goal by the continental mission being launched from Aparecida, which is already reaping a harvest of ecclesial renewal in the particular Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes the study, dissemination and prayerful reading of sacred Scripture, which proclaims the love of God and our salvation. I encourage you to continue to share freely the treasures of the Gospel, so that they can become a powerful source of hope, freedom and salvation for everyone (cf. Rom 1:16). May you also be faithful witnesses and interpreters of the words of the incarnate Son, whose life was to do the will of the Father and who, as a man among men, gave himself up completely for our sake, even unto death.
Singing, strumming guitars and trying to shield themselves from a searing sun, tens of thousands of Mexican Catholics came together Saturday nearly 24 hours before an open-air Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.
They walked miles and took up positions in Bicentennial Park, a short distance from a hilltop monument that honors the 1920s Cristero War by Catholic counter-revolutionaries.
But as religious fervor was on display in Silao, in central Mexico’s Guanajuato state, a sexual-abuse scandal involving a notorious Mexican priest threatened to cast a pall over the pope’s first visit to the Spanish-speaking Americas.
“Pope Benedict XVI comes during a very different time [than his predecessor]. With a country wounded, depressed by the prolonged violence,” [Bernardo ] Barranco says, “a country that doesn’t have a clear vision of its own future.”
Speaking with reporters on his flight from Rome to Mexico, Benedict denounced the drug violence that’s claimed almost 50,000 lives here over the last five years.
This is expected to be one of the leading themes of his visit to Mexico. He’s also expected to call for a return to traditional Catholic values.
Together with faith and hope, the believer in Christ ”“ indeed the whole Church ”“ lives and practises charity as an essential element of mission. In its primary meaning, charity “is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations” (Deus Caritas Est, 31), as we help those who suffer from hunger, lack shelter, or are in need in some way in their life. Nobody is excluded on account of their origin or belief from this mission of the Church, which does not compete with other private or public initiatives. In fact, the Church willingly works with those who pursue the same ends. Nor does she have any aim other than doing good in an unselfish and respectful way to those in need, who often lack signs of authentic love.