SEARCH SITE:

HOME

NEW ARTICLES

Analysis
The Role of Regional Integration in Fighting Crime and Terrorism: The Case of the African Union’s (AU’s) Initiatives, 1999-2014 Conrad John Masabo, Marobe Wama, and Tekla Paul Mlyansi
Policy
Zimbabwe's new constitutional dispensation and children's right to education Loveness Mapuva and Jephias Mapuva
Feature
Voices from Syria Keith Gentry
Interview
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Essay
Humanitarian Assistance and Peacebuilding: Congruence as a By-product of Incompatibility Mahmoud Abdou
Letters
Archbishop Joseph Raya – Apostle of Peace and Love Lesya Sabada

RECENT ARTICLES
Analysis
Ukraine Conflict: Resolution through Negotiation Sabrina Chikhi
Special Report
How South Korean Agents Used Social Media to Manipulate Public Opinion and Subvert Democracy, and How the Public is Reacting Chan Woo
In-depth
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
Policy
The Law and Practice of the Devolved System of Governance in Zimbabwe Jephias Mapuva
Special Feature
Key Debates in Food and Agriculture Brian Dowd Uribe (editor)
Essay
Grassroots Movements Shedding Light on Gun Violence in Colorado Chelsea Shelton
Comment
Memory of Toyama Air Raid (1st-2nd August 1945) Takuo Namisashi
Opinion
Militarist Bumkum Paul Craig Roberts
Research Summary
Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Letters
Tolstoy at the Mir Centre for Peace—the Long Tradition Myler Wilkinson
Quiz
United Nations Quiz, March 2014 Ross Ryan and Hye Young Kim

ARCHIVES

Past Analysis
ANALYSIS
Political transition in Mexico and the growth of corruption and violence
Nubia Nieto
December 05, 2012
Recently, Mexico inaugurated a new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, on the 1st December 2012, who promised to boost the economy, and reduce organised crime. The return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after a 12 years absence has not been a welcome change for the whole population. Mass protests against Mexico’s new president have been organized, and dozens of protesters have been imprisoned for voicing their opposition.

The presence of the PRI in the Mexican presidency in 2012 is a complex phenomenon, which shows that the consolidation of democracy was incomplete, and the National Action Party, PAN, failed in leading the democratic transition.

In July of 2000, Mexico got a new President, coming from a different Political Party for the first time in 71 years of the ruling PRI. The arrival of the candidate of the PAN, Vicente Fox (2000-2006) to the Presidency marked a new moment in the history of the country. Fox was the result of a long political process, which was known as a Democratic Transition. Many expectations were opened not only in terms of Democratic practices among the political parties, institutions, and entrepreneurs, but also in hope to improve the quality of life of the millions of Mexicans that live in extreme poverty.

However, after a few months of Fox’s government, corruption and violence appeared in different parts of the country. Even, Fox would be involved in many scandals of corruption. Later in 2006, another candidate of the same party arrived to the presidency, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006-July 2012) who also promised to accomplish the project of the Democratic Transition, and a few months after, he launched “the war against drugs”, deploying more than 50,000 troops, and since then more than 47,500 people have been killed. Violence, impunity, abuse of power and corruption in all institutions has flourished around the country: police, army, politicians, teachers and doctors have been connected with corruption and narco-trafficking. In this context, the following questions are raised: Why the change of the political party in power since 2000 did not end corruption, despite the campaigned promises of the National Action Party, PAN? Was it the lack of political will or structural reasons? Why do corruption and violence flourish in a country with more democracy in place? What is wrong with the democratic process that causes the increase of social instability and violence? This article attempts to explore these questions. As well as presenting a general picture of the backlash of the democratic transition with the return of the PRI to the presidency in July 2012 and the challenges of the new Mexican president to achieve a solid democratic consolidation.


During many decades Mexico was ruled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)[1], but in July of 2000, for first time after 71 years of continuous power, the National Action Party (PAN) with Vicente Fox Quezada (2000-2006) as candidate of the PAN reached the national presidency. This election opened the door to a myriad of expectations. For some historians and politicians, this moment was the culmination of the democratic transition[2], reaching finally the consolidation of the democracy[3] in Mexico. Certainly, with the arrival of Fox to the presidency was a different moment in the political democratic process[4] of the country and in the history of Mexico, especially in terms of anti-corruption actions.

One of the most important promises of Vicente Fox, when he was competing for the national presidency was to end corruption[5] and abuses of power perpetrated by the PRI and create a distinctive way to rule.

“Facing the XXl century, Mexico has two big challenges: build a developed nation, very competitive and with advanced technology that generates progress for the citizens, and set up a society based on the rule of law […] The State of law exists only in the imagination of some citizens. The reality is that, justice and law are used at the discretion of the executive power, named president, governor or mayor. Now, we propose to apply with “all rigor” and fight firmly against corruption” (Fox, 2000: 8-28).

Vicente Fox and many candidates of the PAN based their campaigns at national and regional levels against corruption. According to a survey carried out in 2000 by Mitofsky, the anti-corruption program proposed by the PAN obtained 52% approval of the Mexican population in comparison to the programs of the PRI, which got 27% and 18% of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, PRD (Mitofsky, 2000:5).

However, after a few months of Vicente Fox arriving to the presidency, he would be criticized by setting up discretionary agreements with politicians from the PRI at local, national and regional level. Even worse, in 2001 Fox was involved in a corruption scandal called “The toallagate”, which accused the president of spending 440 thousands pesos, about 49 thousands dollars at that time, on luxury towels (Oppenheimer, 2001). At the end of his ruling period, he was involved in many other corruptive practices reminiscent of the PRI.

The dream of good governance[6] and transparency born from the democratic transition soon started to disappear. At the end of the governing period of Fox, he was accused of several scandals of nepotism, embezzlement, corruption and abuse of power, particularly, after his stepsons Manuel and Jorge Bribiesca Sahagún, used the position of their stepfather to relinquish properties from householders and peasants to build luxurious resorts (Alvarez, 2009).

Another case of nepotism during the government of Fox was his participation in the allocation of contracts of public enterprise, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), for almost 87 million dollars to the company “Oceanografia”, property of his stepsons Manuel and Jorge Bribiesca Sahagún, sons of his wife Marta Sahagún (Saldierna, 2007).

The promise of good governance seems every time far away from reality. In December 2006, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa assumed the presidency for six years. Calderón as a member of the PAN was also characterised by his constant promises against poverty. He promised to be a president of employment and reduce corruption. Those promises were reflected in the National Development Plan 2007-2012 that was structured in five points: 1) Rule of Law and security 2) Competitive economy and generation of jobs 3) Equality of opportunities 4) Environmental sustainability and 5) Effective democracy and responsible foreign policy (Calderón, 2007).

Despite the promises to fight against corruption, the government of Felipe Calderón was also accused of nepotism; for instance, his brother, Juan Luis Calderón Hinojosa was director of the (OOAPAS) Utility of Drinking Water and Wastewater in Morelia for 9 years, while his sister Luisa Maria Calderón Hinojosa was candidate of the government of Michoacán, and she was also accused of corruption once that she used excessive public resources expenditure for her political campaign, manipulation and buying votes in the region (Delgado, 2011). The brother of Felipe Calderón, Juan Luis is also involved in other corruption scandals such as being the person responsible for a debt of 110 million pesos as he was the manager of OOAPAS. He is also accused of mismanagement of a public enterprise, use of public resources, and use of state infrastructure for his own business in water companies, and being the direct person responsible for the disappearing of 90 million pesos in the company (Contraste, 2011)

It is important to remember that the electoral triumph of Felipe Calderón in July 2006, was questioned widely and several social protests against his triumph were staged throughout the country for more than a year, for many Mexican citizens the government of Calderón was “el gobierno espurio” (the spurious government) or “gobierno de facto” (de facto government) (Garrido, 2007).

The achievements at the end of the Calrderón government are not positive. Not only in terms of fighting against corruption, but also the increase of violence and poverty in the country. The dimension of corruption is more complex than ever before. Nowadays, talking about political corruption in Mexico is related to the development of narcotrafficking and violence.

The merger of political power, corruption and narcotrafficking, have triggered disastrous consequences for the population: extortion, kidnapping, torture and impunity are now among the most common crimes in the country.

In December 2006, the Mexican President Felipe Calderón, a few days after being in power, launched a new strategy to tackle the increase of narcotrafficking called “war on drugs”. More than 50,000 troops were deployed in the country. Since then more than 47,500 people have died in drug-related violence (Redacción de La Jornada, 2012:5).

The violence has been in the Media on a daily basis. National and local media have been targeted with armed attacks, bombings, killings and kidnappings of journalists.

According to Reporters without borders, “No fewer than 83 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the past decade and 14 others have disappeared. The overwhelming majority of these cases are unsolved and unpunished” (RWB, May 2012).

For Reporters Without Borders “Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalist in the world”, and it is ranked 149 out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index for danger. According to Reporters without borders, Drug cartels and corrupt officials are implicated in most of the crimes of violence against journalists, which almost always go unpunished. As a result, journalists often censor themselves and some have to flee into exile (RWB, 2012).

The crimes against citizens, journalists, and the high levels of corruption and impunity contribute to increased brutality in the country. The violence is part of the New Mexican Landscape. The degree of brutality used by drug traffickers and the constant involvement of politicians, police men and members of the army are the most common consequences for the Mexican population. Beheadings and massive executions are also the new strategies of intimidation used in the country. Finding victims on roads, bridges, streets and landmarks is part of this new brutal reality.

For instance, on 13th May 2012, 49 bodies were found in the town of Cadereyta in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the north of Mexico, 180 kilometers from the United States border. On 4th May, in the same state, 23 bodies were found hanging from a bridge and 14 persons were beheaded, and on the 9th May of the same year 15 bodies were found beheaded on the route of Occidental, in the state of Jalisco. A few days before, on 29th April 2012 in Sinaloa, also in the north of the country, 13 dead and 6 wounded were recorded due to fighting between the army and gangs. In the same month, on 12th April, in Michoacan, 11 persons lost their lives due to related gang violence and 4 bodies were found in the same state. Furthermore, on 29th February in Aguas Calientes, 8 dead and one wounded were registered after a police chase. On 29th January, in Jalisco 20 people killed, 7 of them buried in mass graves discovered in the town of Ejutla, and 3 policemen shot dead in Lagos de Moreno, and the list could go on and on (El Universal, May 13, 2012).

Furthermore, kidnapping for ransom has soared in recent years. A government study found that between 2005 and 2010, the number of reported kidnappings of Mexicans had risen by 317 percent. An average of 3.7 abductions were reported every day in 2010, some 1,350 over the year. However, anticrime groups say for every kidnapping reported, as many as ten may go unreported because the kidnappers say if the police hear about it, the hostage is going to get hurt. Therefore, Mexico has become the worst place for kidnapping on the planet (Grillo, 2012: 262). Nowadays, Mexico is classified on the Top 10 threat areas for kidnap for ransom in 2012 (Red24, 2012).

Fighting against narcotrafficking is more complicated when there are many corrupt politicians, soldiers, policemen. For example, the lieutenant, Miguel Ortiz Miranda, alias “El Tyson” was arrested in 2010, after founding that he was a collaborator of La Familia (one of the most dangerous Mexican cartels) in the state of Michoacán. He was involved directly in attacks on public officials, kidnappings and extortion, as well as in charge of cutting up corpses (Wilkinson, 2010).

In this context, the arrival of the PAN to the national presidency, after twelve years, shows that the expectations about the consolidation of the democracy in Mexico are far away of being accomplished.

According to Juan Linz, the consolidation of democracy involves a set of elements such as behaviour and attitude of citizens and resolution of conflicts through a constitution and laws[7] (Linz,1996:5-6), and in the case of Mexico those elements are not still presents, particularly in terms of respect of “the rule of law”, resolution of conflicts through laws and institutions.

Democracy[8] understood in terms of Linz has not been achieved in Mexico. Moreover, it is more pertinent to say that the arrival of the PAN to the executive and legislative power, and many other regional governments is just a change of the party in power, without a real change in political practices and implementation of accountability and transparency measures.[9]

Mexico today seems to be trapped between young political institutions without experience in accountability and transparency, and the vices of the old regime, which are still quite present. The government of the PAN have continued reproducing the same schemes that the PRI used to apply such as clientelism[10], nepotism, caciquism[11], patrimonialism[12] and the “Mordida”[13], which continue being part of the “savoir faire” of Mexican politicians.

According to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) presented by Transparency International in 2011, Mexico is classified as number 100 out of 182 countries, getting a score of 3, on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 represents highly corrupt and 10 highly transparent, which meant that corruption is widely spread in the country (TI, 2011). On the other hand, in 2001 the CPI ranked Mexico number 89 from a list of 180 countries, registering a score of 3.3 out of 10, using the same scale from 0 to 10. Therefore, it is observed that the levels of corruption in Mexico did not reduce so much between 2001 with a score of 3.3 and 2011 with a note of 3 (TI, 2001).

Nevertheless, the levels of corruption in Mexico in 2011 contrast widely with some of its Latin American neighbours, for example, Chile gets a value of 7.2, putting it at number 22 with better accountability and transparency, or Uruguay with a score of 7, reaching the 25 place.

In the same vein, in 2012 Maplecroft, an English analysis research centre, in its risk index of corruption classified Mexico as an "extreme risk" country and placed it at number 59 out 197 countries which were analyzed, using a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the highest risk of corruption and 10 the lowest risk (Maplecroft, 2012).

The high levels of corruption in Mexico also contrasts with its international commitments to fight against this phenomenon with many organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, the Inter- Development, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund among others.

Nevertheless, the levels of corruption in Mexico continue to be alarming not only in terms of figures, but also in human costs, since the most disadvantaged sectors are the most vulnerable ones for the cruelist human treatment. Trafficking of women and children as sexual slaves, trafficking of human organs, and recruiting young men for gangs among indigenous groups are part of the new reality of this country.

The exercise of political power continues to be an affair of “elites” more than a public matter, and the idea of corruption as an opportunity to amass riches is still present in the country, which is reflected in the very known phrase: "El que no tranza no avanza" (he who can’t con will never move on).

Certainly, Mexico has adopted new electoral institutions such as the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) and new Federal electoral codes through the Federal Code of Institutions and Electoral procedures (COFIPE), as well as the construction of autonomous electoral bodies, and the participation of non-partisan citizen political activities. Not to mention, the active role of the legislative power against the executive one. Nevertheless, these institutions and measures seem not to have substantial impacts in reducing corruption levels and violence.

It is important to remember that Mexico is regulated by the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, which was set up in 1917, and affirms that States are sovereign and free" and have a governor and an assembly of representatives elected by universal suffrage. But in reality, these constitutional prerogatives had not been applied rigorously, because the force of this political system was based on other pillars such as the existence of an executive with constitutional and extra constitutional powers to control the other powers and the dominance of a political party on the remaining opposition parties, (Carpizo, 1978: 191), without forgetting another important component of this system: corruption, which became an essential element, not only in building this contemporaneous political system but also to nourish loyalties among the members of the PRI[14], friendships and maintaining the social peace that last for seven decades.

As Grillo says, the PRI system relied on corruption to keep ticking over smoothly. Businessmen could pay off small-town caciques and governors could pay off the president. Money flowed like water. Everybody was happy and stayed in line because everybody got paid (Grillo, 2012: 35). Even some scholars have considered the corruption in Mexico was not a rot but rather the oil and glue of the machine (Riding, 1985:140).

In the time of the PRI ruling, the mafias and whole society were regulated by the structure of the party and corruption. For instances, as Grillo indicates, if policemen could arrest a man who was paying off his colleague, or officers could take down a villain paying their boss. But things were kept in check by the PRI power structure. Lower-ranking police would kick back money up the chain of command. Higher-ranking officials didn’t even need to know where the bribes were coming from or have any contact with gangsters. Everyone respected the hierarchy, and if any official couldn’t keep order, he could simply be replaced by another aspiring PRI member. (Grillo, 2012: 52-53)

However, in the “democratic times”, policemen and politicians fight for interests of different cartels. According to Grillo, “Every time you arrest one trafficker, you are helping his rival. In this way, when the federal police stormed Zetas [a cartel] safe houses, they were scoring victories for Sinaloans [another cartel]. Whether they liked it or not, arrests did not subdue violence, but only inflamed it” (2012: 104). Therefore, corruption becomes more violent, less predictable and more complex not only in politicians, policemen and army, but also in the structure of the society.

One example of violence and corruption inside of the police institution is the confrontation among officers that happened in June 2012 inside of the Mexico City Airport, Benito Juárez, terminal 2, when policemen in service fired shots between themselves. The federal policemen who died were in charge of the surveillance inside of the airport, and at the same time, they worked for drug gangs, allowing people to pass with money over 10 thousand dollars, which is against Mexican migration rules, as well as facilitating smuggling of drug and illegal people (Méndez, 2012: 3).

Corruption and narcotrafficking have become an inseparable couple, making it difficult to separate them, even for analytical proposes. In this scenario, the corruption in Mexico has a deep and complex structure that requires serious commitments from all sectors of society, but mainly from the economical and political elites[15] and the authentic respect of the state of law, without them; there is not a guarantee of a real consolidation of the democracy.

Certainly, PAN wasted the opportunity to consolidate democracy and install the State of law and create a different way to rule and reduce the huge gap between rich and poor, and even worse ,PAN facilitated the regression of the old regime, allowing the PRI to get again the Mexican presidency.

The recent presidential elections held on 1st July 2012, the PRI recovered the presidential power with Enrique Peña Nieto as a candidate getting 38.15% of votes against the candidate of the left, PRD, Andres Manuel L-pez Obrador, who obtained 31.64%, and against the right party, PAN, represented with Josefina Vázques Mota who registered 25.40% of votes (IFE, 2012).

The presidential election was widely controversial due to many irregularities such as voter fraud, media bias, corrupt officials, manipulation of votes, excessive vote buying, manipulation of opinion polls, hostility toward PRD of the two main TV broadcast companies: Televisa and Television Azteca, and hostile criticism against the student movement called “Yo soy protest #132[16]” (Weisbrot, 2012).

The presidential election in 2012 has revealed that democracy is far away and the democratic transition[17] is still yet to arrive, and the return to the PRI to the national presidency is a painful backward to the Mexican democracy.

The 1st December 2012, Enrique Peña Nieto sworn as Mexico’s new president, promising to boost economic growth and tackle drug-related violence. Nevertheless, the inauguration was followed for clashes between protesters and police. Dozens of protesters were injured after being hit with a tear gas canister, and others sent to prison (BBC, Mexico’s Enrique Pena, Dec 1st, 2012)

The experience in Mexico demonstrates that the democratic process is not lineal and an easy process. The Mexican case also shows that a democratic transition might have some setbacks, and there is not a guarantee to consolidate a democracy if there is not a modification of the institutions in charge to regulate the law in a country.

Moreover, the most worrying thing is that the current political elites do not seem to have a real commitment to fight against corruption, impunity, and improving the standard of living for the whole of society. The future of democracy in Mexico does not look good for the deep problems of narcotraficking and violence, but also from the political rulers. It is pertinent to underline that Enrique Peña Nieto has a controversial background, which does not help the legitimacy of democratic elites and freedom of expression of citizens.

The unpopularity of Peña Nieto caused several marches and protests against him around the country when he was competing for the presidency, with the participation of over 90,000 people (Ascención, 2012), who accused him of being a “rapist”, “murderer” and “killer”, and claimed justice for “Atenco” –Atenco was a massive repression carried out on May 2006 against peasants who protested for the expropriation of their lands for an airport construction. The measures against protesters were the same applied in Congo, Africa, meaning mass rape to women and children, and torture and imprisonment to men by police officers. The mass rape applied in Atenco was used as a weapon of war in order to cause fear and disarticulate the social movement. The responsible for this horrific experience was Enrique Peña Nieto, who was at that time the governor of the State of Mexico (2005-2011) (Amnesty International, Women of Atenco, 2006).

In this context, the democratic transition in Mexico shows that the risk of going back to anti-democratic measures and brutal rulers is always present, and the high levels of corruption is one of the most dangerous threats for the consolidation of democracy, which can trigger a myriad of problems such as narcotrafficking, violence, extreme poverty, restriction of freedom of expression, limitation of civil rights, and infringements of human rights.

Equally, the consolidation of democracy is not complete if there is not an improving of public health, education, housing, access of clean water and reduction of the gap between rich and poor, and of course the application of the state of law and the implementation of mechanisms of accountability.

As well as, the empowerment of citizens to decide whether politicians get to stay or have to go. In Mexico, in theory, the citizens have the power to kick the politicians out of office, albeit in practice, Mexico denies its citizens this right, and once politicians are elected there is no way to remove them or hold them accountable until the end of their elected tenure. In this sense, it is urgent that the consolidation of democracy takes into account the accountability of their representatives and the empowerment of citizens to judge their performance.

Enrique Peña Nieto arrives to the presidency with a party that was absent from power for 12 years and in the middle of violent protests and controversial elections, and faces huge challenges in the political, economical and social spheres. However, the big question now is to know if Enrique Peña Nieto will be able to address the still incomplete consolidation of democracy and be able to lead the country to a more equal society with less corruption. Doubtless, Peña Nieto is confronted with a great opportunity to transform the country and to show to the world a true peaceful democratic consolidation.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aguayo Quezada, Sergio (2000). El Almanaque mexicano, Mexico, Grijalbo.

Alvarez, Xochitl (2009) “Acusan a los hijos de Martha Sahagún de tráfico de influencias”, in El Universal, México, 27 May.

Anguiano, Arturo (1975) El Estado y la pol'tica obrera del cardenismo. México: Era.

Amnesty International(2006). Women of Atenco. Raped, Beaten, Never Forgotten. USA, Amnesty International. [on line] http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/mexico-women-of-atenco

Ascencion, Arturo (2012). “Miles de ciudadanos se manifiestan en la segunda marcha anti-Peña Nieto”, in CNN México, June 10, 2012

BBC.“Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated as president”, BBC, News Latin America & Caribbean, United Kingdom, December 1st, 2012.

Bolivar Meza, Rosendo (2003) La Construcción de la Alternancia Pol'tica en México. México, Instituto Politécnico Nacional.

Calderon Hinojosa, Felipe (2007) El Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2007-2012. México, Presidencia de la República.

Carpizo, Jorge (1978) El presidencialismo mexicano, México, siglo XXI.

Cervantes, Jesusa (2012) “ ‘El viernes negro’ y el repudio contra Peña Nieto”, in Proceso, May 19.

Contraste. El Arte de Comunicar (2011). “Exige PRD investigar a hermano del presidente Calderon”, in Contraste digital newspaper, September 19.

Delgado, Alvaro (2011). Una “Cocoa” con sabor presidencial, in Proceso, June 23.

El Universal (2012).”Cronologia asesinatos masivos”, México, 13 mayo.

Fox, Vicente (2000) Vicente Fox Propone. Mexico, ediciones 2000.

Garrido, Luis Javier (2007). “A un año”. La jornada, June 29.

Grillo, Ioan (2012) El Narco. The bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels. London, Bloomsbury.

Guerra, François-Xavier (1992) “Los or'genes socio-culturales del caciquismo”, in Anuario del IEHS, Paris: IEHS, vol. VII, No 7, 181-183.

Instituto Federal Electoral (2012) Resultados Electorales de Presidente. Elecciones 2012, Mexico, IFE.[on line] http://prep2012.excelsior.com.mx/prep/NACIONAL/PresidenteNacionalVPC.html

Kaufmann, Daniel (2009). Governance Matters VIII: Governance Indicators for 1996-2008. Washington: World Bank Policy Research, Working Paper 4978.

Linz, Juan José and Stepan C. Alfred (1996) Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, the United States, The johns Hopkins University Press.

Maplecroft (2012). Corruption Risk Index 2012, March 28, England, Maplecroft.

Mills Wrights, Charles (1956) La elite pol'tica. México, Fondo de Cultura Econ-mica.

Mitofsky (2000) “Resultados preeliminares del proceso electoral 2000”, in Nueva época, Num. 9, July.

Mény, Yves (1997) “La corruption dans la vie politique”, in Problèmes politiques et sociaux, No 779, Paris, 24 January, pp. 1-78.

O’Donell, Guillermo and Schmitter, Philippe (1986). Transition from Authoritarian Rule. Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democraties, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

Oppenheimer, Andrés (2001). El “Toallagate”, modelo de lucha anticorrupción. La nación, 26 June.

Redacción de La Jornada (2012). “Van 150 mil muertos en México por la narcoviolencia: Panetta”, La Jornada, México, 28 March.

Red 24 (2012) “Top 10 kidnap countries named by red 24”, in Threat Forecast 2012 Reporting, London, Red 24-Global Security, April 2.

Reporters without borders (RWB) (2012) México. Americas desk. Paris, Press release. May 15.

Rose-Ackerman, Susan (1999) Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences and Reform. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rivelois, Jean (1999) Drogue et pouvoirs: du Mexique aux paradis, Par's, L’Harmattan.

Riding, Alan. Vecinos Distantes (1985) Un retrato de los mexicanos, México, Joaqu'n Mortiz-Planeta.

Saldierna, Georgina (2007) “Al final del foxismo, PEMEX sign- siete contratos con Oceanograf'a”, in La Jornada, 19 October.

Sartori, Giovanni (1976) Parties and Party Systems. A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.

Schedler, Andreas (1997). Concepts of Democratic Consolidation. Vienna, Institute for Advanced Studies. Department of Political science, pp.1- 37.

Transparency International (2011) Corruption perceptions index (CPI) 2011, Berlin, Transparency International Secretariat.

Transparency International (2001) Corruption perceptions index (CPI) 2001, Berlin, Transparency International Secretariat.

Urrutia, Alonso [et al] (2006) “El encuentro devino confrontación entre los punteros AMLO y Calderón”, in La Jornada, June 7.

Zaid, Gabriel (1987) El progreso improductivo, 5 edition, Mexico, Siglo XXI.

Weisbrot, Mark (2012) “Irregularities reveal Mexico’s election far from fair”, in the Guardian, 9 July.

Wilkinson, Tracy (2010) “Ex police commander held in Michoacan ambush” in Los Angeles Times, 30 June.


[1] The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has its antecedents on the National Revolutionary Party (PNR) and was born in 1929 under the administration of Plutarco El'as Calles, later in 1938 under the government of Lázaro Cárdenas, the party is called Mexican Revolutionary Party, and finally in 1946, it is named PRI under the presidency of Manuel Avila Camacho (Anguiano, 1975).

[2] According to O’Donnell and Schmitter, the term “democratic transition” called the dismissal of an authoritarian regime and the creation or establishment of a new democratic regime: “We understand the transition as an interval between one political regime and another (...) The transitions are defined, on one hand, by the beginning of a process of dissolution of the authoritarian regime, on another hand, by the establishment of a democratic shape, the return to authoritarianism or the appearance of a revolutionary alternative”, (O’Donell & Schmitter, 1986:6).

[3] Following to Schelder, the term democratic consolidation is a nebulous concept which depends on where we stand (our empirical viewpoints) and where we aim to reach (our normative horizons). It varies according to the contexts and the goals we have in mind. However, Schelder recognizes that any talk about democratic consolidation presupposes that a democratic regime exists from the beginning to the end of the process. Democracy is at the same time the indispensable starting point of Democratic Consolidation and its hopeful outcome (in form of a “consolidated democracy”). It does not make any sense to speak of the “democratic consolidation” of an authoritarian regime. This sounds trivial. But it is not. It assumes, for instance, that democratic consolidation cannot set in before a democratic transition has been successfully completed (Schedler, 1997: 6)

[4] The Mexican Democratic Transition was a long process, which has many events that preceded it such as the student movement in 1968; the electoral reform in 1977 that introduced proportional representation in the Deputes chamber; the earthquake in 1985 that prompted new forms of social organisation; the presidential elections in 1988; the murder of the religious leader, Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo in 1993; the rebellion in Chiapas commanded by the Zapatist Army of National Liberation on 1 January 1994; the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1994, between Mexico, the United States and Canada; the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994, candidate of the PRI to the National Presidency; the murder of José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, brother in law of the ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the financial crisis in 1995 known as “December error”; the creation of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) in 1997; the arrival of Cuahutémoc Cárdenas as head of the government of Mexico City in 1997 and the dead of Fidel Velasquez, head of the corporatism in Mexico, in the same year (Aguayo, 2000:55-59).

[5] The term corruption is taken as the abuse of public power for private purposes. This definition assumes the distinction between public and private roles. In many societies is not very clear the frontier between both spheres, and it seems to be natural to give some gifts in exchange of assigning contracts and jobs. The distinction between public and private spheres seems to be strange and not clearly defined. However, in developed societies the difference between the two spaces is more pronounced (Rose-Ackerman, 1999:91)

[6] The term governance is understood in terms of the World Bank: “We define governance as a set of traditions and institutions which the power is exerted in a country with the goal to look for the sake of everybody. It involves the methods used by the person in charge of the exercise of power as well as the methods how those representatives are chose, controlled and replaced. Equally, it comprises the capacity of the government to manage efficiently their resources at apply the solid policies, encouraging the respect of the citizens, and the respect of state towards the institutions, and the financial and social interactions” (Kaufmann, 2009).

[7] Linz affirms:“Our working definition of a consolidated democracy then follows:

-Behaviorally, a democratic regime in a territory is consolidated when no significant national, social, economic, political, or institutional actors spend significant resources attempting to achieve their objectives by creating a nondemocratic regime or turning to violence or foreign intervention to secede from the state.

-Attitudinally, a democratic regime is consolidate when a strong majority of public opinion holds their belief that democratic procedures and institutions are the most appropriate way to govern collective life in a society such as theirs and when the support for antisystem alternatives is quite small or more or less isolated from the pro-democratic forces.

-Constitutionally, a democratic regime is consolidated when governmental and nongovernmental forces alike, throughout the territory of the state, become subjected to, and habituated to, the resolution of conflict within the specific laws, procedures, and institutions sanctioned by the new democratic process”( Linz, 1996:5-6).

[8] This text takes the term democracy described by Linz who considers: “Democracy is a form of governance of life in a polis in which citizens have rights that are guaranteed and protected. To protect the rights of citizens and to deliver the other basic services that citizens demand, a democratic government needs to be able to exercise effectively its claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of force in the territory. Even if the state had no other function than these, it would have to tax compulsorily in order to pay for police, judges, and basic services. Modern democracy, therefore, needs the effective capacity to command, regulate, and extract. For this it needs a functioning state and a state bureaucracy considered usable by the new democratic government” (Linz, 1996:10-11)

[9] According to Bol'var, the political process of the last years in Mexico is not a transition to the democracy, rather than political alternation accompanied with electoral openness (...) what is happening with the presidential elections after 2000, it is the PRI lose the Presidency of the Republic, but it maintains the majority in the deputies chamber, the majority in the local congress, the majority on the regional governments and the majority of the presidential municipalities around of the country. The same laws are maintain, the same institutions, and almost the same ways to exercise the political power (Bol'var, 2003: 9, 13-14).

[10] Clientelism is a political practice that consist in creating bonds of mutual and unequal dependency (…) the boss does a favour in exchange of services from the part of the client (sometimes in exchange of votes but there are many kind of services that the client can provide to the boss) The services can be done through discretionary decisions in profit to the clients (Mény, 1997 ).

[11] Caciquism is a form of power exercised by people who are entitled with two powers: one territorial and another moral and traditional. The exercise of this power is characterised for schemes authoritarians and clientelists (Guerra, 1992:181).

[12] Patrimonialism is a form of governance in which all power flows directly from the leader who holds absolute personal power (Rivelois, 1999)

[13] According to Zaid, the mordida is a feature of Mexican corruption, which is “a personal payment” to who holds an official position for a service, which involves avoiding law enforcement. Further more, Zaid says that the mordida has its own structure: on one hand, there is a person who biter that means the person who pays a bribe; and on the other hand, there is another person who receives the bribe (Zaid, 1979:181).

[14] The PRI has been compared to the Soviet Communist Party for its grip on power, ruling Mexico almost as long the Bolsheviks ran Russia. It is also credited with giving Mexico the longest period of peace in its history and shielding it from the turbulent conflicts that wracked South America throughout the twentieth century (Grillo, 2012: 34)

[15] The concept of elite is defined as a group of people which have a privileged position inside of the political, military, economic and cultural structure. The decisions of this group of people have very important consequences for the rest of the society (Mills, 1956:11-12)

[16] The movement “Yo soy # 132” -name given after the protest against Pe-a Nieto during his visit to the Iberoamerican University in May 2012 in Mexico City, in which Pe-a Nieto accused to the students of not being “students”, but rather “political agitators”, but the students showed their Identity Cards, and the first one who had the courage to show his identity was the number 132 (Cervantes, 2012)-

[17] O’Donnell & Schmitter indicate: “A democratic transition is complete when sufficient agreement has been reached about political procedures to produce an elected government, when a government comes to power that is the direct result of a free and popular vote, when this government de facto has the authority to generate new policies, and when the executive, legislative and judicial power generated by the new democracy does not have to share power with other bodies de jure”. (O’Donell & Schmitter, 1986: 7-11).


Dr Nubia Nieto holds a Ph.D. in Geopolitics from the Sorbonne University Panthéon I- Paris, France, a Master’s in Latin American Societies (DEA) from the Institute of Latin American Studies (IHEAL), Paris III, France, a Master’s in Political Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico UNAM, Mexico. Diploma in Latin American Studies (DELA) at the IHEAL, France a Diploma in Political Analysis, UNAM, Mexico, a Bachelor Degree in Sociology and another one in Communication Sciences from the Autonomous Metropolitan University UAM-Campus Xochimilco, Mexico and a certificate in Foreign Policy Analysis from the University of Birberck, London, England.
Footer