México 2012: Political and Economic
perspectives, a cobference by Denise Dresser
May 9th 2o12, Cancún Quintana Roo, Mexico
Yesterday afternoon Dr. Denise Dresser held a conference at the Convention Center in Cancun, Mexico as the closing act for the 4th Annual Congress organized by the Business School of Universidad Anáhuac Cancún and The Confederation of Mexican Entrepeneurs (COPARMEX).
Denise Dresser has a PhD in Politics by Princeton University, she is a professor of political science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), where she has taught comparative politics, political economy, and Mexican politics since 1991. She is the author of numerous publications on Mexican politics and U.S.-Mexico relations. She writes a political column for the Mexican newspaper Reforma and the news weekly Proceso. She is a Contributing Editor at the Los Angeles Times, and has contributed numerous opinion pieces to The New York Times and La Opinion, and is a frequent commentator on Mexican politics in the U.S. and Canadian media. She has also worked as a consultant to the United Nations Development Program. She has been named one of the 300 most influential people in Mexico by the magazine Líderes Mexicanos.
With her unique style and fluent speech, Dr. Dresses invited the audience in Cancun conformed by students, entrepeneurs and politicians, to exercise freedom of thought and critic of the current political and economic situation of Mexico.
In the middle of Presidential campaigns and after the first official debate for presidency took place, Dr. Dresser’s conference analyzed thoroughly the political and economic situation of Mexico.
She pointed out that the general felling of citizens is that of fear and that the tendency that arises is that now mexicans are starting to reconsider going back to old antidemocratic practices, they are searching for a totalitary form of government that can at least provide their safety, even if that means they have to sacrifice their freedom. People in Mexico are tired of the powerful groups oppresing and “squeezing citizens like oranges” to take everything they can without giving back.
She layed the perspective of the 3 principal contenders for the presidency and their political parties with a clear and untaimed analysis:
She began with the situation of Enrique Peña Nieto and his party, Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). She stated that this party is growing stronger behind Peña Nieto’s pretty face and soap opera media campaign, he is a perfectly manufactured and designed candidate, he gives people the image of a new political party and a glamourous charismatic president with the unconditional support of his allies (the two TV broadcasting companies Televisa and TV Azteca), while the system behind him stays the same rotten and corrupted structure that has made sure to harm Mexico for over 70 years. PRI and Peña Nieto represent the ultimate harm to mexican society, their practices have always been and will always be to favor their own interests they will do anything they can to protect their businesses and their privileges, even if that means going against their own country’s development.
Moving further with her lecture, Dr. Dresser layed the overview on Josefina Vázquez Mota en her political party Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), she stated that they have failed to change and to differenciate themselves from PRI and their most awful practices. Vázquez Mota comes across as the character “ElastiGirl” from the animated movie “The Incredibles” said Dr. Dresser, because she can bend towards one stand in a moment and the next one she bends on the opposite direction, she tells everyone what they want to hear even if they are antagonic groups and is overall unable to define her standing point. She uses a slogan in her campaign saying she is different, well, the only thing that makes her different from other candidates es her gender, she is a woman and that’s the only thing, otherwise she is trapped between the statu quo, she doesn’t dare to separate herself from President Calderón -even though she should- and she doesn’t dare to break old alliances and pacts. This has represented a high cost to her party because the reason for their existence was to change these practices and break these alliances and stop the old ways in the first place. But it seems like both PAN and Josefina are looking to mantain things the way they are, they don’t have a proposal or anything to offer and with this they are only helping PRI make its comeback.
After that, it was the turn to speak about Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his party Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), she said that AMLO shows himself divided, living in the past, without content of speech and volatile, sometimes he is agressive, sometimes he talks about love, he wants to redeem himself and come off as a good and loving candidate but he can’t get past the image of his true self, an eogcentric chaotic and agressive populist that doesn’t care to harm everyone around.
AMLO contended for presidency 6 years ago in the past election and didn’t win, just like the charachter from the movie “Terminator” he said “I’ll be back”, he spent 5 years creating the lack of confidence that he now recieves from the people.
He has glimpses of important work because he is able to see what the problems Mexico faces are, but that’s not enough and the problem is, he has no idea of how to solve them he takes advantage of the social resentment and claims “to ease poverty but he he doesn’t say how to create wealth” he talks about eliminating privileges of the wealthy but he doesn’t talk about how to erradicate antidemocratic groups such as the sindicates which he defends. Mexico’s left party is lost, it is far from being modern and propositive, it is a long way from transforming resentment into action which is what helped Tony Blair or Michelle Bachelet, Mexico’s left is completely disfunctional.
It has made sure to autosabotage and with this, it has also become an unwilling promoter of PRI’s comeback.
All of the above generates a state of uncertainty and the group of citizens that don’t know who to vote for grows larger everyday.
Continuing with her lecture, Dr. Dresser connected the political situation to the economic context, she said that Mexico in this year alone has 5 million more poor, she said “Mexico is left behind more and more everytime in the economic and political aspect, in this country 50.1 million people live below the poverty line and 19 million more don’t have enough money a day to eat” the economy has layed all of its hope on oil and now that the production ins going down, we can see a series of problems that are huge and urgent, “Mexico can’t afford to keep wasting time, it has to restructure its economy”.
And the reason why the economy is not restructured, why the urgent legal and political reforms are not being voted is quite simple, some believe that it is because of the parlamentary division between parties in congress, that they are not able to reach an agreement and to vote for the reforms but the truth is more terrible.
It’s not that they are not capable of reaching an agreement, the agreement is there, it’s unwritten and a given, it’s a pact “between politicians, entrepeneurs, sindicates, governors and groups that benefit from the statu quo, but it’s an agreement to not change, it’s a pact for NO”. A pact to keep sqeezing citizens and their work in every way they can.
The scariest thing of this whole scenario is that behind the political formula denominated by Dr. Dresser as “Modelo Bombón” that stands for the phrase people yell at Peña Nieto: “Peña Nieto Bombón te quiero en mi colchón” even the young are considering to vote for PRI. Before this prospect the obligated question that comes to mind is ¿Don’t you read?, ¿Don’t you know anything about your own history? or ¿Am I going to have to come here and teach you a few lessons on contemporary mexican politics? That was the question Dr. Dresser layed upon the audience of college students from a high socoeconomic layer.
At the end of the lecture the question in everyone’s mind tends to be the same, ¿What can I do as a citizento change this?
Dr. Dresser answered it making a reference to Tolkien’s work “The Lord of The Rings” she explained that Frodo was a simple hobbit form the shire, without looking for it he was faced with the most important decision, he had the choice to destroy the ring of power that will bring doom upon everyone, so he made his choice, he stood up and unwillingly became a hero, she said “we should all be Frodos and destroy the ring of corruption”
She also mentioned that she always gets the same question after all of her lectures and she said its so persistent that she wrote a book to answer it: “El país de uno” her latest publicaction goues deeper into this analysis.
Finally a student inquired what she thought about voting in itself, he said that with this bleak overview what happens if you don’t want to vote for any of the candidates, would it be better not to vote? She categorically answered that voting is our duty as citizensm that we must exercise our right.
She concluded her lecture with the following statement: “I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, think for yourselves, look for the least rotten apple, go to the urns, hold your breath, and vote”.
Without a doubt we have a long way to go in mexican political, economica and civil life, we need to change the perception on politics, the ideas that have been implanted for centuries, the ones that tell us politics are boring, not my problem, I don’t believe in it. Above all we have to train ourselves and learn to think, something that we haven’t been taught to do ever since the spaniards came.
With knowledge and freedom of thought, we will be able to demand form our employees in the government, that they protect our rights as they should.
The first step towards that journey, begins reading.
– Kristina Guerrero