Changing Political Discourse in Mexico: A Conversation with Senator Armando Rios Piter | Wilson Center
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Changing Political Discourse in Mexico: A Conversation with Senator Armando Rios Piter

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Webcast Recap

On May 5, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center hosted Senator Armando Rios Piter, who had recently announced his bid for the 2018 Mexican presidential election as an independent candidate. The senator discussed U.S.-Mexican relations and the future of his country's economy alongside Ambassador James Jones, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico & CEO of Manatt Jones Global Strategies; Jason Marczak, Director of the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center; and Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute.


Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center 


Amb. James Jones
CEO of Manatt Jones Global Strategies and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Jason Marczak
Director, Latin America Economic Growth Initiative, Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center, Atlantic Council  

Armando Rios Piter
Mexican Senator 

Key Quotes

Senator Rios Piter

“This new position [and] this change of power in the U.S., [with] the new administration – I wouldn’t see it as a threat. A lot of people see it like that, [but] I see it as the biggest opportunity in the new history of Mexico, in the new history of U.S.-Mexico relations.”

“I like to see the wall – the famous, famous wall – not as a wall itself, but as a mirror. We right now have, because of Trump’s position, the possibility of seeing each other through ourselves – not only Mexico, but also the United States. And you can see all of the problems we have regarding security, regarding trade, regarding immigration (as a menace, probably). As a Mexican, I want to see it as a mirror, as a big opportunity, to see what Mexico is not doing well and what Mexico should change in order to have a better internal condition – [and], of course, a better relationship with the United States.”

“We need a collective plan, a collective plan that [involves] three parts that right now are so important for becoming that serious global player that Mexico can become: We need to generate better conditions for harmony. We need to stop exclusion.  And we need to stop the victim mentality. This is so important. In order to generate empathy, we need to stop the victim mentality – that someone else is the cause for all our problems.”  

“For every public peso you have in a Mexican campaign, you will have another five private pesos – some of them [lawful], but most of them illicit.”

“I don’t believe in a trade war, not with the United States. I think NAFTA has evolved well. It has done pretty good [in] some areas, and there are very important areas that need to evolve.” 

Ambassador Jones

“If the United States, through our government, would continue to throw insults Mexico’s way, that could stir up the populace of Mexico, to which the politicians would have to respond, particularly some of them on the left, or on the right – and that could determine what our bilateral relationship is after 2018.”

“I think the relationships have become so strong and so intertwined over the last two decades, two and a half decades – primarily because of the success of NAFTA in both countries – [that] I think that cooler heads and a sense of responsibility will prevail.”