Posts tagged Mexico

foreignaffairsmagazine:

The ugly legacy of the Mexican-American War: http://fam.ag/1d2g09b 

Interesting.

foreignaffairsmagazine:

The ugly legacy of the Mexican-American War: http://fam.ag/1d2g09b 

Interesting.

From theatlantic:

Chinese Communism and the 70-Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch fashioned a classic American romantic comedy around the notion that after seven years of marriage, a spouse’s interest in a monogamous relationship starts to wane. The premise of the Marilyn Monroe film made for some great laughs and iconic images, but it was not pure fancy. A lot of studies over time have shown that the average length of a first marriage is about seven or eight years.
There is an interesting parallel in politics; specifically, the life span of one-party regimes, though in this case we might call it the “70-year itch.” The U.S.S.R. is a prime example. By the time Mikhail Gorbachev took command of the Soviet Union in 1985, the rot in the Soviet system, and the corresponding decline of its legitimacy, were well advanced. “Interest in the marriage” had long since begun to wane.  Gorbachev’s efforts to revive it with political opening and economic reform (glasnost and perestroika) only enabled the marriage to break up peacefully. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Communist Party had been in power for a little more than 70 years. Similarly, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ruled in Mexico from its founding in 1929 until its defeat in the 2000 elections—71 years.
Read more. [Image: Jason Lee/Reuters]


Interesting. Not the marriage analogy bit, but the USSR, Mexico, China bit.

From theatlantic:

Chinese Communism and the 70-Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch fashioned a classic American romantic comedy around the notion that after seven years of marriage, a spouse’s interest in a monogamous relationship starts to wane. The premise of the Marilyn Monroe film made for some great laughs and iconic images, but it was not pure fancy. A lot of studies over time have shown that the average length of a first marriage is about seven or eight years.

There is an interesting parallel in politics; specifically, the life span of one-party regimes, though in this case we might call it the “70-year itch.” The U.S.S.R. is a prime example. By the time Mikhail Gorbachev took command of the Soviet Union in 1985, the rot in the Soviet system, and the corresponding decline of its legitimacy, were well advanced. “Interest in the marriage” had long since begun to wane.  Gorbachev’s efforts to revive it with political opening and economic reform (glasnost and perestroika) only enabled the marriage to break up peacefully. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Communist Party had been in power for a little more than 70 years. Similarly, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ruled in Mexico from its founding in 1929 until its defeat in the 2000 elections—71 years.

Read more. [Image: Jason Lee/Reuters]

Interesting. Not the marriage analogy bit, but the USSR, Mexico, China bit.

Just another of many indicators in which Mexico and the US are converging. If you still think of Mexico as just a “third world” country, you’re stuck in the 1950s.

Just another of many indicators in which Mexico and the US are converging. If you still think of Mexico as just a “third world” country, you’re stuck in the 1950s.

From adam-wola:


From “Border Fact Check”: Has “lacking border security” led to a halt in commerce or a spillover of violence at the border?

“Less than 10 years ago, a trip from my home state across the border to Nuevo Laredo, one of several Mexican border cities, was routine. As a result, commerce and culture flowed across the border, benefiting both countries. Today, after years of lacking border security efforts, such travel is almost unthinkable. Sadly, the border has turned into a magnet for spillover violence from Central American drug cartels.”

— Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, in an April 23 op-ed published in Roll Call.
Rep. McCaul is correct that organized crime-related violence in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, has diminished travel to that city. Our own interviews with business, social and law enforcement leaders in Laredo, Texas found that it had been years since most had crossed the river into Nuevo Laredo.
But the Congressman, whose Austin-area district lies 250 miles from the border, leaves an incorrect impression that cross-border commerce has stopped, and that Nuevo Laredo’s violence is spilling over the border into the United States.
More at “Border Fact Check”


That US-Mexico border? Yeah. It’s not as dangerous as you think. 

From adam-wola:

From “Border Fact Check”: Has “lacking border security” led to a halt in commerce or a spillover of violence at the border?

“Less than 10 years ago, a trip from my home state across the border to Nuevo Laredo, one of several Mexican border cities, was routine. As a result, commerce and culture flowed across the border, benefiting both countries. Today, after years of lacking border security efforts, such travel is almost unthinkable. Sadly, the border has turned into a magnet for spillover violence from Central American drug cartels.”

— Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, in an April 23 op-ed published in Roll Call.

Rep. McCaul is correct that organized crime-related violence in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, has diminished travel to that city. Our own interviews with business, social and law enforcement leaders in Laredo, Texas found that it had been years since most had crossed the river into Nuevo Laredo.

But the Congressman, whose Austin-area district lies 250 miles from the border, leaves an incorrect impression that cross-border commerce has stopped, and that Nuevo Laredo’s violence is spilling over the border into the United States.

More at “Border Fact Check”

That US-Mexico border? Yeah. It’s not as dangerous as you think. 

(via Revolución Mexicana, quién se chingó a quién. La monografía:… on Twitpic)
This is a great little visual about the Mexican Revolution, and its complex legacies.

(via Revolución Mexicana, quién se chingó a quién. La monografía:… on Twitpic)

This is a great little visual about the Mexican Revolution, and its complex legacies.

Interested in multicultural/plurinational electoral politics in Latin America? Come check out this talk on April 11 at the University of Mississippi. It’s part of this year’s Croft Institute for International Studies lecture series.
Very happy to have (finally!) gotten my friend Todd Eisenstadt to come to campus to talk about his research. The talk will focus on Mexico—particularly the recognition of traditional cultural practices in local politics (“usos y costumbres”)—but he’s also familiar with a number of other cases. Todd and I are on upcoming panels at LASA and APSA to discuss the Bolivian case, and I have a chapter in his recently published volume: Latin America’s Multicultural Movements (Oxford University Press).

Interested in multicultural/plurinational electoral politics in Latin America? Come check out this talk on April 11 at the University of Mississippi. It’s part of this year’s Croft Institute for International Studies lecture series.

Very happy to have (finally!) gotten my friend Todd Eisenstadt to come to campus to talk about his research. The talk will focus on Mexico—particularly the recognition of traditional cultural practices in local politics (“usos y costumbres”)—but he’s also familiar with a number of other cases. Todd and I are on upcoming panels at LASA and APSA to discuss the Bolivian case, and I have a chapter in his recently published volume: Latin America’s Multicultural Movements (Oxford University Press).

From nolife-likelowlife:

pol102:

The problem with a post-Chávez Venezuela, in nutshell, is that we don’t know whether his regime will last. And that’s the real tragedy of it all.
As most reports yesterday and today (and into the near future) will point out, Hugo Chávez was a charismatic leader. What he seems most remembered for is his ability to connect with his country’s poor (the overwhelming majority of the oil-rich country’s population) and speak about their hopes, desires, and needs. But, after that, what’s left? By all accounts poverty is still endemic in Venezuela, income inequality has barely nudged at all, and crime has increased. After nearly 15 years in power, what tangible results does the “Bolivarian” revolution have to show for itself?
The real tragedy is that this was (to borrow from Gabriel García Marquez) a “chronicle of a death foretold.” Despite his government’s unwillingness to divulge information about the president’s health (transparency?), everyone knew he had been battling some form of cancer for at last two years. Eventually, it was too much to hide, and a few months ago Venezuelan state media began discussing it; they showed pictures of Chávez in a Cuban hospital bed, holding a newspaper (to prove that he was still alive). Rumors of his death swirled around. He was too sick to attend his own inauguration. Then, he suddenly returned (unseen) and was installed in a military hospital for recovery. By the time he died, it wasn’t entirely clear whether he died in Venezuela or Cuba—or when he died (now there are rumors that he died earlier, but it took a while to admit).
Regardless, the real problem is what political scientists would call institutionalization. Or, rather, the lack of it. The fact that their leader was clearly dying—or at least facing serious health issues—should have prompted chavista loyalists to prepare for an orderly transition. At the very least, someone other than Chávez should have run for the presidency in October of last year. They should’ve prepared for a future without Chávez. Because, after all, even if it didn’t come this week, it would come someday (all men, even iconoclasts, are mortal). But there were no preparations. In fact, when Chávez was so ill that he had to skip his own swearing in ceremony, it was unclear who was running the country—and there were fears of a power struggle within the chavista camp (those rumors are still swirling).
And that’s the ultimate tragedy, which will likely become better understood in later years. Chávez had so centralized power around himself, and fostered such a cult of personality, that perhaps even he couldn’t imagine a Venezuela without him. And for someone who spoke so often about the poor, he seemed to take no interest in what would happen to his most ardent supporters after his death. 
Perhaps that explains the despair in the streets of Caracas. It’s not uncommon for a nation’s population to go into shock over the grief of a dead president. It happened in the US after JFK was assassinated. But that was a sudden death. This one was obviously coming, and coming soon. The despair in the streets of Caracas—and the frequent allusions that “there will never be another Chávez”—suggests that Venezuela’s long suffering poor know that there’s no institutional momentum behind the “Bolivarian” revolution. Their hopes were pinned on one man. And that man is gone.
In the end, that’s the bitter truth. And we’ll discover it soon enough. If the “Bolivarian” revolution can’t carry on without Chávez, then it was never a revolution (certainly not in any sociological sense). It was something else.

I’m reblogging for the picture, but I must rebut.
Before leaving for Cuba Chavez appointed Maduro as his heir in case he became unfit to govern. Venezuela has a constitution and there are to be elections held within 30 days. Chavez also replaced generals in the Venezuelan military because of a coup attempted in 2002, their successors proved to be loyal to Chavez and most likely to Maduro who he wanted to carry on his movement. The people of Venezuela knew Chavez was in dwindling health for a few years, so his death may have come as surprise to us but not as much as a surprise to the Venezuelan people.
The idea that they were not prepared for Chavez’s death is false.

Because Tumblr doesn’t have a good commenting/response feature, but I wanted to respond to the above observation. 
Yes, in some sense it’s true that there was “a” plan for some sort of transition. But it wasn’t an institutional one, and it was clearly hasty. Let me explain: True, Chávez did (eventually) name Maduro as his successor (in December, long after the election). But, according to the country’s constitution, the rightful interim head of state should be Diosdado Cabello, the head of the legislature. Throughout Chávez’s illness, there was speculation about splits within the chavista camp, particularly between Cabello and Maduro (but also others). It’s telling that when Maduro announced Chávez’s death, Cabello (and the top military brass) was absent. Chávez did replace military leaders after the 2002 coup. But was that “preparing for a transition” or simply removing threats to his person? 
My problem with Chávez is my problem with perpetual reelection in general. Chávez, as you pointed out, was ill for some time. The most institutional transition would’ve been for him to step aside, name a successor, and not run for the presidency in 2012. Everyone knew Chávez was ill, but his government never gave details or explanations (which doesn’t speak well for any kind of transparency). Had Chávez stepped aside, he could’ve become an elder statesman, he could’ve showed the world that his movement was institutionalized (and solidly behind one candidate).
In short, he could’ve done what the great Mexican caudillo Lázaro Cárdenas did. In 1940 Cárdenas set the pattern for the Mexican PRI regime and did not seek reelection. Between 1940 and 2000, a series of pirista presidents came and went (all with only one single term) and the regime became institutionalized. For all its faults (especially at the end, during the 1990s), the regime lasted nearly 70 years (if you start with the rise of Cárdenas) and in that time vastly improved the economic conditions for Mexico and set it on the path to long term economic development. And then, in 2000, when it ended, it gave up power smoothly to an opposition party (PAN). But PRI remained one of the principle parties, and recently returned to power. Now that’s longterm institutionalization! Will chavismo stack up to that? The record for similar figures (e.g. Getulio Vargas in Brazil, José María Velasco Ibarra in Ecuador) is not good.
My objection (and that of others) was that Chávez demonstrated (in his actions, if not his rhetoric) a greater interest in staying in power than in forging a regime that could outlast him. Because to be truly lasting, revolutions must be about more than a man and his vision. They must be built on institutional foundations. 

From nolife-likelowlife:

pol102:

The problem with a post-Chávez Venezuela, in nutshell, is that we don’t know whether his regime will last. And that’s the real tragedy of it all.

As most reports yesterday and today (and into the near future) will point out, Hugo Chávez was a charismatic leader. What he seems most remembered for is his ability to connect with his country’s poor (the overwhelming majority of the oil-rich country’s population) and speak about their hopes, desires, and needs. But, after that, what’s left? By all accounts poverty is still endemic in Venezuela, income inequality has barely nudged at all, and crime has increased. After nearly 15 years in power, what tangible results does the “Bolivarian” revolution have to show for itself?

The real tragedy is that this was (to borrow from Gabriel García Marquez) a “chronicle of a death foretold.” Despite his government’s unwillingness to divulge information about the president’s health (transparency?), everyone knew he had been battling some form of cancer for at last two years. Eventually, it was too much to hide, and a few months ago Venezuelan state media began discussing it; they showed pictures of Chávez in a Cuban hospital bed, holding a newspaper (to prove that he was still alive). Rumors of his death swirled around. He was too sick to attend his own inauguration. Then, he suddenly returned (unseen) and was installed in a military hospital for recovery. By the time he died, it wasn’t entirely clear whether he died in Venezuela or Cuba—or when he died (now there are rumors that he died earlier, but it took a while to admit).

Regardless, the real problem is what political scientists would call institutionalization. Or, rather, the lack of it. The fact that their leader was clearly dying—or at least facing serious health issues—should have prompted chavista loyalists to prepare for an orderly transition. At the very least, someone other than Chávez should have run for the presidency in October of last year. They should’ve prepared for a future without Chávez. Because, after all, even if it didn’t come this week, it would come someday (all men, even iconoclasts, are mortal). But there were no preparations. In fact, when Chávez was so ill that he had to skip his own swearing in ceremony, it was unclear who was running the country—and there were fears of a power struggle within the chavista camp (those rumors are still swirling).

And that’s the ultimate tragedy, which will likely become better understood in later years. Chávez had so centralized power around himself, and fostered such a cult of personality, that perhaps even he couldn’t imagine a Venezuela without him. And for someone who spoke so often about the poor, he seemed to take no interest in what would happen to his most ardent supporters after his death. 

Perhaps that explains the despair in the streets of Caracas. It’s not uncommon for a nation’s population to go into shock over the grief of a dead president. It happened in the US after JFK was assassinated. But that was a sudden death. This one was obviously coming, and coming soon. The despair in the streets of Caracas—and the frequent allusions that “there will never be another Chávez”—suggests that Venezuela’s long suffering poor know that there’s no institutional momentum behind the “Bolivarian” revolution. Their hopes were pinned on one man. And that man is gone.

In the end, that’s the bitter truth. And we’ll discover it soon enough. If the “Bolivarian” revolution can’t carry on without Chávez, then it was never a revolution (certainly not in any sociological sense). It was something else.

I’m reblogging for the picture, but I must rebut.

Before leaving for Cuba Chavez appointed Maduro as his heir in case he became unfit to govern. Venezuela has a constitution and there are to be elections held within 30 days. Chavez also replaced generals in the Venezuelan military because of a coup attempted in 2002, their successors proved to be loyal to Chavez and most likely to Maduro who he wanted to carry on his movement. The people of Venezuela knew Chavez was in dwindling health for a few years, so his death may have come as surprise to us but not as much as a surprise to the Venezuelan people.

The idea that they were not prepared for Chavez’s death is false.

Because Tumblr doesn’t have a good commenting/response feature, but I wanted to respond to the above observation. 

Yes, in some sense it’s true that there was “a” plan for some sort of transition. But it wasn’t an institutional one, and it was clearly hasty. Let me explain: True, Chávez did (eventually) name Maduro as his successor (in December, long after the election). But, according to the country’s constitution, the rightful interim head of state should be Diosdado Cabello, the head of the legislature. Throughout Chávez’s illness, there was speculation about splits within the chavista camp, particularly between Cabello and Maduro (but also others). It’s telling that when Maduro announced Chávez’s death, Cabello (and the top military brass) was absent. Chávez did replace military leaders after the 2002 coup. But was that “preparing for a transition” or simply removing threats to his person? 

My problem with Chávez is my problem with perpetual reelection in general. Chávez, as you pointed out, was ill for some time. The most institutional transition would’ve been for him to step aside, name a successor, and not run for the presidency in 2012. Everyone knew Chávez was ill, but his government never gave details or explanations (which doesn’t speak well for any kind of transparency). Had Chávez stepped aside, he could’ve become an elder statesman, he could’ve showed the world that his movement was institutionalized (and solidly behind one candidate).

In short, he could’ve done what the great Mexican caudillo Lázaro Cárdenas did. In 1940 Cárdenas set the pattern for the Mexican PRI regime and did not seek reelection. Between 1940 and 2000, a series of pirista presidents came and went (all with only one single term) and the regime became institutionalized. For all its faults (especially at the end, during the 1990s), the regime lasted nearly 70 years (if you start with the rise of Cárdenas) and in that time vastly improved the economic conditions for Mexico and set it on the path to long term economic development. And then, in 2000, when it ended, it gave up power smoothly to an opposition party (PAN). But PRI remained one of the principle parties, and recently returned to power. Now that’s longterm institutionalization! Will chavismo stack up to that? The record for similar figures (e.g. Getulio Vargas in Brazil, José María Velasco Ibarra in Ecuador) is not good.

My objection (and that of others) was that Chávez demonstrated (in his actions, if not his rhetoric) a greater interest in staying in power than in forging a regime that could outlast him. Because to be truly lasting, revolutions must be about more than a man and his vision. They must be built on institutional foundations. 

From newshour:

“Around the world we are all hoping the U.S. can strengthen its firearm policies. We are all so distressed by the news of tragedies there, and thinking of the families and communities directly affected. But also, the U.S. is the world’s major producer and thus the source of many guns that kill and injure elsewhere. So we all have a stake in what eventually happens in the US.”


-Rebecca Peters, international expert on gun violence prevention who led the campaign that succeeded in reforming Australia’s gun laws and was the first director of the international movement against gun violence, IANSA. Read more from our chat on international gun policy here.

Along with this, here’s an old post from the political science blog The Monkey Cage about how US gun laws affect crime in Mexico. Two recent studies show that the expiration of the 1990s assault weapons ban contributed significantly to Mexico’s homicide rate, accounting for as much as 16.4% of the increase in Mexico’s homicide rate between 2004 and 2008. 

And that’s before we take into account the botched “Fast and Furious” ATF sting operation that dumped more than 2,000 firearms into Mexico (many of which have turned up in crime scenes in Mexico).

"Frijolero" by Molotov

With all the talk about immigration reform, I thought this might spark some interesting discussion. I couldn’t find a subtitled version (though it has many parts in English & Spanglish), but it’s a video by the Mexican rock band Molotov. It’s an interesting discussion of the Mexico-US border from the point of view of those who cross it regularly.

An interesting side note about Molotov: One of their members is a “gringo” (Randy Ebright, from Alma, Michigan, actually). He joined the band in 1992 while an exchange student, and then stayed on. In Frijolero, he sings the Spanish parts and Tito Fuentes sings the English parts. It’s a technique the band uses frequently to play on the transborder nature of their appeal.

Anyhow, if you’ve never checked them out, they’re worth a listen. Not all of their music is “political”—but a lot of it is.

From adam-wola:

Mexico’s Milenio newspaper, which keeps a database of organized crime-related murders in the country, counted 982 homicides in December, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first month in office. That’s about the same as the 949 homicides Milenio counted in November.
The newspaper found 12,394 organized crime-related murders in 2012, 110 more than in 2011 but 264 less than in 2010.

From adam-wola:

Mexico’s Milenio newspaper, which keeps a database of organized crime-related murders in the country, counted 982 homicides in December, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first month in office. That’s about the same as the 949 homicides Milenio counted in November.

The newspaper found 12,394 organized crime-related murders in 2012, 110 more than in 2011 but 264 less than in 2010.