Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood spoke to Jeremy Martin, Energy Program Director at the Institute of the Americas, about Mexico and energy. Listen to the podcast here.
By Duncan Wood
As the Mexican congress debates two major economic reforms (fiscal and energy) a third reform debate, this time over changing the rules and institutions of the Mexican political system, is in full swing. Recent proposals by the opposition PAN and PRD parties have highlighted rival but complementary plans for addressing what are seen by some as the most problematic weaknesses of democracy in the country. As a central element of the Pacto por Mexico, we should expect that political reform will occur, and its implications for Mexico’s political balance will be profoundly felt.
Over the past three decades, piecemeal political reforms in Mexico have played a role in the gradual transformation from a closed authoritarian system to an evolving democracy. The true significance of many of these reforms was not apparent at the time, but they have played important roles in the path of democratization. The creation of the Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) stands out as perhaps the most important of these but, as Rod Camp has pointed out, other reforms have proven to be highly significant in the long term.
Read the full article here.
“Security Cooperation in Mexico: Examining the Next Steps in the U.S.-Mexico Security Relationship”
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs / Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs
Duncan Wood, Director of the Mexico Institute, joins a panel of experts in testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the U.S.-Mexico security relationship.
Live webcast available here.
Transcript of Duncan Wood’s testimony available here.
Energy reform is likely to be one of the most important sweeping legislative changes that an incoming Mexican government will address, experts said Wednesday at a Houston conference on energy issues. The PRI government, which led the government for most of last century and who won the 2012 election, has indicated that it may consider expanding opportunities for private and international companies to help it expand needed infrastructure to develop its natural resources, including a wealth of natural gas.
One of the key issues is whether any reforms will focus on Mexico’s state-owned energy company, PEMEX, or will make more sweeping, fundamental changes. Either way will open up additional energy supply, said Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center “That is a crazy situation for a country that has the fourth largest share of natural gas in the world,” Duncan said. “PEMEX can’t do it alone. It doesn’t have the know-how and technological experience to work in deeper waters and on shale.”
New Resources: Immigration and Border Realities, Regional Competitiveness, Transboundary Hydrocarbons AgreementApril 2, 2013
The Mexico Institute is pleased to share with you the following new resources:
Andrew Selee, Vice President for Programs at the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, titled “The New Reality at the Border.” Selee asserts that in the future, illegal immigration flows to the U.S. are likely to come from places farther away than Mexico, due to the deterrent effect of increased border security, the well-performing Mexican economy, and Mexico’s changing demographic profile.
To read Duncan Wood’s statement from the hearing click here
Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on March 14, 2013. The hearing, titled “U.S. Energy Security: Enhancing Partnerships with Mexico and Canada,” included a discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
Christopher Wilson, Associate at the Mexico Institute, wrote an opinion piece for Animal Politico, a news site on Mexican politics. The op-ed encourages Mexico and the United States to develop a regional competitiveness agenda that envisions North America as the most competitive region in the world, addressing issues such as efficient border management, bilateral cooperation on international trade negotiations, regulatory harmonization, trade liberalization in services such as transportation and healthcare, and the simplification of customs procedures.
In another bold move, the Enrique Peña Nieto government has presented legislation to the Mexican Congress that is aimed at reducing the power and monopolistic control that is currently held by the dominant players in the country’s telecommunications sector. The legislation, which appears to have a strong chance of passing through the legislature, is a further attempt by the government to wrest back control of the economy and Mexican politics from the so-called “poderes fácticos,” or vested interests. It shows the effectiveness both of the government’s approach, and of the negotiating mechanism that it is employing in its legislative agenda, namely the Pacto Por México.
The telecoms reform is far-reaching and revolutionary. First, it aims to create a new independent regulatory body that will have the power to restrain companies that have more than 50 percent of the market, and in turn will offer an opening to new, smaller firms. At its most extreme, the regulator will have the power to break up dominant firms, forcing them to sell assets. But the regulator will also possess the power to set maximum prices for interconnections, currently seen as being a severe obstacle to the emergence of rival firms in the fixed-line and wireless market.
On March 14, 2013, Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. The hearing, titled “U.S. Energy Security: Enhancing Partnerships with Mexico and Canada,” included a discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
To watch the archive hearing video, click HERE.
The full text of his statement is available HERE.
La jugada del experto-The Expert Take in Spanish
Yesterday’s PGR arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo on charges of embezzlement marks a bold step forward by the Pena Nieto administration to establish its authority and legitimacy in the eyes of the Mexican public, and to send a message to Mexico’s most powerful unions. The arrest comes after the successful passage of an education reform bill through Congress, earning the government plaudits from international observers, who saw it as a much-needed attack on the power of the teachers union, the SNTE, but receiving a skeptical response from many national critics who believed that the government would not follow through with implementation of the new laws. This new development destroys those doubts about the seriousness of the Pena Nieto government to take on the union, and to mobilize the sovereign power of the state against vested interests.