Democratic Transition

To Govern

The complexity of Mexico’s political life, the violence, and the corruption, but above all the absence of a real debate on domestic problems, has generated a thousand and one diagnoses on the nature of our dilemmas. It would appear obvious that our essential problem is not corruption, violence or criminality, but the absence of a system of functional government: that is, the three levels of government and the three branches of government. This is not a matter of guilt, of the good ones or the bad ones, but rather of essence. The question is how Mexico is going to be governed.

Intrepid Autonomy

How are the high-speed train to Querétaro and the brand new National Electoral Institute (INE) alike? Unfortunately, the similarity is less altruistic than is desirable. Some months ago, the Secretary of Communications went to Congress to defend the high-speed Querétaro train project, but as soon as he arrived at his office, he turned on his heel and announced that the project was suspended. The order had been issued from the top.

Mexico's Midterm Elections and the Peña Nieto Administration

The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute was pleased to host an event on Mexico's 2015 midterm elections. On June 7, 2015, more than 86 million Mexicans will have the opportunity to elect 500 federal deputies, 17 state-level legislatures, 9 governors, and more than 300 mayors. This new cohort of legislators will replace the group that approved the major reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto during the first year of his administration.

Public Opinion and the Peace Process in Colombia


Since the beginning of the peace process between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and guerillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), public opinion polls have consistently reflected two impulses.  While the majority of the Colombian public supports the talks, there is also deep skepticism of the FARC’s interest in reaching or abiding by the terms of a final accord. The distrust has only deepened in the wake of a recent FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers, contravening a unilateral cease-fire declared by the guerrillas. 

Governability: What For?

During his exile in Paris, Porfirio Díaz stated that “governing Mexicans is more difficult than herding turkeys while riding on horseback”. He must have known something about that after nearly thirty years of trying to do so. However, the fact that he lasted so long and the way that his administration ended is suggestive of the country’s problem that is yet to be resolved.

Iran Hard-Liners’ Newest Obsession: Cohabitation

The commission that oversees the Iranian press has banned the women’s magazine Zanan-e Emrouz (Today’s Women) over an article on unmarried young men and women living together. Cohabitation, or "white marriage," as it is known in Iran, is a growing practice in the Islamic Republic. In big cities it is not unusual for young unmarried couples to live together. These young men and women may be unready to commit to matrimony or pursuing careers; some are unable to afford the financial requirements of marriage.

Gubernatorial Elections in Mexico: The Polls

In this infographic, the Mexico Institute analyzes the published polls of some Mexican states holding gubernatorial elections in 2015. We highlight the top two candidates in the states, except in the case of Nuevo León, where we want to highlight the surprising rise of an independent candidate above the PAN's candidate (click here to read our previous analysis on Nuevo León). 

The Law and the Loophole

There is a popular saying in Mexico that whoever makes the law makes the loophole. Sadly, in times of political campaigns the saying proves right.

Another Mexican Utopia: Building a Merit-Based Society

"My impression from four decades of observing eight Mexican presidents is that when a president assumes office and, above all, when he consolidates his power, he feels that the world owes him a living,” writes Luis Rubio, one of the most respected intellectuals of our country. For the renowned columnist, since the late eighties, the fate of Mexico has depended heavily on the political ability of those who have occupied the presidency.

Excesses and Vacuums

The accusation of supposed acts of corruption has turned into a national sport. No day goes by without the social networks posting photographs of a public official boarding a governmental helicopter or a politician’s wife entering a store in Los Angeles. The phenomenon cuts across the entire political spectrum, but the look is fixedly trained on the federal government. The faults of the Left appear lesser in the logic of the prototypical accuser. Is this an excess or merely a patriotic, therefore democratic, act?