this former microsoft manager plans to launch the world’s first global marijuana brand:

Is a “Starbucks of Pot” on the Horizon? | The Fix

Budding marijuana mogul Jamen Shively is building the nation’s first retail brand of marijuana, he announced at a Seattle press conference on Thursday, alongside former Mexican president Vicente Fox. The 45-year-old former corporate strategy manager at Microsoft has been developing a chain of retail stores, already dubbed “the Starbucks of pot." "It’s a giant market in search of a brand," he said of the world-wide marijuana industry (estimated at $142 billion). “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.” The self-proclaimed “amateur evangelist of cannabis” said he has only recently “fallen in love” with pot after smoking it for the first time 18 months ago. Since then, he has been purchasing marijuana dispensaries in Washington and Colorado, where recreational pot was legalized last November. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a unique moment in history,” Shively said Thursday. “The Berlin Wall of the prohibition of cannabis is weak, and it is crumbling as we speak.” The brand will be called ”Diego Pellicer" after Shively’s great-grandfather, who he claims was a major hemp grower. All that remains is the cash. Shively is currently seeking investors for the estimated $10 million needed to launch the company—but he seems optimistic. "Let’s go big or go home," he said. "We’re going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business."

As far as legal issues, Shively said he’s not concerned about the federal government cracking down—all his dispensaries comply with local and state law, and his business will be transparent. "If [the feds] want to come talk to me, I’ll be delighted to meet with them," he said. "I’ll tell them everything that we’re doing and show them all our books." He plans to launch the brand both domestically and internationally, and said he and Fox "intend to pursue" the possibility of a marijuana trade between Mexico and the US. The former Mexican president, who has advocated for legalization of all drugs, called Shively’s vision a “game changer.” Fox has been vocal in his opposition to the aggressive drug war tactics in Mexico, and added that he was glad to be working alongside Shively, instead of notorious Mexican drug lord, Chapo Guzman. ”It’s time for a new start, a new vision,” he said, ”That’s why I applaud this group.”

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Vicente Fox Mocked After Claiming He Was a Better President Than Benito Juárez

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox told an interviewer this weekend that he considers himself by far Mexico’s best president, adding, “[That’s] including Juárez,” referring to Mexico’s most revered political figure, Benito Juárez.

Facebook and Twitter users quickly jumped online to mock Fox’s statement, many calling it “ridiculous.”

Benito Juárez was a full-blooded Zapotec Indian who rose from poverty to become a lawyer, governor of Oaxaca and president of Mexico. As president, Juárez led liberal reforms that secularized the country and modernized the economy. He also led the resistance to French occupation which ended with him ordering the execution of Maximilian in 1867.

Fox, on the other hand, was a Coca-Cola executive who is best known for ousting the PRI in 2000. He made news recently for coming out in favor of legalized marijuana.

This is not the first time Fox has put his foot in his mouth. In 2002, as host of a UN summit, he infamously told then Cuban president Fidel Castro to “eat and leave” so as to not cause an inconvenience to US president George W. Bush.

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Vicente Fox Endorses Plan to Mass Produce, Sell Marijuana in US

The former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, appeared at a press conference on Thursday in Seattle to say he supports a private initiative by former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively to create the first national retail brand of legal marijuana.

Shively’s ambitious plan is to mass produce, distribute and sell marijuana throughout the United States, with operations opening first in Washington and Colorado, where its recreational use was voted in in November 2012.

In an interview with CNN, Vicente Fox assured Wolf Blitzer he has no financial stake in Shively’s venture, but with Fox it’s not always clear. In recent years, Fox has been known to say or do whatever is politically — and financially! — convenient for him.

On top of everything else, Fox managed to also join the Drop El Chapo Guzmán’s Name to Stay Relevant Club.

“[Fox] noted he’d rather be sitting at a table next to Shively than the notorious cartel leader Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. ‘This is a much better option, no doubt,’ he said.”

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Archeologists Protest the Destruction, Commercialization of Mexico's Cultural Heritage

Mexican archeologists and researchers are finally saying enough to the over-commercialization and destruction of sites recognized by Mexico’s constitution as national patrimony after years of abuse and mistreatment.

From Elton John performing a concert (click on video above) at the steps of the Temple of Kulkulkan to Jennifer López shooting a video at the same site, private concerts, events, and other forms of commercialization have become a mainstay in recent years, something that many consider desecration.

Felipe Echenique, spokesman for the National Union of INAH Investigators, says such abuse has long been the norm, but began proliferating under Salinas de Gortari, seeing a steep increase with the ultra-right PAN administrations of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón.

It was Fox, who in 2004 ignored protests and allowed a Wal-Mart store to be built down the street from Mexico’s biggest pyramids in Teotihuacan.

INAH archeologists say an even more egregious development is taking place in Tzintzuntzan, the ancestral capitol of the P’urépecha nation in the state of Michoacan, where a museum is currently being constructed just feet from the yacatas, the distinctive circular temple mounts, or pyramids, unique to P’urépecha sites.

"We know that when the Spanish would arrive to Indigenous communities, they’d build churches on top of their main buildings. Now it appears that these [INAH] government officials are saying the Spanish conquest is not yet over," said Echenique.

"It’s not only that they’re not complying with the law, but it’s continuing the vengefulness of Mexico’s ultra-right against Mexico’s history; erasing memory."

There are more 200,000 pre-European contact Indigenous sites under the domain of INAH, Mexico’s National Institute of Archeology and History.

For more information, follow Investigadores INAH on Facebook and Twitter.

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Venezuela and Mexico at the Crossroads

By: Casto Ocando Hernandez
Channel: Univision Investigates

In the lucrative business of drug trafficking, the emergence of new smuggling routes is leading to a rise in earnings for large international drug trafficking cartels.  Among the most active and promisingly profitable: the new axis between Venezuela and Mexico.

During the last five years cocaine shipments along a route that begins in the plains of southern Venezuela and ends in  the heart of Mexico,  have reached significant proportions, confirmed by the dozens of reports, seizures and complaints filed by individuals and official bodies  in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and the United States.

In hitherto unpublished exclusive conversations with Univisión, alleged drug trafficker Walid Makled revealed that he became personally aware of the dispatch of at least ten shipments on DC-9 jets from Caracas to Mexico, each consisting of more than 5 tons of cocaine. Makled did not specify whether he participated in these shipments, made between 2005 and 2008.

(Walid Makled: Reuters)

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Livia Corona: Two Million Homes for Mexico

Artist Statement:

In 2000, Mexican presidential candidate Vicente Fox Quesada proposed an unprecedented plan to build two million low-income homes throughout the country during his six year term. On the eve of his election, Fox proclaimed, “My presidency will be remembered as the era of public housing.” To enact this initiative, the federal government agency INFONAVIT ceded the construction of low-income housing to a small group of private real estate investors. Then, almost overnight, grids 20 to 80,000 identical homes sprouted up, and they continue to spread in remote agrarian territory throughout the country. To encounter these developments by land, by air, or even via satellite imagery, evokes a rare sensation. These are not the neighborhoods of a “Home Sweet Home” dream fulfilled, but are ubiquitous grids of ecological and social intervention on a scale and of consequences that are difficult to grasp. In these places, urbanization is reduced to the mere construction of housing. There are nearly no public amenities—such as schools, parks, and transportation systems. There are few commercial structures—such as banks and grocery stores. Yet demand for these low-income homes continues to increase and developers continue to provide them with extreme efficiency. During Fox’s six-year presidency, 2,350,000 homes were built, at a rate of 2,500 homes per day, and this trend is set to continue.

During the past four years, I have been exploring these developments in Two Million Homes for Mexico. Through images, films, and interviews, I look for the space between promises and their fulfillment. In my photographs of multiple developments throughout the country, I consider the rapid redefinition of Mexican “small town” life and the sudden transformation of the Mexican ecological and social landscape. These urban developments mark a profound evolution in our way of inhabiting the world. In my work I seek to give form to their effect upon the experience of the individual… what exactly happens in these two million homes? How do they change over time? How are tens of thousands of lives played out against a confined, singular cultural backdrop? 


♪ Los Tigres Del Norte - La Granja ♪ 

Art Imitating Life Imitating Art

This song speaks in code about the illicit ties some of Mexico’s government officials have been known to have with drug cartels. Sometimes life imitates art and sometimes art imitates life.

Link: Alleged chat between lawmaker, capo leaked

I believe Mexico should dedicate 100% of its oil revenues to developing human capital and technological development. None of us politicians should be able to touch that money.
—  Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico