Good news: After weeks of political gridlock, Mexico’s three main parties have agreed a framework for a new anti-corruption system. It should be put to a vote in the lower house of Congress this week.
But the devil is in the details. Does it go far enough? Will it get watered down before it comes to a vote? And, the biggest question of all, will it stop corruption?
The jury is out. But before taking a look about what’s good and what should be better, it is worth remembering why Mexico so urgently needs a serious anti-corruption strategy. Corruption has long been an accepted part of life in Mexico. If you start digging, you will find it, says one political analyst – much like how the missing bodies of 43 students in the state of Guerrero has turned up other undiscovered mass graves. Read more
By Alejandro Poiré of Tecnológico de Monterrey
What makes Mexico’s current political turmoil unique is that it has put the problem of corruption front and centre of the social agenda. Streets, schools, homes, corporate offices, union meetings and workplaces are teeming with a mix of anger and concern. There is an underlying feeling that it is corruption that lies at the root of our inability to protect the innocent from murder and abuse; that it is corruption that could derail the future promised by the remarkable reforms of the past few years.
As Mexico’s leading public intellectuals have argued, its current crisis, a crisis of corruption and rule of law, calls into question its very viability as a democracy. Yet its political elites have yet to grasp the depth of the problem. The government’s leadership style has pushed social allies away. Opposition parties, mired in their own decomposition, have not served as a channel for social outrage, and players on all sides of the aisle seem way too eager to look past their lamentable wrongdoings. Read more
How far to trust a politician? Often a tricky subject – especially in a country like Mexico, where impunity is rife and many elected representatives appear still to live by the maxim of the late Carlos Hank González, an influential politician and businessman (with a statue to his honour in the city of Toluca), namely: “A politician who is poor is a poor politician.” Read more
It was hard to miss the massive demonstrations in Mexico City on Thursday night: tens of thousands of people marched to the main square, the Zócalo, many waving flags with Mexico’s green and white stripes turned black. They were demanding justice in the wake of the apparent murder of 43 students in September that has convulsed the nation. Many chanted from one to 43, then shouted the word “justice”.
Enrique Peña Nieto, the president, clearly heard the call: at a justice forum on Friday, he said: “One of the principal demands of Mexican society is to count on better results in the procurement and implementation of justice.
For months, the word “oil” in Mexico has gone hand-in-hand with “reform”, with the government giddily looking ahead to a rosy future filled with billions of dollars pouring into the sector.
Then oil prices tanked and people started whispering that maybe Mexico’s energy reform was not looking so attractive after all, and maybe Mexico’s fragile economic recovery might be given another knock. Read more
Mexico’s energy reform is all about boosting investment and thus production. But the million dollar question is: just how much investment will flood in, and to what type of resource, when fields are put on the block starting from next year?
Ernesto Marcos, a former CFO of Pemex, the Mexican state company, has hazarded what looks like the first comprehensive guess. Read more
By Jonathan Fenby, Trusted Sources
There’s nothing like an acronym or a catchy label when it comes to emerging markets. The master alchemist, Jim O’Neill, set the pace with the formulation 13 years ago of the four-nation BRICs (with or without a final capital S for South Africa). Fidelity followed that with the MINT collection of Mexico, Indonesia Nigeria and Turkey constituting MINT.
Then Morgan Stanley chipped in with Fragile Five, which – such are the vagaries of nomenclature – includes five members of the previous two aggregations.
Now, a new and potentially more durable grouping is emerging – even if it does not lead itself to an acronym that trips off the tongue. The best I can come up with is CIMI – or, if you twist it to give Mexico rather than China first place, the marginally more memorable MICI, though that would invite too many columnists to compare them to Disney’s mouse. Read more
It’s a good job discipline is an integral part of the Mexican ruling party ethos.
Lawmakers of all shades will need it next month when it comes to debating legislation to implement Mexico’s keynote reform – opening up the energy sector after nearly eight decades under state control: key debates will clash with the World Cup – something opposition lawmakers fought hard to avoid. Read more
Last week, Humberto Benítez, Mexico’s attorney-general for consumer protection, told the press that the thought of handing in his resignation “never even crossed my mind”. On Wednesday, Benítez was clearing out his desk, the latest symbol of a more transparent, and more accountable country. Read more
Mexico’s reformist administration suffered its first significant setback on Tuesday as political infighting forced it to back-peddle on plans to unveil a banking-reform bill. But how serious is the scrap? And how will it impact the rest of the government’s reform programme?
Investors need to have a sense of both answers because they have been pouring billions of dollars into the country in the hope that centrist President Enrique Peña Nieto can transform Mexico into one of the world’s most successful emerging markets. Read more
Enrique Peña Nieto’s clean-cut image is matched by his enthusiasm for transparency, a theme that ran through his election campaign and he has followed through while in power. The Mexican president and his Cabinet recently published audited statements of their personal income, properties and other assets. Read more
Who are Mexico’s real dinosaurs? The term usually applies to certain old-school fat cats in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose Enrique Peña Nieto won last Sunday’s election. A common fear is that these dinosaurs will get their claws into the 45-year old Pena Nieto when he assumes the presidency in December.
But the dinosaur label fits Mexican leaders of other political stripes too – notably Andrés Manuel López Obrador (pictured) of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Read more
What is in an election? As Mexico gears up for Sunday’s presidential vote, much of the chatter has centred on the possible return of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) under Enrique Peña Nieto, its candidate and far-away favourite, according to opinion polls.
And with little wonder: when the party finally lost power in 2000 after ruling for 71 consecutive years of pseudo democracy, many political analysts predicted that the party would shrivel and die as the country embraced a new, more pluralistic future.
But let’s step back a moment from the constant questions of “will a PRI victory mean a return to the past?” and consider the political and economic stability that this election season offers investors compared with six years ago. Read more
To judge by Thursday’s sell-off of the Mexican peso, investors are more than a little worried about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the country’s leftwing presidential candidate.
The scare came after a poll, published by Reforma newspaper, showed that López Obrador was now just four percentage points behind Enrique Peña Nieto, current front runner and candidate of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Read more
The jargon of Mexican politics borrows considerably from that of cock-fighting. A key moment is the “destape”, when the roosters’ hoods are taken off, their identity is revealed and they come in fighting.
Now, within days, two heavyweight roosters are up and running, ready to fight, though not with each other. Read more