EVENT FRIDAY – Book Launch | The Problem of Power: Mexico Requires a New System of Government

problem of powerWHEN: Friday, June 24, 10:00-11:30 AM

WHERE: 5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click to RSVP

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute invites you to a book launch and discussion on Mexico’s political system. Wilson Center Global Fellow Luis Rubio will present his book, The Problem of Power: Mexico Requires a New System of Government. After his presentation, leading analysts will discuss the system of governance and concentration of power in Mexico, as well as policy prescriptions to improve Mexico’s political system.

The Problem of Power is a reflection of the internal and external causes of the weakness of the Mexican political system, as well as an analysis of the opportunities to transform it. As stated in the introduction, the main message of the book is the need to build institutions and strengthen the rule of law based on due process so that government and the political sector in Mexico is more responsive to its citizens’ needs and aspirations and less focused on preserving the benefits inherent in the status quo. This implies a need for the transformation and professionalization of all three branches of government at all three levels, municipal, state and federal.

Download the book (available in both English and Spanish)


Luis Rubio
Global Fellow & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
President, Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo (CIDAC)

Verónica Ortiz-Ortega
Political Analyst, El Economista and Canal del Congreso

Oliver Azuara
Economics Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank


Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP.

Mexico governor floats idea of medical opium growing to reduce drug violence

3/15/16 Reuters

Afghanistan_16A senior Mexican official has said legalizing cultivation of opium poppies for medicinal purposes might help reduce violence in one of the regions most affected by brutal drug gangs that have ravaged the country for years.

Hector Astudillo, governor of Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico, told Milenio television it was worth at least exploring the possibility of allowing cultivation.

“Let’s do some sort of pilot scheme,” Astudillo, a member of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, told Milenio in an interview recorded last week but broadcast on Monday.

Read more…

In Mexico, water fight underscores distrust of government

7/7/14 LA Times

Protestors and police - Jesus Villaseca Perez (Flickr)The church bells rang out, a normal occurrence in a community where the sound usually beckoned residents to weddings, funerals or religious services. But the clanging on this morning was different: frenetic, insistent, relentless.

The sound signaled an alarm — and a call to arms.

More than 1,000 armored anti-riot police had begun to move into the outlying Mexico City colonia. Residents, meanwhile, prepared to meet them, armed with rocky projectiles they had created by swinging large hammers into the pavement, sidewalks and planters.

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Mexican president says new state governor has his full backing

7/2/14 Fox News Latino

peña-nietoMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he planned to work closely with the new governor of the western state of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, on security, economic and development issues.

The national government does not want to “create competition or establish another level of government” in Michoacan, where federal officials deployed the security forces in January to restore order in the Tierra Caliente, the president said.

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Op Ed: To fix Washington, Look to Mexico

Christian Science Monitor, 10/17/2013

By Carlos Heredia

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoMexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto’s political grand bargain among rival parties has helped usher in long-needed reforms. The US has something to learn from Mexico’s willingness to put country ahead of party.

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How Mexico Became So Corrupt

cross my fingersThe Atlantic, 6/25/2013

Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language media company, is famous for its logo, a gold-colored eye gazing at the world through a television screen. According to The Guardian, this logo “captures the company’s success at controlling and dominating what Mexicans watch”. In a country where newspaper readership is tiny and the reach of the Internet and cable is still largely limited to the middle classes, Televisa — and its rival TV Azteca — exert a powerful influence over national politics. Through its scores of stations and repeater towers, the former accounts for roughly two-thirds of the nation’s free-to-air television; most of the rest belong to Azteca.

Accused for decades of politically slanted news coverage, Televisa represents another rarely spoken fact: modern Mexico has never functioned without corruption, and its current system would either collapse or change beyond recognition if it tried to do so. Just before the 2012 elections, Mexican news magazine Proceso and The Guardian released evidence of a series of shady deals struck between Televisa and the nation’s powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (the “PRI”).

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Op-ed: Mexico’s Toughest Job (Spanish)

people with question marksBy Carlos Elizondo Mayer-Serra, Reforma,

¿Cuál es el trabajo más difícil para llevar a cabo en México? Imagínese ser policía de tránsito. Mal pagado, sin el mínimo respeto de la ciudadanía, respirando aire contaminado en medio del calor, sin siquiera lugar para ir al baño. O cualquiera de los trabajos físicamente extenuantes, desde cortar caña a mover bultos de cemento. Pero dentro de los trabajos directivos uno de los peores debe ser el de gobernador. Pensará el lector que me volví loco. El jefe de un Ejecutivo estatal cuenta con mucho dinero. Los recursos que manda la Federación no han hecho más que crecer. Si son insuficientes, se puede pedir prestado al final del sexenio y luego pasarle la cuenta al sucesor.

Todo este dinero se puede usar con enorme discrecionalidad. La mayoría de programas de gasto social en los estados, por ejemplo, no tiene manuales de procedimientos. Es un puesto desde el que se puede enriquecer a compadres y amigos y darle trabajo a quien se desee. El gobernador suele controlarlo todo, desde el Poder Judicial local, hasta el instituto electoral de la entidad. No importa si gobierna mal. Basta un buen gasto en medios de comunicación. Los locales suelen estar bien dispuestos a recibir recursos públicos e incluso sobran medios nacionales generosos con el “góber”, claro, con contrato de publicidad de por medio. Y cuando un problema se pone difícil, siempre está la Federación para resolverlo, como ahora en Michoacán, cuyo gobernador enfermo no pudo enfrentar al crimen organizado.

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