Via one of my Facebook contacts, the Financial Times is reporting that Mexican president Felipe Calderón has proposed some significant changes in elections to Mexico’s presidency and Congress, including the adoption of a run-off system for presidential elections and permitting members of Congress (but not presidents, breaking the regional trend of late) to seek reelection; the proposal would also cut the sizes of both chambers of the legislature quite substantially.
There doesn’t seem to be much to object to on the surface of the package—although I’m not convinced that either chamber needs a cut in its membership—but Calderón will probably need the support of many deputies from one or both of the major opposition parties for the proposals to succeed. Since the reforms would probably enhance the powers of deputies and senators at the expense of their party leaders, many Mexican legislators may find themselves caught between their partisan and personal interests.
Your War on Drugs Headline of the Day: Sheriffs pray for an end to border violence. Because Lord knows all the billions of dollars we’ve spent to try to end it haven’t even come close to working…
On Wednesday, TAMIU hosted Todd Huizinga, the public affairs officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey. I enjoyed his talk, which touched on a variety of issues of mutual concern for the U.S. and Mexico, as well as (at least in passing) the likely continuity of policy in the face of the current presidential transition, quite a bit.
I also had the opportunity to ask what I think is the $64,000 question when it comes to U.S. relations in the Western Hemisphere—how can the U.S. successfully promote its foreign policy goals in Latin America when, even though most of those goals are aligned with the domestic interests of those countries (improving the rule of law and developing state capacity, reducing economic and social inequality, replacing the failed models of import substitution and central planning with a more free market economy, etc.), those actions may be perceived as “imperialist”? I think it was a pretty tough question but Huizinga handled it very well—which, I suppose, is what he’s paid to do.