Challenges of the next six years
Juan Diego Nusa
IN the next six-year presidential term
(2013-2018), Mexico mustface huge political,
economic, social and security challenges which will
not be easy for any national politician to solve.
Security is currently one of the principal
concerns of Mexican society.
According to analysts, the issue of most concern
and importance for the Mexican people is security…
or rather the lack of security prevailing in towns
Survey after survey reveals that, for the first
time, security preoccupations exceed economic ones
and this in spite of the fact that drug trafficking,
the source of most of the violence, has been part of
Mexican realities for decades.
The difference with the past is the huge increase
of violence related to drug trafficking and
organized crime, with the bloody activities of
powerful cartels like the Zetas and Sinaloa,
fighting for control of narcotics routes in
Tamaulipas (northeast, Veracruz (east), Nuevo León
(north) and Guerrero (west), the most violent states
and patrolled by the army.
The war on drugs has resulted in more than 55,000
An Excelsior-BGC poll, asking Mexicans which
issues most concerned them, revealed that 75% said
that they would like to see aspirants to power in
Mexico discuss how to confront insecurity and crime.
On the heels of this issue came employment (51%),
education (40%), followed by the economy (25%),
health (12%), and combating poverty (9%) which,
while placed last, remains a pressing issue in the
second most highly populated nation in Latin
In this context, Javier Oliva, a researcher into
security at the Autonomous National University of
Mexico (UNAM), noted that the most important
challenge "is to reconstitute conditions of social
peace in the areas most affected by violence in
The result of President Felipe Calderón’s
decision to confront the increasing power of drug
cartels with the Mexican armed forces has been a
dramatic explosion of deaths related to government
and drug trafficker disputes over plazas, routes and
effective sovereignty over terrain, with the
horrifying estimate of 55,000 deaths since the
outgoing President assumed power in 2006. A dramatic
situation with a direct impact on the whole of
Mexican society and its institutions, as narcotics
money is corrupting the social and institutional
fabric of this country, a situation fomented by the
proximity of the United States, the most lucrative
global market for illegal drugs of every kind, arms
smuggling and human trafficking, and paradoxically,
a country which insists on drawing up arbitrary
lists of other countries while doing very little to
provide more effective assistance for its southern
Under PAN administrations, Mexico’s poor
population has grown by 15 million since 2000.
In fact, Washington is aggravating the phenomenon
with its immoral wall along the border with Mexico,
which provokes the deaths of hundreds of immigrants
every year, with scandalous federal operations like
Fast and Furious, related to illegal weapons sale to
Mexico, for which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
was declared in contempt of a House committee for
lack of cooperation, an unprecedented measure in the
annals of this country.
Craig Deare, an international security analyst,
confirms that the situation for the new President is
complicated by Mexico’s complex relation with the
United States. While he states that there are some
advantages to having the largest market in the world
next door, this same market – also one of drug
consumption – has caused and will continue to cause,
greater complications for the Mexican government,
given that the U.S. demand for enormous quantities
of illegal narcotics fuels the problem.
Political options for the future Mexican leader
are limited on this issue, given that he will have
to choose between continuing with the current
strategy of using the armed forces to combat the
bloody drug cartels – plus a few cosmetic retouches
– and resign himself to the difficult relationship
with the U.S. in this context, plus the additional
danger of compromising the country’s sovereignty, or
launch a frontal attack on the problem by providing
more employment and education and reducing poverty
and social exclusion, breeding grounds for the
Insecurity and drug trafficking are problems
which go beyond the Mexican border and whatever
decision the incoming head of state opts for, it is
not going to solve the fundamental problem, the
existence of this lucrative market in the United
States, where $65 billion is spent annually on
illegal narcotics, according to a Drug Enforcement
Another challenge is the need to create many more
jobs to prevent youth from falling into informal
labor or ending up swelling the ranks of organized
crime, given that this population sector is growing
more rapidly than in neighboring countries.
RESTORING THE SOCIAL FABRIC
On the other hand, the reduction of poverty in
Mexico has seen a setback in recent years, with
consequences which will affect the country’s future.
Children constitute almost half of the 52 million
Mexicans living in poverty (a total of 112 million),
a fact indicating that "poverty could have most
lasting consequences than in other countries," as a
new report from the elitist Organization for
Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) states.
Mexico will thus require increased public spending
to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.
Moreover, poverty in the country increased by 51%
during Calderón’s six-year term, according to the
National Council for the Evaluation of Social
Development Policy (CONEVAL).
The second economy of Latin America, since 2000,
Mexico’s poor population has grown by 15 million
under PAN governments, reflected in the punishment
vote against the National Action Party (PAN)
candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota in the recent
ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN WOUNDS
The Federal Electoral Court has until September 6
to analyze and validate the questioned election
results and ratify the new president.
According to the final results of the Electoral
Federal Institute (IFE), Enrique Peña Nieto from the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the July
1 elections with 38.21% of the vote, followed by
Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), from the
Democratic Party of the Revolution (PRD),
representing a left-wing coalition (31.59%), while
the PAN came third with 25.41%.
AMLO contested the results, exposing the buying
of five million votes and exceeding campaign
spending limits, while PAN recognized them, but
stated that there were inequalities.
In accordance with electoral law, the Federal
Electoral Court has until September 6 to analyze and
validate the election results and ratify the new
president, or not.
Children constitute almost half of the 52 million
poor Mexicans, out of a total of 112 million in the
second most populated country in Latin America.
If the elections are validated, PRI will be the
leading political force in the new Congress. However,
it will not have an absolute or simple majority in
either chamber in terms of imposing an agenda, but
will have to resort to alliances and pacts.
Whoever is finally declared the next Mexican
president will have the difficult mission of
restoring the wounds of the electoral battle,
uniting the country and rebuilding a minimum
consensus, particularly in legislative terms, in
order to implement a government program.
The new Congress is inaugurated on September 1
and the new President of the Republic, with the
heavy burden of achieving a better Mexico, will
assume power on December 1.