Turning the Page in Mexico

Three months from now, when Mexico’s new president Felipe Calderón takes office, many will consider it a dubious honor. These are perhaps the only two certainties in Mexico’s politics right now. With oil prices higher than ever, its country-risk premiums lower than ever, remittances from abroad, tourism revenues, and foreign investment hitting all time highs, and annual GDP growth estimated at 4.2% for this year, Mexicans – in many ways – have never had it so good.

Indeed, after ten years of uninterrupted macroeconomic stability – something Mexico had not experienced since the 1960’s – the middle class has expanded dramatically, and reasonably priced bank credit is now available to millions who had been excluded in the past. Yet, despite these robust changes, poverty remains widespread, inequality abysmal, and social resentment is on the rise. This is why Calderón’s opponent in July’s presidential election, the populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, obtained such a large percentage of the vote compared to the Mexican left’s previous high-water mark in the election of 2000. But it was not enough to win an election that López Obrador and his backers thought was in the bag.

The extremely tight race – Calderón won by 0.5% of the vote – and the profound disappointment suffered by López Obrador and his supporters led them to contest the ruling of Mexico’s electoral authorities, and to refuse to acknowledge Calderón’s victory. Instead, López Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, and his supporters demanded a vote-by-vote recount, which is not mandated – though it is not proscribed – by the country’s electoral laws. The Electoral Court, however, decided otherwise. This is where Mexico stands today: a mess by any definition, with no obvious solution in sight.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/tFLI6UU;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now