tv Book Discussion on Politics in Mexico CSPAN June 26, 2016 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT
marsha clark. and we wrap up with a "new york times" white house correspondent report on the relationship between president obama and former secretary of state hillary clinton. that all appears tonight on c-span's booktv. >> now joining us on booktv is claremont mccondition na professor -- professor of the pacific rim. what does that mean? >> guest: i teach courses on latin america and mexico in particular, and different falls sets of those two areas, including civil military relation ands religion and politics in lattin america. ...
with the election of an individual from an opposition party, national action party. the preceding party in patrol of the government, revolutionary party had been in charge of the government for 71 years. so, generated by this new government and new presidents and mexico was expecting to move from what i would call this electoral democracy to what scholars like to describe as a
consolidated democracy, basically meaning you have achieved a certain level of transparency and accountability and a rule of law. so, in those areas mexico still has a lot of work to accomplish? host: in 2001, how critical was that election? guest: it was essential because people had become so used to the pre-being in power that it actually created a condition in spite of the fraud he was committing in the election that it was impossible to defeat, so that really not only changed the pragmatic outcome of the election, but it changed people's attitudes about it's
been worthwhile to participate in the election because your votewould count. host: and so after that the next president was also from the pan party. is it fair to say the pan party is a republican party and the pre-parties the democratic party was that really generalized? >> that is really generalized. basically it's a three party system, third party we have not mentioned is the party of the democratic revolution and i would describe the pond party a center-right in the pre-is also center-right in the prd is centerleft, so the pre-and the pond in many respects the two clearly in recent of their overall economic policy philosophy sharing a lot
of similarities. the prd is more of an outlier because its active party members, it's militant partisan members are much more likely to favor an active state role in the economy rather than a traditional liberal capitalist system. host: the current president is pre-can? guest: yes, which again is a, reveals that mexico has achieved an electrical-- electoral democracy once again because you have another party coming back into control of the executive branch after 12 years, so you exchange power twice in a 12 year period, which is an achievement. host: it's often said that when the united states these is mexico it's a cold. guest: you can surely see that in economic terms and this is
especially to pasture in 2008 when we have had the global mexico is more attached to the united states essentially than any other country. it's a major trade partner and its number two and number three trade partner for a number of years, so because of the asymmetry between the two countries in terms of the size of their economy, when the us economy has serious problems, it has a tremendously negative impact on mexico income, mexico's employment because of so much commerce that is the case between the two countries. obviously, when mexico has a problem with this economy it does have an impact to some extent in the border states particularly in the border cities like el paso or even tucson and
so on because a lot of mexican tourists come across the border and are important contributors to the economy in those areas in the us. host: today, we are taking this in-- taping this in april of 2016. what is the condition of the mexican economy? guest: right now it is pretty solid. it's not growing on a yearly basis at the rate that even government officials would like to see it. there happens to be a lot of confidence in the stability of the economy and the degree to which it has reduced unemployment. it's part of the reason why actually in the last four or five years undocumented immigration to the united states has reversed and more than a million people have gone back to mexico, not only because the us was having a recession, but
eventually mexico began employing those people who previously could not find jobs. host: from your books-- "politics in mexico" the us constitutes eight crucial barrett-- variable in mexico's modern political culture. when did you mean? guest: well, think if you look at the relationship between the two countries, with interesting about it from a historical perspective that part of the liberal quote democratic influences in mexico have come significantly from the united states over many years so that mexico has a spanish tick-- heritage, indigenous heritage in a liberal political heritage not in the current american politics sense, but in terms of the 19th century, so it's borrowed a lot of from americans,
political, historic experiences, for example the idea of jeffersonian-- all of these have led to a hybrid kind of cultural heritage in mexico in terms of political models, so you have authoritarian political models from the 1920s all the way to near the end of the century. then coming on this electoral democratic model and now hopefully you are going to evolve into a more significant and deeply felt democratic participatory model. host: is the legislature the national assembly set up as a parliamentary system? >> no, it's patterned after the united states. there's a senate and a chamber of deputies, which would be equal to our congress.
senators serve for a six-year term. deputies served before a three-year term. it's also quite different from the us. it's a patterned after the us, but in that late 20th century it to developed an additional system, which is a party representation system. you have 500 members of the lower house, 300 are in single districts just as they are the us, but 200 are elected on the basis of mexico divided up into multiple regions and based on a percentage of a vote that each party receives in that region. then they get so many representatives into the lower chamber. a lot of observers to mexico, analysts both mexican and american that that system needs to disappear because it
was evolved originally as a means of getting broader representation from the opposition parties who want 20-- weren't winning because of fraud in most cases seats in the district by district basis. host: do you agree? guest: yes, i do. it's no longer necessary and what it does is bias is the competition of the chamber of deputies among those 200 individuals who are basically very strong party attached leaders, rather than individuals who are command from their home district developing relationships with their constituencies and patted me-- pottery-- developing a pattern in which those constituencies are important in determining their boats on issues in
congress. host: if we were in mexico city today, what would be some of the front page headlines? guest: well, one of the front page headlines probably would be what mr. trump has to say in the republican primary about mexico. there's a lot of concern in mexico over the image that he's providing in the primary election and more, i think, the government has finally realized that instead of taking a restrained attitude that it needs to encourage people that they are willing to speak up and indicate where mr. fox-- i mean, mr. trump has made a number of significant statements that are just untrue. i think the other issue, which mexico is most concerned about is trying to deal with the level of criminal
violence in mexico, which has gone well beyond drug cartels and now is very much an issue of what i would describe as the term we use in the us organized crime. that means that the cartels themselves have gone beyond producing, shipping illegal drugs to the united states to extortion and kidnapping and other forms of crime including human trafficking, which are very very low risk, but also very productive in terms of income. host: how is that been allowed to flourish? guest: it's been very difficult to stop because of the resources of organized crime. it's related to the other issues i mentioned , the lack of a
culture of law, a respect for the judicial system, the involvement of police and criminal activity including those three activities beyond illegal drugs and that has resulted in the expansion of organized crime, criminologists from mexico estimate it's probably three quarters of mexican communities at all levels have been penetrated by organized crime. host: is it, in your view, the biggest national security threat facing it-- mexico? guest: yes, absolutely. host: first of all, how powerful is the cheek it-- chief executive in mexico? guest: fairly powerful. i would say to a certain extent it has a heritage
coming up to and into the 21st century where the president is actually a stronger decision-maker than comparable president in the united states. so, there's a history of the executive branch, but particularly the presidency itself being a very influential body and that has resulted in an expectation even in a democratic system now that the president still be a strong in command type of decision-maker. host: and is president enrique pena nieto. guest: enrique pena nieto, he started out in a very promising way by developing what was called the pack for mexico. the first 14 months of his administration he implemented a number of really major significant
reforms on which most objective analysts of mexico both mexican and american and many economists felt were critical to mexico's future. what this was was an agreement among the presidents of the three parties and the president of mexico without a lot of legislation passed that otherwise would not have been the case. in fact, it would have been, in my opinion, sort of somewhat humorously, but really seriously this could have been a learning exercise for the u.s. congress in terms of its own internal relationship as well as its relationship with the presidency. but, unfortunately because of the problems with crime and you may have read about this incident in mexico almost two years ago now where 43 students in southern states disappeared.
there is so little credibility in mexico among governing institutions, even though the federal government is not likely to have had anything to do with it-- this particular case, but it's inability to convincingly solve the case has led to just an extraordinary decline in public opinion approval of the presidency and of mr. enrique pena nieto himself and unfortunately has created a significant barrier in terms of the ability of the mexican government at the federal level as well as the local and state level to govern. for example, his opinion ratings now, for the last two years have been in the 30s. whereas when he was in office the first year or so his approval rating
was double that in the mid- 60s. so, it has made it extremely difficult even when the government, in my opinion, is implementing policies to the benefit of mexico today and in the long-term it can't create any legitimacy and any sort of general public approval of those policy issues and the implementation of those policies. host: as someone who has written many many books on mexico, us-mexico relations etc., how many times have you travel to that nation? guest: my cosh, i have lost count. several hundred. host: is there any place today where you would not travel in mexico because of safety concerns? guest: i think there are a lot of places where you would not travel. the problem is and you can see how it's changed and they are represented on the us state department's warning
list that's there are 32 states in mexico including the federal district and is somewhere between 15 and 20 of those states at any one time will have warnings from the state department for americans traveling to mexico, but in most cases it's not an entire state. it's a certain part of the state or a certain highway or a certain community. those don't remain the same over time. they change, so my advice to people who obviously asked me because of my focus on mexico is that you have to know where you are going from point a to point b. .8 might-- .8 might be safe and point b might be saved, but getting there may not, cf to be careful they have to pay attention and you have to stay on top of what
is the most recent recommendations from our own government. host: what has fueled the rise of the prd? the leftist center party. guest: what has fueled the rise of prd, not only opposition to the predominance for some years, but the first election where there were a series competition, which was led by a person who ran in the 1988 presidential election, that started the democratic transition in mexico and significant way in terms of electoral policy because he did so well in spite of the fraud. as a result of his effort when you're after that election the prd actually formed as an official party and he became a candidate of that party for two more subsequent elections, and i think what the prd
is most attractive to voters is first, boaters that believe actually a concept that was favored by the pre-originally a more state-level governmental activision and economic policy projects and so on. and what the prd was trying to do was return to that aspect of pri governance. the other area is of really strong emphasis is something that is actually quite necessary mexico, addressing poverty. nearly half of the population is still living in conditions of poverty. to its credit, all the governments since the late 1980s and 1994 the presidency have devoted more and more
federal resources to social expenditures, which is going to have had poverty programs, so each administration has increased that. the trouble is where in real numbers it has decreased in the number of people living in poverty, as a percentage it has since. the leading candidate of the prd in the last two elections made poverty a central issue of his campaign. in the most recent essential issue of campaign, what was sort of an unmentioned issue is that many people who voted for him, even many people who were upper middle class or upper class actually voted for the prd candidate because they thought he was the most honest candidate. so, integrity became an
unspoken issue in that campaign and he seems to have attracted a disproportionate percentage of the voters who consider that a central issue. host: one term, six years, correct for the president? guest: yes. host: was the population of mexico it was the voter turnout? guest: it's now around 115 million. host: about a third of the size of the us? guest: yes and it's turnout-- the highest turnout it ever had was close to 80% in 1994, which is really interesting. you would think after that election, which many people consider to be the first to staff intern-- first up in terms of doubt-- balloting process and fair honest election, so we all thought as observers that the next time around would be higher, but it is usually in the high 50s.
it's fairly comparable to the united states in terms of-- terms of turnout. i think a lot of people don't participate in the election because they just had a general disdain for politics, the general view in mexico is that all political parties are corrupt or politics is what we would describe as dirty business, so they just don't want to get involved in it. host: on a government government level what do we get right in your view and given with mexico i think, actually contrary to what a lot of americans may think there is a lot of collaboration between the two governments. it's more what is on said then what's publicly said. there's a lot of collaboration on drug interdiction, drug policy, the fact that mexico uses intelligence
drones in the us provides intelligence to mexico, which has led to the capture of a lot of drug cartel. leaders, there is a lot of collaborative effort going on-- also on an economic level in terms of the amount of commerce and trade and physical aspects of trade relationships trying to improve the transportation, the ease of transportation between the two countries. you'd be surprised at the conversation going on among counterparts on both sides of the border in say the secretary of commerce or the secretary of agriculture when i used it to get talks in washington that were sponsored by say the center for security international studies and more recently the mexico institute of the
woodrow wilson center, american policymakers and higher middle level from all agencies come to these settings to hear what experts have to say about mexico. they would include the attorney general, often, the fbi. it's never surprised me that the us military, defense department, it's just a wide range of individuals who have a real interest in mexico and if you did these of rape or a deck of years like i have done you would see the same faces they were just as expert in their pets to their areas involving mexico as i was at an outsider and a scholar looking at both country. host: 2001 george w. bush first date dinner-- dinner, has enrique pena nieto been to the states?
guest: he has been to the states. he actually came fairly early and not only had contact with us government, but gave a presentation, council on foreign relations in new york, so there has been some significant change between the leadership of both countries. i would say you also have on exchange among various members of congress on both sides of the border as well, so it occurs at different levels in the number of the border states contrary to what you might think because of the more publicized position of say the state of arizona, that for years governors in the border states, both in northern mexico and in the southwestern us have had a lot of contact because they realize along-- a lot of the problems are local and regional and that's
true of border towns as well. relationships between el paso and tijuana and san diego, you might be surprised at just how far some of those relationships go. host: what do surveys show, professor, about mexican attitude-- the mexican people's attitudes was the us? guest: i think the attitude, there are number of different surveys that have been done, but one of the general conclusions i would say is that you shouldn't judge what people's attitudes are about government in terms of what people's attitudes are about the people. so, in general terms they are actually are a lot of positive evaluations provided both by mexicans and americans towards each other that i think with surprise some people and when you ask them their attitudes about certain
values or issues, sometimes you find very close similarities in terms of the importance that both mexicans that americans get to the same issue. it surprises even many-- even me has many years as i've been working on a country. host: again, it's april 2016, are you optimistic about mexico's future us-mexico relations? guest: i'm optimistic about us mexican representative-- unless optimistic about it teacher because i think it needs to address some of these underlying issues and they are all related, poverty is related to economic growth, but also the distribution of income in mexico it's also related to corruption in government effectiveness. it's also related to unemployment, which is a
very significant explanation of why organized crime can attract so many young particularly male individuals who are not well educated, who have generally been unemployed to criminal activities, so all of these elements, economic growth, better access to education, higher quality education are related to crime, which is related to violence, which is related to corruption. they are all intertwined and those need to be more fully addressed. host: here's the books, "politics in mexico: democratic consolidation or decline?", college professor roderic ai camp is the author. thank you for your time. guest: thank you very much. >> here's a look at some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to the los angeles times. topping the list is neo
game's collection of essays, the view from the cheap seats. in one breath becomes irritable-- late neurosurgeon contemplates his own mortality. marie is next with the life-changing magic of tidying up and in tribes sebastian younger explores the affects society has on returning veterans. the author will join book to be next sunday on in-depth, our lark-- the monthly three are: program. are look at the best-selling nonfiction books according to the los angeles times continues with mitch mcconnell's account of his three decade career in the senate. senator mcconnell recently appeared on book tv's afterwards program, which you can watch on her website next is hamilton the publish script of the pulitzer prize-winning and tony winning broadway musical. pulitzer prize winning author examines genetic