The Flinchum File

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Trouble Next Door?

Just two years ago, optimism about Mexico was high and rising.  The new President, Pena Nieto, seemed truly committed to reforming the hidebound and corrupt country.  He opened the oil business to foreign investment, which has long been a sacred cow to the Mexican people, who vividly remember exploitation by foreign corporations.  With an improving economy and a falling birthrate, even illegal immigration to the U.S. decreased markedly.

Now, something is starting to smell.  Yesterday’s release that GDP growth in Q3 was only 2.2%, far below expectations.  While still respectable, the leading component was construction, which is often fleeting and not dependable.  Mining was way down, for the fifth straight year.  The transportation sector only grew 1.1%.  (Remember Dow Theory?)  Even government spending was substantially less than expected.

In addition, protests over the 43 student-teachers who were mutilated and massacred has spilled over from the province into the nation’s capital.  The outrage over the powerful drug cartels seems to have found a lighting rod.

If that wasn’t enough, there is now some existential absurdity to the revelation that President Pena Nieto and his TV-star wife have a “sweetheart” arrangement with a government contractor for their private mansion.  So much for his reputation as an upright reformer of corruption.

This is worth watching, but I wouldn’t travel to Mexico to watch it . . .