Prof urges dialogue, study about Mexican government
The political climate in Mexico continues to undergo changes after its long history of single-party politics, Luis Ochoa Bilbao, a professor at the Benem’eacute;rita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, said Monday.
"We have a political system that is not completely democratic," he said.
Bilbao said Mexican politics have not undergone substantial change and that rather than having a representative government, the country has an electoral democracy.
Bilbao said the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as PRI by its Spanish initials, implemented a regime of control that extended into society. While the PRI had been in power since the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920, it lost the 2000 election to the National Action Party candidate Vicente Fox.
While Fox maintained good diplomatic relations with President Bush, Bilbao said the politics in Mexico remained unchanged, with the PRI’s influence prevailing.
"There have not been any institutions created in accordance to the (political) expectations, and the political transition toward democracy is ongoing," he said. "This conclusion is practically accepted by all analysts of the (political) situation in Mexico."
Bilbao was invited to speak about the political situation in Mexico as evolved from its Revolutionary War in 1910 to its current state.
"The alternative… has to do more with the change in the party system than it does with the result of a political treaty achieved by diverse political actors," Bilbao said.
Bilbao said while the political parties in power have changed after 2000, the 2006 presidential election between Felipe Calderon and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was close enough to be disputed.
"Because in 2006 the (political) process had been very discussed, the people believed that the electoral process had gained certain legitimacy," he said. "What we have is a fiscal, civic system in place for elections."
Bilbao said despite the fact that the lack of involvement in political activism and debate has caused the political process to stay virtually the same, academics and scholars should lead the political discourse and inform people.
"All of the political structure in the country, more or less, continues to stay unchanged," he said. "It is not a political structure that is totally distinct or has vestiges of modernization with respect to the political culture, which was predominated by the PRI."
Bilbao also said lack of information played a part in the public’s participation.
While only 9 percent of the Mexican population has access to print media, 70 percent of people tend to trust broadcast media, he said. The Internet is not as readily available to a majority of the population and is not as trusted as television.
Bilbao said scholars should become more involved in keeping the public informed of significant political and social issues by using as many mediums as possible, including television programs. The political discourse would be aided by academics’ understanding in helping to raise people’s awareness of government corruption and social injustice.