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Mexico’s Hank family – known for their wealth and the controversy that surrounds them – is set to further consolidate its power through the merger of Banorte and Grupo Financiero Interacciones. If approved by financial and competition regulators, this merger could provide the Hank family with influence regardless of the outcome of Mexico’s upcoming presidential elections.
The Colombian government has made progress in resolving conflict with armed groups, but it has not ended illegal mining. The dynamic between illicit groups and mining may be changing, but it is not disappearing; as such, the persistence of illegal mining will continue to dampen state finances through untaxed revenue and it will remain an obstacle to investment.
In an attempt to secure his political survival, Brazil’s President Temer appears to have sold out to the agribusiness lobby. Confronted by corruption charges and declining public support, Temer has been seen to accommodate FPA requests, ostensibly opening up agri-sector opportunities to the detriment of environmental protection.
The astonishing growth trajectory of China’s HNA Group is perplexing, not only to many Western businessmen, but also to observers from within China. It seems to owe much of its growth to its ability to skilfully balance political exposure – a blessing for now, but a potentially dangerous game.
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Based on an in-depth investigation conducted by Shadow Governance, this report details the criminal infiltration of Mexico’s second largest port – Lazaro Cardenas. In addition to highlighting how and why the port has been open to criminal influence, it identifies the groups involved and names key players.
China has been on a global port buying spree, and the pace is quickening. Beijing believes that China needs to rule the waves to truly secure its status as a great political and economic power. If it plays its diplomatic cards carefully, its strategy of influence through ports will continue to gain traction.
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By placing increasing strategic importance in Djibouti, Beijing can turn the country into a major trade hub and a gateway to African economies. Although the construction of China’s Djibouti naval base has been perceived as a security threat to the ‘West’, it brings good news for global investors.
Should the US take a backseat in African affairs during the Trump presidency, China would have ample opportunity to increase its dominance over the continent.
Shortly after his inauguration in 2012, President Nieto announced a major package of reforms to revitalise Mexico’s stagnant economy. The PRI administration introduced new education, energy, political, fiscal and telecommunications legislation. However, many of the reforms soon became open to influence from informal actors, primarily the business elite, who undermined their fundamental objectives.
While controlling the SNTE teachers union for almost 25 years, Elba Esther Gordillo garnered vast political influence and a reputation of being virtually ‘untouchable’. She was also able to amass a considerable personal fortune, allegedly using misappropriated funds to subsidise her lavish lifestyle. However, Gordillo's illusion of invulnerability was swiftly shattered by the Peña Nieto administration.
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Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, the founder of the Sinaloa Cartel, has risen to become one of the world’s most powerful drug lords, with a billion dollar transnational empire. Prior to his latest capture in January 2016, he had operated with relative impunity, surviving Calderón’s ‘war on drugs’, which conveniently wiped out most of his competition. This assessment addresses the long-held suspicions that he received direct governmental protection during this time.
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With less than three weeks remaining before the polls open for Mexico’s latest round of elections, this assessment identifies the main candidates and their associated risks.
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