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 energy bill to open power generation, sales to privates

logo-cfeBusiness Insight in Latin America, 12/9/2013

Mexico’s senate unveiled an energy bill Saturday (Dec 7) that would end the state monopoly over the power sector and open generation and sale of power to privates.

The bill, currently being discussed by senate committees, confirms the proposed power sector as laid out by energy ministry Sener’s head of electricity, Lourdes Melgar, in an August interview with BNamericas.

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Four Reasons Mexico Is Becoming a Global Manufacturing Power

mexico-flagBloomberg, 6/27/2013

Mexico is beginning to beat China as a manufacturing base for many companies despite its higher crime rate, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group. Mexico’s gain is a plus for the U.S. because Mexican factories use four times as many American-made components as Chinese factories do, says the consulting firm. Here are Mexico’s four key advantages:

1. Manufacturing wages, adjusted for Mexico’s superior worker productivity, are likely to be 30 percent lower than in China by 2015. China’s wages have soared. They were about one-quarter as high as Mexico’s in 2000 but are catching up rapidly and will be slightly higher by 2015. And labor productivity remains higher in Mexico, even though the gap is narrowing. The crossover point was 2012, when unit labor costs in China (i.e., wages adjusted for productivity) grew to equal those in Mexico. By 2015, Mexico will be around 29 percent less expensive.

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The History of Mexico’s ‘Juniors’

people waiting - out of focusThe Wall Street Journal, 6/15/2013

Every country has its entitled rich kids. Even China has its so-called Princelings, the sons of high-ranking Communist Party officials who race the streets of Shanghai in Ferraris. But the phenomenon has long been particularly acute in Mexico. Perhaps the country’s first Junior was Martin Cortés, son of conquistador Hernán Cortés. Along with several other sons of conquerors, he allegedly conspired to be named the King of New Spain in the years that followed the death of his father. The Spanish crown was not amused, and his fellow conspirators lost their heads—literally—but Martin was spared because of his dad’s legacy.

Unlike many other Latin American countries such as Chile and Colombia, where powerful families trace back their roots to colonial Spain, Mexico’s 1910-1917 revolution that killed an estimated million people largely laid low its own pseudo-aristocracy and their large land holdings, opening the door for other classes to take power. While that is largely seen as a good thing, it also ended any sense of noblesse oblige—the aristocratic urge to give something back to society, or at least not flaunt one’s wealth.

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Op-ed: Mexico’s Deadly Power Vacuum

federal police mexicoBy Edgardo Buscaglia, The New York Times, 5/30/2013

It is fashionable in the United States these days to assert that Mexico has arrived on the world stage economically and politically. Certainly, Mexico’s political, business and union elites have acquired great wealth — explained and unexplained — since the signing of the North American Free Trade Association with the United States and Canada in the 1990s.

Yet the vast majority of Mexicans face a daily struggle to survive under a government that is often either absent or corrupt, high levels of common and organized crime, a chronic lack of formal employment opportunities, and the highest levels of insecurity since the Mexican Revolution. Though it is now caught in a painful political transition, Mexico has the potential to become a world-class economic and political powerhouse. But it’s not there yet. Several necessary ingredients are missing.

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Plan de Guadalupe, 100 Years Later (Spanish)

hands - fistVanguardia, 3/26/2013

In 1913, Francisco I. Madero – who arrived at the presidency after helping put an end to Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship – had been murdered while Victoria Huerta, former secretary of defense, took power with the support of the United States Embassy in Mexico City. Politicians and local governments faced two options: recognize the new government as legitimate, or reject the usurpation of power and oppose it. The government of Coahuila, through Venustiano Carranza, chose the second.

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