Seeking to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship.
During Mexico’s presidential election last year, the leftist candidate furiously complained that while he flew economy class his rival from the former ruling party campaigned in private planes, appeared constantly on television and was dramatically overspending campaign limits.
Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party won the vote over leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and election authorities began an investigation into allegations of campaign spending violations. Now, six months later, the electoral body says it has indeed found evidence of violations: by Lopez Obrador, not Pena Nieto.
The editorial in El Universal hopes for national unity: “The 19th century in Mexico was the fight between liberals and conservatives. The 20th century was the conflict between authoritarians and democrats. Will we have another century of confrontation between Mexicans or will we take the step towards a unified nation? That is the challenge.”
La Jornada, in its editorial, calls the bicentennial a failed celebration: “anticlimactic, frivolous, and empty.”
Former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda writes in Reforma that there are two themes to celebrate in Mexico: a growing middle class and the rise of multiple identities. Historian Lorenzo Meyer looks back on the last two centuries and future challenges.
An Interview with Enrique Krauze, Milenio, 7/31/2010
“I believe in criticism and I like controversy,” assured the director of Letras Libres in a conversation about everything from the Bicentennial to the need to reestablish dialogue within Mexican culture, which has been broken since the 2006 elections.”
“The Bicentennial was, beyond the festivities, an opportunity for citizen participation and collective debate, an opportunity to enrich the national public life. It still is, although I don’t think it’s being utilized.”
“No, no we are not reconciling ourselves with the past. To do so would mean many things that, again, have to do with debate. We would have to be seriously debating our national myths, return to the topic on the indigenous and Spanish, revising the various interpretations of 19th century Mexican history, seeing how the mythology absorbed the Mexican Revolution, including muralism. We live in a jungle of myths: the myth of petroleum, the myth of sovereignty…We would have to have advanced much further in the demystification of our history in order to see our heroes as men of flesh and bone (with virtues and defects).”
“Historically the PRI, the Mexican political system, had close and positive relations with the cultural world…The integration of the Mexican intellectuals with the powerful, until a certain momemt, was widespread and functional. But this broke in the 60s, thank goodness, because if the intellectuals don’t use their weapons, which come from critique, they tie thier hands and put themselves at the service not of the public but of the powerful.”
“The PAN has never understood culture even though it was founded by an intellectual. It doesn’t understand culture nor will it, regardless of whether it has good or bad officials. The work of Consuelo Sáizar is good, but the government does not have a cultural project. It doesn’t know what its legacy will be and has a series of identity crises. Naturally, its relationship with intellectuals is tenous, distant, or poor.
“All of us that have worked for culture in Mexico have to make the effort to recover a minimum of this harmony, of this respect that was lost on the day when the person that divided Mexico in two appeared [López Obrador].”
The PRD celebrates its 20th anniversary with its national headquarters closed (because employees tested positive for H1N1), the party split into two divided factions, and in third place in polls for the upcoming elections. Five months after assuming leadership of the party, Jesús Ortega continues to energetically pursue his strategic reunification plan to reincorporate supporters of the defeated candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the 2006 elections.
In the most recent El Universal poll from March 3, the PRD had the support 12.2% of voters, compared with the 30.3% for the PRI and 27.4% for the PAN