To obtain fresh funds, Pemex must show credible long-term profitability plan

To obtain fresh funds, Pemex must show credible long-term profitability plan

Jan 31, 2016

According to an interview with Deputy Finance Minister Miguel Messmacher at Bloomberg’s Mexico City offices, Mexico could inject capital into slumping state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and allow it to increase debt more than planned if the oil producer presents a plan to ensure its long-term sustainability and profitability, Messmacher said. Pemex needs to show it can lower costs, make better investments and accelerate partnerships with other companies, Messmacher said in an interview. Only then can the government clear the way to fresh funds, said Messmacher, who participates in Pemex board meetings when Finance Minister Luis Videgaray is unavailable. Pemex reported a record $10.2 billion loss in the third quarter, resulting in a credit-rating downgrade from Moody’s Investor Service, and has seen production fall for 11 straight years. While the company is focused on improving output from mature fields through partnerships, Pemex last year failed to put them in place and now hopes to begin the joint ventures in 2016, Chief Financial Officer Rodolfo Campos said in an interview last month. “We will be evaluating the possibility of allowing some change in Pemex’s balance sheet or the possibility of some contribution in capital terms,” Messmacher said. “For us, a prerequisite is that Pemex has a credible adjustment plan that guarantees that Pemex can be sustainable on its own in a scenario of lower oil prices than they’ve been accustomed to. This is a prerequisite for whatever type of support we could give them.” Pemex has been struggling after the price for Mexico’s oil exports fell 76 percent in the past 18 months amid a slump in global crude prices. Pemex’s Campos said last month that the company plans to cut jobs as it seeks to become more efficient. Pemex had 150,657 employees as of 2014, or one employee per $792,000 of revenue. In comparison, each of the 75,300 Exxon Mobil Corp’s employees produced about $4.8 million in revenue in the same year. In few areas is Pemex more inefficient than in refining, where the company utilizes just 63 percent of the capacity of its six refineries. Messmacher said it’s too early to know if Mexico will hedge its oil exports for next year given the fall in crude...

Homicide statistics in Mexico and Latin America

Homicide statistics in Mexico and Latin America

Jan 31, 2016

In a new year, Mexican homicide statistics from the previous year are published. It’s a grisly business, examining statistics representing real people who were homicide victims. Hopefully, patterns can be found in these morbid statistics, knowledge of which could be used to reduce homicides. First, let’s look at the ten Mexican states with the highest homicide rates in 2015.  (If you need to consult a map showing Mexico’s states, click here.)  The data source is Mexico’s Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública: Guerrero………………….51.12 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Sinaloa……………………..30.36 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Chihuahua………………..23.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Morelos…………………….23.17 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Baja California…………..21.87 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Baja California Sur…….19.11 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Colima……………………….18.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Oaxaca………………………17.2 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Sonora……………………….16.47 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Michoacan………………….15.01 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants The informative website InSight Crime has published its Latin American 2015 Homicide Round-up.  There were twenty nations on the list, including Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, which is often considered as a separate entity for statistical purposes. The twenty nations include all the hemisphere’s independent Spanish-speaking countries (with the exception of Cuba), plus Puerto Rico (an autonomous Spanish-speaking U.S. territory), Portuguese-speaking Brazil, and Jamaica (which has English as its official language). The Central American nation of El Salvador replaced Honduras to have the highest murder rate in the region, the most violent country in the Western Hemisphere.  Mexico had the tenth-highest murder rate. The calculations are based on homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.  The figure for the U.S.A. is 3.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, for Canada it’s 1.4. Here is the list as complied by Insight Crime.  Note there are two tied countries, Costa Rica and Panama, in 11th place; and Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay have a three-way tie for 14th place: El Salvador…………103 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Venezuela…………..90 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Honduras……………57 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Jamaica………………45 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Guatemala………….30 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Brazil………………….26 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Colombia……………..25 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Dominican Rep…….17 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Puerto Rico………….16 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Mexico…………………13 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Costa Rica………….. 11 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Panama……………… 11 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants Argentina…………… 9 homicides...

“American Drug Lord,” a film based on the life of “La Barbie”

“American Drug Lord,” a film based on the life of “La Barbie”

Jan 30, 2016

American actor Charlie Hunnam of “Sons of Anarchy” will take on the lead role of “American Drug Lord,” a film based on the life of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a Mexican- American drug lord caught by Mexican law enforcement authorities in 2010, and extradited to the U.S. in 2015. Valdez Villarreal is a Texas native who went on to become the only U.S. citizen to ever capture a high-ranking leadership position in the Mexican drug cartel. He was often known as “La Barbie” because his light skin, blue eyes and blond hair brought to mind a Barbie doll. Hunnam will play the drug lord, who was arrested in 2010 and extradited to the United States after the escape of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in the picture from Legendary Studios. The studio acquired rights to the 2011 Rolling Stone article “American Drug Lord,” which chronicled Valdez Villareal’s life and arrest, and have set “American Sniper” scribe Jason Hall to write the script, according to new website Deadline. Edgar Valdez was a high school football player in his Texas hometown of Laredo, and he is known as the only U.S. citizen to rise to the level of cartel leader in Mexico. From his base in Acapulco, Guerrero, Valdez, who brought the nickname “La Barbie” that was given him by his high school football coach, made $130 million in one year moving drugs from Colombia. He became increasingly feared and allegedly ratcheted up the violence that involved filming the brutal executions of rivals and posting them on the Internet. As the drug riches escalated along with the violence, the rival cartels turned on one another, with the help of crooked cops. Valdez’s life became a struggle to stay alive. Sources: http://www.latimes.com/...

Law allowing I.R.S. to revoke your passport, now allows I.R.S. to use third-party debt collectors

Law allowing I.R.S. to revoke your passport, now allows I.R.S. to use third-party debt collectors

Jan 30, 2016

The I.R.S. can now enter into tax collection contracts with third parties for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax receivables. The Journal of Accountancy states that the passport revocation section of the law (H.R. 22), defines inactive tax receivables as any tax receivable that has been removed from the I.R.S.’s active inventory due to lack of resources or inability to find the taxpayer; for which more than one-third of the applicable limitation period has passed and no I.R.S. employee has been assigned to collect the receivable; or that has been assigned for collection, but more than 365 days have passed without interaction with the taxpayer for purposes of furthering collection of the receivable. Not eligible for collection under qualified tax collection contracts are:   tax receivables relating to pending or active offers in compromise or installment agreements, the ones related to innocent spouse cases, deceased taxpayers, minors, taxpayers in designated combat zones, victims of tax-related identity theft, receivables that are currently under examination, litigation, criminal investigation, or levy or currently subject to a right of appeal. The provision applies to tax receivables identified by the I.R.S. after the date of enactment which was 12/4/15. The act also requires the I.R.S. to use its collection enforcement budget to fund a newly created special compliance personnel program and to establish an account for the hiring, training, and employment of special compliance personnel. This is all about the money, and how to collect more money, as the I.R.S. finds that it is hard to collect tax bills. Many believe that it is a very bad idea to let the I.R.S. farm out collection work to private contractors. According to a Forbes magazine article dated December 8, 2015, (http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2015/12/07/irs-private-debt-collectors-are-now-legal-10-things-you-should-know/?ss=taxes), here is what you need to know: 1. The private collector usually will contact the taxpayer by letter. 2. If the taxpayer’s last known address is incorrect, the private collector searches for the correct address. Next, the private collector will telephone the taxpayer to request full payment. 3. If the taxpayer cannot pay in full right away, the private collector offers an installment deal for up to five years. 4. If the taxpayer is unable to pay even over...

Cargo trucks entering the U.S. to be inspected by American agents on Mexican soil

Cargo trucks entering the U.S. to be inspected by American agents on Mexican soil

Jan 29, 2016

According to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. border agents will inspect trucks entering the United States on Mexican soil, working simultaneously with Mexican counterparts, for the first time in history. The new facility in Tijuana, which aims to reduce congestion and speed cargo crossings into San Diego, overcame resistance in Mexico to letting U.S. officials carry guns. In April, Mexican lawmakers approved changes to the country’s firearms law to permit foreign customs and immigration officials to be armed on the job. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and Mexican Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray were scheduled to open the joint inspection facility Tuesday in Tijuana’s Mesa de Otay section, just blocks from one of the busiest crossings on the 1,954-mile border. Customs and Border Protection provided few details ahead of the ceremony, saying the effort “represents the shared commitment between the United States and Mexico to promote economic growth and prosperity between the two countries connected by more than just a shared border.” It is the latest demonstration of closer border ties. Last month, a group of U.S. and Mexican investors opened an air terminal in San Diego with a bridge that crosses a razor-wire border fence to Tijuana’s existing airport, believed to be the only cross-border airport outside the European Union. In October, Mexican authorities began inspecting Mexico-bound cargo at the airport in Laredo, Texas. U.S. authorities plan to inspect U.S.-bound trucks in San Jeronimo, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, near the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. Cargo has long been inspected in the U.S. and in Mexico. The new “pre-inspection” facilities effectively meld two stops into one. Alejandra Mier y Teran, executive director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce in San Diego, said authorities told her that truck inspections in Tijuana will initially be limited to fresh produce that is deemed to be low risk for spreading pests or disease. Eventually more products may be eligible. “It will be very beneficial for those who use it, but the potential is even greater,” Mier y Teran said. The larger significance is that U.S. and Mexican officials will work under the same roof, sharing intelligence and other...