tv Book Discussion on Politics in Mexico CSPAN August 18, 2016 9:00pm-9:31pm EDT
my old question for example that e-mails of one of the presidential candidates o were e events that took place in benghazi we have innumerable institutions and that is the genius of the democratic system for clarifying the truth in many instances and in fact ultimately in virtually all. there were never parliamentary hearings about the apartment bombings. those people who tried to investigate were murdered. the attempts to demonstrate the evidence of what took place are persecuted. there's not at least one russian correspondent who i know wanted to write about my book and what i was saying and told me in fact
it was just in possibl impossibs told that even in a very liberal outlet that she represented, that subject was out of the question in russia. so don't fall into the trap of adopting a russian mentality when it doesn't supply. russians are conspiratorial because they live in a country of successful conspiracies. you have the benefit of living in a country in which that possibility is pretty much precluded. i think that is a useful note to end on. buy a copy of david's book and come up afterwards. thank you very much. [applause]
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university. watch anytime on-demand on c-span.org asked the professor talks about the book politics in mexico, democratic consolidation or decline. he spoke with booktv at claremont as part of the college series now is the professor roderick of the pacific rim at claremont mckenna. >> i teac >> i teach courses on latin america and mexico into different facets of those areas including civil military relations and religion and politics in latin america and
democracy of violence in mexico and the course. >> we've invited you want to talk about the on the politics. politics in mexico is the name of the book. his mexico a stable democracy? >> mexico is a stable democracy, but it's what i would describe as an electoral democracy in terms of it changed with the opposition party, the national action party, the preceding party in control of the government, the institutional party had been in charge of the government for 71 years. so there were a lot of expectations generated by this government and president and
mexico is expected to move from what i would call this electoral democracy to what the scholars like to describe as a consolidated democracy basically meaning that you've achieved a certain level of transparency and accountability in the rule oand the ruleof law. so, those areas mexico still has a lot of work to accomplish. >> how critical was that after that many years? >> it was critical and essential because people have become so used to the power that actually created a condition in spite of the fraud committed in the elections that it was impossible
to defeat so that not only changed the pragmatic outcome but it changed people's attitudes about it being worthwhile to participate because you are votes would count. >> so after the next president called around. is it fair to say that it's a republican party or is that really generalized? >> it is generalized. basically it is a three party system. third-party we have it mentioned in the democratic revolution and i would describe the party of the center-right but also center-right and the prd is centerleft. so in many respects,
particularly the recent years and the overall economic policy philosophy share a lot of similarities. it's more of an outsider because the active party members are much more likely to favor enacted state role in the economy rather than a traditional neoliberal capitalist system. >> the current president is pre- again which reveals mexico has achieved the democracy because you have the party coming into control of the executive branch after 12 years.
>> it's sad when the united states sneezes, mexico gets a cold. >> you can see that in economic terms and this is true in 2008, when we had the global recession. mexico is more attached to the united states essentially then any other country. it's a major trade partner. it's 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 u.s. economy has serious problems it has a tremendously negative impact on mexico's income, mexico's employment because of so much commerce that is the case between the two countries.
obviously, when mexico has a problem with its economy, it does have an impact to some extent on the border states particularly in the border cities like el paso or 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 u.s.. >> today we are taking this in april of 2016. what is a condition of the mexican economy? >> the condition o >> the condition of the mexican economy right now is pretty solid. it's not growing on a yearly basis at the rate that even government officials would like to see. there happens to be a lot of confidence in the stability of the economy and the degree to which it has released unemployment and it's part of the reason why actually in the last four or five years the
undocumented immigration has reversed and more than a million people have gone back to mexico. not only because the u.s. was having a recession, but eventually, mexico began employing those people who previously couldn't find jobs. >> from your book politics in mexico, the u.s. constitutes a crucial variable in the very definition of mexico's modern political culture. what did you mean? >> if you look at the relationship between the two countriecountries but is intereg about it from the historical perspective that part of the liberal democratic influence in mexico has come significantly from the united states over many years so that mexico has a spanish heritage and indigenous heritage and a liberal political
vintage not in the current american politics since but in the terms of the 19th century, so it borrowed a lot of principles in the mid-19th century from american political historical experiences. for example the idea of feet jeffersonian agrarian. all of these have led to kind of a hybrid cultural heritage and mexico in terms of the political models. so, you have a semi-authoritarian political models from the 1920s all the way to the end of this century. then you have this electoral democratic model and now hopefully you are going to evil into a more significant and deeply felt democratic participatory model. >> is the legislature the national assembly set up as a parliamentary system?
>> no, it's patterned after the united states. there is a senate in a chamber of deputies which would be equal to our congress. senators serve for a six-year term. deputies serve for a three-year term. it's also quite different from the u.s.. it's patterned after the u.s., but in the late 20th century it developed in additional system, which is a party representation system. you have 500 members of the lower house. 300 ar300 are elected in single districts just as they are in the u.s., but 200 are elected on the basis of mexico divided up into multiple regions and it's based on a percentage of the vote that each party receives in that region and then they get so many representatives into the lower chamber.
a lot of observers in mexico, above analysts both mexican and american think that system needs to disappear because it would involve originally as a means of getting broad representation from the opposition party who were not winning because of fraud in most cases and the seats on the district by district basis. >> do you agree? >> yes. it is no longer necessary and what it does is it buys the adve composition of the chamber of deputies among those 200 individuals who are basically very strong party attached leaders rather than individuals who are coming up from their home district developing relationships with their constituencies and developing a
pattern in which those constituencies are important at determining the votes. >> if we were in mexico city today what would be some of the front-page headlines? >> one of the front-page headlines 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 is providing in the primary. they realized finally instead of taking a re- streamed attitude it needs to encourage people that are willing to speak up and indicate where mr. trump has made a number of significant statements.
i think the other issue is trying to deal with the level of violence that has gone well beyond the drug cartels and now is very much an issue of what i would describe what we use in the term organized crime that means that the cartels themselves have gone beyond producing shipping illegal drugs to the united states to extortion, kidnapping and other forms of crime including human trafficking which are low risk and productive in terms of income. >> how has that been allowed to flourish?
>> it's been difficult to stop because of the organized crime. it's related to the other issues i mentioned. the lack of a culture of law. the respect for the judicial system, the involvement of police in criminal activity including those three activities beyond, and that has resulted in the expansion of organized crime and criminologists estimate that probably three quarters of mexican communities at all levels have been penetrated by organized crime. >> is it in your view of the biggest national security threat facing mexico? >> yes, absolutely. >> what is the current -- first of all, how powerful is the
chief executive in mexico? >> it's 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 then a comparable president in the united states. so, there is 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 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. s