We are into late December here at the Mexico Business Blog Global Campus, which is either a sprawling, eco-friendly complex in central Mexico City or a fortified underground lair carved deep into the Ajusco mountain, depending on our temperament each day. Virgin of Guadalupe Day has come and gone already, which means most office workers’ minds here in Mexico are now fully focused on the customary end-of-year lunches, dinners and receptions that are taking the place of any kind of work that might otherwise have been performed or at least thought about. We, of course, are maintaining our usual stringent productivity standards but before we head out to the next punchbowl-centric holiday soiree, we thought we would comment briefly on some things that happened in Mexico over the past year. Continue reading Where Mexico is at as 2014 comes to a close
French President François Hollande has had a lot of aggravation on his hands lately. First he gets outed for cheating on his girlfriend and in the kerfuffle he throws her out of the Élysée Palace, sending her into a wiggy tailspin and she ends up in the hospital. Then, the president’s Socialist party gets flogged like the family mule in municipal elections held March 23 and 30, in which not only the center-right UMP but the dread far-right National Front make big gains. Someone throw this guy a bone! So with newly-designated Prime Minister Manuel Valls hogging the flashbulbs recently, Mr. Hollande was probably relieved to be sneaking off for what turned out to be a fairly low profile state visit to Mexico last week. Continue reading Mexico and France struggle to mend relations
Our colleague Agathe Vigne weighs in on Mexico-France relations
Ever since the foundation of the young nation, France and Mexico have had a turbulent relationship. The history of the French intervention (1861-1867), starting with the imposition by Napoleon III and the later execution of Emperor Maximilien is still present in the memories of Mexican people, who celebrate their country’s victory over France in the battle of Puebla every year on May 5.
More recently, the case of Florence Cassez has been poisoning the relations between France and Mexico. The 38 year old French citizen was arrested in 2005, during a highly publicized police intervention. She was then sentenced to 60 years in jail on charges of kidnapping, participation in organized crime – with the organization Los Zodiacos, led by her boyfriend Israel Vallarta – and illegal possession of firearms. Four witnesses pointed to Florence Cassez as a member of the organization who participated actively in the kidnappings.
Though the case appeared simple at first, irregularities in the process of Cassez’s arrest came to undermine the decision of the Mexican courts. Florence Cassez was detained on the road a day before Mexican police and journalists staged a fake arrest for broadcast on Mexican television. Her consular rights were not respected, and she claims to have been abused and tortured by the police during her interrogatory. Continue reading Overcoming the Florence Cassez case in France-Mexico relations