Posts Tagged ‘Panama’

Panama awards $1.4 bn bridge project to Chinese group

December 5, 2018

The government of Panama awarded Tuesday a Chinese consortium a $1.4 billion contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal, a day after a visit by President Xi Jinping.

That tour was part of China’s efforts to extend its political and economic influence in Latin America.

“Panama is moving ahead in its relations with China and without a doubt this project that begins its construction today is part of that message and trust between the two countries,” Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said.

AFP / Luis Acosta
A Chinese firm has won the $1.4 billion contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal

 

The order will allow a consortium called Panama Cuarto Puente, composed of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and its unit China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), to design and build a bridge over the Panama Canal.

The group outbid companies from Spain, Italy, South Korea and China.

It will be one of the largest construction projects in Panamanian history.

During his visit Xi and Varela signed a score of infrastructure, tourism and development cooperation agreements as Panama became the first Latin American country to partner with Beijing’s giant multi-billion dollar “Belt and Road” development initiative.

AFP

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China’s Xi in Panama on mission to bolster clout in Latin America

December 3, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Panama — which broke ties with Taiwan last year and switched its allegiance to Beijing — for a visit aimed at extending his country’s political and economic influence in Latin America.

Xi is set to meet Monday with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, and sign an array of cooperation agreements. He will also meet with business leaders and visit the Panama Canal’s new Cocoli Locks.

In a column written for the Estrella de Panama, a local newspaper, Xi said he had “high expectations” for the visit, the first ever by a Chinese leader to the country.

© AFP | Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela in Panama City on December 2, 2018, upon Xi’s arrival in the country

“We must be cooperative partners of mutual benefit and shared profits,” wrote Xi, who arrived in Panama late Sunday from Argentina, where he attended the G20 summit.

Beijing hopes that Panama can be a logistics hub for the expansion of trade in Latin America and the Caribbean — an idea that the business community here has fully embraced.

“Panama usually generates a lot of interest because of its strategic location in the region and because of the canal,” Severo Sousa, president of the National Business Council (Conep), told AFP.

These factors — along with Panama’s political stability, growing economy and deep financial network — are “very attractive” to China, Sousa added.

China is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.

Varela’s government is hoping that Beijing will make multi-million-dollar investments in infrastructure projects. The two countries are negotiating a free trade agreement.

In June 2017, Panama established diplomatic relations with China, breaking off ties with Taiwan.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949, but Beijing sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

Beijing and Taipei have been engaged for years in a diplomatic tug-of-war in developing countries, with aid and economic support often used as bargaining chips to gain diplomatic recognition.

Washington, which has accused the Chinese of trying to use aid to drive a wedge between Taipei and its Western Hemisphere partners, recalled its envoy to Panama City in September this year.

Varela, who visited China last year, promptly asked the US to respect his country’s sovereignty.

AFP

Chinese state media hits out at ‘ignorant and malicious’ Mike Pompeo

October 22, 2018

US Secretary of State had warned of risks from ‘too-good-to-be-true’ Chinese investments

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2018, 9:50am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2018, 9:50am
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Image result for mike pompeo, photos

Chinese state media sharply criticised US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after he warned Latin American leaders about the risks of seeking Chinese investment.

During a tour of the region last week, in which he met the presidents of Mexico and Panama, he told reporters that “when China comes calling it’s not always to the good of your citizens”.

“When they show up with deals that seem to be too good to be true it’s often the case that they, in fact, are,” he said on Thursday in Mexico City, according to comments posted on the US State Department’s website.

In an editorial on Monday, the state-run China Daily newspaper said Pompeo’s comments were “ignorant and malicious” and criticism that its ambitions Belt and Road Initiative was creating debt traps in other countries was false.

President Xi Jinping has been pushing the plan to expand trade corridors along a modern-day Silk Road linking Asia, Europe and Africa, pumping credit into building roads, railways and ports in a trillion-dollar infrastructure initiative.

The country is keen to bring Latin American countries on board as well, though the initiative has started to face rising scepticism as some countries, such as Sri Lanka, have become saddled with debt that they struggled to repay.

Pompeo said the United States welcomed competition from China, but criticised a lack of transparency at its state-owned enterprises and what he called “predatory economic activity”.

In comments made in Panama he said that counties should have their “eyes wide open” when it came to Chinese investment.

“It’s simply the case that in parts of the world China has invested in ways that have left countries worse off, and that should never be the case,” he said.

The state-owned Global Times said in a separate editorial on Monday that Pompeo’s comments were “disrespectful”, adding that the United States was trying to “drive a wedge” between growing Sino-Latin American relations.

While the United States has traditionally had strong political clout in the region, China has become a major trade partner for many Latin American countries, including Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

“Most countries are disappointed with the US and want to shed themselves of US dependence,” the newspaper said. “Latin American countries know how to weigh their interests.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2169576/chinese-state-media-hits-out-ignorant-and-malicious-mike-pompeo

Why are Taiwan’s friends vanishing?

July 27, 2018

China is picking off Taiwan’s allies

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Image result for Tsai Ing-wen, photos

IF THE inauguration of a Paraguayan president next month draws international attention it will be because of one of its attendees: Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan. Paraguay is one of just 17 countries (plus the Vatican) that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In doing so they disqualify themselves from having formal relations with China, which considers the island nation a renegade province. They also subject themselves to intense pressure from the Chinese government to abandon Taiwan, in the form of both carrots (large investments) and sticks (tourism restrictions). So why do countries hold on, and how long can they last?

Taiwan had 28 allies in 1990. But that number is declining. China has taken four of them—Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Panama and São Tomé and Príncipe—in the past two years alone. According to the Chinese government, it is impossible to have diplomatic relations with both countries because they are in fact only one country. Taiwan accuses China of using “dollar diplomacy” to poach allies. Shortly before the Dominican Republic switched allegiances earlier this year, China offered it investment and loans worth some $3.1 bn, says the Taiwanese government. Taiwan itself offers enticements too: Paraguay receives money and police vehicles from the island. Shared history also helps. Paraguay and Taiwan established relations in 1957, brought together by their anti-communism.

Image result for taiwan fighter jet follows chinese bomber, photos

The Chinese government has recently stepped up efforts to isolate Taiwan. Tensions rose in 2016, when Ms Tsai came to power. Her party is the more independence-minded of the island’s two main political groups. Since her inauguration the Chinese government has successfully bullied foreign airlines into listing Taiwan as “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei” on their websites. (American airlines quietly removed any reference to Taiwan on their websites even as the White House called the demands “Orwellian nonsense”.) Wimbledon, the tennis championships, sparked debate online when it tweeted that a tennis victor hailed from “Chinese Taipei”. China has also quietly instructed its travel agencies not to take groups of tourists to Taiwan or to its allied countries, including the Vatican and Palau. And in May it stopped Taiwanese politicians and journalists from taking part in the World Health Organisation’s annual meeting. The Global Times, a nationalist newspaper in Beijing, warned this spring that the mainland should prepare for a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

Image result for wang Yi with John Kerry

File Photo: Wang Yi with then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

China will not stop chipping away at Taiwan’s alliances. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, called this “the general and irresistible trend”. In Paraguay the president-elect, Mario Abdo Benítez, hopes to sign a trade agreement with China through Mercosur, a trade bloc. He has reportedly assured the Taiwanese government that Paraguay will stand with it. But many of Taiwan’s former friends promised not to defect before they did. Burkina Faso once called offers of money from China in exchange for switching loyalties “outrageous” but within two years it had changed its tune. China is raising the opportunity-cost of allying with Taiwan. It hopes that, if no other country recognises the island, that will make what it calls “reunification” easier. 

https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/07/27/why-are-taiwans-friends-vanishing

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Image result for taiwan fighter jet, China bomber, photos

A Taiwan fighter jet follows a mainland China bomber.

China-Taiwan Dispute: ‘Consensus’ not the solution after Burkina Faso became the fourth diplomatic ally to quit Taiwan

May 26, 2018

Beijing’s diplomatic oppression of Taiwan continues and members of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Committee are saying concensus with China is impossible.

FALSE CLAIM?  Chen Ming-tong said former president Ma Ying-jeou did not mention ‘different interpretations’ during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter
Taipei Times

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong talks to reporters at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA

Acceptance of the so-called “1992 consensus” is not the answer to Taiwan’s diplomatic setbacks, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said yesterday, adding that the government plans to introduce new policies in addition to tightening its screening of applications by Chinese officials to visit Taiwan.

Chen made the remarks at an afternoon news conference in Taipei, hours after a number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-friendly experts attributed Burkina Faso’s decision to cut ties with Taiwan to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to acknowledge the “1992 consensus” — a line usually adopted by the pan-blue camp when it comes to the Tsai administration’s diplomatic predicament.

Burkina Faso on Thursday became the fourth diplomatic ally the nation has lost since Tsai’s inauguration in May 2016, after Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, Panama in June last year and the Dominican Republic on April 30.

“Will accepting the ‘1992 consensus’ solve the problem? Some blamed the losses of diplomatic allies on [the government’s] failure to accept the ‘1992 consensus,’ but what is the ‘1992 consensus’? Does it really allow for different interpretations of what ‘China’ means?” Chen said.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former MAC chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

However, Beijing has not acknowledged the “different interpretations” part and has only mentioned the “one China” element in its references to the “1992 consensus.”

While the KMT has repeatedly pressured Tsai to embrace the “1992 consensus,” not even its own members have dared to do so publicly in front of Beijing, Chen said.

He said that according to his understanding, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not mention the “different interpretations” part as he had claimed during his historic closed-door meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015.

“Ma’s omission surprised then-MAC minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and other participants at the meeting,” Chen said.

The “1992 consensus” was not what prompted Beijing’s diplomatic oppression of Taiwan, but rather its ultimate goal of unification, which Chen said the KMT is helping China achieve by humming to its tune.

“The opposition party has said whatever Beijing wants it to say, be it the ‘1992 consensus’ or ‘unification.’ What can Taiwan get out of all this?” Chen said, referring to KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) remarks at a party meeting on Tuesday that the nation’s ultimate goal is unification, citing the Constitution.

The remarks marked a departure from Wu’s previous stance on the issue, as he used to cite the “1992 consensus” as the cornerstone of his cross-strait policy.

Chen said that due to the current situation across the Taiwan Strait, in addition to rigorously screening applications by Chinese officials to visit Taiwan, the council would soon release a series of new policies.

However, he stopped short of providing any details.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2018/05/26/2003693736

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European Union adopts blacklist of 17 tax havens

December 5, 2017

© Jewel Samad, AFP | Tourists play on the water along a beach as the sun sets in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 24, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-05

European Union finance ministers adopted on Tuesday a blacklist of tax havens which includes 17 extra-EU jurisdictions seen as not cooperative on tax matters, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates are the countries listed, officials said.

Le Maire said that another 47 jurisdictions are included in a public “grey” list of countries that are currently not compliant with EU standards but have committed to change their tax rules.

Following multiple disclosures of offshore tax avoidance schemes by companies and wealthy individuals, EU states launched a process in February to list tax havens in a bid to discourage setting up shell structures abroad which are themselves in many cases legal but could hide illicit activities.

Blacklisted countries could lose access to EU funds. Other possible countermeasures will be decided in coming weeks, Le Maire said.

(REUTERS)

Panama eyes trade deal with China after ditching Taiwan

November 17, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP | ‘China-Panama relations have turned over a new leaf,’ Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during talks with Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela

BEIJING (AFP) – 

Panama and China agreed Friday to study the possibility of reaching a free trade agreement after the Central American nation ditched Taiwan and recognised Beijing.

The memorandum of understanding was among 19 cooperation agreements signed by the two countries as Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing.

The two nations also reached agreements related to agriculture, civil aviation and maritime transport, as well as tourism to facilitate visits by Chinese tour groups to Panama.

After the United States, China is the second-most frequent user of the Panama Canal.

“China-Panama relations have turned over a new leaf,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during talks with Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Varela was treated to a state visit as he met Xi at the massive Great Hall of the People. On Thursday, Varela inaugurated his country’s new embassy in Beijing.

With Panama establishing relations with China in June, Taiwan is now only recognised by 20 nations.

Mainland China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949 and while Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign nation, it has never formally declared independence.

Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province that is part of Chinese territory and will be brought back into the fold at some point.

The power of China’s checkbook diplomacy

September 10, 2017

There are many ways a government can assert its interests on the international stage. Some use military muscle. Others use subversion or bluster. In Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even in Europe, China is using investment to get what it wants from countries and governments in need.

The most obvious examples are in Asia. Pakistan’s relations with the United States have deteriorated sharply in recent years for many reasons, and President Donald Trump’s warmer ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have given Pakistan’s government and military good reason to invest more deeply in strong relations with China. In turn, Beijing’s investment in Pakistan has gathered momentum. An infrastructure development project, the US$55 billion (S$73.6 billion) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China’s broader One Belt, One Road Initiative, is generating growth and creating much-needed jobs in Pakistan. In return, China is developing the port of Gwadar, which will provide China a stronger presence in the Indian Ocean.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte does not like criticism from the US and Europe, and Beijing has pledged to help him improve his country’s underdeveloped infrastructure. So far, China hasn’t delivered much, but the promise alone has persuaded the Philippine President not to push hard against China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. He has also added the Philippines’ voice to a more pro-China stance from the 10-member Asean. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has also added to Asean’s tilt towards China and likewise backed off rival claims in the South China Sea because his country also needs investment in roads, bridges and especially rail lines – and because the scandal involving misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund, has left Mr Najib and his government short of cash.

China’s deep pockets have long bought influence in Africa, where President Xi Jinping has pledged billions more in investment in coming years. China is also amplifying its voice across Africa via StarTimes, a state-backed, though privately owned, Chinese media and telecoms firm that beams Chinese content – and a Chinese worldview – via subsidiaries in 30 African countries into African households.

As a member of the Brics group since 2010, South Africa has given China a gateway into the Southern African Development Community, which provides access to natural resources that support China’s growth and boosts its political influence across the region. China is South Africa’s largest trade partner, and the two countries signed commercial deals in 2015 worth US$6.5 billion. South Africa’s government has rewarded China’s willingness to invest by denying Tibet’s Dalai Lama, who is persona non grata in China, entry into South Africa on three separate occasions since 2009, though South African officials deny this.

Chinese trucks at Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Pakistan. Beijing’s investments in the South Asian nation has grown, with China developing the port and the $73.6 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. PHOTO: DAWN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was one of just two African leaders offered a seat at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing earlier this year, and Kenya can expect to be a major recipient of Chinese infrastructure investment as part of the maritime route of the One Belt, One Road project. China has already built a high-speed rail connection between the Kenyan cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, and Kenya’s government has expressed thanks with support for China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and for Beijing’s bid to persuade the International Monetary Fund to add China’s currency to its Special Drawing Rights basket.

China has also spent considerable time and money building its influence in Latin America. China has become the largest export market for Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, and Uruguay. But this is no longer simply a story of China buying commodities. These same countries, plus Bolivia, now import more from China than from anywhere else. Panama has also become part of the story, in part because China’s investment in the expansion of the Panama Canal has allowed Chinese mega-freighters to reach the Atlantic and eastern seaboard of the US. Earlier this year, Panama announced it would no longer recognise Taiwan, providing China with another diplomatic victory.

Beijing has even extended this strategy into Europe, where leaders still act as though the world is hoping to follow their lead. The most recent Chinese investment is in cash-strapped Greece, a country fed up with imposed austerity and bitter criticism from the European Union. Greece has won Chinese investment through the One Belt, One Road project. In particular, a Chinese state-owned firm now operates the Greek commercial port at Piraeus, the busiest in the Mediterranean. Earlier this year, Greece blocked an EU statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council that criticised Mr Xi’s crackdown on domestic political dissent and joined Hungary to support China’s South China Sea territorial claims at The Hague.

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A senior Greek official last month said: “While the Europeans are acting towards Greece like mediaeval leeches, the Chinese keep bringing money.”

There is a lesson here for the US, the EU and any other international player that would condition badly needed investment on domestic political behaviour. Mr Trump boasts of American power, but he has made clear he has no interest in writing large cheques. Now look at China from the recipient’s point of view. China offers good deals for governments and countries that need them – and it does not demand risk and sacrifice in return.

The only question about this strategy’s future is where it will succeed next.

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/the-power-of-chinas-chequebook-diplomacy

The writer is the president of Eurasia Group and author of Superpower: Three Choices For America’s Role In The World.

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Shiite corridor from Tehran to Damascus)

 (John Bolton)

(Includes John Bolton’s Plan for Iran and the Nuclear Deal)

Magnitude 8 earthquake strikes off Mexico’s southern coast

September 8, 2017

The shock of the quake was felt as far away as Mexico City. The government has said that at least five people were killed in the country’s south as a result of the tremor.

Rescue workers standing in rubble in Mexico (picture-alliance/ZumaPress/A. Salinas)

The quake struck late on Thursday, and was recorded as a magnitude 8.4 on the Richter scale according to Mexico’s National Seismological Service. Government officials said that at least five people died in the country’s south.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said that the quake, the biggest the country has seen in a century, had caused major damage and caused 1 million people to lose power, though it has been restored to about 800,000 already.

The US Tsunami Warning Center has cautioned that widespread, devastating tidal waves were possible on Mexico’s coast, as well as in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador.

Shortly thereafter, authorities reported a tsunami was indeed headed towards the coast, fortunately only 0.7 meters (2.3 feet) tall.

The quake’s epicenter was about 123 km (76 miles) south of the town of Pijijiapan in Chiapas state, but the shock was felt 1000 km (650 miles) as far away as Mexico City, sending residents fleeing swaying buildings and knocking out electricity in parts of the city. The quake was also felt in much of Guatemala, which borders Chiapas.

Mexico’s civil protection agency reported that the last comparable tremor was a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands and destroyed entire buildings in the country’s heavily populated capital.

Impresionante, un hotel en Matías Romero, OAXACA esta inclinado, huéspedes y personal al interior. Están evacuando huéspedes. Vía @rioaxaca

Civil Defense officials wrote on Twitter that their personnel were patrolling the streets in Chiapas aiding residents and looking for damage. They also issued a warning for aftershocks, several of which themselves registered a 5.0 magnitude according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco told broadcaster Televisa some homes had been damaged and a shopping center had collapsed in the town of San Cristobal.

“Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected,” Velasco said.

In Tabasco state, next to Chipas, Governor Arturo Nunez said two of the dead were small children who were residents of his state. One child was crushed by a falling wall while the other was an infant who perished when his ventilator stopped functioning after a power outage in a hospital.

There were also reports of bad damage in Oaxaca state, with buildings collapsed and reduced to rubble. Throughout all three southern states, rescue workers rushed to check for anyone trapped by the debris.

Karte Mexiko Erdbeben ENG

es/ng (AP, AFP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/magnitude-8-earthquake-strikes-off-mexicos-southern-coast/a-40409831

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Deadly earthquake hits off the coast of southern Mexico

September 8, 2017

Updated 4:05 AM ET, Fri September 8, 2017

(CNN) — A massive 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico early Friday morning, killing at five people and triggering tsunamis.

The quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, struck 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the Pacific Coast at 12:49 a.m. ET Friday, when many people would have been sleeping.

Latest updates

— Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said three people died in the state of Chiapas and two in Tabasco. Gov. Manuel Velasco said two of them died in a house collapse.
— Some 23,000 people likely experienced violent shaking, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS Pager system, which predicts economic and human loss following earthquakes, issued a red alert. “High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response,” it said.
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— A tsunami has been confirmed in Mexico, with one wave coming in at 3 feet (1 meter), according to a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center’s verified account.
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— The main quake had a depth of 69.7 kilometers (43 miles), according to the USGS. It was a particularly shallow quake, according to Jana Pursely, a geophysicist at the USGS.
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— The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, close to both the Mexican states of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, and Oaxaca, in the Middle America trench.
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— The USGS has reported multiple aftershocks, including four with tremors measuring above 5.0 in magnitude.
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— Gov. Velasco told Foro TV that there have been reports of damage, including hospitals that have lost power and buildings with collapsed roofs. He said that he will cancel school on Friday.
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— A tsunami threat is being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning System. The Tsunami Warning Center advised the public that tsunami waves could hit within three hours off the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and even Ecuador.
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— Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales activated security personnel to assess the damage.
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A dark street can be seen in the street in Mexico City.

Chiapas hit hard

Gonazalo Segundo was awoken by the shaking.
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“I was already in bed. I was in my place so we were expecting to have a tranquil night but suddenly … everything breaks apart, glasses, furniture and everything,” he told CNN over the phone from Chiapas.
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The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, home to at about 9 million people, are both located close to the earthquake’s epicenter. They are two of the impoverished areas in Mexico, and were likely hit the hardest.
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First responders at the scene after the quake.

“We have experienced earthquakes before, but not like this. It was so intense,” Segundo said. “We are alive, that’s the important thing.”
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Many of those in Chiapas may not have been so lucky. The earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning when most people would have been sleeping. Chiapas is Mexico’s poorest state.
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Pursely of the USGS told CNN she expects damage along the coast, meaning a costly cleanup could be on the way. These types of shallow quakes have the potential to be very dangerous, she said.
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CNN attempted to contact two seaside hotels in Chiapas but the lines appeared to be down.
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People gather on a street in downtown Mexico City during the quake.

Mexico City shakes

On his verified twitter account, Mexican President Peña Nieto tweeted, “Civil protection protocols are activated, including the National Emergency Committee.”
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It appears even the capital, hundreds of miles away, was not spared from the quake’s tremors. Mexico CIty Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said parts of the city are without in an interview on Foro TV.
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Videos on social media showed significant tremors in various parts of the country as well as major damage to buildings and infrastructure, including traffic lights shaking.
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Paulaina Gomez-Wulschner was driving when it struck. She heard an earthquake alarm go off on the radio, parked her car and joined others stood in the middle of the street to avoid falling objects.
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“This was a very, very strong earthquake, one of the strongest I’ve felt, and I was here in 1985 when that earthquake collapsed Mexico City,” she told CNN.”It was very scary,” she said.
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Gomez-Wulschner said she could hear sirens, ambulances and helicopters in the aftermath, but did not see any immediate damage near her.
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But a receptionist at the Intercontinental in Mexico City said he only felt light shaking.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/08/americas/earthquake-hits-off-the-coast-of-southern-mexico/index.html

See also:

Powerful Earthquake Strikes Southern Mexico; Tsunami Warning Issued

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexico-city-shaken-by-strong-earthquake-1504848320