Mexican President Deletes Instagram Pic with Alleged Cartel Frontman
“Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his staff appear to be trying to erase all traces of connections with a famous musician recently accused of being a drug cartel frontman.
This week, Peña Nieto visited the Mexican state of Chiapas and posted on Instagram with singer Julion Alvarez, where the men are seen on a boat. The photograph was deleted soon after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Treasury Department announced that Alvarez and Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez were singled out as alleged cartel frontmen.
Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, better known as “Julion Alvarez”, and soccer star Rafael “Rafa” Marquez are among 22 Mexican nationals and 43 business entities whose assets in the U.S are now frozen by the Treasury Department, Breitbart Texas reported. Julion Alvarez is considered one of Mexico’s most famous singers in the banda music genre and is known for praising the drug trafficking lifestyle in his music. Despite the type of music that Alvarez performs, in 2015 Peña Nieto called him “a great example for Mexico’s youth”, Mexico’s Proceso reported.
The connection to Alvarez is the latest scandal to plague Peña Nieto at a time when his popularity continues to plummet after his failure in being able to reign in Mexico’s raging cartel violence. Peña Nieto has also been accused of having Mexican cartel operators funnel illicit funds into his 2012 presidential election campaign in a scandal that became known as Monexgate, Breitbart Texas reported.”
…Continue reading more @ Breitbart
Retirees flock to Latin America to live an upper-class lifestyle on $1,500 a month
“To casual visitors, this colonial town in southern Ecuador looks like it was torn from the pages of history. With its cobbled streets, soaring cathedrals and bustling markets, it exudes a lazy, old world charm.
But Cuenca is also on the cutting edge of a very modern trend: providing a safe haven for U.S. retirees who have found themselves unwilling — or unable — to live out their golden years at home.
The growing wave of ex-pat seniors is not only upending notions about retirement in the hemisphere but reshaping the face of communities throughout the Americas. And the trend is expected to grow as waves of baby boomers exit the workforce ill-prepared for retirement.
There’s no accurate way to measure the phenomenon, but the Social Security Administration was sending payments to 380,000 retired U.S. workers living abroad in 2014 — up 50 percent from a decade ago.
In the Americas, records show that seniors are flocking to Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.
Best known for the Galapagos and providing asylum in its London embassy to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuador is home to 2,850 retirees receiving benefits, according to the U.S. government. But that number doesn’t tell the full picture. The city of Cuenca recently conducted a census that found its municipality alone was home to almost 10,000 foreign retirees, most of them Americans from Texas and Florida.
On a recent weekday, Susan and Michael Herron were having a long, lazy breakfast by the side of the Tomebamba River that cuts through the city. Both in their 70s, they have the lean look of people whose principal mode of transportation is walking — and a sense of adventure usually found in people half their age.
They had previously “retired” in Central Florida, Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina and Panama before finally settling on Ecuador — because it was beautiful and cheap.
“We could have survived [financially] in the United States if we had moved to a more rural area,” said Susan, 71, a semi-retired property manager. “But we wanted to take this chance while we were still healthy enough to be able to do it.”
In Cuenca, a city of about 350,000 people, they’ve found robust public transportation, an extensive museum network, solid healthcare and markets bursting with fresh fruits and produce. It’s a place where their two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath apartment costs less than $400 a month. They’ve found that for about $1,500 a month, they can live a solidly upper-class lifestyle, dining out frequently and traveling.
“In the United States, we couldn’t afford to go anywhere,” Susan explained. “We were having to stay home.”
Cuenca’s survey of retirees found that most were either paying for healthcare out-of-pocket or had private healthcare. But some are reliant on Ecuador’s public healthcare system. Foreigners only need to pay into the system for three months before they have access to full benefits.
Because Medicare doesn’t cover most costs abroad, the Herrons, for example, were paying $84 a month to belong to the public healthcare system. When Michael, a 76-year-old retired IT worker-turned-novelist, recently ended up in the emergency room for a cardiac issue, the total bill was $133. In the past, the same procedure in the United States had been billed to his insurance company at $186,000.
Crespo, the city official, said the retirees are pumping money into the economy, but there are growing concerns over how they might be affecting the healthcare system.
“We’ve heard about cases where someone night need brain or heart surgery that might cost $300,000 in the United States and they have the operation here for $300 because they had paid into the system for three months,” she said. “The price differences are abysmal.”
Congresswoman Soliz said the legislature is planning on doing a comprehensive study of how foreign retirees might be straining public resources.”
….Continue reading more @ Charlotte-Observer