Dr. Luis Rubio: Policy and Progress in Mexico | Wilson Center

Dr. Luis Rubio: Policy and Progress in Mexico

A former Public Policy Scholar with the Wilson Center's Latin American Program, Dr. Luis Rubio is an expert on issues of democracy, economics and globalization, global governance and political economy. He is currently serving as a Global Fellow with the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute and chairman of the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC), an independent research institution devoted to the study of economic and political policy issues.

Dr. Rubio is a prolific writer on political, economic and international subjects. Rubio writes a weekly column for Reforma and his opinions and analyses often appear in major newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times. An APRA award recipient, Rubio was given the Dag Hammarksjold award in 1993 and the National Journalism Award for op-ed pieces in 1998. Before joining CIDAC, Rubio served as planning director of Citibank in Mexico and an adviser to Mexico's Secretary of the Treasury. In addition, he served on the board of directors of The Human Rights Commission of the Federal District and is a member of the Trilateral Commission.

Q&A

Q: As a writer and editor of more than 45 books, can you tell the Wilson Center audience more about the political, economic and international subjects you write about and why these topics are important in today’s policy world?

A: Think tanks are meant to provide ideas, commentary and proposals to address the issues of the day. I have spent several decades attempting to help Mexico make better decisions, free its citizenry and liberalize its economy. I have pursued these two goals in a systematic way: on the one hand, researching, and promoting research, on the issues that need to be addressed; on the other, writing about these issues and talking to all key political, union and business leaders--- in Mexico and elsewhere--- about them. The world is experiencing dramatic changes and there’s a need to analyze the issues, understand them and force a discussion on them. In my realm, the issues that I follow and try to provoke discussion on have to do with the world realignment that is taking place: China’s rise, the ever more complex and convoluted American debate on China (and of itself, no minor issue), trade and the future and the questions that these two phenomena represent for Mexico in particular.

Q: The Center of Research for Development (CIDAC) focuses on rule of law and democracy, market economies, social development and strengthening Mexico-U.S. relations. Can you discuss your role and work with CIDAC?

A: CIDAC, and Mexico Evalua, our sister organization, aim to analyze the issues that limit Mexican development, propose solutions to those problems and engage leaders in all walks of life to address these. As Mexico experiences a complex transition of power ---partly determined by the changes experienced in the U.S. in the past few years--- the stakes have increased in a dramatic fashion, making it ever more difficult to persist on a Western trajectory and a liberal political and economic course. Hence, our agenda has tightened and forced us to advocate for staying the course in a context that is not only difficult to advance, but still necessary. The American abandonment of the main values that made it so successful for so long have consequences, sometimes dire.

Q: You’ve completed two terms with the Wilson Center, advancing research on topics ranging from geopolitics and NAFTA to democracy and Rule of Law in Mexico. How have your Wilson Center fellowships impacted your work?

A: The Wilson Center is an oasis in the middle of a desert, particularly in these, dire times. I’ve been able to produce several books and articles as a result of my stays at Wilson, enjoying both the distance and the closeness, a paradox that explains why it’s such an important ---necessary--- institution. I wish I can have similar opportunities in the future.

Q: What’s next for you? Do you have any projects or future plans you can share?

A: I always have ongoing projects and permanent plans! A few decades ago I was able to influence the adoption of a gradual process of economic and political liberalization of Mexico and then I watched its painful growth over time. Lately, trends have been moving in the opposite direction, both in Mexico and abroad, but years of observing such processes have taught me that one advances two steps forward and one step backward, thus what’s important is to keep moving. I’m convinced that this is the time to prepare for the next battle which, hopefully, will be decisive in favor of a more competitive, productive and integrated world.