As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen.
      Mexican Proverb


México is the most populous Spanish-
speaking country in the world. According to the latest statistics, México's total population is over 99 million. Mestizos, of Indian and Spanish blood), make up 60% of the population, followed by indigenous peoples  (30%), whites (9%), and other ethnic minorities  (1%).

Carnaval in Mazatlan

Visitors and locals scream, sing, shout and dance amid confetti and ribbons. Bands of all kinds play the infectious rhythms of the State of Sinaloa. And the food–oh, the food–camarones (shrimp) prepared in every way possible, washed down with ice cold Pacifico beer, for it’s Carnaval Time, Mazatlán’s biggest pachanga (fiesta). 
                     Read more

March 12, 2006

by Bob Brooke

Like many countries during their development, Mexico has had its share of political ups and down, even though it’s a multi-party democracy. Mexican politics has been notorious for election fraud–something that is happily beginning to change--ever since it adopted a republican government in 1917.

The general election held on July 2nd, 2000, became a climactic point in the democratic advance in Mexico. For the first time in 71 years, the major opposition party, the National Action Party (PAN), defeated the ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), at the ballot boxes, electing its candidate, President Vincente Fox Quesada, as president, an event which reflects the democratic advancement of the country.

Up to the end of former President Ernesto Zedillo’s term, high political offices seemed to be part of a ruling dynasty extending outward from the presidency since the PRI president in power chose his successor to run against the then weaker PAN party candidate. But that’s all come to an end now that the weaker party is the stronger one.

Even so, there’s still a chain of command reaching from local mayors all the way to the Presidency. Presidentes municipales appoint city delegados to represent the federal government at the local level. The President appoints subdelegados to smaller towns and villages. Both types of representatives have full federal power within their jurisdictions.

Unlike Presidents of the United States, the Mexican Constitution limits Mexican presidents to a single six-year term known as el sexenio. His powers are similar to those held by U.S. presidents.

The Beginning of Mexican Politics
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, took control of Mexican politics from 1833 to 1855. Santa Ana was Mexico's leader during the conflict with Texas. The French invasion and the imposition of a second monarch, led by Archduke Maxmillian of Austria in 1864 interrupted the presidential term of Benito Juarez. Maximilian, whom Napoleon III of France established as Emperor of Mexico, was deposed by Juarez and executed in 1867, restoring the republic's regime.

Between 1877 and 1911, General Porfirio Diaz was President of Mexico. Mexico's severe social and economic problems erupted in a revolution that lasted from 1910 to 1920 and gave rise to the Constitution of 1917. Prominent leaders in this period--some of whom were rivals for power--were Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Pancho Villa, Alvaro Obregon, Victoriano Huerta, and Emiliano Zapata.

In 1929, General Plutarco Calles founded the political party that would be the predecessor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), The PRI emerged as a coalition of interests after the chaos of the Revolution as a vehicle for keeping political competition peaceful. General Lazaro Cardenas del Rffo, who nationalized the petroleum industry of the country, held the office of president from 1934 to 1940. During this presidential period, Manuel Gomez Moron founded the National Action Party in 1939.

In 1968 the Mexican government violently repressed a social movement on the eve of the Olympic Games. And in 1988, amidst accusations of fraud, the political party PRI almost lost the general elections.

On the first day of 1994, the National Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Canada went into effect. But unexpected and traumatic events threw the country into political upheaval. Peasants from the southern state of Chiapas briefly took up arms against the government, protesting alleged oppression and governmental indifference to poverty. After nearly two weeks of fighting, a cease-fire halted clashes. Since then, the government and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) have negotiated on topics such as granting greater autonomy to indigenous people.

In March 1994, gunmen assassinated PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio as he left a political rally in Tijuana. In September 1994, other gunmen assassinated PRI Secretary General Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu. Although the government tried and convicted the gunmen in both murders and co-conspirators in the Ruiz Massieu murder, the Mexican public hasn’t been satisfied that all the truth behind these crimes has been uncovered.

In the general elections of that year, Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, candidate of the PRI for the presidency, won the elections. President Ernesto Zedillo continued the process already underway of opening Mexico's political system, reforming the justice system, curtailing corruption, strengthening the fight against narcotics trafficking, and furthering Mexico's market-oriented economic policies. A severe financial crisis occupied much of the Zedillo administration's attention in 1995 and 1996, creating a need for difficult emergency economic stabilization policies and intensified longer-term economic restructuring.

1   2   next page->


All contents copyrighted@2004, Bob Brooke Communications
Site designed and developed by BBC Web Services.