Leaked Documents Reveal Right-Wing Oligarch Plot to Overthrow Mexico’s AMLO

Some of the most powerful forces in Mexico are uniting in a campaign to try to topple the country’s first left-wing president in decades, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. And they apparently have support in Washington and on Wall Street.

Known popularly as AMLO, the Mexican leader is a progressive nationalist who campaigned on the promise to “end the dark night of neoliberalism.” He has since implemented a revolutionary vision he calls the “Fourth Transformation,” vowing to fight poverty, corruption, and drug violence — and has increasingly butted heads with his nation’s wealthy elites.

López Obrador has also posed a challenge to the US foreign-policy consensus. His government provided refuge to Bolivia’s elected socialist President Evo Morales and to members of Evo’s political party who were exiled after a Trump administration-backed military coup.

AMLO also held a historic meeting with Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and even stated Mexico would be willing to break the unilateral US blockade of Venezuela and sell the besieged Chavista government gasoline.

These policies have earned AMLO the wrath of oligarchs both inside and outside of his country. On June 18, the US government ratcheted up its pressure on Mexico, targeting companies and individuals with sanctions for allegedly providing water to Venezuela, as part of an oil-for-food humanitarian agreement.

The value of the Mexican peso immediately dropped by 2 percent following the Trump administration’s imposition of sanctions.

These opening salvos of Washington’s economic war on its southern neighbor came just days after López Obrador delivered a bombshell press conference, in which he revealed that the political parties that had dominated Mexican politics for the decades before him have secretly unified in a plot to try to oust the president, years before his democratic mandate ends in 2024.

The forces trying to remove AMLO from power include major media networks, massive corporations, sitting governors and mayors, former presidents, and influential business leaders. According to a leaked document, they call themselves the Broad Opposition Block (Bloque Opositor Amplio, or BOA).

And they say they have lobbyists in Washington, financial investors on Wall Street, and major news publications and journalists from both domestic and foreign media outlets on their team.

Read More…

ICE Director: ‘Recycled’ Children Part of Human Trafficking on U.S. Southern Border

Michael Albence, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said that the federal law enforcement agency is facing a “new area” of human trafficking along the U.S. border with Mexico as children are used to try to gain admission into the country.

Breitbart News asked Albence to explain the role of human trafficking as it relates to the border crisis. He said:

Frankly, it’s a new area of trafficking that we didn’t see before and that’s the recycling of children. Children that are being utilized and sold and rented in Central America and Mexico; given to unrelated adults for the sole purpose of them coming into the country illegally and posing as a family … to try to be released.

Albence said that last year ICE dealt with more than a thousand cases of what he called “fraudulent families” and that the agency has dedicated 400 special agents and analysts to cope with the phenomenon.

He said DNA testing has been used to determine familial relations as part of ICE investigations.

“We know children are being sent back three, four, five times to Central America only to be re-victimized and brought back in, and God knows what they’re suffering as they’re going through that process,” Albence said.

The Heritage event highlighted the severity of the human trafficking problem in the United States, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children receiving 18.4 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation and abuse in 2018.

Ironically, during the same week, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation and Operations, now controlled by Democrats, held a hearing on how children crossing the border are treated while in federal custody.

Kathleen Rice, chairwoman of the subcommittee, harshly criticized Custom and Border Protection (CBP), the agency that has initial custody of people entering the country, at the hearing, including naming six children who have died while in custody.

Rice said in her opening remarks:

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of families and children arriving on the southern border over the past several years. Most of these families and children arrived from Central America, fleeing vicious cartels, gang violence, and extreme poverty. And after surviving long, dangerous journeys, these families should have been with met with safe refuge.

Rice accused CBP of keeping people in “inhumane conditions.”

But Brian Hastings, the man in charge of operations at CBP, defended the agency and explained the overwhelming number of people it has had to deal with.

Hastings said in his prepared testimony:

During FY (fiscal year) 2019, CBP apprehended or found inadmissible more than 1.14 million individuals. Eighty-five percent of those encounters – more than 977,500 – occurred on the Southwest border, an average of nearly two apprehensions or findings of inadmissibility every minute of every day for the entire year.

During FY 2019, USBP Southwest border apprehensions exceeded 851,000 – the highest level since FY 2007. Nearly 65 percent of USBP apprehensions were families and children – more than 473,000 individuals – the highest number of family units in any year on record and an increase of 342 percent over the previous record.

“In total, USBP processed more than 321,000 alien children on the Southwest border during FY 2019,” Hastings said.

Source: Breitbart

Watch the full report and interview below:

Report: Trump Admin Starts Returning Migrants Deep into Mexico to Combat Border Crisis

The Trump administration has started returning Mexican migrants deep into the country’s interior as part of an expanding effort to deter illegal immigration and combat the ongoing crisis at the border.

The Department of Homeland Security started running flights from Tucson, Ariz., to Guadalajara in December. Officials say the migrants being returned are all Mexican nationals from non-border Mexican states who typically have either recently illegally entered the U.S., or who had gone through the court system but were ruled to be deportable by an immigration judge.

The plan marks a departure from past practice of releasing migrants at the border. The idea would be to make it harder for repeat offenders to try and cross the border again if they are returned hundreds of miles away. Officials say returning people closer to their hometowns is better for them as well, and allows them to receive services from the Mexican government.

DHS says it plans to run two flights a week starting at the end of January and expects to return about 250 migrants a week. Officials say the move has been requested by the Mexican government, with which the U.S. has been working for months to stem the border crisis — which peaked in May but still concerns officials.

The policy represents the latest change to come out of an intense effort by the Trump administration to bring in regional partners on the issue.

“This is another example of the Trump Administration working with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told Fox News. “Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals.”

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, sees migrants (from all countries south of the border) returned to Mexico to await their immigration hearings — ending the practice of “catch-and-release” where immigrants were released into the U.S. interior to await their hearings.

Read More at Fox News…

In 2019 Over 90% of Illegal Aliens Arrested in U.S. Had Criminal Convictions, Pending Charges

More than 90% of illegal immigrants arrested by federal agents in the United States last year had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, including 56,000 assaults and thousands of sex crimes, robberies, homicides and kidnappings. Many had “extensive criminal histories with multiple convictions,” according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) year-end report. The 123,128 illegal aliens arrested by the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in 2019 had 489,063 criminal convictions and pending charges, representing an average of four crimes per alien, highlighting the “recidivist nature” of the arrested aliens, the agency writes, noting that sanctuary cities nationwide greatly impeded its public safety efforts.

The Dallas ICE field office, which covers north Texas and Oklahoma, led the way with 16,900 arrests in fiscal year 2019. The overwhelming majority,12,578, were convicted of crimes and 3,499 had pending criminal charges. The Atlanta field office, which is responsible for enforcing immigration law in Georgia as well as South and North Carolina, ranked second with 13,247 arrests, 8,009 of them convicted for state crimes. Another 3,943 illegal aliens had pending criminal charges. Atlanta field office leadership has repeatedly blasted local law enforcement officials within its jurisdiction for releasing droves of illegal immigrant criminals back onto the streets after being jailed for serious state crimes, accusing the sanctuary jurisdictions of creating a “serious public safety threat.”

In North Carolina alone, hundreds of violent criminals were released by local authorities last year to honor measures that offer illegal immigrants sanctuary. Among them were illegal aliens charged with serious violations such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and sex offenses. Mecklenburg County, the state’s largest, was among the biggest offenders, releasing numerous violent criminals rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Among them was a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex crimes. The perpetrator, 33-year-old Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, was freed by the county sheriff, who has kept his campaign promise to protect illegal immigrants from the feds. In Buncombe County, North Carolina the elected sheriff recently freed a child sex offender to keep with his county’s sanctuary policy. The Salvadoran national, a registered sex offender charged with four felony counts of statutory sex with an 11-year-old girl, had been in ICE’s radar for years.

The Tar Heel State is hardly alone in making ICE’s enforcement duties more difficult by protecting the most violent of illegal immigrants. Police nationwide are contributing to the crisis, refusing to participate in a local-federal partnership known as 287(g) that notifies ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally so they can be deported after serving time for state crimes. Instead, a growing number of law enforcement agencies are releasing the illegal aliens——many with serious convictions such as child sex offenses, rape and murder—rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. In California various police departments released 16 illegal immigrants with criminal records during a three-month period, some arrested and released multiple times by the same agency. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes.

ICE still managed to deport some after scooping them up in targeted operations. Last year ICE removed 5,497 known or suspected gang members and 58 known or suspected terrorists. Just this month, ICE arrested a previously deported illegal immigrant released by local authorities in a fatal hit and run that killed a 35-year-old woman on Christmas eve. The Mexican national, 27-year-old Jorge Flores-Villalba, was arrested and released by Stony Point Town Police in New York. ICE’s New York Field Office Director, Thomas Decker, blasted Stony Point officials in a statement. “Creating laws and policies that prevent cooperation between law enforcement agencies just to promote their political agenda, places the safety of the public in danger,” he said. “Due to the hard work of our officers, we were able to find and arrest this accused criminal, but there are countless others who are released without ICE even knowing, or whom it may take a great amount of resources to find for arrest.”

Source: Judicial Watch

How Every Asset Class, Currency, and Sector Performed in 2019

Another year is in the books, and for investors 2019 was quite the turnaround story.

Despite an early backdrop of heightened volatility, escalating trade tensions, Brexit uncertainty, and calls for a recession, the year progressed in an unexpectedly pleasant fashion. The Fed used its limited arsenal to provide additional stimulus, and global markets soaked it up to extend the decade-long bull run.

By the end of 2019, every major asset class was in the black — and the S&P 500 surged to finish with its best annual return since 2013.

Markets Roundup for 2019

Let’s take a look at major asset classes in 2019, to see how they fared:

Note: all indices here (i.e. S&P 500, Russell 2000, etc.) are using total returns, with dividends re-invested.

The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the above data is that every major asset class had a positive return for the year. The only real difference lies in the magnitude of that positive return.

Even though stocks experienced some of the best gains on the year, the winning asset may be a surprising one: crude oil.

The oil price (WTI) started the year at about $46/bbl and it closed the year at over $61/bbl, good for a 34% gain. And with escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, energy prices could be shooting even higher in 2020.

Performance by S&P 500 Sector

Strangely enough, rising oil prices did not do enough to buoy energy stocks — the poorest performing S&P 500 sector.

Although oil was up on the year, natural gas actually fell in price by about 26% in 2019. This effectively cancels out the gains made by oil, putting energy producers at the bottom of the list:

Not surprisingly, technology stocks excelled in 2019.

Tech was led by a big bounceback from Apple, a big winner that gained more than 80% over the course of the year. Other strong sectors in the benchmark U.S. index included communication services and financials.

The Currency Game

Now let’s look how currencies moved in 2019.

Below movements are all against the U.S. dollar, with the exception of the U.S. dollar itself, which is measured against a basket of currencies (U.S. Dollar Index):

The biggest currency mover on the year was the Canadian dollar, which jumped over 5% partially thanks to rising oil prices. Meanwhile, the biggest decrease went to the euro, which fell over 2% against the U.S. dollar.

It’s also worthwhile to note that Bitcoin had a particularly strong rebound in 2019, rising over 90% against the U.S. dollar.

Winners and Losers

Finally, we’ve put together a more arbitrary list of winners and losers for the year, incorporating all of the above and more.

Both the Greek and Russian stock markets had banner years, each returning close to 50% in dollar terms. Faux meat brands also captured investors’ imaginations, with Beyond Meat leading the charge. Palladium was a standout commodity, gaining 59% on the year.

We’ve chosen energy stocks as a loser, since they were the poorest performing sector on the S&P 500. Meanwhile, Macy’s and Abiomed were two of the worst large cap stocks to own in 2019.

Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-every-asset-class-currency-and-sector-performed-in-2019/