Publication: Fostering Innovation in Mexico

November 25, 2014

November 2014 Mexico Institute

By Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Alejandro Garcia

Innovation2Mexicans are creative and entrepreneurial. Some of the world’s most notable and widely-used technologies have their roots in Mexico. Mexican chemist, Luis Miramontes, for instance, co-invented the progestin used in the first contraceptive pills. Mexican engineer, Guillermo González Camarena received the world’s first patent for the color television. And Mexican writer, Victor Celorio invented InstaBook, the technology that produces a perfect-bound book in one step and just two minutes. Mexico has a fine tradition of science and innovation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto is right to say, “Mexico should recognize, value, and take advantage of the great value of our human resources.” It is the Mexican entrepreneur that has been and will continue to be the strength of the nation’s economy and the driver of innovation.

To increase understanding of the benefits and challenges of innovation and to aid in the development of policy recommendations that encourage innovation in Mexico, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a High-Level Innovation Forum for Policymakers in November 2013. The forum covered several topics related to innovation, including: entrepreneurship, financing innovative businesses, regulation, spillovers between universities and companies and the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Questions examined at the forum included: How has the global economy changed, and what does it mean for innovation? How should we be thinking about innovation? What conditions are necessary for innovation to thrive? How can we attract greater investment for innovation activities? What types of government policies and regulations can strengthen innovation? How can we better integrate science and technology into practical applications? What are the barriers to innovation, and how can we overcome them? This publication summarizes the main themes of the conference and highlights some lessons learned (the publication is available both in English and Spanish).

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The way clears for modernisation of Mexico’s energy sector

November 17, 2014

11/12/2014 Financial Times

By Diana Villiers Negroponte, Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member

Mexico’s opening of its energy sector to private participation will probably lead to a rapid acceleration in growth of manufacturing and services. Until this year, there has been little space for private initiative because of the dominance of Pemex, the state-owed oil company, of oil, gas and petrochemicals and the monopoly by CFE, the federal electricity commission, over power generation and transmission. The reforms allow private companies to bid competitively on contracts for a wide range of energy-related products and services.

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Mexican president promises answers on tainted luxury home

November 17, 2014

11/16/14 Reuters 

Ma Ning / New China News Agency

Ma Ning / New China News Agency

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said late on Saturday the government would next week give answers about a luxury house acquired by his wife that has raised questions about the ethical standards of his administration. Days after the government canceled a $3.75 billion rail contract won in an uncontested bid by a Chinese-led consortium, local media reports identified the property as linking one of the Mexican partners in the group to Pena Nieto. Reports about the house have swelled a recent tide of public anger about the government, which has been under heavy fire for its management of the disappearance of 43 students in the southwest of the country in late September. Opposition lawmakers claimed the rail deal had been fixed. It was won by a consortium including a company called Grupo Higa just before Pena Nieto went on a visit to China.

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Scrutiny Rises on Mexico’s First Lady

November 13, 2014

11/12/14 Wall Street Journal 

Ma Ning / New China News Agency

Ma Ning / New China News Agency

Mexico’s leading television broadcaster gave two properties to the country’s first lady as part of her compensation package while she worked there as an actress on popular soap operas, according to company executives.The revelation could have political repercussions because it comes days after President Enrique Peña Nieto and first lady were put on the defensive by news about a family mansion that is registered in the name of a company whose owner has won big government contracts.It is also sensitive because the president has long been accused of having too close a relationship to the broadcasting company, Grupo Televisa SA B, despite government moves to rein in the power of the country’s oligopolies. “This represents a clear conflict of interest, as it shows the thin line between business and politics,” Javier Corral, a senator from the conservative National Action Party, said on Wednesday.

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The Heat discusses Mexico’s drug cartels and ongoing violence

November 7, 2014

11/06/14 CCTV America

APTOPIX Mexico Election ViolenceFor years, violent drug cartels have terrorized large parts of Mexico. Armed with sophisticated weapons, they are engaged in major drug trafficking and other illegal activities. It’s estimated that more than 80,000 people have been killed since Mexico launched a war on the cartels in 2006 and thousands more have been kidnapped, some have even been beheaded. Amid all the violence, the Mexico has also faced allegations of government and police corruption. Journalists have dared to cover these issues are often murdered.

CCTV America’s The Heat interviewed Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood and Alejandro Hope about the ongoing violence and what Mexico is doing to combat the cartels.

See the interview here…


Expanding Mexico City Running Out of Cemeteries

October 28, 2014

10/28/14 New York Times

grave 2 by Kelly DonlanEdgardo Galvan watched as two gravediggers shoveled muddy soil from his father’s grave until they reached a set of bones mixed with wood chips, the remnants of the coffin he was buried in seven years earlier. The gravediggers placed the bones in a black plastic bag and handed them to Galvan, who planned to cremate them and put the ashes in a small crypt the family bought in a church. “I’ve had to go through two difficult moments, first burying him and now unburying him,” the 42-year-old carpenter said as he stood in the San Isidro cemetery in the Mexico City borough of Azcapotzalco.

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Mexico in Peacekeeping Operations: A Late and Controversial Decision

October 23, 2014

10/20/14 by Olga Pellicer, Mexico Institute Expert Take

In a recent intervention at the general debate of the United Nations’ General Assembly, President Peña Nieto unveiled a decision that had long been awaited by scholars working on Mexican foreign policy. In a cautious manner, emphasizing that this would be done in “accordance with the normative principles established in our Constitution”, he announced that Mexico would now participate in the United Nations’ Peacekeeping Operations (PKO’s).

In fact, this is not Mexico’s first experience with PKO’s. The best-known instance involved the deployment of 120 policemen in El Salvador as part of ONUSAL, which remains as one of the most paradigmatic examples of the new generation of PKO’s that arose after the end of the Cold War.  These gradually acquired multiple responsibilities have quietly re-interpreted certain principles of the UN’s Charter, such as those relating to non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of  States.

Read more…

For Spanish version…

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