Deeply rooted in decades of pervasive corruption, a legacy cost of immense significance for the national political and economic life of Mexico, trafficking in narcotics is now seemingly unstoppable as a major export industry, a position it has been approaching for the past two or three decades. 1 In the years since its inception, it has been nourished by a particularly lethal combination: the strength of U.S. demand for imported drugs, thanks to the limited effectiveness of programs to arrest addiction, and a counterfl ow of exports of arms from the United States to Mexico. Since at least the sweeping sociocultural changes of the 1960s in the United States, this is the fundamental set of supply and demand relationships that has propelled this Mexican growth industry forward. As the infamous Colombian narcotics processing and exporting sector was more or less eliminated as a major player in the past ten years or so, Mexican suppliers have found their position in the North American market enhanced and, concurrently, have taken firmer control of supply routes feeding into Mexico from Central America, the Caribbean, and countries to the south and of zones of Mexico producing the materials used in narcotics production.
An analysis of cabinet leadership in Mexico has always provided insights into political recruitment trends for the policy-making leadership in general. This essay briefly analyzes the backgrounds of the twenty-two cabinet secretaries and important cabinet-level agencies, and the president, and compares them with equivalent leadership, where appropriate, from three prior presidential periods. Those consist of the cabinet members from the pre-democratic era, 1935-1988, from the democratic transition, 1988-2000, and from the democratic era, 2000-2013.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new opinion column “The Expert Take” which will feature original analysis and commentary from guest contributors featured exclusively on the Mexico Portal. We invite you to check back frequently for updates to this column.
By Roderic Ai Camp, 12/12/2012
During the era of the pre-democratic PRI in Mexico there existed a long history of national political pacts. Those pacts typically were between the PRI dominated executive branch and the two most influential actors, labor unions and business organizations. In the 1990s, at the highpoint of the democratic transition, the PRI for the first time in its history lost its ability to ensure a two-thirds vote in the legislative branch, preventing it from accomplishing constitutional changes. Consequently, the PRI began negotiating with the opposition; in exchange for support on some legislative initiatives, it agreed to electoral legislation which paved the way for the 2000 electoral victory of PAN. Read the rest of this entry »
Scripps Howard News Service, 1/26/12
The United States isn’t the only country facing a contentious presidential election this year. Mexico will elect a new president in July, and some experts think the National Action Party (PAN) will be ousted from office by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which held power for 71 years before the PAN took over in 2000.
Professor Roderic Ai Camp, who specializes in the Pacific rim at the Claremont McKenna College in California, said recently that two issues are likely to be important to Mexico’s voters: increasing family income and reducing violence.
He spoke at a Jan. 20 forum sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars Mexico Institute and the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. “It will be interesting to see what PRI is really proposing that will be different from PAN on two major issues,” Camp said. “One is how do you increase personal income, and how do you reduce violence, therefore increase personal security.”
Last Friday, January 20th, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted the event “A Discussion on Mexican Politics with Roderic Camp.” His three most recent works were featured that morning: Mexican Political Biographies, 1935-2009, The Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics, and Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Camp has been studying Mexican politics for 40 years, and during that long intellectual journey he crossed paths with Miguel E. Basáñez, currently a Professor at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. Basáñez was also present, acting both as moderator and commentator during the event. He described Camp as: “a synthesis of so much knowledge on Mexico.” Read the rest of this entry »