Category Archives: Social policy

President changes tack on Juárez violence

After initially seeming to blame the victims in the massacre of 15 high school students at a birthday party in Ciudad Juárez (“they were probably killed by another group with which they had a certain rivalry”), President Calderón announced another change in strategy to address the violence in the border city. The President promised, without providing details, an “integrated” strategy including new social assistance programs, while also saying that the measures “will not be imposed from the center, but proposed and discussed with the people of Juárez, and implemented hand in hand with them.” Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont is travelling to Juárez today to discuss new actions with Governor José Reyes Baeza. Separately, the Army said they killed the presumed leader of the attack on the students, Adrián Ramírez, in a shootout. The motivation for the attack on the students remains unknown. (Reforma 2/3,  2/7)

‘Secular state’ amendment moves forward in Congress

In reaction to the PAN’s efforts to overturn Mexico City’s law permitting gay marriage, state-level bans on abortion, and other actions favored by the Catholic Church, the PRI and PRD opposition moved forward with a constitutional amendment that adds the word ‘secular’ to the definition of the state: “It is the will of the Mexican people to constitute themselves in a representative, democratic, secular, and federal Republic…” The measure passed the Commission on Constitutional Issues by a vote of 18-5, with all parties uniting against the PAN. The measure may go for a vote in the full Chamber this session. Since Mexico City passed a law decriminalizing early-stage abortion, 18 states have passed laws or constitutional amendments stating that life begins at conception. (Universal 2/4, 2/8)

Federal government tries to block gay marriages in Mexico City

Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez filed suit with the Supreme Court to block Mexico City’s new law permitting same sex marriage and allowing gay couples to adopt. The suit claims that the Constitution defines a family as a father, mother, and children and protects the fundamental rights of procreation and descent. (Universal 1/26, 1/30)

PRI puts social agenda ahead of political reform

The leaders of the PRI in Congress, Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Francisco Rojas, said the party’s congressional delegations agreed to make their legislative priority measures to ease the impact of the recession on people’s lives, and not the President’s political reform package. These include lowering school fees and toll road charges, increased penalties for crooked weights and measures in fuel sales, and limits on credit card fees, among others. PRI Senate spokesman Carlos Jiménez Macías said, “This is an agreement based on the urgent needs of the country, not the President’s priorities.” (Excelsior 1/29)

Castañeda and Aguilar Camín: A Future for Mexico

The Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center has posted an English version of an extended essay by Jorge Castañeda and Héctor Aguilar Camín entitled A Future for Mexico.  The original was published in Nexos. From the essay:

Mexico is a prisoner of its History. Inherited ideas, sentiments and interests keep Mexico from swiftly moving to the place yearned for by its citizens. The history that has been logged in our national psyche—in its laws, its institutions, its habits, and fantasies—obstructs the country’s future trajectory. It has been famously observed that politicians are held hostage by dead economists. Similarly, public life in Mexico is held hostage by the decisions of its dead Presidents, by the political inheritance of statism and corporatism that we call “revolutionary nationalism” and is sheltered by that mythical acronym—PRI—that today is both a minority party and the reigning political culture.

Mexico needs to be emancipated from its past. It could achieve this through democratic means, making the 2012 election a referendum on its future. What follows is a proposal for that future, to be debated and hopefully included in a platform and voted for in 2012, so that year’s elections not merely be about individuals or parties, but also about the prosperous, egalitarian, and democratic country Mexicans want: a middle class society indistinguishable from others around the globe.

The full version is here.

Cabinet reshuffle also shakes up list for PAN 2012 contenders

The naming of Heriberto Félix Guerra as the new Secretary of Social Development succeeding Cordero also raises the profile of both men as potential contenders for the PAN 2012 presidential nomination. Félix is a senator from the Sinaloa (on leave of absence), and has been the undersecretary for small and medium business at the Ministry of Economy. He is also—perhaps more importantly—the son in law of legendary PAN leader Manuel Clouthier, who died in a mysterious car wreck in 1989.

Carstens to Banco de México; Cordero to Ministry of Finance

President Felipe Calderón finally made known his decision on economic policy management. This morning, he nominated Finance Secretary Agustín Carstens to be the next Governor of Banco de México, replacing Guillermo Ortiz who has led the central bank for the last 12 years.  Carstens’ nomination to a six year term must be ratified by the Senate. He also named Ernesto Cordero, who has been the Secretary of Social Development since 2008 as the new Secretary of Finance. Cordero, who has an MA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, has been one of Calderón’s closest associates over the past decade. Cordero was head of legislative studies for the PAN from 2000-2003 when Calderón was the head of the PAN delegation in the Chamber of Deputies. In 2003, he went to Banobras and then the Ministry of Energy when Calderón headed those two agencies, and he was the candidate’s chief adviser on economic affairs during the 2006 presidential campaign and transition.  In his remarks today, President Calderón said the personnel changes:

will allow for a better harmonization of the relation between the federal Government and the Central Bank, in order to reach the twin goals of keeping low rates of inflation and … at the same time promoting the changes and transformations that will enable the acceleration of the rate of growth of our economy.

The President also named Heriberto Félix Guerra as the new Secretary of Social Development. Félix is a senator from the Sinaloa (on leave of absence), and has been the undersecretary for small and medium business at the Ministry of Economy. (Presidencia 12/9)