Trump Hails ‘Outstanding Relationship’ With Mexico President

US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 8, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 8, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

 

 

 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed his “outstanding relationship” with his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as he welcomed him to the White House for the leaders’ first one-on-one meeting. 

“We’ve had a very outstanding relationship… The relationship between the United States and Mexico has never been closer than it is right now,” said the billionaire Republican, who was elected in 2016 after campaigning heavily on a promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

At the time he branded Latino immigrants “bad hombres” and accused the Mexican government of sending criminals and rapists to the United States.

“Each of us was elected on the pledge to fight corruption, return power to the people and put the interests of our countries first,” he told Lopez Obrador, who was elected president in 2018. “I do that and you do that,” he added.

For his part, Lopez Obrador adopted a particularly conciliatory tone towards Trump.

“I want to thank you for your understanding,” he said, adding that there was no reason for the “very good political relations” between the two countries to deteriorate.

He noted that the US had not tried to treat Mexico “as a colony,” instead honoring its status as an independent nation.

“That’s why I’m here. To express to the people of the United States that their president has behaved with us with kindness and respect,” Lopez Obrador said.

The Oval Office event, their first face-to-face meeting, was officially a celebration of the newly-launched US-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal.

 

 

AFP

14 Bodies Found By Side Of Road In Mexico

Forensic experts remove a corpse from the crime scene after Mexico City's Public Security Secretary Omar Garcia Harfuch attacked in Mexico City, on June 26, 2020. - Mexico City's security chief was wounded in a gun attack Friday in which two of his bodyguards and a woman passerby were killed, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP)
Forensic experts remove a corpse from the crime scene after Mexico City’s Public Security Secretary Omar Garcia Harfuch attacked in Mexico City, on June 26, 2020. – Mexico City’s security chief was wounded in a gun attack Friday in which two of his bodyguards and a woman passerby were killed, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP)

 

 

Authorities in Mexico found 14 bodies dumped on the side of a road in northern Zacatecas state, where notorious criminal gangs operate, the regional government said on Friday.

Images on local media showed the bodies by the side of a road, wrapped in blankets and tied with adhesive tape.

Zacatecas public prosecutor, Francisco Murillo told the press that four of the bodies had been identified and were from Juan Aldama, a town 150 kilometers (90 miles) to the north of Fresnillo, where they were found.

“They are people who disappeared from that region a few days ago,” said Murillo.

Zacatecas is on one of the main drug trafficking routes into the United States and, according to experts, the territory is being fought over by at least three local criminal gangs with links to the two most powerful drug cartels in Mexico: Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation.

On Wednesday a battle between rival Sinaloa factions left 16 people dead in this northwestern state.

Earlier on Friday, Mexico City’s security chief, Omar Garcia Harfuch, was wounded and two of his bodyguards killed in an ambush by gunmen. A woman who was driving past the scene was also killed.

Garcia Harfuch blamed the attack, in which he was hit by three bullets, on the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

Since December 2006 when the then-government launched a military operation against drug trafficking criminal gangs, more than 290,000 people have been murdered, according to official figures.

Experts believe this strategy split up the cartels into smaller and more violent cells.

Despite large parts of Mexico being semi-paralyzed by coronavirus lockdown measures, violence has not abated.

March was the second most violent month since records began in 1997 with 3,000 murders in the country of 127 million.

 

 

 

-AFP

Powerful Quake Strikes Mexico Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Security tape alerts people of a damaged building after a quake in Oaxaca, Mexico on June 23, 2020. A 7.1 magnitude quake was registered Tuesday in the south of Mexico, according to the Mexican National Seismological Service. PATRICIA CASTELLANOS / AFP
Security tape alerts people of a damaged building after a quake in Oaxaca, Mexico on June 23, 2020. A 7.1 magnitude quake was registered Tuesday in the south of Mexico, according to the Mexican National Seismological Service. PATRICIA CASTELLANOS / AFP

 

A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Tuesday, leaving one person dead but an initial tsunami warning was later reversed.

The epicenter was near Crucecita, in the southeastern state of Oaxaca, with shock waves felt as far away as Mexico City, some 700 kilometers (430 miles) distant, where it sent frightened residents rushing into the streets.

The US Geological Survey reported that the quake struck with a magnitude of 7.4, at a depth of 23 kilometers. After initially publishing a reading of 7.1, the Mexican Seismological Service revised its figure to 7.5.

“It’s confirmed it was a 7.5 magnitude. Fortunately there’s no damage, in any case we’re going to continue to call for caution as there may be aftershocks and we must all take care without worrying,” said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a video published on social media.

“Strategic installations didn’t suffer any damage, that is to say, ports, airports, refineries, hydroelectric plants, everything is in a good condition,” said Lopez Obrador after speaking to David Leon, the national coordinator of Mexico’s Civil Protection force.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat told Milenio TV station that “there was a small collapse, one person was injured and another died,” adding that the state suffered minor damage.

Mexican Oil said its refinery in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca had been shut down as a precaution after a fire broke out “that was immediately stifled.”

One person was injured while other refineries in the state are operating as normal.

The US Pacific Tsunami warning center initially said hazardous waves as high as three meters could strike anywhere within 1,000 kilometers of the quake’s epicenter, affecting the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central and South America.

However, a few hours later it said the threat had “largely passed.”

Quake adding to virus woes

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also activated response protocols, although she said there had been “no major incidents” reported.

The earthquake was felt in several parts of the capital of 8.8 million people which in 2017 was hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake that left 360 people dead throughout the country.

That same year, 96 people died after an 8.1 magnitude quake struck the south of the country, with Oaxaca the worst affected state.

The quake has hit at a time when Mexico is already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

It has suffered more than 22,500 COVID-19 deaths — the second most in Latin America — and 185,000 cases.

Medical staff were evacuated from some hospitals in the capital alongside patients, although those suffering from the coronavirus remained isolated inside the buildings, alongside their carers.

“All those that are in an area with COVID patients remain inside, only those of us who weren’t there at the time” have come out, said Jaime Gomez, a nurse at a hospital caring for coronavirus patients.

Many of the people that fled into the streets of the capital were wearing face masks.

“With all the virus problems and now the tremors, and I’ve just lost one child and the other is ill, so imagine (how I’m feeling),” a tearful Maria Teresa Duran, 80, told AFP.

The quake took many people by surprise in the capital, including some working from home due to virus lockdown measures.

“We were working in our pyjamas, finishing off breakfast and then we had to get out like this,” said 29-year-old Sonia Flores Cano.

 

AFP

Six Members Of One Family Murdered In Mexico

A soldier stands guard next to a security transport truck after it was ambushed by an armed group who killed four private guards in an assault on the Guadalajara-El Arenal highway, Jalisco state, Mexico, on June 19, 2020. ULISES RUIZ / AFP
PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE STORY: A soldier stands guard next to a security transport truck after it was ambushed by an armed group who killed four private guards in an assault on the Guadalajara-El Arenal highway, Jalisco state, Mexico, on June 19, 2020. ULISES RUIZ / AFP

 

Six members of one family, including a minor, were killed in their home by an armed group in central Mexico, the local prosecutor’s office has said.

Gunmen arrived at the house in Celaya in Guanajuato state on Thursday night and started setting off “explosions targeting the family,” it added.

Investigators found three women and two men dead at the scene, as well as a minor whose age and gender were not given, the prosecutor’s office said Friday.

Two other women were wounded and taken to hospital, according to the state security ministry.

Celaya’s mayor condemned the killings and said he would help with the investigation.

Guanajuato is one of Mexico’s main industrial centers and has attracted the attention of violent cartels involved in drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and stealing petrol.

16 Bodies, Bags Of Human Remains Found In Mexico

mexico
FILES: Stephanie Owens and her daughter Skylar Morgan, 3, attend a candlelight vigil in Tiguex Park for Scott Williams, who was shot and seriously injured by counter protester Steven Baca during a protest to remove a sculpture of conquistador Juan de Onate at the Albuquerque Museum on June 16, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Paul Ratje / AFP

 

At least 16 bodies and more than two-dozen bags full of human remains have been found outside the Mexican city of Guadalajara, state prosecutors said.

The gruesome discoveries — announced Thursday — were made over the last ten days, in four different regions in the country’s west.

The remains of 14 people were found on the border with the central state of Guanajuato — one of the country’s most violent because of petrol-smuggling criminal groups.

The bodies of three men were found outside a tin mine along with a woman “whose hands and feet were tied,” the prosecutor said, while the bones of nine men and a woman were discovered on a small ranch.

Human remains packed into 26 bags were also found in Guadalajara — one of Mexico’s largest cities, authorities said, though it is not clear how many people that represents.

“The Institute of Forensic Sciences will determine the number of bodies,” said Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Solis.

In 2006 then-president Felipe Calderon launched a controversial military offensive against organized crime gangs that experts and human rights groups say is one of the main causes of an escalation of violence in Mexico.

Official figures show almost 287,000 murders have been committed in Mexico since then, though it is unclear how many are directly linked to drug cartel violence

Three Policemen Arrested In Mexico Over Man’s Death

 

 

Three police officers have been arrested in the Mexican state of Jalisco over the death of a man taken into custody for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions, authorities said Friday.

Among those placed under arrest over the death of 30-year-old Giovanni Lopez last month is a municipal police chief in Guadalajara and another middle-ranking officer, state prosecutor Gerardo Solis told reporters.

The arrests follow riots in the state capital Guadalajara after protesters had gathered to demand justice over Lopez’s death.

At least 28 people were arrested after protesters set police vehicles alight and attacked the headquarters of the state government. One police officer suffered burns.

Authorities said Lopez had been detained for “administrative misconduct.”

They denied claims he had been arrested for not wearing a mask in public.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador mourned the death of the construction worker on Friday and said his government condemned “authoritarian actions.”

“I regret the facts because I am in favor of solving problems through dialogue and without the use of force,” he said in his usual morning press conference.

The president urged Mexico’s national human rights commission to join the investigations into Lopez’s death.

Amnesty International on Friday condemned the incident and said Lopez’s “death in police custody is a serious symptom of the misuse of force used by the authorities and the widespread use of torture.”

Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro, who is from Guadalajara, also condemned the killing.

Jalisco governor Enrique Alfaro accused the federal government of being behind the disturbances on Thursday, but Lopez Obrador denied the allegation.

“If the governor has proof, let him bring it to light,” the president said.

Mexico has recorded over 105,000 infections from the coronavirus with nearly 13,000 deaths.

Single-Day COVID-19 Deaths In Mexico Exceed 1,000 For First Time

A man wearing a face mask and protective shield walks past posters related to COVID-19 at Del Valle neighbourhood in Mexico City, on June 2, 2020. Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP

 

 

Mexico on Wednesday recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time, the office of the health secretary announced.

The daily death toll of 1,092 was more than double the 470 fatalities reported the day before. Health undersecretary Hugh Lopez-Gatell explained the stark jump by saying that some of the deaths recorded on Wednesday had occurred more than two weeks earlier.

The country has now recorded 101,238 cases, the office said.

AFP

COVID-19: Eight Footballers Test Positive In Mexico

Health officials take samples of saliva and nasal fluid from a resident (L) to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Tangerang on April 2, 2020. FAJRIN RAHARJO / AFP.

 

Eight footballers from top-flight Mexican team Santos Laguna have tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said Wednesday, jeopardising attempts to restart the national league after two months of suspension.

A decision on the possible resumption of the Mexican league, the Liga MX, had been expected by the end of the week, and the tests were carried out with a view to resuming training.

“This particular situation makes resuming the league more complicated,” Santos Laguna’s owner, Alejandro Irarragorri, told TV sports channel TUDN.

He also hinted that the situation at Santos Laguna could be even worse, because so far only 22 results have come back out of 48 tests on players and coaches.

Liga MX said the players with COVID-19, whose identities have not been revealed, were asymptomatic.

Two other clubs, Guadalajara and Monterrey, are also carrying out screening for the disease. Monterrey said it had not identified any positive cases.

READ ALSO: UN Urges EU To Take In 160 Migrants Stranded At Sea

With more than 6,000 fatalities, Mexico has the second highest coronavirus death toll in Latin America after Brazil.

Play stopped in the Liga MX in mid-March, and less than a week later the league’s president Enrique Bonilla announced he had caught the disease, without serious symptoms.

The president of San Luis, another club in the Mexican league, has also been diagnosed with COVID-19.

AFP

21 Persons Die From Contaminated Liquor In Mexico

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue
File photo

 

Some 21 people have died and 13 others have been seriously injured in the Mexican state of Jalisco after ingesting contaminated liquor, regional authorities said Wednesday.

In total, 56 people have been affected in two municipalities in the western state since Saturday, state health official Huge Esparza said during a press conference, including the 21 who have died and 29 who have become ill.

The 13 who became seriously ill were transported via helicopter to hospitals in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, while the rest were discharged, Esparza said.

READ ALSO: Guinea-Bissau PM And Three Ministers Test Positive For Coronavirus

On Saturday, patients began presenting with “symptoms of blurred vision and/or vision loss, intense abdominal pain, difficulty breathing and convulsions,” he said.

They had ingested a form of cane alcohol purer than that made for drinking that was manufactured in neighboring Michoacan state.

Some 700 liters of the liquor were seized over the following days.

Laboratory tests showed the liquor contained a “high concentration” of methanol used “as an additive to liquid fuels,” according to another Jalisco health official, Denis Santiago

“This chemical agent is for industrial use,” he said.

One other person was affected in Michoacan, though Jalisco authorities did not provide details on their condition.

Brazil Closes Borders, Mexico Announces First Death From Pandemic

A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, walks in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 16, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP
A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, walks in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 16, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP.

 

South America’s biggest country Brazil on Thursday announced it was closing land borders to nearly all its neighbors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as Mexico reported its first virus death.

People in several cities in Colombia and Brazil mounted pot-banging “cacerolazo” protests from apartment balconies against the failure of their governments to act quickly against the pandemic.

Chile, rocked by months of social protests, unveiled an $11.75 billion economic stimulus package to cope with the effects of the virus on the giant copper producer.

Meanwhile, a plane operated by Spanish carrier Iberia sent to Ecuador to pick up stranded foreigners was prevented from landing at an airport in Guayaquil, which is under lockdown.

Cynthia Viteri, mayor of Ecuador’s second city, said she ordered vehicles to block the runway of the international airport to prevent the plane from landing.

The flight from Madrid, with only crew aboard, was able to land later in Quito.

Ecuador has banned all flights since Monday to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Italy Passes China’s Virus Deaths, Braces For Long Lockdown

Mexico reported its first coronavirus death — a 41-year-old man with diabetes who died Wednesday in Mexico City. Mexico has 118 confirmed cases of infection.

Latin America has so far recorded 1,921 cases and 18 deaths.

– Chile stimulus plan-

Chile’s stimulus plan “will strengthen our ability to face the health, economic and social needs that the coronavirus pandemic is signifying and that will probably tend to worsen in the future,” President Sebastian Pinera told a press conference.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced a lockdown of Chile’s Easter Island, saying no one could enter or leave the remote Pacific island for the next two weeks.

Manalich said that though none of the island’s 7,000 population had the disease, many people from the island were trying to return and risked carrying the virus back with them.

Chile has registered 342 cases of the virus to date.

Colombia will block all international flights from Monday for 30 days, President Ivan Duque announced Thursday.

“As of 00:00 hours on March 23, the arrival of all international passenger flights to the country’s airports is prohibited,” the president wrote on Twitter.

Duque said the shutout was necessary because some people who had entered the country had tried to avoid mandatory quarantine regulations.

Colombia closed its land and sea borders on Tuesday.

– Bogota confinement –

Bogota city hall said the capital’s seven million people would face confinement from Friday to Monday as part of a trial run for a probable future quarantine.

Other cities across Colombia, which has more than 100 cases of the coronavirus, were also under nighttime curfews.

Brazil said its 15-day border closure would affect all neighboring countries, with the exception of Uruguay to the south.

It shut its border with Venezuela on Tuesday.

Senior Brazilian officials, such as Chamber of Deputies speaker Rodrigo Maia, had called for a total border shutdown.

Latin America’s largest country, with a population of 210 million, has so far registered 428 cases of the coronavirus, with four deaths.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, the lawmaker son of the Brazil’s president, joined US President Donald Trump in criticizing China over the pandemic, prompting demands from Beijing for an apology.

China’s embassy accused Bolsonaro of perpetuating the anti-China stance of Trump, who repeatedly refers to the “Chinese virus.”

“We are familiar with your irresponsible words. You imitate your dear (American) friends. On your return from Miami, you unfortunately caught a mental virus, which infected the friendship between our peoples,” the embassy said in a tweet.

AFP

Nine Killed In Mexico Shootout With Police

Forensic experts work in the area where two ministerial agents, 6 kidnapped people and a civilian lost their lives during a confrontation in the La Huertas neighborhood in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, on March 6, 2020. 
Ulises Ruiz / AFP

 

Nine people were killed in a bloody confrontation Friday in western Mexico between a criminal gang and agents investigating a suspected kidnapping, officials said.

The dead included two officers and six people believed to have been held captive in a house in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, the state prosecutor’s office said.

Another man died on the street.

Jalisco has been hard-hit by violence linked to organized crime, particularly the powerful Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.

In the latest incident, the kidnappers opened fire on the officers and shot their captives when they were cornered, state prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solis Gomez said.

READ ALSO: Trump Names Meadows As Fourth Chief Of Staff

After the gang shot at them, the agents returned fire and requested backup.

Dozens of police and elements of the army supported by two helicopters were deployed to begin a house to house search for the attackers.

A woman who asked to remain anonymous said the man who was killed in the street was her 43-year-old brother who had gone to visit his daughter.

“They shot him in the heart, but he had nothing to do with it. He was already dead when I arrived,” she said.

Around 300 assault rifle shells were scattered at the scene.

Neighbors described moments of panic during the shooting and the search operation.

“They banged on the door, the windows were broken. We weren’t given a chance to go and open the door,” a neighbor who identified herself as Gabriela told AFP, adding that officers went up on the rooftops.

In a nearby kindergarten, teachers followed safety protocols to protect the children.

“They grabbed the children and then laid them down on the ground, they had them all protected,” Josefina, 40, told AFP.

AFP

Coronavirus: Mexico Confirms Fourth Case, All Linked To Italy

A staffer at the General Adolfo Lopez Mateos hospital checks the contingency area -isolated and with strict sanitary and protective measures- to receive patients presenting symptoms of the COVID-19, in Toluca, Mexico on February 28, 2020. MARIO VAZQUEZ DE LA TORRE / AFP.

 

Mexico confirmed its fourth case of the new coronavirus on Saturday — all linked to recent travel to Italy — after a young woman tested positive for infection.

Health authorities said the 20-year-old from northern Coahuila state was carrying the virus without showing symptoms.

She had recently traveled to Milan and was now under isolation in her home, according to the state government.

Another eight people are being tested for suspected infection, authorities said.

The other three confirmed cases — two men in Mexico City and one man in northern Sinaloa state — are all believed to have visited northern Italy, authorities said Friday.

READ ALSO: Mexico Confirms First Three Cases Of Coronavirus, Linked To Italy

Italy has emerged as one of the global hotspots of the COVID-19 outbreak with more than 1,100 cases in cities across the country’s north.

The virus has infected around 87,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 since it first emerged in central China late last year.

AFP