Peña Nieto’s fiscal reform and the consolidation of the Grand Bargain-The Expert Take

September 9, 2013

Expert TakeBy Duncan Wood

On the evening of Sunday September8th, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced his government’s much awaited fiscal reform package, which he had sent to the nation’s congress earlier that day. To the surprise of many, the proposal was ambitious, far-reaching and opted not to apply the national sales tax (IVA) to food and medicine, which had been seen by many as the only viable option available for raising tax revenue for the government. Mexico suffers from one of the lowest tax takes of all the OECD countries, with non-oil tax revenue reaching only 12-13% of GDP. Even when combined with substantial monies collected from the national oil company, Pemex, government revenue in Mexico has only been able to reach a paltry 19% of GDP.

The fiscal reform package laid out by the government is focused on increasing revenue, increasing government spending on social programs, and on forcing the wealthier elements of Mexican society to pay more taxes. The government has promised to provide universal social security and pension coverage, unemployment insurance, universal health care and increased spending on education. Each of these will be embodied in a constitutional reform. Pemex will also see a reduced tax rate, falling from 70% to 60%.

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CONTEXT Video: Energy Reform in Mexico

September 6, 2013

photo2The Economist compared Mexico’s attitude toward state ownership of oil to America’s tradition of gun ownership concluding that both are, “steeped in history.” In such cases, change is never easy. But the country’s oil reserves in the easy-to-access shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico are running low. The state-run gas and oil giant, Pemex, hasn’t been able to muster the expertise or funding to address the problem.

So President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed changing the constitution to allow private investment in Mexico’s oil industry. Is Mexico ready for such an historic move and what might the proposed reforms accomplish? To gain perspective on these and other questions, we spoke with Mexico Institute Director, Duncan Wood.

To view the video click here.


Youth Gang Prevention in Mexico

August 28, 2013

handcuffsBy Nathan Jones, 8/28/2013

Read Nathan Jones most recent paper “Understanding and Addressing Youth in “Gangs” in Mexico” published by the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute  

Mexico’s struggle with organized crime has consumed much of the policy agenda in the administrations of Felipe Calderón and now, Enrique Peña Nieto.  Academics and policy analysts looking beyond the battles with high-level organized crime groups have identified street gangs in Mexico as a potential looming security threat.

After conducting interviews with gang experts in Mexico, I discovered that security- centric responses often exacerbate the problem.  Mexico would be better served by a long-term development and human rights oriented strategy to address the problem of youths in gangs.  Indeed, at least rhetorically, the new Peña Nieto administration recognizes this and has discussed plans to apply this strategy more broadly.  Whether rhetoric will become reality will depend upon the administration’s commitment to these long-term policies.

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President Obama’s Upcoming Visit to Mexico: Related Resources

April 30, 2013

CoverPhotoWe are pleased to share with you the following resources and analysis in advance of President Obama’s trip to Mexico.

Media Briefing
On Friday, April 26th experts from the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and Latin American Program participated in a media briefing on Obama’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica.

  • Audio and a transcript from the briefing are available here

Opinion Survey
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson Center, released a public opinion survey brief on Americans’ views toward Mexico. The survey results suggest that increased public awareness of bilateral endeavors could boost support for increased economic and energy integration in the future.

  • A PDF of the survey is available here.

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New Working Paper Series: Civic Engagement and Public Security in Mexico

April 5, 2013

newspapers thumbnailThe Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute are pleased to launch a working paper series on civic engagement and public security in Mexico.

The working papers analyze the range of civic engagement experiences taking place in Mexico to strengthen the rule of law and increase security in the face of organized crime violence.  In the coming weeks and months, the Mexico Institute and Trans-Border Institute will release papers that address topics relating to civic participation and public security, including citizen oversight of police professionalization, community-based efforts to respond to youth gang violence, Mexico’s victim’s movements, and citizen roles in implementing judicial reform in Mexico.  Together the commissioned papers will form the basis of an edited volume.

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THIS SUNDAY on Dialogue at the Wilson Center

April 5, 2013

North AmericaAmerica’s Borders North & South

Sunday, April 7th, 10:30 am (EST)

This week on Dialogue at the Wilson Center we present a discussion of America’s borders. We begin with a look northward. Our guest is the director of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute David Biette. We also turn our sights south to the U.S.-Mexico border with Christopher Wilson, an associate with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute.

Watch live stream here.

TV Broadcast: Washington, DC and national.


NEW REPORT: Mexican Migration to the US – Economic Factors & Future Flows (Spanish)

April 4, 2013

mpi report picThe latest publication by the Regional Migration Study Group – a collaboration between the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Migration Policy Institute – addresses the economic factors that have influenced Mexican migration to the United States, and attempts to construct scenarios on how these migratory flows might change in the near future.

Click here to read the report…


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