tv Book Discussion on Choosing the Hero CSPAN August 19, 2016 2:14am-2:56am EDT
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 income and type of decision maker. >> he started out in a very promising way by developing 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 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, so i got a lot of legislation passed that otherwise wouldn't have been the case. in fact he would have been in my opinion somewhat humorously [inaudible] dot ability in mexico among the governing institutions even though the federal government is not likely to have had anything to do with this particular case, but it's inability to solve the case has led to an extraordinary
decline in public opinion approval of the presidency and of key insult and unfortunately has created a significant barrier in terms of the ability of the mexican government of the federal level as well as at the local and state levels to gove govern. for example, his opinion ratings the last two years have been in the 30s when he was in office the first year or so his approval rating was double that in the mid-60s. so it's made it extremely difficult even when the government denying opinion is implementing policies to the benefit of mexico today and in the long-term it can't create any legitimacy and public approval of those policy issues
and the implementation of those policies. >> as somebody that has written a mini books on the relations can have many times have you traveled to that nation? >> i lost count. several hundred. >> is there any place today that he was in trouble because of safety concerns? >> i think there's a lot of places that you would travel. the problem is, and you can see how these change and they are represented on the u.s. aid departments warning list that there are 30s to states in mexico including the federal district and somewhere between 15 to 20 of the states that any one time would have warnings in 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 certain highway or certain community. those don't remain the same over time. my advice to people who ask me because the focus on mexico is that you have to know where you're going from point a to point b.. it might be safe, but getting there might not be a safe group. so you have to be careful and pay attention an and to stay onp of what the most recent recommendations are from our own government. >> what has fueled the rise of the left of center policy? >> it was not only opposition to the predominance for so many years, but the first election where there were serious competition led by the 1988
presidential election that started the democratic transition in a significant way in terms of electoral politics because he did so in spite of the fraud as a result of this effort one year after they formed as an official party and he became the candidate of the party and more subsequent elections. i think what is most attractive to the voters is first voters don't believe actually the concept that was favored by the more state-level governmental activism and economic policy
projects and so on. what the prd was trying to do is return to that aspect of pre- governments. the other is a strong emphasis on something that is quite necessary addressing poverty. nearly half of the population is still living in conditions of poverty. to its credit all of the government sends the late 1980s and 1994 the presidency have devoted more and more federal resources to the expenditures of which a very large part is going to the anti-poverty programs. so each administration has increased but the trouble is where in the real number real ns decreased the number of people living in poverty as a percentage it hasn't and the
leading candidate in the last two made poverty a central issue of his campaign. the most recent presidential issue in the campaign was sort of an unmentioned issue that many people who voted for even many people who were upper-middle-class or upper-middle-class voted for the candidate as he 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 consider that a central issue. >> one term, six years. what is the population of mexico and what is the voter turnout? >> it is now around 115 million about a third the size of the
u.s.. and the highest turnout ever had was close to 80% in 1994 which was interesting. you would think after that which many people consider to be the first step in terms of the process a fair honest election. so we thought as observers the next time around but it would be higher but it's usually in the high 50s. it's fairly comparable to the united states in terms of the turnout. i think a lot of people don't participate because they have a general distaste for politics. the general view in mexico is that all political parties are corrupt or politics as we would
describe as a dirty business so they just don't want to get involved in it. >> on a government to government level what do we get right in your view dealing with mexico products >> i think contrary to what a lot of americans maintain there is a lot of collaboration between the two. it's more what is not said and what is publicly. there's a lot of collaboration on the drug interdiction, drug policy. the fact that mexico uses intelligence and the u.s. provides intelligence to mexico which has led to the capture of a lot of drug cartel leaders. there are a lot of collaborative efforts 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 between the two countries. you would be surprised that the conversation going on among the counterparts on both sides of the border say the secretary of commerce or the secretary of agriculture. when i used to give talks in washington that were sponsored by say the center for security and international studies and more recently the institute of the woodrow wilson center, american policymakers in the high and mid level from all agencies come to these settings to hear what experts have to say about mexico they would include the attorney general's office, the fbi. it never surprised me the u.s.
military can the defense department. it's just a wide range of individuals that have an interest in mexico and if you did the silvery period of years we would see the same faces. they were just as experts in their particular areas involving mexico as i was as an outside scholar looking at both countries. >> 2001, george w. bush first state dinner. has he been to the state's? >> he has been. he came fairly early and model t only had contact with the u.s. 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 an exchange among various members of congress on both sides of the border as well, so it occurs at different levels and a member of the border state, contrary to what you might think because of the more publicized position of save the state of arizona that for years governors in the border state both in northern mexico and in the southwestern u.s. have had a lot of contact because they realized it would've their problems are local and that is true in the border towns as well the relationships between el paso and juarez with tijuana and san diego. you might be surprised just how far some of those relationships go. >> went to the surveys show about mexican attitudes about the mexican people's attitudes towards the u.s.?
spinnaker tinkers a 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 the government in terms of what people's attitudes are about the people. so, in general terms, there actually are a lot of positive evaluations provided both by mexicans and americans toward each other but i think what surprised 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 to both mexicans and americans would get to the same issue. it surprises even me as many years as i've been working on that country. >> are you optimistic about
mexico's future and the relations? >> i'm optimistic about the us-mexico relations. i am less optimistic about its future because i think it needs to really address some of these underlying issues and that they are all related. poverty is related to economic growth and also the distribution of income in mexico. it's also related to corruption and trust in government effectiveness and its 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 through
crisis point. next to the conversation about liberia's president. choosing a hero, my journey into the rise of africa's first woman president. this was held at politics and prose bookstore in washington. >> thank you all for being so patient. i am that co-owner of politics and prose along with my wife and on behalf of the entire staff, thank you for coming out this afternoon. if you click administrative notes now would be a good time to turn off cell phones or something that might go beep.
when we go to the q-and-a part of the session because we are recording this for the channel and c-span book tv is here. if you could step up to the microphone here so that it can be recorded and also heard by everybody else in the audience. for those of you that have been to the events before, we would like to ask you to fold up your chairs. well, don't do that today, because we have another event coming up. it isn't often that we have a head of state here at politics and prose in fact it is pretty rare. at the moment because she's not with us yet. we should just get underway but
we will feel very privileged when she's here to welcome president johnson of liberia. it's just over a decade ago in 2005 the president became the first woman in modern african history to be elected to the state and she is widely credited with a stable peace after years of brutal civil war educated in the united states including a masters degree from harvard she was in and out of her native country several times earlier in her career as a result of the local people and minister of finance when the power in 1980 and within a few months, she went into exile and then what turned out to be over the years the international banking positions an in the world bank d
the citibank. returning to liberia in 1985 she ran for senate seat and after speaking out against the military regime, she landed in jail and then fled the country. back once more a decade later she ran successfully for president against the warlord charles taylor with a transition to democracy and the general election of 2005 she ran a second time for president and one in the runoff. taking charge of the nation shattered by years of civil strife and grappling with burdens of widespread poverty. the same year that she shared the nobel peace prize with two other courageous women recognized for their nonviolent struggle.
her story is told in choosing a hero who's also a featured guest this afternoon and i'm happy to say is here at the moment. as the head of international communications and government relations firm they represent liberian interests and serve as a long-time adviser. the career as a strategist on international issues began three decades ago after she talked her way into a job in a political firm founded by among others paul manafort. at that initial review she told them there is no place in the world she wouldn't go and she has been globetrotting ever since. she's been involved in a number of complex and sensitive projects around the world but much of her work has focused on africa. and if choosing the hero, she
leaves her story together and offers an instructive tale of an international friendship achievement. by the way, i would like to note that also here today is joyce, the former president of malawi. [applause] and the ambassador to the united states. [applause] and now please join me in welcoming reva. [applause] >> it's about five to ten minutes out so we will have to be a bit flexible. we are going to start and stop and we will move that way.
i wanted to say that it's an honor to be here today introduced by bob graham and eventually alongside of the madam president with my american family and my liberian family. and in the company of so many friends and colleagues whom i've worked with over nearly two decades. special thanks to my husband jeff, my daughter and my son andrew. you are everything to me. and to my work family and the remarkable team that brought my book to life. life. there's so many reasons i wanted to write this book but for the sake of time as we are running 30 minutes late, i want to focus on three. the first one, i spent nearly three decades traveling the
world to some of the most inhospitable places often in times of conflict, somalia, angola, iraq and liberia. these were the front lines of history and i was a witness. many of the people that i've come to know did not live to fight another day. i needed to make sense of it all. how would my work be judged and by whom? this book makes sense of it all. second, i wanted the world to know evelyn johnson, who hopefully you will know soon not as madam president or as the first woman elected to lead an african nation and not as the presidential medal of freedom winner but the person under all those titles and accolades to know her humanity and to meet
the grandmother, the mother, the sister, the friend, the woman that i came to work with in february of 1997 when everything was lined up against her. her own countrymen, the african regional players, the international community, and yes, the u.s. government was against her as well. even her own family will be coming in with her including her grandchildren a at a at a hope e would relent because rightfully, she feared for their safety but she was seized with her mission in life. her calling to bring peace to her country. she was willing to fight no matter the cost, no matter the consequences. i had hoped that i'm was going to be here because this woman wasn't perfect but she makes mistakes and has regrets but has been utterly consistent total
life. it's always been the well-being of the liberian people that she desired most of their future and promised that she sought to advance. i met ellen johnson when she was determined to return home from exile to her native liberia to challenge the rule of the warlords. she was looking for someone to fight for her in washington, d.c.. i met ellen at a time that i doubted almost everything about my life choices and again i think that brad shared with you how i started with a political consulting firm back in 1985. so it was her faith in me that restored my belief in myself. the final reason, final of three, i wanted to be mystified washington, d.c. to draw back the curtain and show how things really get done, to demonstrate
the importance of american leadership in the world and what happens when we get it right and to shout out to those that i credit for much of liberia's post conflict success, which is select members of congress and their staff. so, is she on her way, no? she's here? >> the ambassador went back. >> did you want me to do the reading or should i wait? okay. i'm going to wait. no? who has read the book? somebody say something. i am now living here -- ab
it is the second chapter and then we will ask madam president to come up. the year is 1996 july and i just met adam president for the first time serving as the head of the undp. she sat over the entire program and budget for the african continent and i just met her and this is my thought. how did i get here trying to sell on that summer afternoon in new york city in 1996, i have the overwhelming sense of being at a personal crossroad. it's time to stop and examine what i'm doing and why. i need to put everything on the table and take a brutally honest look at my life. what difference had i nee made , what lasting good have i done
what would she say if she were standing here before me? i wish with all my heart she was. what she reassured me that all of this is life's journey and that i'm accumulating experiences and lessons that would be a pride with meaning one day. would she make the trial so trivial given that the decisions in berlin i'm sure if a few thingof a fewthings i know to be good. my husband jeff, my daughter, my unshakable belief that there are people in the world dedicated to others and i want to be one of them and this the thought that is just beginning to take off. ellen johnson will make history. she will change the world. i don't know how she will do it or what it will entail but i know i want to help her and come
and i said there's so much to be told. i want to be able to share some of these experiences with the world. all right. go to it. are you sure you want to write a book, are you sure you want to say the things you say, are you sure you want to disclose confidence? but she said this is my story and in a way this is your story. we think it ought to be told. and besides, there are lots of things in this role but i've traveled people attending the
good sides and bad sides. the thrill that one gets from following the work and agony that one faces from time to time when you run into obstacles so she did it here and there and changes here and there and the book is a wonderful book. it tells a story of reva, some of the daring things she did of courage and then go into the uncharted waters to be able to come out of it and succeed and to have your goal accomplished. somewhere along the way of course because of her commitment
to tell my story and that has the hills and valleys, the good times and bad times. and for the long road. let me say there are quite a few people in this room that could write similarly because they've been on the road with me. they shared those difficult days and good days leading us to where we are. i think one has to give a lot of credit for doing this book in the midst of all the things she was doing, she could tell a
story of that success. taking on the task of joining others to rebuild my country but still she continued giving that to be a part of what we are trying to do to reconstruct the country and rebuild something that has been so badly destroyed. she's always been there with us. i sometimes think that she knows the country as well as i do because she's always probing and finding out and questioning and talking and sharing some of her own ideas. she is truly a part of the
renewal and she's contributed to this report she has given me for us to achieve what we have. so to all of you that are here to be able to share in this, that's the endgame. [laughter] i hope everyone here will participate in that endgame because the effort is not only to write the book that to share it and how some people read it. you might want to write your own experiences and it could be just as interesting and captivating,
or you could be encouraged to start a journey of your own, a journey of identifying somewhere along the road something you want to achieve and begin to person that to be able to share your experiences after you've reached the goal that you set up to achieve. i can't recognize quite a few people in this room. i know choice comes first. we are waiting for that one, too mac i know that there are so many here that are proud of that and i want to say to all of you that contributed to what we have achieved in liberia that it's
because you have been there and you have been able if not directly, indirectly through the organizations that you are proud of and support that comes through your own government so many ways in the university is s that we have had an opportunity to be able to speak to and be able to read from and work from and all of that has made the story of a success story that it is. and so, i want to thank all of you for being here and for being a part of it. i'm quite sure we are going to get to the second part of the show and that's when we will really begin to have fun. as we begin to have the interaction.