Tag Archives: Castañeda

Jorge Castañeda abandons quest as independent candidate for President; endorses Senator Armando Ríos Piter

Jorge Castañeda, one of Mexico’s leading public policy intellectuals and Foreign Minister under Vicente Fox, wrote today that he was giving up his long-time quest to run as an independent candidate for President.  And he threw his support to independent Senator Armando Ríos Piter, who resigned from the PRD and declared his candidacy in February.

Comparing the political situation in Mexico to that of France, Castañeda wrote in his column that while the objective conditions in Mexico were even more favorable than in France for a fresh political voice to triumph, the electoral system made it very unlikely, especially with a multiplicity of potential independent candidates.  To have a chance of unseating the discredited partidocracy, voters would have to rally around a single independent candidate:

After more than a year of considerable effort, it is evident to me that … this unity candidate will not be me.  However, I believe there are others who can meet the requirements:  of freshness, a breadth of support, an ability to get people out.  One in particular:  El Jaguar, [Armando] Ríos Piter can count on my total support, in this fight that has barely begun.

Castañeda was personally the major force in making independent candidacies possible in Mexico.  In 2004, he started a political and legal challenge to the electoral laws that gave registered political parties exclusive right to name candidates for office.  His case went to the Mexican Supreme Court, where he lost.  He appealed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where ultimately he was again turned down, in appeals that lasted into 2013. However, while the case was pending, Congress approved independent candidates in the 2007 electoral reform.  (And in 2015, the voters of Nuevo León elected Jaime Rodríguez, El Bronco, governor — the first independent to win a major political office.)

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.

Castañeda: ‘The most transcendental proposal since NAFTA’

Former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda, who took the government to the Inter-American Human Rights Court over the issue of independent candidacies, called the political reform proposal “the most transcendental proposal since Salinas [called for] the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.” “Without reforming the essential institutions of the old authoritarian priista regime, Mexico is paralyzed. The Mexican political system, ever since the PRI lost its majority the Chamber in 1997, hasn’t functioned. It doesn’t allow decisions to be taken, to innovate, nor confront the country’s challenges,” he wrote.

Cordero draws mixed reviews

The naming of Ernesto Cordero, 41, as Minister of Finance drew mixed reviews. Business Coordinating Council president Armando Paredes endorsed the choice and said the private sector looked forward to working together with him on the needed economic reforms. Echoing many others, former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda wrote that, “For the first time since [Luis Echeverría named José López Portillo as Minister of Finance in 1973] the leadership of Hacienda is in the hands of someone nominated for exclusively political motives and without the best evident technical qualifications.”   (Reforma 12/10, 12/10)