Prospects for health in Mexico after the presidential election

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The country’s president-elect faces a tough challenge to redress the health system, but his stance on corruption might help.

Read the article at The Lancet (login required)

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The cartel’s deadly grip on Mexico’s elections

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — There is no escaping the fact that Chapultepec Avenue has changed since the Jalisco New Generation cartel tried to kill the former state prosecutor.

Despite enjoying a reputation as one of Mexico’s trendiest locations, business has slowed in the once crowded bars along the famous Guadalajara street and only a handful of shoppers are in sight.

“A white car stopped outside the fruit cart and four guys in bulletproof vests got out with assault rifles,” said Roberto, a local business owner who witnessed the shootout in May and asked not to be identified by his real name for fear of retaliation. “They started shooting at the restaurant and kept firing for about three minutes.”

The brazen attack highlighted the danger that Mexico’s most powerful cartel poses to the health of its democracy. When Mexicans went to the polls on Sunday, they did so after a campaign season punctuated by death threats and political assassinations, with many suspecting the Jalisco cartel has driven much of the bloodshed.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leftist populist candidate won by a landslide campaigning against violence and crime, but has also suggested an amnesty for some criminals could help pacify the country.

Read the complete article at The Daily Beast

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LBC Radio interview about Mexico’s 2018 elections

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Central Americans are more afraid of their home countries than Trump

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Like most migrants stopping in Guadalajara on their way to the United States, Ricardo made it here by riding on top of the trans-Mexico freight train commonly known as “The Beast.”

The 22-year-old Honduran arrived at the city’s migrant shelter in a desperate state; still shaken after seeing a travel companion fall from the railroad car to his death and dismayed by the news trickling through of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on the border.

Read the complete article at Vice News

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Spraying bullets not sunscreen: Violence in Baja California Sur

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Baja California Sur – popular with tourists – and drug cartels. You don’t want to be a reporter caught in the middle.

Read the article at Index on Censorship (subscription required)

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How former Mexican president Vicente Fox went from drug tsar to legalization trailblazer

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The tiny Mexican village of San Cristóbal is not somewhere you would immediately associate with North America’s cannabis revolution. Smoking weed is still illegal there and there are no headshops in town, just a sleepy plaza ringed by narrow, cobblestone streets.

But the most recognizable of the town’s 3,000 residents—Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico—has recently become one of the continent’s highest-profile cannabis legalization advocates.

Read the complete article at Herb

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Index on Censorship podcast interview about violence against journalists in Baja California Sur

I spoke to Index on Censorship about press freedom and violence in Baja California Sur ahead of their forthcoming issue.

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Murky business: A hunt for answers as children fall sick around Mexico lake

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AGUA CALIENTE, Mexico (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Eduardo Baltazar is the youngest person in the tiny Mexican village of Agua Caliente to have a kidney transplant, undergoing the life-saving surgery a month shy of his 13th birthday.

The boy is one of many victims of a health crisis in the western state of Jalisco that environmental experts are linking to water and air pollution, despite denials by the government.

A University of Guadalajara investigation into the 950 residents of Agua Caliente on the shores of Lake Chapala has confirmed what locals have known for years – chronic kidney disease has reached epidemic levels and is hitting children hardest.

Read the complete article at The Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Mexican church seizes on St. Jude to counter Santa Muerte cult

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GUADALAJARA, MEXICO — A few days after a group of armed men kidnapped her 27-year-old son, María set up a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus at her home in Guadalajara, western Mexico.

“I keep photos, candles and holy water at the altar,” María said. “That’s where I plead to God and let my emotions out.”

Faced with stiff competition from the cult of Santa Muerte — a heretical saint who personifies death — Mexico’s Catholic Church has seized on the popularity of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations.

Read the complete article at National Catholic Reporter

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High-tech manufacturers fear robots and Nafta renegotiations

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Had Leonardo Castro been born two decades earlier, he would almost certainly have migrated north to the US in search of better opportunities, he says. Instead, the 31-year-old was able to build a career as an aircraft test engineer in his native Mexicali.

Mr Castro works for Honeywell Aerospace, a subsidiary of the US industrial conglomerate, as part of a 350-strong testing and development team at its Mexicali research centre.

Read the complete article at The Financial Times

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