Six years of unremitting headlines on extreme violence and rampant crime has sullied Mexico’s reputation abroad. Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and his confrontational “War on Drugs” grew increasingly unpopular over the years, resulting in the 2012 election of opposition party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, who espoused a new security strategy and vision for Mexico.

August 22, 2013

On the face of it, the pundits appear to have got their projections for Latin America’s two biggest economies upside down this year. Mexico, which started with the most promise, unexpectedly suffered a 0.7% slump in the second quarter compared with the first three months, according to data released on August 20th, due to a slump in construction, mining and exports. Brazil, which has been the subject of much hand-wringing since China’s demand for commodities collapsed, is expected to show decent growth when second-quarter figures are published on August 30th.

Walk down calle Coahuila, and in the distance, you can see the landmark avenida Revolucion clock under a monumental arch. But really, perhaps Tijuana is even more famous for hedonism signaled by the posters and signs lining Coahuila. It seems every other door leads to a "hotel" with a smattering of bars and gentleman's clubs, and even, for the romantic at heart, a flower shop. Inside, many of the women, teens and girls who work in the sex trade are slaves to international criminal organizations.

The Southwest border is a place where people and cultures collide and inevitably blend into one another. For El Paso artist Peter Svarzbein it was the perfect setting to introduce a food experiment that compliments his latest project. He combined his experience as a Jew growing up on Mexico's doorstep to create a new twist on an iconic dish. On a July afternoon, the kitchen at Chabad Lubavitch in El Paso was hotter than a desert full of burning bushes. No surprise, considering the amount of cooking that went on that day.

Mexico's Aeromexico airline and its ad agency have apologized for a producer's casting call requesting that only light-skinned people apply as actors for a television commercial. Mexico's population is largely dark-skinned, but Mexican television ads routinely feature light-skinned actors, sparking accusations of racial discrimination. The commercial has not yet been made, but the casting call specified it wanted "nobody dark skinned," only actors with "white skin."

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Monday one of the most "sweeping economic overhauls" in Mexico's history with his proposal to open the country's closed energy industry to foreign investment for the first time in 75 years. For Mexico's northern neighbor, the question is how do these reforms affect the average American consumer, the North American energy sector, and the overall U.S. economy? According to energy and economic analysts, the answer is simple: A lot.

On August 12, more than eight months after the Mexican government launched a far-reaching reform agreement, President Enrique Peña Nieto presented what is arguably the most highly anticipated and polemical areas of that package: energy reform. The president outlined 10 areas of change for state oil firm Pemex and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). But perhaps most notable is the president’s proposal to change language in Article 27 of the Constitution and allow private firms to gain access to profit-sharing (but not production-sharing) energy contracts

Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, want to let foreign companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Repsol SA sign production-sharing contracts for oil exploration and output. (The companies would still be prohibited from operating their own fields.) Thus would Mexico return to the situation that prevailed from 1938, when the country expropriated oilfields from U.S.