Articles by "Mexico"

Members of the Mexican Federal Police are pictured in Mexico City on February 27, 2015.(By AFP)
Gunmen have ambushed Mexican federal police agents, killing four and wounding seven in Guerrero, one of the country’s states that is most plagued by drug-violence, the government said.
The agents were attacked during an operation on Monday in the municipality of San Miguel Totolapan, the federal attorney general’s office said in a statement.
One criminal suspect was killed and three were wounded, the office said.
State authorities said soldiers and state police were searching for the gunmen. San Miguel Totolapan is a fiefdom of Los Tequileros, one of the bloodiest criminal gangs in Guerrero.
Violence has spiked in Guerrero over the past decade as a growing number of criminal gangs vie for control of crops of opium poppies and for drug-trafficking routes.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez leaves a meeting with foreign ministers ahead of the OAS 47th General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico, on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Venezuela’s foreign minister has walked out of a meeting of regional diplomats held to discuss the South American country’s political crisis as a 17-year-old anti-government demonstrator was shot and killed by security forces during another day of violent clashes in Caracas.
The Organization of American States meeting being held in the Mexican resort of Cancun on Monday once again narrowly failed to approve a resolution against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The United States, Mexico, Canada and several South American nations issued a statement expressing their “disappointment” at the vote, which for the second time in a month fell a few votes shy of the two-thirds majority of the 34 member nations needed for approval.
“What can we say to the sick, who can’t find medicines?” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said of the setback, referring to the medicine shortages that Venezuelans are experiencing.
As the meeting took place, thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to protest against Maduro’s government. Protesters chanted “Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!”
Amid the clashes on Caracas’ main highway, 17-year-old Fabian Urbina was killed as the result of a bullet wound to the chest. Several others were also shot.
In a rare rebuke of security forces, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol blamed excessive force by national guardsmen for the shootings, saying that troops who fired into the crowd would be held accountable.
The reproach came after cell phone videos circulated on social media showing the national guardsmen firing into a crowd in brazen violation of rules against using firearms to control protests.
Opposition activists clash with riot police during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro along the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marched in Caracas, on Monday, to show their support for the country’s Constituent Assembly and Maduro
Several diplomats made reference to the growing violence on the streets in Caracas. But it wasn’t enough to persuade enough countries to take a tougher stance against Maduro. 
Venezuela’s socialists have long enjoyed the support of left-leaning governments in Latin America loath to back measures they see as meddling in a sovereign country by an organization they consider an arm of US foreign policy. 
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez stormed out of the meeting, and claimed that more OAS members who she didn’t name were considering following Venezuela’s example and withdrawing from the Washington-based group, which has been putting pressure on her socialist government to hold timely elections, free political prisoners and scrap a bid to rewrite its constitution.
“Not only do we not recognize this meeting, we do not recognize any resolution coming out of it,” Rodriguez said.
Some countries had expressed hope at Monday’s meeting that they were close to some kind of pronouncement aimed at ending the increasingly bloody political strife in Venezuela, which has left at least 70 people dead and more than 1,300 injured. But the special session on Venezuela ended with no resolution approved.
What failed to gain enough votes was a relatively strongly-worded proposal calling on Maduro to “reconsider” a call for an assembly to re-write the constitution. The proposal got 20 votes in favor, five against and eight abstentions. Venezuela was counted absent.
The resolution would also have called for an end to violence, and for Maduro’s government to respect the separation of powers. He has been criticized for subjugating the judicial and electoral powers, even after he lost control of the country’s legislature.
Venezuela has struggled with an imploding economy, rampaging inflation and chronic shortages of food and basic consumer goods. Maduro has accused his opponents of sabotaging the country through an “economic war.”

US soldiers are seen next to their armored vehicles near an Iraqi army base on the outskirts of Mosul, on November 23, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has praised American troops for doing “very well” in Iraq, maintaining his silence on an airstrike in Mosul that killed scores of civilians earlier this month.
Speaking to a group of senators gathered at the White House on Tuesday, Trump said "our soldiers are fighting like never before" in Iraq and the Arab country was on a positive trajectory in pushing back terrorist groups.
“The results are very, very good,” Trump said, fresh off a phone conversation with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. “I just wanted to let everyone know.”
The rare remarks, which appeared to be unscripted, were in contrast with Washington’s claims that its more than 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq do not partake in the battle against terrorist groups and only provide logistic support to Iraqi forces.
The US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010, when former president Barack Obama ordered almost all US troops to withdraw from the Arab state.
Despite Trump’s silence, the Pentagon has admitted that one of its airstrikes in Mosul on March 17 may have led to the death of at least 237 civilians.
Relatives react near the bodies of civilians killed in an airstrike in Mosul, Iraq March 17, 2017. (Photos by
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, who currently commands the Combined Joint Task Force in Iraq, said Tuesday that the US “probably had a role in those casualties.”
However, he said the level of damage and the extent of casualties showed that the deadly strike was not entirely Washington’s fault.
“The enemy had a hand in this,” he explained, stressing that “It sure looks like” the civilians has been forced to gather in the building by the terrorists. “What I don’t know is why they [the civilians] gathered there by the enemy?"
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that it was analyzing over 700 video feeds from airstrikes on west Mosul following the increasing number of reports of civilian causalities.
The Mosul raid was the Trump administration’s second unsuccessful attempt in tackling terrorism. Days after taking office in January, he authorized a raid in Yemen, which ended up killing several civilians, including women and children, as well as an American Navy SEAL. 

Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (photo by Reuters)
A Mexican presidential hopeful has officially filed a petition with an international human rights commission, denouncing US President Donald Trump’s planned construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
The petition was filed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leader of the left-wing political party MORENA and the front-runner in Mexico’s 2018 presidential race, with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday.
On January 25, the US president ordered executive actions to begin the construction of the border wall on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants from entering the US and increase the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations in the US.
Lopez Obrador said he expected the commission to “speak out in accordance with the law to protect immigrants from the harassment they are suffering since Trump took office.”
The leftist leader said he hoped the commission, which is tasked with the promotion and protection of human rights in the Americas, would view Trump’s moves as a “violation of human rights and discriminatory.”
Some 12,000 people, including Mexican and US citizens, have signed the petition.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, March 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
During his 2016 election campaign, Trump had described illegal Mexican immigrants entering the US as “rapists” and “murderers” and insisted that Mexico would have to pay for his planned wall, generating diplomatic tensions with Mexico City.
Lopez Obrador also took a jab at Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, saying that the Mexican president was acting submissively and not defending the human rights of immigrants.
“We are proceeding legally against the complete absence of the Mexican government,” the opposition leader said.
He also accused Mexican government officials of lacking moral authority to speak up on behalf of immigrants in the US because of what he said was corruption in the government.
Nieto canceled a planned January visit to Washington after Trump said it would be better for the Mexican leader not to visit if Mexico was not going to pay for his wall. Mexican officials, including Pena Nieto himself, had made it clear on a number of occasions that Mexico would not be paying for the project, which is estimated to cost at least eight billion dollars.

A police helicopter has crashed in northern Mexico, killing four people on mission to recover the body of a hiker.
The government of the border state of Baja California says the state police helicopter crashed in the hills near the city of Mexicali. The state police pilot and co-pilot of the chopper were killed, as were two members of local rescue groups.
The government says the crew had found the woman's body and was bringing back rescue workers when it hit an electrical power cable.
The tail rotor apparently fell off and the helicopter crashed and burst into flames.
The hiker had gone missing Sunday. Local media say she had apparently fallen into a gorge.

Trump's company has been granted trademarks in Mexico covering hotels and tourism businesses. Photo / AP
On February 19 last year, at a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a stump speech in which he railed against American jobs moving to Mexico: "We lose our jobs, we close our factories, Mexico gets all of the work," he said. "We get nothing."
That same day a law firm in Mexico City quietly filed on behalf of his company for trademarks on his name that would authorise the Trump brand, should it choose, to set up shop in a country with which he has sparred over trade, migration and the planned border wall.
The Trump trademarks have now been granted by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, or IMPI for its initials in Spanish.

Trump's company has notched several trademark wins recently. The Associated Press reported last week that the Chinese Government recently granted preliminary approval for 38 trademarks to Trump and a related company. That sparked outrage from some Democratic senators and critics, who have been pushing Trump to sever financial ties with his global businesses to avoid potential violations of the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which bars federal officials from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress.Records show the last three were approved on February 21, just over a month after Trump took office, and a fourth was granted on October 6, about a month before the US election.
The Mexican trademarks cover a broad range of business operations that can roughly be broken down into construction; construction materials; hotels, hospitality and tourism; and real estate, financial services and insurance. They are all valid through to 2026.
The same four trademarks were previously held in the name of Donald J. Trump and expired in 2015, a year before the new applications. The new approvals list the trademark owner as the company DTTM Operations LLC, with an address in the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.
President Trump has handed management of his business to his two adult sons and vowed to strike no new deals abroad while he is in office. However, critics say questions remain about possible conflicts of interest, noting that foreigners could still seek to influence Trump by helping his existing foreign operations or by easing the way for future ones after he leaves the Oval Office.
Trump Organisation general counsel Alan Garten said the Mexican Government's decision was not a special favour to the president. "We're not being granted anything we didn't have before," he said. The original trademarks came "years before [Trump] even announced his candidacy."
Garten said the Mexican trademarks originally had two purposes: laying the ground for possible new ventures and keeping other people from using Trump's name for their own businesses.
He said the trademarks are wholly defensive now. "Circumstances have changed," Garten said. "He's been elected and we agreed not to do foreign deals."
Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, said the Mexican grants are in an ethical "grey" area: defensive in nature now, perhaps, but setting the President up to profit when he leaves office.
"To what extent is this appropriate? I don't know," Painter said. "We never had Obama running around the world locking up his name, or Bush."
Intellectual property lawyer Enrique Alberto Diaz Mucharraz is listed on the trademark filings. A junior partner at the Mexico City law firm Goodrich Riquelme y Asociados, he declined to comment citing client confidentiality rules.
Phones rang unanswered at the public relations office of IMPI, and there was no response to an emailed request for comment on a list of questions. Trademarks can prove enormously valuable to companies, especially in countries with a growing number of middle-class consumers who recognise the brand, said Ashwinpaul C. Sondhi of A.C. Sondhi & Associates, an investment consultancy in Safety Harbor, Florida.
Mexican political analyst Alejandro Hope said IMPI is generally considered to be apolitical and the trademark concession was most likely a technical decision. More remarkable, Hope said, was that the application was filed during a heated campaign when "he had already started using Mexico as a pinata" for political purposes. "What I find striking is that these guys were thinking about doing business in Mexico while they were trashing Mexico on the campaign trail," Hope added.
Trump has a spotty business past in the country. Last decade he and his children aggressively promoted a luxury hotel and condo development with the Trump name on it that was planned for the northern Baja California coast, near Tijuana. In December 2006, 188 units were sold for $122 million during an event at a hotel in San Diego. But the Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico project collapsed, and dozens of buyers who had lost their 30 per cent deposits sued in March 2009. Trump settled out of court in November 2013 for an undisclosed sum; in a separate settlement the previous year, developer Irongate, which had licensed the Trump name, agreed to pay the buyers $7.25 million.
On the Caribbean island of Cozumel, near Cancun, Trump tried in 2007 to purchase land for a luxury resort complete with an airstrip and golf course, according to Mexican media reports. It met with local and environmental opposition, and never went anywhere.
In all, Trump controls at least 20 trademarks in Mexico, including for Trump Ocean Resort and Trump Isla Cozumel. Others cover activities such as concierge and spa services, alcoholic beverages, golf club operations and home furnishings. For clothing, there's the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection.
If there are plans to take the Trump brand to Mexico, it could be tough going because of widespread popular anger toward the President for his comments disparaging Mexican immigrants who come to the United States illegally, his threats to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement and his vows to make Mexico pay for the border wall.
Hope said that if a Trump hotel were in the cards, its prospects could depend a lot on location. "In Mexico City, I guess they would face a lot of political backlash at this point," Hope said. Maybe it would fly in more politically insulated areas, like the beach resorts of Cancun or Los Cabos. "But even that would be a hard sell."

Giulio Perrone, 65, a convicted drug smuggler, was arrested with help from Facebook. Photo / Italian Police
One of Italy's most wanted fugitives is behind bars after investigators used Facebook to hunt him down in Mexico.
Facebook pictures posted under the mafioso's alias - Saverio Garcia Galiero - show a happy man living large south of the border - beaming as he takes the sun at the beach or relaxing with his arm draped around a pretty companion.
But not all his "friends" liked his posts. Back in Naples, where he was born, detectives tasked with finding fugitives were studying his timeline to confirm his real identity: Giulio Perrone, 65, a convicted drug smuggler who had been running from the law for more than two decades. The picture they posted on Saturday tells a different story.
Giulio Perrone's mugshot shortly after he was arrested. Photo / Italian Police

"This arrest is part of a larger strategy being coordinated by the anti-crime division of the Italian police to capture mafia fugitives who have been taking refuge abroad for many years," authorities said in a statement.

According to police, he collaborated with Mazzarella, Formicola, Polverino and Tolomelli clans and was one of the kingpins in a drug trafficking operation importing cocaine into Germany in the 1980s and 90s. In 1998, he was officially pronounced a fugitive after a Naples court found him guilty of international drug trafficking and ordered him to serve a 22-year jail sentence.Perrone was originally arrested in January 1993 along with his wife as he was transporting 16 kilograms of cocaine to the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate.
Perrone was enjoying the good life in Mexico before he was tracked down by police. Photo / Italian Police

But by then he was long gone, having disappeared without a trace in 1994 while awaiting trial. Italian forensic police monitoring mobster family Facebook posts discovered he was using the alias Saverio Garcia Galiero. Galiero was his mother's maiden name, which helped police trace him back to Italy.
He had been living the tropical port city of Tampico, in the north-easterly region of Tamaulipas, once the historic home of Mexico's oil industry but today a violent hotspot for contraband operations run by some of Mexico's most vicious drug cartels. Police said Perrone had remarried and has Mexican children.
Agents from the Mexican Agencia De Investigacion Criminal and Mexico City's Interpol office detained him near his home, then put him on a direct flight from Mexico City to Rome. Naples police met him at the Fiumicino airport Saturday and escorted him to jail.

The corpse of an individual lies in front of a pawnshop in Veracruz, Mexico, January 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The remains of at least 242 people have been discovered in mass graves in southeast Mexico, with the majority of the victims believed to be in their teens and early 20s.
Mexican authorities said on Friday that they had found the bodies in a total of 124 hidden graves over a six-month period in the country’s eastern state of Veracruz.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the graves contained “a lot of young women’s clothes, credentials, shoes and garments that look like they belong to inner-city kids.”
Other reports said many of the exhumed bodies had been found conjoined and headless, adding that most of the victims were students from high schools and universities between the ages of 14 and 25.
A military source in Veracruz, which is one of the most violent states in Mexico, noted that the victims “probably were buried by criminals in league with the local authorities.”
The coastal state is notorious for extremely high level of crime, triggered by drug trafficking, government corruption and organized crime, with some 720 people gone missing since 2010. Kidnapping, extortion and forced disappearances have been rampant in the state over the past few years.
People hold images of their missing loved ones in front of a morgue with the hope of finding and identifying their bodies from a mass grave that has recently been discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, June 18, 2014. (Photo by AP)
Veracruz is also the scene of a deadly turf struggle between two violent drug cartels, namely the Zetas and the Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Both gangs seek to monopolize drug trafficking routes to the United States, and often kidnap and extort locals as well as immigrants from Central America. Both criminal groups have buried their victims for years in clandestine graves, which have proliferated recently.
Since December 2006, when the Mexican government launched a militarized effort against drug trafficking, a surge in violence has claimed the lives of more than 166,000 people, with more than 27,000 reported disappearances, according to official figures.
In one of the most high-profile cases, 43 Mexican students disappeared on September 26, 2014, after they participated in a protest in the southwestern city of Iguala, in Guerrero State.
Some two and a half years into their disappearance, their parents continue a desperate search to find out the fate of their children.

This file photo taken on February 15, 2017 shows temporary Mexican agricultural workers returning to the Port of Entry in San Luis, Arizona, at the US-Mexico border. (AFP photo)
Mexico and Peru have criticized a proposal being considered by the administration of US President Donald Trump to separate mothers and children crossing illegally into the United States.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said Thursday that such a proposal was "something that shouldn't be happening in the 21st century."
Speaking to foreign media, Kuczynski also said he told the new US president during a White House meeting last month that he opposed Trump's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.
"I don't want to provoke controversy but for me separating families is something that shouldn't be happening in the 21st century, and the wall either," Kuczynski said in Spanish. "I told the US president that."
Kuczynski, a former US citizen and an ardent defender of open economies, has previously compared Trump's proposed border wall to the Berlin Wall in Germany.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski looks on during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the White House in Washington on February 24, 2017. (AFP photo)
The US Department of Homeland Security has been considering separating women and children sneaking together into the country, US officials said Friday.
Discouraging mothers from migrating to the US was one of the main objectives authorities hope to achieve by undertaking the measure, the officials said.
    The new plan would also allow the government to keep parents in detention as they contest deportation or make their cases in asylum courts.
    Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray also expressed his country’s concerns about the recent proposal during his trip to Washington and said he conveyed his view directly to Trump administration officials.
    Videgaray, speaking to reporters at the Mexican Embassy in Washington on Thursday, said that separating children upon arrival represents an attack on "family integrity."
    Videgaray said his country cannot "accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another."

    Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray offers a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (out of frame) at the Foreign Ministry building in Mexico City on February 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
    The Mexican government has opened up legal aid centers at its consulates across the US, in anticipation of a new wave of crackdowns on illegal immigrants by the administration of President Donald Trump.
    Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray defended the move on Sunday, saying his government had to protect its people in the face of Trump’s aggressive immigration policies.
    “We are not promoting illegality,” Videgaray said during an event at the Mexican consulate in New York, Reuters reported.
    “Today we are facing a situation that can paradoxically represent an opportunity, when suddenly a government wants to apply the law more severely,” he added.
    Since his inauguration on January 20, Trump has used all of his powers to fight immigration and deliver on one of his main campaign promises.
    During his first week in office, Trump ordered the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico and authorized a crackdown on US cities that shielded illegal immigrants.
    Most recently, the Manhattan billionaire ordered an entry ban against people coming from seven Muslim countries. The ban was halted after a federal court’s ruling.
    Migrants eat food donated by people from the Community Center for Migrant Assistance in the community of Caborca in Sonora state, Mexico, on January 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
    The Trump administration has also floated the idea of using the National Guard to step up the already aggressive campaign, which has seen hundreds of immigrants with criminal pasts arrested and sent back.
    Earlier this week, sources within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that the Trump administration was weighing tougher measures to curb the influx of immigrants.
    Under the new plan, women and children sneaking together into America would be separated, a move officials said is aimed at discouraging mothers from migrating to the US.
    Calling for immigration reform, Videgaray said Sunday that the crackdown was going to hurt the American economy as well.
    "It is becoming more than evident that to apply the law, which is the obligation of any state, would also imply a real economic damage to this country which highlights the need for immigration reform, an immigration reform that resolves once and for all the legal status of the people," Videgaray argued Saturday.

    Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong speaks during a joint press conference with US Homeland Security chief John Kelly (out of frame) at the Foreign Ministry building in Mexico City, Mexico, on February 23, 2017. (Photos by AFP)
    Mexico says it does not need financial aid from the United States, after US President Donald Trump requested a review of Washington’s assistance to Mexico City over the last five years.   
    A large part of the US financial assistance to Mexico comes through the Mérida Initiative, a security cooperation agreement between the US and Mexico aimed at eliminating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering. It is also said to pursue furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.
    Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said on Friday that when the Americans “realize what's left of Mérida, they will understand that it's not even that significant.”
    From 2008 to 2016, the US Congress allocated $2.6 billion to Mexico City on security assistance under the Mérida partnership. The US Congressional Research Service has already reported that by November 2016, only $1.6 billion of the amount had been spent on the declared aims of the initiative.
    On January 25, just five days after taking office, the US president signed executive orders to begin the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico to deter illegal immigrants from entering the US, and to increase the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations. Since then, ties between the two North American neighbors have largely been centered on the construction of the border wall.
    Mexicans take part in an anti-Trump march in Monterrey, Mexico, on February 12, 2017.
    The review of financial assistance to Mexico was part of the edicts, fueling speculation that Trump sought to redirect the undisbursed aid to pay for the costs of the controversial wall.
    “We don't object to them moving these resources... Mexico now has its own capabilities,” Osorio Chong further said.
    According to an internal US Department of Homeland Security report, the Trump wall could cost as much as $21.6 billion.
    The US president had earlier called on Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to pay for the border wall, a provocative move that sparked a rift between the two countries. Pena Nieto, however, has repeatedly made it clear that his country would not pay for the project.
    On Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, who visited Mexico City to calm the tensions, were given a cool reception by the Mexican authorities.

    Rex Tillerson is greeted by police officers and security personnel at Mexico City's international airport. Photo / AP
    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Mexican officials yesterday that the United States would not use military force to deport immigrants across the border - directly contradicting what President Donald Trump had said earlier in the day when he characterised a plan to ramp up US immigration enforcement as "a military operation".
    "Let me be very clear, there will be no, repeat, no mass deportations," Kelly said after he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong. "Everything we do in DHS will be done legally and according to human rights."
    Kelly's reassurances were part of an effort by both the Trump Administration and Mexican Government officials to move past the volatility that has characterised US-Mexico relations since Trump stepped into the White House last month. The friction had erupted in a heated volley of tweets between the two presidents that prompted Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a trip to the White House.

    But while Tillerson and Kelly worked to defuse those tensions in Mexico City, Trump added more fuel to the fire in Washington by referring to a recent executive order to increase deportations as a military action.The Twitter fight sparked concern about a trade war between the countries after a Trump Administration official implied that a 20 per cent tax on goods from Mexico would be one way to force the country to pay for a border wall. And this week, tensions intensified after Trump signed an executive order that would dramatically expand the pool of undocumented immigrants who would be deported to Mexico.
    "We're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out, we're getting really bad dudes out of this country - and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before," Trump told a group of manufacturing executives during a policy discussion.
    But in Mexico, Kelly stated in response: "There will be no - repeat, no - use of military force in immigration operations. None."
    White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump used "military operation" as an "adjective" to mean the level of precision of the immigration raids.
    The meeting between the senior US and Mexican officials inside the Mexican Foreign Ministry struck a conciliatory tone, with both sides insisting that the day-to-day relations that include cooperative agreements on immigration, counterterrorism and trade amounting to US$1.5 billion ($2b) in daily commerce are too important to be derailed by political disagreements.
    Tillerson said his conversations with Mexican officials were "forward-looking", with a long view of what is at stake for the two countries.
    "In our meetings, we jointly acknowledged that, in a relationship filled with vibrant colours, two strong sovereign countries from time to time will have differences," Tillerson said in a prepared statement.
    "We listened closely and carefully to each other as we respectfully and patiently raised our respective concerns."
    The two sides said they agreed to work together through a combination of security and economic development initiatives to stem a heavy flow of illegal immigration into the US from violent areas of Central America.
    Videgaray said both countries hope to lead a wider dialogue in the region that would add stability to Central America.
    "We need to assume a regional responsibility for the development of Central America," he said.
    Videgaray raised the Mexican Government's concerns about Trump's immigration order, which also directs US authorities to deport to Mexico all those who crossed the southern border illegally, even if they are not Mexican nationals.
    "We have expressed to the secretaries, above all, our preoccupation over the rights of Mexicans in the United States, in particular human rights," he said.
    But former Mexican President Vicente Fox said yesterday that the gestures by Tillerson and Kelly to smooth over relations shouldn't be taken seriously while Trump continues to talk about building a wall at the border and characterises Mexican immigrants as criminals.
    "All he does is destroy, attack and offend while his people speak suavely about creating better relations," Fox said. "It's a big lie."
    Analysts say the Trump Administration wants to show residents and business investors on both sides of the border that cooler heads will prevail in relations between the two countries.
    "There's a lot at stake in the day-to-day cooperation between these two countries on security, migration and, above all, economics," said Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington.
    "Tillerson and Kelly are going to want to see how they can preserve a good day-to-day relationship with Mexico even if things get rocky politically."
    In Mexico, Pena Nieto's critics urged him to take a tougher stand against a US President who they say cannot be trusted - after Trump signed an Executive Order to build a border wall on the eve of last month's scheduled White House visit and then signed the immigration enforcement order ahead of Tillerson and Kelly's visit to Mexico.
    "This is worse than Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football," said Jorge Castaneda, who served as Mexico's Foreign Minister in Fox's Administration. "You'd have to be dumb to think that they're not going to do this again and again."
    But Pena Nieto is in a delicate position as he looks to stabilise a struggling Mexican economy made more vulnerable by the uncertainty over US relations.
    This week, he tried to prepare Mexico for a recalibrated relationship with its powerful northern neighbour that, among other things, could mean a new deal similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has called "the worst trade deal in history".
    Pena Nieto's Government has been analysing potential bargaining points for renegotiating Nafta in the hopes of avoiding economic turmoil in a country where the peso has fallen in value.
    In a meeting with Mexican media executives, Pena Nieto said Nafta may change in name only, according to the El Universal daily. But, he cautioned, relations with the Trump Administration are "a panorama of uncertainty", the newspaper reported.


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