El Nuevo Presidente de México

CAMBRIDGE: Cuando Vicente Fox asuma la presidencia de México el 1 de diciembre, el país celebrará mucho más que un simple cambio de líder. Por primera vez en su historia, la nación está cerca de cuatro logros simultáneos: democracia real, prosperidad económica, cohesión social y buenas relaciones con los Estados Unidos (EU). El sentir general en México es palpable: hay grandes esperanzas de que el país escape de los demonios del pasado (inestabilidad, corrupción y enormes divisiones sociales) para convertirse en una sociedad dinámica construída en base a la fortaleza de culturas diversas, a la participación social y a un papel cada vez más importante en el mundo.

Muy pocos mexicanos creían que el partido que tenía el gobierno, el Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), renunciaría al poder después de 71 años de dominio ininterrumpido. Pero cuando Fox derrotó al candidato del PRI este verano, los mexicanos recibieron un cambio pacífico de poder basado en un conteo honesto en las urnas. Gran parte del crédito por esto se lo lleva el presidente saliente, Ernesto Zedillo, el último en la lista de una docena de presidentes priístas. Zedillo fue el paladín de las reformas democráticas durante su periodo, permitiendo así que las elecciones y la transición política se desarrollaran tranquilamente.

El legado de Zedillo es una economía en un estado notablemente bueno, gracias sobre todo al Tratado de Libre Comercio de Norteamérica (TLC), los acuerdos de libre comercio que unen las economías de Canadá, México y EU. El TLC entró en efecto el 1 de enero de 1994. Irónicamente, México cayó en una crisis financiera temporal ese mismo año, no como resultado del tratado comercial, sino de un repentino revés en los flujos de capital hacia el país - el tipo de crisis que golpeó al este de Asia tres años después. El TLC fue para México el principal mecanismo para sobreponerse a la crisis, pues su economía incrementó las exportaciones a EU dramáticamente, logrando una recuperación económica basada en las ventas al exterior.

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