To begin our discussion of Mexican democracy, we started this week by watching a television broadcast of the inauguration of President Felipe Calderón, back in December of 2006. It was a truly unruly event. Lawmakers fighting each other, supporters from opposing political parties infiltrating the Chamber of Deputies, heavy chairs and tables flying in the air. It was, after all, the growing pains of a democratic system that has taken decades to build. However, some of our participants were reminded of similar events that happened on January of 2021 in Washington, DC.
We also considered how dangerous the art of journalism has become for dozens of professionals in Mexico, and how little protection they can expect. This led us to confirm that police and investigative work is sadly quite poor in Mexico and that the criminal justice system only prosecutes about 5% of all crimes committed, whether they regard journalists or anyone else.
Returning to the state of democracy in Mexico, we obviated the recent history of the democratic processes in the country because the interest and the conversation moved us to focus on what Mexican columnists call “a media phenomenon” but that they quickly admit could soon become “a political phenomenon.” Opposition presidential hopeful Senator Xóchitl Gálvez has shaken the country with her desire to unseat the ruling Morena (Regeneration Party Movement) Party and her bravery in openly confronting President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has attacked her and questioned her credentials, her record, her honesty, and her abilities.
It was a vibrant debate by which we put under the microscope the electoral rules, the institutions that enforce them, and the “official” and “unofficial” presidential hopefuls including, of course, former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the top Morena contender.
You need to be there next week when we’ll explore the reasons behind spiraling violence in the country and how it affects not only the lives of millions of citizens, but also the very 2024 presidential election we touched on this week.