The Expert Take
“The Expert Take” features original analysis and commentary from guest contributors featured exclusively on the Mexico Portal and on the Mexico Institute website. We invite you to check back frequently for updates to this column.
Read two articles and a timeline about Mexico's Energy Reform. First, a piece written by Jesús Reyes Heroles on energy reform and democracy. Second, Pedro Valenzuela and Duncan Wood assess the energy reform and its process following the enactment of the secondary legislation. read more
In a recent intervention at the general debate of the United Nations' General Assembly, President Peña Nieto unveiled a decision that had long been awaited by scholars working on Mexican foreign policy. In a cautious manner...he announced that Mexico would now participate in the United Nations' Peacekeeping Operations.
With time, the coverage, quality, and timeliness of economic data published in Mexico has changed. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI for its Spanish acronym) does quality work but has paces and delimited periods for technical reasons. Banco de México (the central bank of Mexico) does the same. On the other side, the Ministry of Finance (SHYCP for its acronym in Spanish) has declined in detail and timeliness. In other agencies, the information is published with substantial delays.
Read two articles and a timeline about Mexico's Energy Reform. First, a piece written by Jesús Reyes Heroles on energy reform and democracy. Second, Pedro Valenzuela and Duncan Wood assess the energy reform and its process following the enactment of the secondary legislation.
On Monday August 11, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto enacted the secondary legislation of the energy reform, composed of 9 new laws and amendments to 12 existing ones. With this action, a new chapter in the economic development of Mexico begins in which the private sector will be allowed to invest in various areas related to the exploration for and exploitation of natural resources such as oil and gas.
Despite its technical complexity and the political differences associated with the energy reform, the process that has been carried out to materialize it is unprecedented in Mexico. The constitutional reform, absolutely necessary to detonate real and profound change, achieved its goal, but it unfortunately left pending the “pulling out” of Pemex and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) from the Expenditure Budget of the Federation (PEF), which would have taken away the regulatory and normative straightjacket that represents a competitive disadvantage.
President Barack Obama has said that the huge number of unaccompanied children who are coming to the United States from Central America represents an urgent humanitarian situation. He is right; the suffering of tens of thousands of children is unthinkable. The humanitarian crisis that President Obama refers to is, however, only the tip of the iceberg of what has been happening in this corridor of intense migration - Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), Mexico and the United States - over the past two decades.
In addition to the well-touted economic reforms passed recently, this year Mexico approved a political reform package that, among other things, includes new measures aimed to ensure the greater participation of women in politics. The law now requires gender parity, which means that at least fifty percent of the candidates fielded by a political party in either federal or state legislative elections must be female. This begs the question as to whether there are enough women in the ranks to step up to the plate.
Educational authorities are currently too far removed from the classroom. There is no precise methodology to supervise what goes on inside the classroom of the more than 273,000 schools every day, and the administrative protocols manage poorly the flow of the information back to Mexico City.
Water issues in Mexico are one of the most serious for the present and future of the country; however, they do not seem to have a prominent place in the public policy agenda. We can identify three trends from this complex problem. First, the poor distribution and allocation of resources in part due to excess and waste, and in part due to shortages. Second, water pollution. Third, our water culture.
There is no single stakeholder more vested in a child’s education than his or her own parents. There has never been and there will never be someone to champion children’s futures more so than their own mothers and fathers. This premise is key to understanding the value of institutionalizing the role of parents in the education system in Mexico, and its impact on education policy .
Few decisions have received as much condemnation as the establishment by the Canadian government of visas for Mexicans. This requirement was initiated in July 2009 by decision of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from the Conservative Party and in that position since February 2006. In addition, the procedure for obtaining them is absurd, unnecessarily complex, and demeaning.
The education apparatus in Mexico plays with the same playbook as it did more than 50 years ago; iron-fisted unions, lack of accountability, poor performance and a central approach to local problems. Education, in general has neglected to innovate and shift the way it is managed. While every other industry has evolved, simplified and increased its productivity; education has remained untouched.
In this Expert Take, David A. Shirk considers the implications of the NSA wiretapping scandal on the US-Mexico relationship. He argues that the current crisis gives President Obama an opportunity to right America's course, and to rebuild the relationship with Mexico. Both countries should ponder the NSA scandal seriously, and recognize that cooperation is not just contingent upon immediate interests but on longer-term mutual benefits.
Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood discusses the viability for a successful political reform in Mexico. As the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto nears the end of it's first year, the reform agenda laid out thus far has the potential for far reaching implications for the strength and progress of Mexico's democracy.
Roderic Camp, Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member offers a comparative look at reforms proposed by previous presidential administrations in Mexico and shed's light on the current reform agenda of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
In this Expert Take, Luis de la Calle examines President Enrique Peña Nieto's energy reform proposal. He argues that the President's proposal is revolutionary not because of the language it adds, but rather, because of the language it omits.He concludes that the reform has the potential to transform Mexico's energy the sector into a competitive market that promotes the country's industrialization.
2013 Tax Reform Proposal in Mexico: A New Chapter of a Never-Ending Reform Process - The Expert TakeSep 23, 2013
In this Expert Take, Daniel Alvarez-Estrada considers Mexico's latest tax reform proposal. He discusses the country's historically weak tax system, analyzes the current proposal, and concludes that there are reasons to believe the Mexican tax system is on the verge of a major overhaul.
Vice President Joseph Biden is in Mexico to officially launch the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) as a reflection of the enormous importance of U.S. - Mexico relations. Program Associate Christopher Wilson discusses why this matters.
Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood discusses the Government of Mexico's recently announced fiscal reform package.
Jesus Reyes Heroles, President of GEA and Mexico Institute advisory board member discusses Mexico's Energy reform in this "Expert Take"
In this Expert Take Luis Rubio and Luis de la Calle discuss Mexico's Middle Class in the context of recent CONEVAl and INEGI statistics on poverty.
In this analysis, Christopher Wilson discusses how trusted traveler and trusted shipper programs (SENTRI for individuals, FAST for shippers) facilitate vetted, safe individuals and shipments while strengthening border security.
In his latest expert take contribution, Director Duncan Wood discusses the Peña Nieto administration's bold proposal to open up Mexico's telecommunications to more competition.
Last Saturday’s vote by the PRI party to change its statutes to allow for the application of the value added tax (IVA) to food and medicine, and to allow for increased private participation in the oil sector, significantly improves the prospects for the reform process under Enrique Peña Nieto. This marks an important victory for the reformers within the party, and is a sign that the government now faces minimal internal party divisions that could hold back the reform process.
Yesterday’s PGR arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo on charges of embezzlement marks a bold step forward by the Pena Nieto administration to establish its authority and legitimacy in the eyes of the Mexican public, and to send a message to Mexico’s most powerful unions. The arrest comes after the successful passage of an education reform bill through Congress, earning the government plaudits from international observers, who saw it as a much-needed attack on the power of the teachers union, the SNTE, but receiving a skeptical response from many national critics who believed that the government would not follow through with implementation of the new laws.
Is this finally the year that Congress reforms U.S. immigration policy and provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country? It would seem so, given the various encouraging statements from Republican and Democratic leaders over the past week. The policy calculations seem favorable, too, with years of net-zero migration from Mexico and the prospect of reduced migration pressures in the future. However, what remains highly unpredictable is the political calculus on immigration, with dynamics at the national and local level potentially at odds with each other.
This law is more than a year in the making, the product of a joint effort by academics, victims’ advocates, as well as victims themselves aligned with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. Its publication this week in the official government gazette marks a major win for the movement led by the poet Javier Sicilia, whose son Juan Francisco was killed in violence in March 2011.
For decades education in Mexico has been trapped by suspicious arrangements between the national agency for education and the main teachers union. It is commendable, that new President Peña Nieto aims to recover, from the Teacher’s Union (SNTE), the education policy decisions that the National Education Act confers, mainly, to the National Department of Education (SEP) and other local education authorities (articles 12 and 13).
Today Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto announced his government’s much anticipated security strategy to a nation exhausted and traumatized by six years of devastating violence and skyrocketing crime. In his statement he committed to heed the mandate of Mexican citizens in the last election calling for a country at peace and based on “respect and protection of human rights.”
During the era of the pre-democratic PRI in Mexico there existed a long history of national political pacts. Those pacts typically were between the PRI dominated executive branch and the two most influential actors, labor unions and business organizations. In the 1990s, at the highpoint of the democratic transition, the PRI for the first time in its history lost its ability to ensure a two-thirds vote in the legislative branch, preventing it from accomplishing constitutional changes.