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PEXEM - Don't Go Back There !!INSTALL!!

We got taken in Tulum,the usual credit card did not work and pay cash, the card did work but they also pressed a button on the pump to say it cost 950 but was only 650. Next day went back and confronted them and got my money back. Took photos of the people involved and talked to the manager. Sent email to there head office with all the detail. We also got done with the fake speeding cop. Love Mexico but they need to clean up this theft. We need to all assist and report these scams to help other tourists.

PEXEM - Don't Go Back There

It was once back in the U.S. that the traveler became aware there was an issue. After trying to use the card to make a purchase, they were informed it was maxed out. It was at this point, upon closer inspection, that the unfortunate traveler realized the name on the card was that of someone else and that their credit card had been swapped at the Los Cabos gas station.

Tried to find a boondocking site south of here at La Hincada, but the road has several dips that made it impassible for an rv with a long back end or anything towed behind. The dirt road I found was strewn with suitcases and their contents. Didn't give me the warm and fuzzies to think about staying there after dark. This Pemex is preferable.

KOENIGSBERGER: Yeah. And let me clarify, so we have four major strategy groups within the firm. One of them is long-only, and we do, you know, four subsets there. The other is alternatives, where we can do long, short, alpha shorts, what have you. The third one is what we call capital solutions, or private credit, or asset-backed lending. And the last one is special situations. So I agree with you, sometimes, you know, in long-only, the only way you can express a negative view is to not have any exposure.

RITHOLTZ: So given those sorts of numbers, the pullbacks, recoveries, what sort of correlations are there with other types of debt, be it performing or distressed equities and other asset classes? It sounds like this is a fairly non-correlated group of investments.

BERNARD GWERTZMAN: Greetings, everyone. Welcome aboard. And I'm Bernard Gwertzman. I'm an editor for the Council on Foreign Relations website.And we have two great guests here today to answer questions about the visit of the Mexican president to the United States and today to Canada. And I would like to introduce them. We have Jorge Castaneda, who is a professor of politics and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University and at one time a foreign minister of Mexico. And we also have Shannon O'Neil, who is a senior fellow for Latin American studies at the council and is an expert on Mexico and Brazil, among other countries.I would like to start by saying there's been an emphasis since the election of the new president in Mexico on Mexico's economic power and saying that Americans are paying too much attention to the drug wars in Mexico. Are the drug wars really under control, or is it just an effort to cover it up? Shannon, would you like to deal with that?SHANNON O'NEIL: Sure. Well, what we've seen in Mexico over the last six years is it's a drug problem, but really what it is is a violence problem. And so when you look at the term of President Calderon, the six-year term, you've seen at least 60,000 people killed, some independent estimates say upwards of almost a hundred thousand people. Some of this is because of drug trafficking and organized crime related to drug trafficking. But some of it is crime more broadly, so other types of organized crime, extortion, kidnapping, car theft rings and the like. And some is just your average day-to-day crime. So you look at studies and polls -- and Mexico actually, for regular types of crimes, is probably one of the most violent places or crime-ridden places in the hemisphere. And that is an issue that continues for Mexico today and will be on Pena Nieto's plate when he takes office in -- on Saturday.GWERTZMAN: Mmm hmm. And Jorge, do you want to add anything to that?JORGE CASTANEDA: Well, I agree completely with what Shannon said. I would simply add that I think the emphasis to be placed on Mexico's economy doing better than in the past is well-placed, as long as we don't exaggerate and turn Mexico into a new Brazil, and then three years from now we'll all have to say, well, actually, it wasn't such a big deal after all.The Mexican economy is doing OK, period -- (inaudible) --GWERTZMAN: Just OK? I mean, from what I've been reading, it's doing better than the United States economy.CASTANEDA: That's what I mean, Bernie. (Laughter.) Actually, that's what I'm referring to. For a country that has a GDP per capita about six times smaller than that of the United States, the fact that it's growing a little more than the United States is not exactly surprising. What would be surprising is the opposite. Mexico's doing OK. Three and a half (percent) to 4 percent growth is not bad. It's been going on now for three consecutive years. That's not bad either. This is not China, it's not Chile, it's not Peru, it's not India, (just ?) OK. I think it would be useful, unless Americans want to, you know, once again, three years from now, have a conference call like this one about Mexico and saying, what did we get wrong? Well, you got it wrong from the beginning.GWERTZMAN: I see. OK. Well, so you're saying I ought to just stay in the United States; I'll do better here than migrating.CASTANEDA: Well, I don't believe this story of any Mexicans in the United States going back to Mexico. I'd love to meet one. If someone has found one, it'd be great. I'd love to meet one.GWERTZMAN: OK. Well, Jeff, let's turn this over to our call-in audience. And do we have somebody online?OPERATOR: Thank you. (Gives queuing instructions.)Our first question is from Rafael Mathus from Reforma Newspaper.QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. Hello, Ms. O'Neil, again, and hello, Mr. Castaneda. It's a really good idea to have this conversation with you.What I'd like to know is about immigration reform. It's going to be on top of the agenda in the bilateral relationship in the next two years, specifically next year if the project that President Obama has said that might come into Congress actually comes into Congress. What do you think would be the right strategy for Mr. Pena Nieto to follow, like, a more aggressive strategy similar to the one that the Mexican government followed in early 2000s before 9/11 or something more on the backseat, if you want to say it, sort of like the strategy that Mr. Calderon followed?CASTANEDA: You asked -- (inaudible) -- GWERTZMAN: Go ahead.CASTANEDA: Well, Rafael, besides good to -- good to be in touch -- we're colleagues in the same newspaper -- I think -- I don't think Calderon put it on -- in the backseat; he threw it under the bus. So there is no -- there was no Mexican immigration policy under this administration. I think that the tone that Pena Nieto set yesterday in the published remarks of his meeting with President Obama was right: Mexico's very interested, Mexico wants to cooperate, and Mexico would welcome a comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. I think that's -- to get started, that's the right tone, and it makes -- marks a major change from what Calderon's attitude has been.At some point it will probably be necessary to go further, first of all, because like we saw in 2006 and 2007, without Mexican cooperation, it is very difficult to implement any kind of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. And secondly, given our 50 consulates in the U.S., we can either help or not help Mexicans, for example, right now, prepare their documentation or applying for deferred action, the executive decree that President Obama issued back in August or September, which has allowed some young Mexicans now to be -- not be deported and become, quote, unquote, legal.GWERTZMAN: Can I just amplify on that question to Shannon? What are the chances of getting any legislation in the United States?O'NEIL: I mean, I think this is something that once Obama officially is re -- you know, starts a second term in January, this will be one of the issues on the agenda as we look towards 2013. But what the shape of it will be is still very much in dispute. Is it going to be another, quote, unquote, comprehensive reform that looks at those that are here unauthorized, those are here for a guest worker program, the enforcement side of it, both on the employer side and also on the border? Are we going to see all of those elements, or are we going to see little elements like starting with the Dream Act, making the administrative -- the executive orders that Obama did put in place, making those legislative -- making those law, those sort of things? So what happens? You know, it'll sort of be up in the air what we actually see try to get through Congress. And in some ways, we'll see what happens with the other types of things that are on the agenda, and particularly the fiscal cliff is a big issue. The Congress has to get through that before it can hit any other sort of domestic policy issues. And so how quickly or slowly we move through the financial challenges that we have will affect things like immigration reform.And let me just say, on the -- on sort of the role Mexico can play in immigration reform -- and you know, Jorge's been through this one round himself and had his ups and downs and probably has his lessons learned there. But there's a role for Mexico to play in terms of cooperation, in terms of support. But this is, in the United States, seen primarily as a domestic policy issue. And so any foreign government taking too active of a role, seeing it as a foreign policy issue, could be counterproductive, particularly when you're trying to create a bipartisan -- a fairly fragile bipartisan center to try to pass some sort of legislation.GWERTZMAN: OK, next question.OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Judy Miller from Manhattan Institute.QUESTIONER: Hi. Thank you very much for doing this conference. I wanted to ask what changes you anticipate in the war on drugs or, you know, drug violence under the new administration and whether or not you think that the anticipated changes that you see are likely to be more effective than what we've seen to date.GWERTZMAN: Mmm. Who wanted to -- Jorge?O'NEIL: Tell you what, Jorge, you want to start, and then I'll follow you?CASTANEDA: OK. Well, I don't -- I think the main change regarding the war on drugs is to call it off. There's an excellent piece, I think, in tomorrow's New York Times by Alan Riding saying -- called "Safety First for Mexico." And I think that's where I would go. In other words, what can you -- what can we do about the war on drugs? Put an end to it, a little bit like the war in Vietnam. Well, what could you do with it? Get out. Finish. Over.I think that if Pena Nieto does this -- now, whether he announces it, whether he makes a big fuss and strident fuss about it or just does it discreetly is a politically consideration, which I don't have enough facts to be able to support in one direction or another. But I think the main point is to just basically say Mexico is going to use its scarce law enforcement resources to combat kidnapping, extortion, the issues Shannon mentioned a little while ago. And I wouldn't say forget about drug trafficking, but certainly place it on a much lower level of priorities than under the Calderon administration.Then what happens? We'll see. It's hard to say. Maybe there will be more violence than ever, though it's hard to imagine how there could be a whole lot more than there is right now in Mexico. Maybe there will be no leveling off and things will continue as are. Or maybe there will be a very significant drop in violence and not much of an increase in the volume of drugs entering the United States from Mexico, whether produced in Mexico or just trans-shipped through Mexico. We don't know that until we try. But certainly the idea of finding a different way to wage the war on drugs, I think, would be a huge mistake.O'NEIL: Yeah, I agree with Jorge. I mean, I -- what we've already seen in the campaigns and in this transition period up until the inauguration at the end of this week is a shift in rhetoric. We've seen a shift away from talking about a war on drugs in Mexico to talking about reducing violence.Now, many of the things you do to do -- for both of those things are the same. So the efforts to professionalize the police forces, efforts to strengthen court systems and make them work so they can convict the guilty and free the innocent -- both of those matter for fighting drug trafficking as well as fighting other types of crimes and reducing violence. But other things, as Jorge just said -- where do you focus your law enforcement resources? You don't necessarily go after kingpins. You go after local car thieves or those that break into houses or extort local businesses. And I think that we will see a shift.The other sign we've seen so far -- signal, which we'll see if it carries through, is an effort or an aspiration to reorganize the security forces in Mexico and, in many ways, consolidate them. And many of the critiques one saw during the Calderon administration is the fragmentation of sort of command and control of the various police forces. And so there were often, you know, different types of operations working in parallel, even at times working in conflict. So I think the hope are -- those trying to design it to concentrate power is that bringing it under the Ministry of the Interior might sort of increase communication, make these things more effective.Now the flip side, some would argue, is if many of these forces are corrupt or corruptible, some decentralization might be helpful rather than it all being centralized in one place. But whether that actually happens remains to be seen, but it has been proposed by the incoming government.GWERTZMAN: OK. Next question?OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Eric Martin with Bloomberg News.QUESTIONER: Thank you for taking my question. I wanted to ask you about Pena Nieto's priorities on day one. Does anyone know in what order he's going to proceed with all the things that he said need to be done? And do we know, you know, from December 2nd what his first move within, say, his first month, two months in office will be?CASTANEDA: I'll try -- take a try at that, but it's going to be a real brief one. No, we don't. (Laughter.) I think he's going to make a speech on Saturday, an inauguration -- inaugural speech or address, which will lay out much more of a broad vision for the future and a little bit about the state of the country he has received, rather than a detailed program of what comes next. He still has stuff that he has to get done which he tried to get done during the interim period between his election and his inauguration, which did not get done, whether it's the anti-corruption commission and law, whether it's the transparency law, whether it's a law regarding how the -- how political parties purchase air -- governments purchase airtime from the media. There's a lot of stuff that he wanted to get done during these months which he hasn't gotten done. So probably before he moves on to anything else, he will try to deal with that. The only exception, of course, is the budget, which he has to get through and approved by the end of the month, by the end of December, and a lot of the things he said he wants it -- wanted to do during the first year have to have a appropriations, as of right now, in order for them to be done. In other words, he might not end up doing them, but if he doesn't have the money, he certainly won't do them. So there we will see a little bit of what's going to happen in the budget. Other than that, I really don't think they have a clear game plan. The Pena Nieto people are very bright. They're very good. They're very experienced in certain ways. But they have already shown these five months that some of the things that they think are easier to do end up being a little more difficult.GWERTZMAN: In other words, in Mexico there's this long period between the election and the inauguration, and the president-elect actually can take steps and do things, unlike in the United States, where there's a new president-elect who really can't do anything.CASTANEDA: Just briefly -- (inaudible) -- the -- it's a five-month period for the president, but it's three-month president (sic) for the congress. The congress -- the new congress takes office on September 1st.GWERTZMAN: Oh, I see. OK.CASTANEDA: (The ?) new president takes office on December 1st. At least in principle, during those three months, the new congress, which reflects part of the mandate that the new president has, can do things that the president-elect would like them to do because they are already the new congress and they are in office, in the case of senators, for six years and in the case of house members for three years.GWERTZMAN: Hm.O'NEIL: And they have done things. I mean, they have passed labor reform during this transition governing period, working with President Calderon and working with the new congress. So there has been movement there.I mean -- hi, Eric. Nice to hear from you. I'd say, as Jorge, no one really knows what they're going to do, but one is look at the budget and then two, when we come back after the holidays in the new year, the president now in Mexico has this sort of preferential initiative authority. I'm not sure -- exact translation -- but it's where the president can send two initiatives to congress, and the congress must discuss them and come up with something within about a month. And so we don't know what's going to be on those, but there -- that's what to watch, is sort of those are the two things that would see movement, what the president pushes forward.And the other thing is we saw today the three political parties -- in of course vague terms, but all three political parties sat down and signed a pact or came up with a supposed consensus on what policy issues should be on the table. And they're the ones that, you know, Mexican analysts and others have been talking about for years. But they're issues of security, issues of corruption, issues of economic reforms, making Mexico's economy more competitive and the like.But at least there is a -- there is a broad range there of what people agree on putting on the table. Of course, how you solve those problems or at least move forward, there could lots of disagreements between the parties, but what should be discussed, there is at least some framework there that has been negotiated.GWERTZMAN: The next question?OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Jonathan Blakley from National Public Radio.QUESTIONER: Hi. Thanks for having me, and thanks for having this conference. I appreciate it. I just want to know if we can expand a bit more on the war on drugs -- and Shannon did a great job of expanding on it -- but when you talk about getting out of the war on drugs, you're just going to get out of it, I mean, what does that mean when you juxtapose that against a hundred thousand deaths? And how do you think that wouldn't be looked at -- or would that be looked at, especially


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