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  • About a century ago, Mexican strongman Porfirio Diaz surveyed his nation's already long and troubled relationship with The United States and observed, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States."
Mexican Politics: Images of Legitimacy
Symbols: national flag with PRI emblem, school curriculum written by government
Structure: sexenio; guaranteed opposition in Senate and Chamber of Deputies
Subsidies: PRI's close connection (corporatism) with Confederation of Workers)

Note: The presidential election of 2000 is a prime example of a critical election. Vincente Fox (PAN) party became the first non-PRI party candidate to win the Mexican presidency almost a century. This produced legitimacy because Mexican voters saw that any party, not just PRI, could win in a general election.


The Political History of Mexico from the 1800s

1810-1821- War for Independence led by Father Hidalgo and then Father Morales

1876 - 1911 - Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship marked by corruption and a feudal-like system

1910 - 1920 - Mexican Revolution was led by Francisco Madero who was pro-capitalism and electoral reform. The revolution disintergrated into regional rebellions but had no significant impact on aristocratic or economic structures.

1917 - Constitution is written and made the central government more powerful. Gave the states control over land rights and natural resources. The church became subordinate to the state with anti-clerical rules.

1920- Cristero Rebellion, lead to lax enforcement and more conservative church hierarchy that supports government

1929 - PNR/PRI formed by Calles

1934 - 1940 - Cárdenas consolidates the revolution with land reform and nationalization of oil companies. He establishes super presidency through use of patronage and clientelism, forms government sponsored labor and peasant organizations, implements redistributive policies and civilian military control.

1968 - Olympics in Mexico City

1982 - Peso crashes, [[#|debt]] default, nationalization of the banks, beginning of debt crises and the "lost decade", privatization begins

1983 - present - Neoliberal reform

1985 - Earthquake in Mexico CIty, thousands dead.

1988 - Presidential elections of Salinas vs. Cárdenas, computers crash, massive fraud, postelectoral protests lead to formation of PRD. PRI candidate wins by the lowest margin in history; ballots destroyed to avoid allegations of fraud.

1989 - PAN wins gubernatorial elections in Baja California - first governorship won by opposition

Jan. 1, 1994 - NAFTA takes effect, zapatista rebellion in Chiapas begins. Passage of NAFTA lead to many issues for Mexican corn farmers, as they could not compete with the influx of cheap corn produced in the US through efficient mass-production processes.

1994 - PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio assassinated, other high-level assassinations follow

December 1994 - Peso crashes, massive economic crisis

July 1997 - Cárdenas wins Mexico City mayoral eletions. PRI loses majority in Congress

July 2000 - Fox (of the PAN party) wins presidency. First win for non-PRI candidate in seven decades (The year 2000 — when Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was toppled after 71 consecutive and authoritarian years in power — is considered the moment democracy arrived south of the border. But the process started 15 years before, after a horrendous 1985 earthquake that left 10,000 dead in Mexico City. The PRI's response to that tragedy was appalling, and it sowed the opposition anger that proliferated as the jaded ruling party kept making blunders, including a disastrous 1994 peso crash.

Final Results:
Vicente Fox (PAN): 42.52%
Francisco Labstida (PRI): 36.11%
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas (PRD): 16.64%

July 2006 - Very close election results with uncertainty as to winner. Felipe Calderon (PAN) had less than a 1% lead on election night over Andres Mauel Lopez Obrador (PRD). Obrador's supporters held protests/rallies during which they declared him [[#|the winner]] and demanded a recount. On September 5th, Calderon was officially declared the winner.

Final Percentages:
Felipe Calderon (PAN): 36.38%
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD): 35.34%
Roberto Madrazo (PRI): 21.57%

Political Institutions
Executive: Mexico's current president is Enrique Pena Nieto of the PRI Party. Mexican Presidents serve a single six year term known as a sexeño, and are not eligible to run for multiple terms in office. This consolidates the powers of the President and has lead to a more powerful executive in Mexico. In the past Presidents had the de facto power to appoint their successors (which consolidated power within the political party in power), but since the recent fall of the PRI it has become less effective. The use of "el dedazo" (pointing to the successor) was used successfully by the PRI party throughout the 20th century until the General Election of 2000.

Under PRI party rule, the President was all powerful in getting the legislature to submit to his policy ideas. However, the election of 2000 marked a turning point in Mexican politics. For the first time, a non-PRI presidential candidate was elected. This dramatically increased the legitimacy of the idea of a truly Democratic United Mexican States (Competitive elections promote legitimacy) and through this democratization the de facto powers of the president have decreased.

The Mexican Constitution is written in a way which appears to give a lot of power to the legislative branch. In actuality, the President holds the most power in government.

Legislative: The Mexican Legislature mirrors that of the United States. The legislature is Bicameral, composed of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and the Senate (upper house). Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for 3 year terms and the members of the Senate are elected for 6 year terms and both have a one consecutive term limit. Each chamber has some members elected by proportional representation (party list votes). The chamber of deputies allows for 200/500 to be elected proportionally, the other 300 are elected through single member districts (first past the post). This allowed the PRI Party to guarantee some token seats to opposition parties to put up a believeable facade of democratic legitimacy. During PRI rule Congress was nothing but a rubber stamp; laws were easily passed without much debate to please the president. With the election of Fox (PAN) Congress took on a new role of standing up to presidential decrees since Fox's party (PAN) did not hold a majority in either chamber (Divided Government).

Judiciary: Mexico has a Supreme Court. However, this Supreme Court is also subject to control by the Presidential party. Their Judiciary is an independent agency. For instance, the Supreme Court has the power of judicial review on paper. However, in reality, the Supreme Court has never overruled any significant government action or policy during the rule of the PRI party. This is due in part to the fact that the President appoints loyalists to the Supreme Court at the start of his sexeno.

Bureaucracy: Of all the countries from Hauss, Mexico has one of the weakest bureaucracies, especially when it comes to policy making. This is because the president uses bureaucratic positions for patronage. The Mexican bureaucracy is also heavily entrenched in corporatism in which few interest groups (commonly funded by the federal government to continue to exist) cooperate with policy makers.

Parties: There are three main parties in Mexico.
-The National Action Party (Partido Accion Nacional {PAN} ), was first developed in opposition to the PRI party with most of its support coming from the north. The current leader is President Felipe Calderon. The PAN party is the leading right-of-center opposition party in Mexico (Conservative, similar ideology regarding economics/trade to the US Republican Party). Pro catholic and Pro free trade (industry). PAN began to gain strength with local elections in the early 1980s with the economic crisis In the 90s, PAN began to stress anti-corruption and democratic reform.

-The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) is composed of members who dropped out of the PRI party because they believed the PRI was too conservative and anti-revolutionary for them. The PRD is the leading left-of-center opposition party (Thus supports economic nationalism and opposes free trade and privatization). The PRD draws its constituents mainly from Mexico City and the poorer states of the South).

-The final party of Mexico is the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which was in power from 1927-2000. The PRI is an inclusive party that is in the middle of Mexico's political spectrum. The PRI used corporatism to help perpetuate its rule by providing patronage to groups who were loyal and repressing groups who were not loyal. The PRI party did not lose a single presidential election, until Vicente Fox, and only lost a few congressional and gubernatorial races. Some of the elections were honest but overall their intricate system of patron-client relations helped the PRI party decide who would run for office and then mobilize a loyal electorate in order for that person to win. Their years in power are known for extreme corruption and minimal tolerance of opposition.

Constitution: Exists, Mexico’s first constitution was written in 1824. This constitution adopted most of the principles supported by the liberals like separation of powers and the federal system. The conservative position prevailed in gaining more powers for the Catholic Church. A new constitution was written in 1857 that gave the liberals even more power by adding a bill of rights and limiting the powers of the Catholic church. The current constitution has not been amended since its inception in 1917. Has much in common with the United States Constitution in that it also guarantees civil liberties.

Electoral Systems: The people of Mexico have direct elections that are monitored and verified by the Federal Electoral Institute, which is independent of control by any political party. While in the past elections were seen as corrupted because of the PRI's control of the federal electoral comission, recent elections have been seen as mostly clean and fair, and free elections are less disputed than they were in the past.

Electoral Reforms:
-TV debates (1994)
-private voting booths
-campaign finance limits
-Instant/electronic results
-PRI primary
- HIgh Tech Photo ID
- International Observers


Los Topicos Caliente

Conflict of Sovereignty: The Wall...
a. "Mexico has never been the actor that drives the relationship," says Tony Payan, an assistant professor of international relations and foreign policy at the University of Texas, El Paso. "It's always been unilateral action by the United States, and then Mexico is left to react." (CQ Researcher Sept. 19, 2008)

b. Mexico has officially complained about the expansion of fencing. "We certainly recognize that they would prefer not to have a fence between our two countries," says Customs Deputy Commissioner Ahern. "But they acknowledge that we need to secure our country, that it's our responsibility and our sovereign right." (ibid)

NYT Article (April 16th, 2009)

Conflict of Sovereignty: The Drugs

a. During the first 11 months of this year alone, more than 5,300 people have been killed — traffickers, police, soldiers and ordinary civilians — about 1,000 more than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq. The number of Americans included in the toll is unclear. In recent weeks, an American citizen and two U.S. residents were killed, one standing in front of a house, and two driving in a funeral procession. And more than 40 American citizens and residents have been kidnapped in the Tijuana-Rosarito Beach area since last year, the FBI reported (San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct. 4, 2008)

b. There is also deep concern about corruption. Many experts say the traffickers have penetrated the Mexican government and military more deeply than U.S. and Mexican officials had realized.


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"When we took office we knew we had an organized-crime problem, but we thought it was like a tumor that was well-identified and easily excised," a top Mexican law-enforcement official last year told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Mexican counterpart, Patricia Espinosa, according to Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon. "But when we opened up the body, we realized it had metastasized, and the kind of treatment we needed was far beyond what we had expected. (CQ Researcher December 12, 2008)

Recent indictments of top ranking officials have shown that the drug cartels have penetrated all levels of federal law enforcement. It remains to be seen how the military will be affected by corruption following their deployment to the northern states.

"A former anti-drug czar in Mexico has been arrested on corruption charges in his home state of Chiapas, officials said.
Mariano Francisco Herran Salvatti, who also was the attorney general in Chiapas for more than six years, is charged with embezzlement, criminal association and other acts of corruption, Chiapas Attorney General Raciel Lopez Salazar said." (cnn.com January 26,2009)

Conflict of Sovereignty: The Swine/Mexico/H1N1 Virus

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Participation
Relevant Revolutions: Mexican Revolution of 1910 threw out the dictator, Mori, and instituted a democracy, through the acceptance of the first President, Francisco Madero.

Also, the elections in 2000 saw Vicente Fox of the PAN party topple the PRI party, marking a turning point in Mexican politics.

Ideology: Much of the ideology in the last century has centered on revolutionary ideals. The PRI started as a revolutionary party in its incipiency, but as evidenced by the creation of the PRD, the PRI has become less focused on revolutionary ideals.

Like many of the other countries, Mexico experienced student protests. These students protested right before the Olympic in 1968 because they were angry that the government was spendng so much money on the Olympics. The Mexican government wanted to quiet the protestors so that the international community wouldn't know, so the government resorted to violence.

Status of Suffrage: The Mexican Constitution [[#|grants]] universal suffrage to everyone who is over the age of 18
Significant Social Cleavages: The North and the South parts of Mexico resemble the geographic cleavages of antebellum American Civil War era. The North is where market forces remain supreme with shopping malls, and cultural landscapes that resemble industrialized countries. This is partly due to the maquilladoras which are industries and manufacturing plants owned by foreign corporations that construct plants to take advantage of cheap labor. In the South, the Mexican economy is much more stagnant --- it is where most of the lower GDP/capita in Mexico is reflected primarily because there are far more villages with diversified ethnic groups in the South. Because of this South-North division that causes economic inequalities, illegal immigration from Southern Mexicans into the United States across the border is heavily rampant.

Status of Efficacy: Political efficacy has been ever-increasing since 1988 and 1989, when the PRD party was created and when the PRI party lost its first gubernatorial election (Baja California). Since then, the PRI's power to control elections has significantly diminished, which means people believe their votes actually count. However, corruption is still rampant, and the delay of results of the hotly-contested 2006 presidential election only contributed to the suspicion of election fraud. The loser Obrador parading around Mexico City claiming he was the winner couldn't have helped either. There is an increase in efficacy after the elections became less corrupt. However there are still a lot of patron-client relationships, which do not help efficacy. The fact that Mexicans are allowed to and do create new political parties adds to the sense of political efficacy. Political efficacy was very low before 2000 because the PRI party would consistently win through election fraud. However, when Fox was elected president from the PAN party in 2000, efficacy increased because people began to see that their votes actually mattered.

Role of Media: The role of media has changed dramatically in Mexico with the transition to democracy. When there was one-party rule, the media was greatly dependent on the ruling party. Government subsidies, bribes, and repression of journalists kept the media weak and loyal to the party. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, numerous independent media sources arose. In order for the traditional sources to compete with the new, more popular sources, they had to cover the government scandals and opposition movements. Therefore, the media played an important role in pushing forward the process of democratization in Mexico. A recent ruling after the election reforms in 2007 dictated that candidates were not allowed to campaign before March 30th in an election year. This led to an increase in the use of social media in order to raise awareness, but in a country where only one in three citizens has internet access, targeting voters through social media has not proven as successful as in the United States.

Role of Interest Groups: For years under the PRI the Mexican government had corporatism and sponsored the only interest groups including the present interest group and the worker interest group. However, with the fall of the PRI involvement in those groups has dropped of. Currently political parties (such as the PRD and PAN) have become more responsive to new, current interest groups. Business interests have been working with Mexican government to control arenas such as finance, industry, agriculture, etc

Role of Religion: In the Mexican Revolution in 1917 religion was severely limited. For example, Catholic Priests were not allowed to Vote. This and other limitations were eventually lifted, and in 1992 most of those restrictions were lifted. Religion in Mexico is not very diverse in Mexico either, with 82.7% of the population being Roman Catholic and about 9% being Protestant.

Role of Women / minority groups: the new women's movement in 1960-1970 was mainly inspired by the feminist groups in the U.S. At first, only the wealthy, more educated women participated in this movement; however, during the late 1980s, the movement gained much momentum and expanded membership and appeal. The main catalyst was a UN sponsored conference in Mexico City that celebrated Inernational Women's Year. This brought attention to the blatant inequalities between men and women in Mexico. Soon, the movement became less elitist and gave way to "popular feminism", where poor and middle class women began to take part in the movement. Now, the economic changes of past has given women more economic opportunities.

Development of political elites: For years the government was only run through the political elites, working their way up the hierarchy of the PRI. The next president in many cases in the past was decided upon by giving "el dadazo" or "the tap". However, with new fair elections, more people have political access, like past president Fox, who started as nothing, became a coca-cola executive, and ultimately was president. In addition, Mexico is known to have what is called the "patron-client" system, meaning that there is somewhat of an open-door between elites with political leverage getting jobs in government.



Power
"Where does Sovereignty rest?" Sovereignty is shared amongst the three branches of government, executive, judical, and legislative.

Impact of Supranational groups: Supranational groups have given Mexico more economic stability, but have made Mexico more dependent on other countries like the U.S. Mexico started on its path to economic liberalization by joining GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) in 1986. Mexico then in 1992 with the U.S. and Canada created NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in which Mexico started free trade with the U.S. and Canada. Mexico has also joined the WTO( World Trade Organization) as well. Mexico has globalized greatly due to the supranational groups and is becoming more economically stable and is prospering due to its membership in these groups. However, Mexico as a whole worries about how they might become dependent on other countries, and if Mexican sovereignty will remain intact with continued membership in these supranational groups.
Impact of Globalization: Globalization has had a huge impact on Mexico primarily due to its vicinity to the United States. After years of import substitution the Mexican government opened up it economy after a crash. This change, unlike other more gradual shifts, was an overnight transition that saw a switch from import substitution to structural adjustments. This has shifted Mexico's economy to a more liberal, market based economy. After joining NAFTA, Mexico's economy has been sapped by many low wage jobs. these jobs are primarily in the north near the US boarder. Many of these are considered "maquilladoras" a derivative of the Spanish word for machine. They are factories right over the border owned by Americans taking advantage of the cheap labor and less stringent laws.
Examples of Fragmentation: The Chiapas region of Mexico located in the south has essentially been annexed from Mexico by the Zapatistas. This was a rebel group who opposed Mexico joining NAFTA. The Zapatistas consist mostly of rural indigenous peoples from the Chiapas region. Their leader Subcommander Marcos, lead the group in having the region now be run under their laws.
Trends toward Federal or Unitary: Mexico calls itself federal, but most of the funding is controlled by the central government. However, in a very controversial move, the legislature of Mexico City recently allowed an abortion during a woman's first 12-weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is not legal anywhere else in Mexico.

Rule of Law: Governance through case law. It is a principle that every member of a society, even a ruler, must follow the law. he rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure

Policy
Democratization: Democratization began after student protest before the Olympics Many self help organizations came about after the government's incompetent response to the earthquake of 1985. In 1989 the PRI lost its first gubernatorial elections in Baja California and more came about in the 1990s. Democratization came about with the opposition parite who contested elections, organized protests against electoral fraud, and pressured the govt for reform of electoral laws and institutions. Mexico was what many political scientists referred to as a "semi-authoritarian state". On the outside, Mexico seemed to boast many democratic characteristics such as competitive elections an basic civil liberties. However, in reality, power was concentrated in the hands of the leaders of the PRI party. However, the 2000 election that saw the toppling of the PRI marked a turning point in Mexican politics.

Role of government in economy: While before the government ran the economy with import substitution, it now is essentially a free market that abides by the moves of the market. Exception to this maybe PEMEX, the Mexican petroleum company that I believe is still nationalized.
Examples of Nationalism: Mexicans can have a lot of pride for their country. Being a very old and established country they take much pride in their democratic revolution. Additional note: Cinco de Mayo is this Saturday, and is Mexican Independence Day.
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Status of Civil Liberties: Violence has been a tool used by the government that has suppressed civil liberties in Mexico. Many strikes by people such as railroad workers and telephone workers were violently suppressed. Also, peasants were expelled from land that they had occupied since the 1970s. The Tlatelolco massacre in 1968 saw the government kill close to 300 students. This resort to violence put a huge lid on the civil liberties in this country.

Civil Society/Social Capital: Civil society in Mexico has grown considerably. At first, the PRI used corporatism to cut off any opposition. By forming specific interest groups and basically requiring one to be a part of the PRI party in order to speak out, the PRI party was more successful in gaining membership and support. As stated before, the PRI party also rigged most of its elections, usually resulting in a PRI party win. This led to a weaker civil society that really had no say in the elections or any other political process. However, of late, civil society has grown considerably as the PRI party as been forced to make reforms that make elections more fair.

Education
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Percentage of students not attending school is much higher among poorer students, but has been decreasing overall in general, except the odd exception of the highest percentile in wages.

Recent policy developments:
Because of Mexico's heavy debt to foreign countries and the IMF/WTO, Mexico is forced to conform to structural adjustments. The next president of Mexico will have significant involvement in foreign affairs because of this economic dependency the Mexican government has developed.
Status of political legitimacy: Mexican political legitimacy is very strong with a country that has had perpetual rule by the same regime for about 100 years. The only animosity may come in the last election, which was so close that the loser to Calderon set up a shadow government. However, everyone sees Calderon as the true president.

General Information on Mexico
Has a population of about 100 million, a little more than one-third the population of the United States. Mexico has about two million square kilometers, about one-fifth the size of the United States. The geography is very diverse, including snow-capped mountains, temperate highlands, tropical lowlands, and deserts.
MEXICAN MILITARY:
Mexico is unique among its Latin American neighbors in that it was not plagued by military coups during the twentieth century. One great success of the PRI was to subordinate the military to civilian control. Since the 1930s, each government gradually reduced military spending as a percentage of government spending and reduced the size and power of the military. The military was very small and completely loyal to civilian leaders, making it unusual in the coup-prone region of Latin America. Since the 1990s, the military has grown and taken on new responsibilities in curbing the drug trade and putting down indigenous uprisings. While the US government was relatively successful in restricting its inflow of drugs from the Caribbean, it was not successful in reducing the demand for drugs within its own borders. As a result, in the 1990s, Mexico became the main transshipment area for drugs from South America into the US. Consequently, drug money has flowed into Mexico and corrupted many institutions. As the US has put pressure on Mexico to stop drug flow through Mexico, the army has been called upon to stem the flow of drugs, and the government has spent more on the military. The military has also been called on increasingly to repress indigenous movements since the Zapatista uprising began in 1994. Despite the military's involvement with reducing crime, over all their voice is relatively unheard of during political campaigns. The military stays out of politics and avoids smearing the line between the sections of government.

Mexico Vocabulary
Bracero Program - Brought Mexican agricultural workers to the US during WWII to do the jobs that the white men fighting in Europe couldn't complete due to their absence back at home. The policy was abandoned in 1964 when the US no longer needed additional workers to run the country.
Calderon - "The President of Mexico. He assumed office on December 1, 2006, and was elected for a one six year term that will end in 2012 without possibility for re-election. He is affiliated to the National Action Party (PAN), a right-of-center organization with liberal ideals." [1] The results of the 2006 election were contested by Obrador. "Prior to the Presidency, Calderón participated actively in PAN politics. He has served as National President of the Party, Federal Deputy, and Secretary of Energy in Vicente Fox's cabinet." [1]
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Felipe Calderon


Camarilla - In Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, a politician's personal following in a patron-client relationship. This is also known as his posse.
Cardenas, C. - Son of Lazaro Cardenas, founder of the PRD, and first elected mayor of Mexico City.
Cardenas, L. - President of Mexico, 1934-40. The last radical reformer to hold the office.
Carlos Salinas de Gortari - A presidential candidate for 1988 that was selected from the de la Madrid Administration, known to contain a generation of politicians dubbed as 'tecnicos'. He ultimately won the election, however, only through fraud and deceit. Salinas proposed many new market-oriented policies which largely contrasted the ideals of the Cárdenas years. During his rule, corruption and repression (torture and occasional killing by authorities) were excessive.
Chiapas - "In 1994, there was an outbreak of violence between the Mexican Government and the Zapatistas. Today, the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, named in honor of Emiliano Zapata) has rejected the use of force and seek to be recognized as a voice of the disenfranchised." The main reason for the conflict was land reform.
Cleavages - (denotation) Deep and long-lasting political divisions. In Mexico, the main cleavages are ethnicity, class, and region. Because the vast majority of Mexicans are Catholic, religion is not a major cleavage in Mexico. The main ethnic division is between mestizos and indigenous people. The indigenous people tend to live in rural areas and poverty. Due to the great economic equality in Mexico, there are numerous class cleavages. Although under the PRI peasants and members of the urban working class were able to move up, economic inequality worsened. Regional cleavages have also caused political problems. There are divisions between the north and the south as well as between Mexico City and the rest of the country. The north is wealthier and more industrialized and the south is poorer and more rural.
Confederacion Nacional de Campesinois/National Peasant Confederation (CNC) - One of the main corporatist groups that made up the PRI.
Confed. of Mexican Workers - The official trade union affiliated with the PRI.
Corporatism - A system of representing citizen's interests in the government that contrasts sharply with pluralism. A system of interest representation in which the government allows certain groups privileged access to the policy-making decisions in exchange for loyalty.
(CTM) Confederacion de Trabajadores Mexicanos - One of the main corporatist groups that made up the PRI.
democratization--The process by which democratic ideals (i.e. empowering individual citizens) are brought to a government to democratize and legitimize the country; usually through elections or other methods of open participation. Transition occurs from authoritorian rule to democratic rule.
de la Madrid - President of Mexico, 1982-88; introduced structural adjustment reforms.
electoral alchemy
Drugs: Heavy policy and military connection with "Narco-terrorism", $2 billion for the Mexican economy, possible military instability after government crackdown on cartel (after scandal involving Mexican prisons) However, the heavy cost in both life and money has led many Mexican citizens to feel that the War on Drugs is a waste of resources and not as big a priority, having been blown out of proportion by the United States's media. With the United States the primary supporter of the war but the Mexican citizens the one footing the bill some discontent has arisen.
El dedazo - El dedazo is the term that means choosing your successor. In terms of Mexico it is used to describe the president choosing the candidate who will run after him and more then likely win. This was a common tactic amongst PRI presidents until Zedillo in 2000 relied on PRImary elections in his party. Fox attempted to point to his successor in the PAN party, but that candidate lost in the PANmary.
Federal Electoral Institute - Created before the 1997 election to provide more honest management of elections in Mexico than its predecessor, the Federal Election Commission.
Fox, Vicenete: The candidate from the National Action Party (PAN), Vicente Fox Quesada was elected the 62nd president of Mexico on 2 July 2000, defeating Francisco Labastida of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI). He is remembered for running a charismatic, Americna style campaign. Fox began working for Coca-Cola in 1964, starting as a delivery driver and ending up as the president of the company in Mexico. He entered politics in the 1980s and in 1995 was elected governor of the central state of Guanajuato. His personal charisma and promises of change and economic development led to his easy election as president in what has been called the "fairest" election in Mexico's history. The 2000 election was the first in seven decades in which the PRI candidate did not win the presidency.
---Vicente Fox on human rights. He came to power promising to reduce police abuse and investigate past human rights violations. Fox has made some important advances, including the creation of an undersecretary of human rights and democracy and increased cooperation with international human rights groups. A new freedom of information act promoted by Fox has opened up the secret archives on past human rights cases. Nevertheless, human rights remain a problem, especially in poor, rural areas.
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Vicente Fox


Internal democracy: Democratization with in an internal institution (i.e. political party) like Fox's favorite losing in the PANmary.
Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) - Refers to a strategy for economic development that employs high tariffs(import taxes) to protect locally produced goods from foreign competition, government ownership of key industries, and government subsidies to domestic industries.
Maquilladoras (foreign-owned assembly plants) are factories run by American companies (and other MNCs) placed just over the border of Mexico to benefit from cheap labor available there. These are a large reason why states in northern Mexico are more industrialized and were made more possible by NAFTA.
Mestizo - a term of Spanish origin used to designate people of mixed European and indigenous non-European ancestry
Mestizaje - Process of racial mixing between Europeans and indigenous people.
Mexicanization - A government policy after the revolution devoted to all things Mexican.
NAFTA- Is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated the majority of tariffs between Mexico, USA, and Canada. :-) (can't leave out the smiley face). Upon its formal implementation on January 1, 1994, a 12-day conflict erupted between Indian land rights and anti-globalization advocates, led by rogue Subcommander Marcos, and Mexican police and military forces in the southern region of Chiapas. With 125 Zapatistas dead and considerable international balk(s) at the seemingly localized resistance--the rebellion was a direct cause of the eventual peso crash and foreign divestment from Mexico--a ceasefire was announced that granted both political and economic isolation to villages under Zapatista control.
Neoliberalism - A strategy for economic development that contrasts sharply with ISI. It calls for free markets, balanced budgets, privatization, free trade, and minimal government intervention in the economy.
One-party rule- An authoritarian political system in which only one political party governs.
PAN: Partido Accion Nacional/National Action Party. The center-right party that was the first party to win the presidential elections after the breakdown of one-party rule. Vicente Fox was in the PAN party. The PAN party was founded by middle-class Catholics who opposed the post revolutionary government’s anticlerical elements and populist economic policies. Initially the PAN party was only a vocal critic of the ruling party. However, they slowly gained influence in the 1980s as the only accessible alternative to the PRI. After the economic crisis of the early 1980s, people who were unhappy with the PRI began to vote for the PAN party. They began to stress anti-corruption and democratic reform in the 1990s.
Parastatals- quasi governmental organization; organization, agency, etc owned by the government
Patron-client relations--Neo-feudal relations in which patrons gain support of clients through benefits and obligations
PEMEX--Mexico's nationalized petrochemical industry. The tenth largest oil company in the world. PEMEX's revenue accounts for massive amounts of tax collected by the government.
Pluralism - A word often used to describe the US system of interest representation. People form interest groups to represent their interests to the government.
PRD--Party of the Democratic Revolution, Mexico's liberal party. The PRD was founded in 1989 by a group of various members of the leftist factions from within the PRI and grass roots social movements. Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was the party’s presidential candidate in 1994 and 2000. He won the mayoral election in Mexico City for the PRD in 1997. The PRD supports economic nationalism, opposing free trade, and privatization. Anti-NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement). They have the most support in Mexico City and the poorest states of southern Mexico.
PRI--Industrial Revolutionary Party. Ruled from 1927-2000. The PRI party is an inclusive party that is in the center of the Mexico political line. It has no clear ideology and there are many different ideological positions because of the many factions within the PRI. It was the backbone of the Mexican corporatist system. Also, the PRI provided opportunities for the peasants and workers to enter the political system. In the 1980s, the PRI changed course and adopted neo-liberal economic policies. Pres Cardenas ('30s) made PRI very broad and inclusionary which is why the PRI party was able to stay in power for so longexternal image PRI.gif
Sexeño (sexenio) is the Spanish word for the single six-year terms elected officials (President and Senators) are allowed to serve the government. After serving one sexeno a President will never be able to serve another. Senators can run again, but not consecutively. This is important because it is one of the few significant limitations on executive power in Mexico (which is strong at Local, State, and National levels).
tecnico - men with academic backgrounds in business and economics.
Viceroy - Literally a "vice king", the king's representative to the colonies.
Zapatistas-This is an informal name for Mexican revolutionaries in Chiapas. They still play a prominent role in the Mexican society. The uprising they took part in occurred when seven towns in the Chiapas were seized on the 1 January 1994 (same day as the beggining of NAFTA, or North America Free Trade Area). Their ideology combines libertarian socialism, libertarian municipalism, libertarian Marxism, and indigenous Mayan political thought. They align themselves with the wider anti-globalization, anti-neoliberal social movement and seek indigenous control over their local resources, especially land.
Zedillo- President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000 and also the winner of the cleanest election Mexico had ever had. In 2000 Zedillo recognized the electoral victory of opposition candidate Vicente Fox before midnight on election day, paving the way for what seemed an unlikely change of power, which made him seem like a traitor in the eyes of his party, the PRI, since he should not have been the one to make the decision.


[1] Wikipedia: Felipe Calderon. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felipe_Calder%C3%B3n>