The creation of a new Technological Innovation Park in Esperanza, Puebla has recently been announced by Baltic Group, a company which invests in trade, biofuels, infrastructure and construction, among other industrial sectors. With an investment of 145 million dollars, the state-of-the-art… technology park, focused on innovation, will generate nearly 400 direct jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs.
The Technological Innovation Park currently is host to eight companies that use the facilities with the guarrantee of zero CO2 emissions and recycle water utilized on a daily basis. For this and other reasons, Mexico’s Ministry of Economy recognizes the project and facility as a technological innovation.
An example of the usage of the facilities is the generation of electricity from sorghum grain, which is purchased from the producers of the grain in three areas: Huastecas, el Itsmo and Juchitan, Oaxaca. These regions supply 20,000 tons a year, reviving more than 15 hectares of crops. After the second quarter, the new Tecnological Innovation Park in Puebla will be incorporating companies engaged in the manufacturing of different feed foods from the practice of grain processing.
The State of Sonora in Mexico has recently announced that they will be implementing the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program. One Laptop per Child is a nonprofit organization providing the world’s youth with the informational and technological capabilities to have access to the Internet. In conjunction with… this adaptation of the One Laptop per Child program, Sonora is the first state in Mexico to consider the access to Internet connectivity and usability a human right by law, mirroring a recent declaration by the United Nations.
The OLPC project will be employed with the help of New Sonora Generation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the same goals as OLPC: to provide children with the communicative resources to develop, grow, and learn in the current global economy and society. OLPC, in the next three years will provide 350.000 XO laptops to students in all elementary schools in the state of Sonora, Mexico. In addition, laptops will be given to community centers in the state as well. These laptops will go to all children with the belief that everyone, no matter where they are, should have access to the wide variety of resources for education and communication that the Internet offers. The Chairman and CEO of the One Laptop per Child Association, Rodrigo Arboleda explained, “Our progress in Mexico is based on partnerships between the public and private sector.” He ended with saying, “Mexico is a very diverse country and we are focused on projects that bring learning to all children, including those who speak indigenous languages.”
While a number of U.S. companies host their manufacturing operations in China, Mexico is becoming a more desirable location for the production of goods. In fact, shipping containers entering the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports (with cargo largely from Asia) declined by 0.2 percent last year,… whereas trains and trucks carried 8.7 percent more freight across the Mexico-U.S. border in the first eleven months of 2011, compared to 2010.
Transportation and trucking companies are reaping the rewards of increased manufacturing in Mexico, with a few having the most to gain. For example, Kansas City Southern Railway's Mexican controls both a rail system and a railroad bridge in Mexico, with the bridge occupying a key area spanning the Rio Grande into Laredo, Texas. Additionally, Union Pacific has 26 percent stake in Ferromex, a Mexican railway that services six border crossings. Shares and earnings of both companies have surged over the past year.
However, despite this, Mexico is the biggest winner of all, with increased manufacturing and trade helping to revive the nation’s economy.
Since the days of colonization, Mexico’s position as a leading global sugar producer has influenced their cultural history, politics,… and economy in a drastic way. Sugar, once referred to as “White Gold” is an imperative staple of Mexican culture and is Mexico’s largest agricultural industry today. Furthermore, Mexico is the sixth most prominent sugar producer in the world. With the increased amount of rainfall in sugar growing areas in Mexico this year, next year is anticipated to see a significant boom in sugar harvests. More rain has begun to appear in the western regions of Mexico as well as along the Gulf of Mexico where many sugar plantations are located. An end to drought conditions in Mexico can prove to be beneficial for not only the sugar industry but also the agricultural economy as a whole due to the crop’s massive influence on Mexican society.
Optimistically, Carlos Blackaller, the president of the National Union of Sugarcane Growers explained, “The rains that are falling in the sugar-cane producing states will benefit the cane that will be harvested next year.” Blackaller predicts that Mexico should produce around 5.1 million tons of sugar in the next season if favorable climatic sugar conditions continue to appear.
On the morning of Sunday March 25, Pope Benedict XVI will conduct a Mass in Bicentennial Park located in the municipality of Silao, Mexico. A total of 91 representatives of the dioceses of Mexico are expected to be present for the Catholic Mass which will take place at the foot of Cubilete Hill. Officials are… expecting a crowd of some 400,000 people in Bicentennial Park for this occasion.
The Park has been used for a number of outdoor festivals and large national celebrations, as this area is known for its beauty and historical significance. The monuments and historical buildings that make up an architectural landscape have been kept intact for hundreds of years, as the area is known for its cultural and artistic lifestyle.
Bicentennial Park is also an example of use of renewable resources. For instance, the lighting is powered by solar cells and system has rainwater harvesting for watering and feeding the aquifer, in addition to a water treatment plant with a capacity of 25 liters per second.
Following the Mass, Pope Benedict will then pray with the bishops of Mexico and Latin America in the city's cathedral. Monday the 26, Benedict XVI will say goodbye to Mexico and travel to Cuba to continue his tour in Latin America.
According to Leopoldo Rodriguez, the president of the Mexican Wind Energy Association, a recent study indicates that total installed wind power capacity in Mexico could reach nearly 12,000 megawatts by 2020. If the country stays focused on achieving this goal, this would account for nearly 15 percent of the… country’s electricity.
"Should that goal be achieved, the wind energy industry could become one of the 10 main recipients of investment (inflows) in Mexico," Rodriguez noted recently at the WindPower Mexico forum in Mexico City.
At the forum, Rodriquez emphasized that new investments could add US$13 billion to Mexico’s GDP and could generate up to 45,000 jobs in energy and supplier industries. Additionally, wind energy development could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons.
Having previously discussed the rapid pace at which Mexico is developing wind energy, Rodriguez noted the importance of creating long-term goals to consolidate these gains at the WindPower Mexico forum.
With the forum attracting national and international experts, Rodriguez and others hope to put policies into place to make the predictions of the study a reality.
The economy of Mexico continues to grow. Mexico recorded $19.4 billion in foreign direct investment in 2011, which is an increase of 9.7 percent from $17.7 billion in 2010, the country’s Ministry of the Economy said Feb. 20.
Mexico's main economic partner, the United States, was the top foreign investor, contributing 55 percent of all foreign investment.
Aside from the United States, foreign direct investment from Spain made up 15 percent of foreign investment in Mexico. The Netherlands invested 6.7 percent and Switzerland at 6.3 percent.
Mexico’s manufacturing sector received 44.1 percent of foreign direct investment. Financial services and insurance received 18 percent, while commerce received 9.5 percent of foreign investment.
Mexico received $17.72 billion in foreign investment in 2010, an increase of 16.6 percent from the previous year. The economy of Mexico grew 3.9 percent in 2011 and is predicted to grow between 3.5 and 4.0 percent in 2012.
Mexico is becoming the desired location for major international sports competition. Fresh of the heels of a successful Pan American Games in 2011, CNN Mexico reports that Guadalajara has been selected to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
The Youth Olympic Games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format. The age limitation of the athletes is 14 to 18 and over 200 countries and 3,600 athletes are expected to participate.
The Mexican Olympic Committee chose Guadalajara by secret ballot. Mexico received rave reviews following the 2011 Pan American Games. Andrade Garin, General Director of the Pan American Games, was confident Mexico would win the 2018 Youth Olympics bid over its competitors since the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) called the Guadalajara 2011 Games the best in the history of the event.
During the Closing Ceremonies of the 2011 Pan Am Games, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, Governor of Jalisco, said that the next goal was to host the Summer Olympic Games after 2020. With the track record Mexico has shown so far in hosting major international competition, it is safe to say Mexico might be lighting the torch in 2020.
To continue fighting climate change, Mexico and the United States recently announced the formation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a new international coalition to reduce emissions of common pollutants that contribute to rapid climate change and widespread health problems. Sweden, Canada, Ghana, and Bangladesh are also members… of the coalition.
Target emissions to be reduced include methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide, as well as soot and hydro fluorocarbons that contribute to climate change.
Drew Shindell, a senior climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute on Space Studies, said in a The New York Times article that “attacking short-lived climate agents could have immediate impacts.” Additionally, the president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development Durwood Zaelke said that the initiative, if expanded and adequately financed, would have more impact on the climate than the United Nations climate change negotiations, at least in the near term.
The coalition will be funded with US$15 million. In the next months, specific actions will be determined on its plan to reduce emissions as well as specific targets.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will run the coalition. On a recent report, UNEP identified more than a dozen steps that could be potentially pursued by the coalition, and if executed, the rate of global warmth could slow by half a degree Celsius by 2050.
The coalition’s efforts in reducing short-lived pollutants are not meant to replace efforts on reducing carbon emissions, but rather will be complementary to them.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented on January 1, 1994 in hope of removing many barriers of trade and investment between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. The NAFTA agreement, in its creation, was expected to create positive trade relationships between the three countries while making sure they… adhere to certain economic rules and regulations. The establishment of NAFTA has had many positive effects on the market economy of Mexico, its diplomatic relations with other countries, and the standards of living in Mexico. In addition, millions of jobs have been created in Mexico as a result of the implementation of the NAFTA agreement 18 years ago.
The founder of Soluciones Estratégicas and former Minister of Trade and Industry for Mexico, Dr. Herminio Blanco stated recently in a conference at The University of Texas at El Paso, “Never did we expect during the negotiations the success that NAFTA has had.” He went on to say, “Mexico has been able to attract $160 billion. Never would we have thought that possible.” NAFTA has created the ability to import and export goods between the three countries in a positive and effective way while helping spur jobs through this economic process. The General Manager for the El Paso Saddleblanket Company, Luke Wells explained his company’s relationship with Mexico. He acknowledged, “We’ve been in the import/export business for over 42 years, since 1970 and we’ve always had a wonderful relationship with Mexico.” He went on to claim, “What NAFTA has done is just really to streamline the process and made it a lot more accessible.”
Volkswagen Group, the world renowned German automobile manufacturing company, has recently opened a new center in Puebla, Mexico, the second largest city in Mexico. Volkswagen now owns the Lamborghini, the Audi, the Bentley, and the Bugatti. The new Volkswagen center is called the Volkswagen Group Sales & Service… Academy. Volkswagen has invested $6.7 million in the latest Volkswagen center in Mexico that will act as a training facility for the company. The new Volkswagen Group Sales & Service Academy Puebla training center will provide instructional services to Volkswagen staff, including managers and technicians.
In the long run, it will help improve Volkswagen’s global customer service abilities and overall business quality. Hans-Heiner Tüting, the Executive Vice President of Volkswagen Mexico’s marketing and sales, stated that customer service is one of the company’s main priorities. Volkswagen is completely dedicated to giving customers the attention, respect, and services they deserve. This new expansion for Volkswagen will help sustain their spot as one of the leading carmakers in the world.
The Uruachic district has showed the possibility to become an important gold-silver locality in northwestern Mexico, following Fresnillo PLC's newly-discovered Orisyvo gold deposit of 9.2 million ounces. This locality has attracted the interest of several gold exploration firms, apart from Comstock.
For the 2012 drilling program, the company has built and renovated about 16 km (approximately 10 miles) of access roads. G4 drilling of Hermosillo, Mexico was engaged to perform Comstock’s 2012 drilling program.
The company’s drilling program will primarily concentrate on bulk tonnage, low-grade oxidized gold mineralization. The major part of the drilling will be carried out on the Northeast zone, where low-grade, bulk tonnage gold mineralization was identified in drill holes. The oxidized gold mineralization exists in modified volcanics contiguous to quartz veins bearing higher grade gold. The drill program will also focus on high-grade, gold-silver and base metals veins. The company had conducted a comprehensive rock, soil and silt geochemical surveys, which discovered new regions of zinc, silver, lead and gold mineralization during a 2007/2008 exploration program.
Comstock Metals’ President and CEO Rasool Mohammad said the company concentrates on exploring mineral localities, which provide tremendous opportunities to discover gold-silver deposits. The company will drill its two key assets, which include QV claims and Corona Gold-Silver project in the White Gold locality in the Yukon.
When Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “Tell Me More” wanted to learn more about the history of chocolate, she went right to a mother-daughter expert team. Diana Xochitl Munn, a botanist who has studied the tree whose seeds are made into chocolate, spoke with Martin alongside her… mother, Nativided Estrada, a native Mazatec.
The Mazatecs are part of an indigenous group who inhabit an area known as the Sierra Mazateca in the state of Oaxaca. The Mazatec people have long since cherished and revered chocolate, and attribute deep spiritual significance to its consumption. Estrada recently spoke at the “Power of Chocolate” event at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Munn expounded on the process of making chocolate, reminding people that it is actually a plant product derived from the Theobroma cacao tree, which fittingly means “food of the gods.” Munn went on to talk about the many forms and uses of cacao, from a seed or bean to the powder that is made from the seeds – and which we commonly know as cocoa.
“I think it's important for people to remember that chocolate is a plant product,” Munn told NPR. “It comes from a tree and, sometimes, that baffles people. They really don't know where chocolate comes from. So the chocolate tree is a tropical tree that is native to the Americas, but in fact, most of our chocolate comes from other regions in the world, mostly African countries and the tropics.”
Estrada added to the conversation, describing the historical significance of chocolate, as well as its spiritual purpose for the Mazatec people. She said that for the Mazatecs, the cacao was historically used as money. “We pay a few favors that the Mother Earth has given us. We make an offering bundle. For example, if a person is sick, we have to use a curandera (faith healer) to do the offering bundles.”
While chocolate is used primarily as a form of spiritual payment for the Mazatecs, Munn added that different indigenous groups in Southern Mexico used cacao seeds to make beverages dating back in history, mostly for special occasions such as wedding ceremonies, or to be consumed by members of the elite.
Whether used as a form of payment to the gods or consumed as a celebratory treat, it’s clear that the Mazatec people revere chocolate and attribute great value to its use and consumption. Munn concluded the interview by talking about the importance of thinking about the origin of products that we so enjoy and often take for granted. “I think that something really interesting to remember is this notion that, in ancient times, cacao beans were a form of money. You know, this tradition is still continuing in this culture, which is pretty amazing.”
Currently one of the most influential food celebrities, Anthony Bourdain, host of such television programs as "No Reservations" and "The Layover," recently praised the emerging cuisine of Baja California in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. Known for his adventurous approach to food and travel, Chef Bourdain found both in abundance in… Mexico.
Bourdain says some of the best and least-appreciated food in the world is coming out of Baja. Chef Bourdain calls the cuisine his ‘dark horse’ due to his belief that the food from the state of Baja California is bound to become a major culinary influencer.
Bourdain recently traveled to Tijuana and Ensenada to explore the food and drink offerings in Baja California. While there, Bourdain tweeted that “La Guerrerense tostadas in Ensenada best meal in Baja so far. Incredible. Complex, sophisticated, fresh--and sold from a street cart!”
Bourdain also praised shrimp cocktails in Ensenada along with shellfish and Mexican mescal in Tijuana. While in Baja, Bourdain also rode dirt bikes on the beach and shared these pictures with his followers on Twitter.
American cuisine celebrity Rick Bayless, mostly known for his Iron Chef America participation and appearance in Top Chef, recently visited Baja California, Mexico to tape 13 episodes for his PBS television series “Mexico, One Plate at a Time.” On a YouTube video, Bayless shared his… experience while taping: “The reason why I am so captivated with this place is because of the incredible products that you can find here, amazingly talented chefs, seafood, world-class wines. It’s pretty stunning what you can find here.” Bayless also added, “I love the fact that so many of the producers here are working organically or they are talking about sustainable seafood, it is a place that I encourage everybody to come and explore. It is amazing, it will blow your mind.”
Bayless, who was also recently named one of "100 Most Powerful Chicagoans" by Chicago Magazine, was born into a family of restaurateurs and grocers, and specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern style. Back in the 80s, Bayless and his wife lived in Mexico where he wrote his first book “Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From The Heart of Mexico”.
On the YouTube video, Bayless also said he will be planning to visit Baja California in September for a chef festival he heard about during his visit.