December 29, 2000


Commentary

A year of surprises and a year hope

A politician thinks of the next election; a man of state thinks of the next generation. James F. Clarke

 

By Enrique Davis-Mazlum

A year of surprises. Mexico was the example of clean elections, democracy and change. Millions of Mexicans have placed their hopes on one man and that is President Vicente Fox. After 71 years Mexico has elected a President who does not come out of the PRI (Institutionalized Revolutionary Party) and comes from a party of opposition. President Vicente Fox was sworn in on December 1st 2000.

One of the major surprises was the Cabinet Members that President Elect Vicente Fox designated. There are only five members who are affiliated to the PAN (National Action Party): Santiago Creel Miranda who has been affiliated to the PAN for less than two years is now the Secretary of State and one of the most influential persons of President Vicente Fox; Francisco Gutierrez Barrios was the Governor of Chihuahua and is now the Secretary of Internal Control and Administrative Development; Martha Sahagun Jimenez was the spokeswoman during the administration of Governor Vicente Fox in Guanajuato and was candidate for Mayor in Celeya, Guanajuato and is now the Spokeswoman for President Vicente Fox; Josefina Eugenia Vasquez Mota was recently elected Congresswoman and resigned in order to accept the position as Secretary of Social Development; Ernesto Rufo Appel was the first opposition Governor of the State of Baja California and is now the Director of the Office of Issues of the Northern Mexican Border. The rest of the members come from private companies and the majority do not have a party affiliation and this makes it an excellent cabinet to start a transition period in Mexico.

Another surprise was that President Vicente Fox created the Office of Attention to Mexican Migrants in the Exterior who is directed by Dr. Juan Hernandez. This office will be of great importance during the Fox Administration. The Mexican government for the first time will have an office that will dedicate all of its resources to help all those Mexicans who live outside of Mexico.

One of the biggest challenges for President Fox was negotiating with Congress the Budget for the year 2001 and after intense negotiations there was an agreement on December 26, 2000. The Executive Branch was able to negotiate in a civilized manner with the legislative Branch and avoided all possibilities of deadlock on this issue. Mexico is learning, things are changing, but one of the biggest changes that need to occur next year is the internal organization, purpose and ideology of Mexican political parties.

If the PRI wishes to win seats in Congress during the 2003 elections it needs to make changes that have not taken place. The PRI has the biggest challenge and it needs to address all of the internal problems that it is facing. Members of the PRI are taking a very childish stand and are not resolving internal problems; the PRI is not allowing younger generations who do believe in "Democracy and Social Justice".

The PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) needs to make reforms and become a modern left party and decide on the purpose of the existence of the party, since its purpose was defeating the PRI and President Fox was able to accomplish that on July 2nd, 2000. The PAN needs to take a step forward and become more tolerant and accept that Mexico is a very diverse country. Respect all religions and beliefs. Like President Benito Juarez said: "El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz" (Respect to others is peace).

The two new governors who took office after President Fox was elected are Pablo Salazar Mendiguchia who was elected Governor of Chiapas through a coalition of parties against the PRI. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Chief of Government of Mexico City on December 5th, 2000. Lopez Obrador arrived to his swearing ceremony in a taxi because there was a demonstration that would not allow his vehicle to cross and he decided to walk one block and grab a taxi that would take him to the ceremony.

Many Mexicans were wondering what President Zedillo would do, but in less than a week the United Nations announced that they had offered President Ernesto Zedillo to head an office that will deal with social development for third world countries at the United Nations in New York.

The biggest surprise was that the United States of America became a Banana Republic on November 7th, 2000. The US will have to change the way it elects its Presidents, because the way it is done it is obsolete and old, the votes of people don't count, and a true democracy is one that allows you to pick who will be your elected officials. The electoral system worked when there were 13 states, but there are 50 now and a very diverse population. After many years of debate and scandals Mexico adopted measures that in reality allowed Mexicans to elect their official representatives in a civilized and transparent manner. The President of IFE (Federal Institute of Elections) Jose Woldenberg proved to the world that Mexico could have clean and clear elections in a civilized manner.

In Mexico reelection is not allowed by the Constitution and that is why reelection is based on the party in power and not a person. Lets hope that both President Fox and President Elect Bush are men of State and not Politicians. Even though many Mexicans believe that things will change, there are those that are aware that things cannot change from one day to another. We just have to wait and see what surprises lie for the year 2001.

Enrique Davis-Mazlum, attends ITAM in Mexico City, studying for his Masters in Public Policy and is the Assistant Director of Vortice: Analysis and Proposals of Public Policy Journal, davismazlum@hotmail.com

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