CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Mexico at a Crossroads

In November of 2011, the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and El Colegio de México held a conference at Tulane University to discuss key issues confronted by Mexico at the start of the twenty first century.

The event focused on Mexico‘€™s future challenges, informed by an analysis of the country‘€™s history and its present circumstances. It was inspired by the Colegio‘€™s release of the series Los grandes problemas de México, a seventeen volume series edited to commemorate the Institution‘€™s seventieth anniversary. Participants at the conference discussed social, economic, and political issues in seven panels over two days. Presenters and discussants on the panels represented scholars and policy experts from El Colegio, Tulane, and other premier U.S. academic and research institutions. The inaugural panel provided the historical backdrop to contextualize the complexities of present-day Mexico, analyzing the nation‘€™s debated history, beginning with independence from Spain and then the Mexican Revolution. A second panel examined the international context by tracing the evolution of Mexican foreign policy, both with regard to other Latin American countries and the United States. It was followed by a special presentation by Mexican Undersecretary of State Julián Ventura, which also focused on U.S.-Mexican relations, particularly trade and border policy. Panels three and four addressed longstanding questions related to Mexican economic development, including the relative adequacy of economic growth, the sustainability of poverty and inequality reductions, the effects of policy choices on economic outcomes, and the persistence of structural limitations to growth in the Mexican economy. On the second day of the conference, the panels turned to the discussion of key contemporary issues in the domestic and international arenas. The first panel explored the challenges posed by demographic change and migration. Panelists analyzed the evolution of population and migration trends and the reciprocal impacts between them and social and economic forces. They also focused on government efforts to control migration and their intended and unintended effects. Participants on the second panel discussed the consolidation of Mexican democracy since its transition from single party rule at the turn of the century, pondering the challenges and dilemmas that persist in spite of considerable progress. The final panel examined security and drug trafficking, two issues that have played an outsized role in Mexican domestic affairs and U.S.-Mexican relations in recent years. The conference was capped by a provocative keynote presentation by Jaime Serra, Mexico‘€™s former Minister of Trade and Treasury, which stimulated debate about the real obstacles to Mexico‘€™s trade and economic growth.

This document was prepared by Ludovico Feoli with inputs provided by Hannagan Johnson and Michael Legendre. It provides a brief synthesis of the presentations and some of the interventions by discussants and participants. It also highlights some of the conclusions reached during this fruitful two-day conference.

Mexico at a Crossroads

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CIPR Fall Speaker Series

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Please join us Mondays at noon for our Fall speaker Series
Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America
October 14, October 21, November 11, and November 18.

In the 2019 fall series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss emerging issues that have surfaced as the result of the opportunities and challenges to democratic governance that markets have brought to the region. Latin America experienced a major influx of investment, particularly in the resource sector, over the past several decades. While this foreign investment helped hasten economic development, it also brought a backlash of resource nationalism and increased calls for redistribution. Moreover, Latin America is now a model in its own right, with other countries in the Global South adopting its state-sponsored development strategies in the resource sector. These presentations will also explore how Latin America is navigating a sea change in geopolitics, with China emerging as a challenger to the United States as the region’s main trade partner and ally.

For more information, check out our Fall Series Poster

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.