Mexico Paves the Way for Marijuana Legalization

11/5/2015 Huffington Post Live

CW huffpostMexico’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that individuals have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use. Is this pushback to years of strict U.S. drug policy imposed on Mexico? And what does it mean for the region’s war on drugs?

The Mexico Institute’s Deputy Director Christopher Wilson joined Huffington Post Live to discuss the Mexican Supreme Court’s ruling and its effect on the U.S.-Mexico relationship and the war on drugs. Other guests included Sylvia Longmire, Author of ‘Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars’ and ‘Border Insecurity’; Isaac Campos, History Professor, University of Cincinnati, Author of ‘Home Grown’; and Hannah Hetzer, Policy Manager of the Americas, Drug Policy Alliance.

Click here to watch the segment on Huffington Post Live.

The Senate Has Delayed Confirming an Ambassador to Mexico. America Needs One Now.

11/5/2015 The National Interest

By Duncan Wood and Andrew Selee, Wilson Center

mexican-flag1The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has been without an ambassador since July. It’s not all that unusual for an embassy to be vacant for a few months, but then again, this is not a usual relationship. Not only is this one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world, but it is the hub for managing one of our country’s most complex and important relationships, and one that has tangible value for millions of Americans in their daily life.

To begin with, Mexico and the United States trade over a half-trillion dollars’ worth of goods and services a year, or more than a million dollars a minute, only slightly behind Canada and China as America’s third-largest commercial relationship. What’s more, Mexico is the United States’ second-biggest export market, ahead of China, and people in twenty-seven states—from Texas and Arizona to Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, and even New Hampshire—depend on Mexico as the first or second destination for exports produced in their state. Around six million U.S. jobs are closely tied to exports to Mexico.

Read more…

How Mexico escaped the worst of Hurricane Patricia

Photo by Flickr user au_tiger01

Los Angeles Times, 10/26/2015

Days after Hurricane Patricia made landfall on Mexico’s western coast, much of the destruction was limited to flooding and wind damage to homes, as well as power outages and small mudslides.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto attributed the outcome to government planning and experience with previous natural disasters.

“Each of these episodes that we’ve experienced has allowed us each time to improve our system of civil protection,” he told reporters.

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Mexico City | Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference 2015

The Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference  took place in Mexico City from October 18-21, allowing important conversations about women’s health to take place. The conference provided a forum to identify, understand, and respond to the most urgent health needs of mothers and newborns.

Sandeep Bathala, Senior Program Associate for the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program & Maternal Health Initiative, attended the conference in Mexico City. Below are four blog posts she wrote based on what she learned.

1.) Previewing the Next Generation of Global Maternal and Newborn Health Programs in Mexico City

2.) Better Training and Support for Midwives Is Saving Women’s Lives

3.) Iatrogenic Fistula on the Rise as More Women Gain Access to Surgery

4.) In India, Lower Castes and Tribals Being Left Behind in Maternal Health

How To Make Mexico More Competitive: More Corporate Ethics & State Efficiency, Less Corruption

10/21/2015 Mexico Institute-Forbes Blog

By Viridiana Rios

Between 2013 and 2014, Mexico approved historically needed reforms to increase competition, strengthen financial markets, reduce energy costs, improve the quality of education, and make labor markets more flexible.

Yet, according to the figures published just last week by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the country’s competitiveness ranking remains the same as it was a decade ago. Despite Congressional approval of the structural reforms that analysts and observers have demanded for years, there has been little evidence that Mexico is significantly more competitive than it was in 2005.

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NEW ESSAY | Homeland Security as a Theory of Action: The Impact on U.S./Mexico Border Management

By Alan D. Bersin and Michael Huston

Anatomy of a RelationshipThe terrorist attack on 9/11 in effect closed America’s borders.  The drawbridges were raised, airports and seaports shut down and cross-border traffic at land ports of entry was reduced to a trickle.  Defense and security and enforcement became the exclusive orders of the day.

The U.S. reaction generally and particularly on the Southwest Border was understandable, though it remained more instinctive than considered.  We had experienced a new vulnerability in our “homeland,” a concept that seemed foreign, strange and distant before 9/11.  Reflexively we retreated behind our borders and hunkered down behind the boundaries of Fortress America.

It soon became evident that the costs of “hunker down security,” i.e. the impact of closing the borders, would deliver an unacceptable, catastrophically self-defeating blow to our economy.  The events of 9/11, accordingly, initiated a wrenching turn in the way Americans viewed globalization and the manner in which their government understood and practiced internal security and external defense.  Policymakers were compelled to formulate new theories of action and respond to a dramatically altered threat environment.  Specifically, policy makers grappled with the challenge of how to secure the homeland in a world that was increasingly borderless.  The evolving policy and operational results may be the lasting legacy of September 11, 2001.

This paper examines these developments from the perspective of the relationship between Mexico and the United States and their shared management of a common border.  Although the emergence of a U.S. homeland security doctrine has significantly affected all trade and travel to and from the United States, it has had special importance for and a distinctive impact on U.S. – Mexico bilateral relations.

The above text is an excerpt from the introduction to the essay. This essay is part one of our series “The Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management.” 

Read the essay. 

NEW SERIES | The Anatomy of a Relationship: A Collection of Essays on the Evolution of U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Border Management

Anatomy of a RelationshipThe conventional wisdom among those who study the border is that following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States unilaterally imposed significant additional security requirements on the management of the U.S.-Mexico border, and that the measures taken to meet these requirements have made the border more difficult to cross for not only illicit but also licit traffic, including the trade and travel that is the lifeblood of cross-border communities. There is much truth in this interpretation, but it largely portrays Mexico as a passive receptor of U.S. policy, which could not be further from reality.

Rather, the increasing relevance of transnational non-state actors—terrorist groups, organized crime networks—posing border and national security threats in the region have demanded increased international cooperation to monitor and mitigate the risks. At the same time, the U.S. and Mexican economies have become ever more deeply integrated, causing significant growth in cross-border traffic and placing the efficient management of the U.S.-Mexico border as a first-order national interest for both countries.

The post-2001 border management framework has pushed away from the traditional understanding of the border as a line in the sand and moved toward an approach that seeks to secure and (in the case of licit travel and commerce) facilitate flows. This focus on transnational flows has expanded the geographic scope of what were traditionally border operations and thus required an internationalization of border management, the development of partnerships and cooperative methods of border administration.

Over the past decade and a half, the United States and Mexico have transitioned from largely independent and unconnected approaches to managing the border to the development and implementation of a cooperative framework. With contributions from government officials and other top experts in the field, this collection of essays explores the development of cooperative approaches to the management of the U.S.-Mexico border. The essays will be released individually throughout the fall of 2015 and published as a volume in early 2016.

Visit the Series.