Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mexican democracy is a "green dog"

Proceso (December 21, 2009) By Denise Dresser, translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

Translator's note: 
Proceso published this analysis by Denise Dresser almost exactly five years ago. Another year has gone by, we have Enrique Pena Nieto in power, but the questions she posed five years ago regarding Calderon's proposals are still very relevant. Is Mexico a democracy yet? -- un vato

 
MEXICO, D.F., December 21 [2009].-- Was Mexico able to transition from an authoritarian regime, in place for more than seven decades, to a real democracy? Does the political regime that prevails today fully represent the opinion of the majority and is power exercised from the perspective of the general interest? Did the Mexican transition culminate? Are we still in it, or, in light of what we are living today and the perspective that is glimpsed, would we have to say openly that the transition failed?

Necessary questions that Carmen Aristegui formulates in her new book, Transition. Essential questions that every citizen who worries about his country's fate should ask himself. Definitive questions to be able to take a position on the political reform initiatives proposed by Felipe Calderon.

Because the words used to describe the Mexican political system are a metric and thermometer of disillusionment. Words such as incomplete democracy. Truncated transition. Failed representation. Institutionalized impunity. Simulation. Regression. Instead of responding to public interests, politics promotes private interests. Instead of solving problems, the institutional framework kicks them forward. Instead of generating incentives for representation, current rules prevent that from happening. Instead of empowering citizens, the transition ends up elevating oligarchs.

Like Juan Pardinas suggests, Mexican democracy is a "green dog". It is too exotic. It is the only one in the world -- except for Costa Rica --in which reelection of legislators or municipal presidents does not exist. It is one of the few that do not allow citizen candidacies.  It is exceptional for the absence of the referendum. It is unusual for the prohibition against "citizen initiative".


It is extraordinary for its absence of mechanisms that allow the development of stable legislative majorities. It is very Mexican in the way in which it elevates political parties but ignores the citizens. The Mexican dog insists on being exceptional, but not for the better. That's why its fur is such a different color from that of other canines. That's why it limps instead of running. That's why it provokes street fights with such frequency. That's why it is such a dysfunctional species.

Mounted on its back, it carries abusive syndicates, and blackmailing television networks, and  irresponsible political parties, and untouchable governors, and privileged oligarchs. All of them, ancestors of the green dog and beneficiaries of its exceptionality. Without reelection, there is no accountability, nor complete political representation, nor professionalism in the political classes, nor any way to weaken local bosses. Without citizen candidacies there is no way to break the monopoly that the political parties and syndicates have over political life. Without referendum there is no way to involve the public directly in great national issues. Without citizen initiative, there is no way to promote public policies that the political class does not want to touch, including combating monopolies.

If we do not raise voting levels to maintain registration, we will continue to finance small political parties -- like the Green Party or the Workers Party -- who sell themselves to the highest bidder or promote shams like Juanito. [Translator's note: Juanito was a clownish populist candidate for president. -- un vato]. Without preferential initiatives it is not possible to compel Congress to legislate on matters it is avoiding, including promoting competition. Without measures such as the ones being submitted to national debate, citizens will continue to be little more than the fleas on a rabid dog.

And, yes, the proposals come from an unpopular president, cornered, weakened,  who came to power under questionable circumstances. And, yes, the list is incomplete because it does not resolve all the problems in the economic system or in the political regime. But that should not be enough to disqualify them from the start; hatred of the messenger should not obscure the importance of the message that he sent. Mexico has a broken democracy that it needs to fix. Mexico has a stalled democracy that it needs to get moving.

Mexico has an elitist democracy that it needs to broaden. Opening spaces for the citizenry so that its participation will matter; generating incentives so that legislators and municipal presidents will be forced to render accounts, which they do not do today; granting power to voters so that they can develop social counterbalances against special interests; creating ties of demand and representation between the governed and their leaders. Reforms with the power to air, shake, re-legitimize, diminish the exceptionality of Mexican democracy and normalize its functioning.

Faced with that, the PRI and the PRD have made a mistake by positioning themselves like they have, claiming that the reforms are "a lie'; or that, "they resuscitate a depleted presidentialism";  or, "they do not want anything to change"; or, "they perpetuate electoral patronage"; or, they are "a distraction"; or, the most important thing is "to control the Executive with ratification of the Secretaries of State"; or, "I have serious reservations about models of political organization tested in other latitudes, but that do not have a history, condition or idiosyncrasy such as Mexico has"; or, "the citizens are not ready for that".

By responding like this, Carlos Navarrete and Jesus Ortega and Enrique Pena Nieto and Beatriz Paredes reveal where they stand: close to the status quo and far from the citizenry; close to the party rule system they want to preserve and far from what Mexico needs to do to dismantle it; close to the spurious argument of "exceptionalism" and far from the democratic normality that the country demands.

Training the green dog will require more that what has up to now been proposed, but the contemplated measures help place a democratic leash around its neck. To force the dog to obey the citizens instead of biting them, it is imperative to discuss: opening up the media, political party financing, eliminating legislative immunity, public demonstrations, strengthening autonomous agencies, combating corruption, and everything else that will allow Mexicans to protect their rights. Everything that will force political parties to surrender some of their power.

Everything that refreshes political representation. Everything that can pull Mexico out of the pack of exotic democracies and put it in the litter of more normal democracies. And that way, tame the green dog.        

25 comments:

  1. I have lived in Mexico for years. NO!

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  2. Put sietecientos mil pesos en the canasta my son. Say forty Hail Mary's and go forth and shoot no more children, even accidentally my son.

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  3. I know most real mmexicanos that live in mexico (not the chicanos IN THE USA your not real mexicans) will hate me for this, but here my 2 cents on why mexico is broken and why it needs a different approach. Mexico has a cool neighbor (usa)depending on what approach is taken. Mexico was conquered by Spain and it never really got a self identity as a nation. A Revolution took mexico from slaves to a Semi Democracy. I consider that the main issue in mexico starts with the Catholic Church, closely followed by an Economic monopoly of A 10% few rich taking advantage of 90% of mexicans....a real constitution is needed get rid of existing one... adopt the American model of democracy , just copy the American system . prior Obama presidency. ABOUT THE NARCOS JUST IMPLEMENT THE LAW, simple right???

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  4. You have 3 options for government . Capitalism, socialism, communism. Mexico Is currently under anarchy. So obviously that system don't work. Successful examples, USA, canada,England, germany,Japan, china Russia. The rest of the world don't really count. so mexico please get your shit together. I'm tired of so many illegals in the USA, if you breed them feed them...

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    Replies
    1. f... you. Chin tu madre pto. How is that for an answer?

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    2. Which one do you all pick?? lets see it.

      1. Capitalism. 2. Socialism. 3. Communism.

      ....??

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    3. Capitalism =free market. Let's make money selling stuff.....what's wrong with that....

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    4. But capitalism when it gets out of hand it turns into a cancer. It eats everything on its path without caring for anything.

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    5. Im with 1&2 together...

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    6. I meant 1&3! lol

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  5. Where is Papa Pitufo??

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  6. Anonymous 1 yes the prejudicial fool why doesnt the us help like giving the aid promised or go after the source of money here you know the people buying

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  7. The "capitalist" system has fallen into corporate welfare, with rich corporations and banks now demanding more and more tax cuts, tax breaks, government investment, to steal it, big financing for elections, to make sure only the chosen win, with private corporations picking and starting wars for profit on foreign countries, and much despised "communist and socialist" countries putting their communist socialist slaves to work for the rich capitalist oligarchs who looove them and offshore their capitalist subdits jobs away to them despised communist slaves, often with tax breaks too...
    --@6:42 you have one option, STFU, and see how much capitalism you get out of it...

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    1. Well USA still best option. Look at Mexico genocide 24/7. Suck on that for a change...

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  8. "Mexica democracy" is a corrupt creation of the US who financed both the war of independence of mexico in 1810 and the mexican revolution in 1910 just to kick out the spanish and the english and steal the mexican country and slaves for themselves.
    All the corruption, drug traffickng, murders, kidnappings, extortions, tortures, wars all over the world have been caused by a capitalism run amok, not for nothing theUS refuses to abide with the laws against against crimes against humanity, in times of peace or war, in spite of their loud cries about injustices on other lands, all while laundering dirty drug money with both hands and keeping the appearance of democratic blissdomhood.
    --MEXICAN MIERDOCRACY needs no more chances, mexican politicians need to get fucked in the ass; all the reformistic movements just look like they are withdrawing to stick it in all the way again to the mexicans...
    --leave green red or yellow dogs alone.
    --Mexican politicians are just hanging fron the hairy ass of their putas madres que los parieron, and trying to confuse us with their empy promises again, as if we were their abused women, while their amerikkkan masters think of their next move.
    --remember, MEXICAN MIERDOCRACY, paint it any color and stay away until flushing time, it is a pity that carmen aristegui and denise dresser can't call it for what it is, but we can...

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    1. USA is the best.....what country you Reside???

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    2. Thats right! I dont hear no know say i wanna leave the US to make a living in another country. Born n Raised in Los Angeles!!!

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    3. You make some good points other than blaming it entirely on capitalism. The sad fact is that the global powers that be have control over every government whether they be capitalist, communist, socialist or whatever. They're nothing more than different labels and methods of accomplishing the same goal. Pure financial and social control.

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    4. What is the Mexican 1% elite if not capitalists with nothing to trickle down to anyone.Call the USA capitalistic[and Im not even an American] but what is your countr;,capitalistic in the extreme.

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  9. The culture of Mexico breeds these political parties. IT is not only in Mexico it is in the RGV. All political favorS and a one party system. The people in power r in the same club and that goes for Mexico and the US. Mexico seems to have more trouble controlling the Mob. In the old days the PRI did a pretty good job of controlling the Mob. Today in Tamps. they r still in charge, but we have no order, law, r control

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  10. U can pass all the laws u want but if people don't respect the law than it doesn't work.
    Look at the US we so many laws by the time u make ur coffee in the morning u have broken a couple laws. People have to respect other people.

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    1. There you go, laws are made to be followed. Right???? That's the problem is mexico no law.... rapes =ok. Genocide=ok. drug trafficking =ok. In america you break the law, you have consequences. I never seen shit like in mexico where they execute 43 students on the street and can even find the bodies...or like 1000 dead &missing women in juarez, or 72 dead illegal aliens in San fernando, i could be here all day writing about the dead and you still defend mexico. Wow let me catch you guys in mexico and victimize you see how much you like their system....

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  11. Kill them all n let GOD sort them out, Mexico needs a civil war to settle there crap out. USA is the best country you dont hear Americans or Mexican Americans say they wanna go live in other countries, every race what to be the land of milk n honey!

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  12. Tear up all the free trade agreements which have no benefit to any country whatsoever other than the elite. Make it a crime to hire illegals punishable by losing your business and prison time. Get multinational corporations out of the third world so that they can own their own wealth and not resort to having to immigrate just to survive. American businessmen should own only materials and factories in America hiring only American citizens for example. The fed, imf, and wb should all be shutdown. If all this magically happened it would solve many people's problems including Mexico and ours.

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    Replies
    1. Free trade sure didn't improve Mexico much.Think the USA had the most to gain except some jobs going south to the Mexicans but the Mexicans wages didn't improve.Free trade hurt Canada somewhat as some of our jobs went south to USA and some further south to Mexico.

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