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Page 1: Mexican Politics


Page 2: Mexican Politics

United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) Mexico

Population: 107.5 million (readings;2006); 118.4 million (net;2012)

Area: 761,602 square miles (roughly the size of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada combined)

Administrative Divisions: 31 States and 1 Federal District 

Head of State: President Head of Government: President 

Freedom House Ratings: Political Rights-2; Civil Rights-2 (2005); Political Rights-3; Civil Liberties/Rights-3; Freedom Rights-3 (2013)

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Politics in Mexico

Government: Presidential system, Federal republic, Constitutional republic

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Parties Institutional Revolutionary Party

(PRI)- Partido Revolucionario Institucional

Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)- Partido Revolucionario Democratico

National Action Party (PAN)- Partido Accion Nacional

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Mexico in a glance

Regional diversity caused by geography. › Deserts in the north, to semi-tropical regions

of the south. › Rapid urbanization in the center of the nation

(Mexico city), and in the north due to industrialization causing rural-to-urban migration.

› Difference in economic pursuits North= export-oriented industries Central Mexico= heavy industries South= agriculture

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› Difference in Culture North= frontier region, since colonization,

thus rugged individualism, prefers private rather than state ownership,

Central Mexico= view north as “barbarians of the north”, support state presence in the economy and other aspects of life

South= indigenous people, communal land holding and rejects private ownership of the land,

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› Racial differences Northerners= Caucasians or people of mixed

European and indigenous heritage (mestizos).

Southerners= of indigenous heritage or mestizo

Regional racism

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Mexico and the United States› Millions of Mexicans travel to United States

to work, visit family members, shop or just vacation legally or illegally.

› United States’ cultural influence on Mexico is very powerful Many Mexicans look to the US for their

popular culture and for cues about their own futures.

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Features and Evolution of Mexican Politics


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Evolution of Mexican Politics

Conquest and Colonialism- long history of colonialism by the Spaniards (three hundred years of rule)

national identity formed due to struggle against colonizers.

In 1822 Mexico became independent

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1910 revolution

Led by Francisco Madero against Diaz’s regime

Sense of national identity and unity emerged from the struggle, breaking down some of the provincialism that had characterized Mexican society.

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Mexico under PRI

Alvaro Obregon Plutarco Elias Calles- proposed creation

of national political party that would unite all revolutionaries in one political organization that would resolve the problem of political succession within its own organizational structures. National Revolutionary Party was born (PNR), predecessor of PRI.

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Features of Mexican Politics

Authoritarianism Dominance of a single party, the PRI. Meta-constitutional power of the


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Six-year term in office with no reelection. Pattern of executive dominance in the

political system that had been firmly established under Diaz and practiced by Obregon and Calles.

presidency that could dominate Congress effectively

President has constitutional, meta-constitutional and anti-constitutional powers.

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Mexico City dominated the nation federal government dictated to the states

Heavy state intervention in the market economy

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State Corporatism

All are captured in a system of interest representation that channels demands through the PRI.

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Clientelism and Corruption

The recruitment system of political elites.

The role of the marginalized sector in the society.

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Economic Development Cardenas Import-substituting Industrialization (ISI)

› “Mexican Miracle”› Mexico having the most inequitable distribution of

income in the world› Effects

Cities’ population exploded Rural poor could not be adequately absorbed into the

labor force Income remained maldistributed The state developed a large presence in the economy

that threatened the private sector

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Echiverria Reintroduced populist policies of

Cardenas but with some additions Dela Madrid and Salinas Neo-liberalism

› Welcoming of foreign investment› Competitive Mexican exporters› The poor became poorer

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Mexico’s Protracted Democratization 1. Modernization of Mexican Society 2. Policy and Political Failures - student movement in 1968 - debt crisis in 1980s - fail response to earthquake - electoral fraud Manifestations of Political Change 1. Opposition Parties and Political Reform Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) National Action Party (PAN)

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C. Other Parties   2. The 2006 Elections 3. The Media and Civil Society 4. Popular Organizations and Civil Society 5. Women and Politics ( sa next reporter

na poi tong highlighted part na itey)  

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Media and Politics

State owned television network, Televisa, and other major stations became excessively pro-government and pro-PRI starting from the time of former president Miguel Alemán (1946-52).

The 1997 midterm elections adopted new campaign reforms and laws mandating broadcasters provide equal time to all major parties contributing to Vicente Fox’s successful campaign in 2000.

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Print media, such as Unomásuno, La Jornada, Proceso, and Reforma, have become more critical of the political system and public policies.

Mexico now has a free critical press, essential to democracy.

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Popular Organizations & Civil Society

In the aftermath of the 1968 student movement, Mexico has experienced a surge in popular organizations and social movements.

In both membership and leadership, popular movements tend to redress the gender imbalance otherwise evident in Mexican public life.

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Popular movements heavily emphasized socioeconomic issues, human rights, and election politics.

The National Human Rights Commission was created to address police abuse and political violence and the Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan network of organizations, sought to protect the right of free and fair elections.

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Women and Politics

When the PRI had a near total monopoly on legislative seats and executive appointments, women’s issues received relatively little attention in national politics.

Personalism in the 1970s and 1980s meant that women in public office were family members or mistresses of high officials.

In 2002, Mexico passed an electoral reform requiring all parties to present women in 30 percent of their congressional candidates.

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Rebellion in Chiapas

Chiapas, an economically backward state where political violence and caciquismo, the rule of local despots (caciques), reached notorious levels.

The Zapatista National Liberation Front found sympathy for their cause in both Chiapas and around the Nation forcing them to rise against the government during the North American Free Trade Agreement’s coming into effect.

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Although the Congress eventually passed a law to protect the interests of the Mexicans of indigenous heritage and permit self-rule for indigenous groups, Zapatistas rejected the government’s overture as a sham.

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Human rights in Mexico

Vicente Fox’s administration published government documents describing PRI-led human rights violation against guerrillas and students in 1971 and the 1968 student movement.

Fox signed a transparency law that makes all government information publically available.

Despite these gains, Mexico continues to have an imperfect human rights record because the years of political corruption have created an attitude of impunity and disregard of the law by the police and local officials.

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Population (2006, estimated): 190 mn (world’s fifth most populous state)

Known cities like São Paulo (almost 18mn inhabitants) and Rio de Janeiro (more than 10.5 mn)

The largest tropical rainforest: The Amazon basin

Area: 3.29 million square miles Portuguese-speaking country Most industrialized of the South American


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Question: Why did democracy fail in Brazil? How

could the military manage to rule for two decades?

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Answer:An elite-controlled (trapo, military, technocrats) political, cultural, economic and social system in Brazil preferred whatever form of government would best protect their vested interests. In this sense, there was no real and strong movement to fight against the prevailing system. Consequently, to keep them in power, they subjugated the masses by making sure that income, participation and education are low so as to keep them dumb and powerless. In the process, current authoritarian regime is maintained where the elite rules and the mass is subjugated.

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Main themes: #vested interests, #hegemony, #class

struggle, #dumbing of the public, #Marxism,

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Sub themes: #political participation and awareness,

#power relations, #violence of images, #Marx’s concept of ideology, #Engel’s concept of state

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As a country, Brazil is endowed with a huge size and a vast amount of natural resources, rendering it the potential to play a crucial role in world politics in general and Latin American politics in particular. But the waves of bringing about democracy in Brazil have been spasmodic and interspersed with violent political revolutions and subsequent military repression.

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The opposition fought for democracy on two fronts. The first was electoral arena, in which an opposition party sought to deny victory to the government’s allies and that party was the Brazilian Democracy Movement (MDB) which later changed its name to the Party of the Brazilian Democracy Movement (PMDB). The second front consisted of non-electoral arenas where grassroots organizations and the organized labor movement fought for the democratization of local government and labor relations.

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Brazil’s transition to democracy included the writing of a new constitution which was completed in 1988.

The lengthy new constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly which was designed to

introduce a parliamentary regime in Brazil that would have increased the powers of the legislature was defeated significantly by the military and the

incumbent president at that time, President Sarney.Brazil’s institutional structure is roughly patterned on the U.S. Constitution’s principle of separation of powers wherein the president is both head of state

and head of government.

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The bicameral Congress consists of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house with 513 members drawn from the country’s

26 states and the Federal District of Brasilia, the national capital; and the Senate, the upper house, which has 3

representatives from each state and the Federal District (81 total). Members of the Chamber of Deputies serve 4-year

terms; senators serve 8 years. The powers of the two houses are evenly balanced, with both possessing the right to initiate legislation and review the federal budget. Congress may also

override presidential vetoes. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review. Each state is headed by a governor

and a Federal District with a unicameral state legislature. County-level governments called municipios are the main

institutions of local government.

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A politician seeking office for the first time would benefit from the help of political patrons who might tell his followers to vote for an individual. Once a politician has gained a congressional seat, she must figure out how to reward those who have voted for her. This system strongly encourages pork barrel politics and clientilism.

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Robust Federalism Women and Politics Human Rights in Brazil

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Hypotheses on Democracy and Democratization

Elites Committed to Democracy State Institutions National Wealth Private Enterprise

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Middle Class Support of the Disadvantaged Civil Society and Political Culture Education and Freedom of Information Favorable International Environment