The Santa Ana Sentinel

Mexico Elects a New President on July 1st. And?

Posted in Mexico, Opinion, World by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on June 11, 2012

It is time to turn attention to crucial matters in Mexico that impact people in this country.

In the presidential debate held in Guadalajara on Sunday June 10th, candidates Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Gabriel Quadri, Enrique Peña Nieto, and Josefina Vásquez Motta gave idea after idea of how to address Mexico’s challenges, but few specific details with the exception of Gabriel Quadri.

Vásquez Motta sounded rehearsed and her attacks were calculated. Peña Nieto simply did not provide enough details and repeated what other candidates proposed. López Obrador continued with the mantra of dissolving corrupt government.

Of the four candidates, Quadri and Obrador arose as the more sensible debaters.

The subject of improving Mexico is obviously too complex to discuss in an article but internal matters in Mexico affect its role in the world, as Obrador put it.

On the topic of the economy each candidate stated only the obvious, that is, that the country needs to be more competitive, but how? The only candidates to answer this question satisfactorily were Quadri and López Obrador.

Their proposals for solving Mexican economic problems involve investing in Mexican agribusiness and small businesses. A more competitive Mexican economy means more Mexicans finding work in Mexico and not having to migrate. This may sound attractive to Americans but it should be known that making Mexico a strong producer of agribusiness means cutting into American agribusiness profits that are made by selling grains and the like to Mexico. So maybe American agribusiness, just to mention one sector of the American economy, is okay with things just the way they are, migration patterns and all.

Investing in other business beyond agriculture is another proposal, albeit a tired one. Regulations and requirements for starting businesses in Mexico must be relaxed. Other countries in the developing world, like India and Peru, also share this problem.

It does no good to have less restrictions for starting businesses in place if people are not trained to think business wise. The business culture must be inculcated early on in the educational process. This idea coincides with Gabriel Quadri’s idea of a deep restructuring of institutions and policy, in this case, educational policy.

Mexico’s internal matters have everything to do with its external result. Those of us of Mexican descent in the United States are all here because of Mexico’s internal matters. We are the effect of the causes originating there and we are intimately tied to Mexican matters whether we know it or not. I choose to not ignore this fact.

Therefore, as a result of what happens in Mexico and because I am a result of a decades-long problem originating there, we Mexican citizens in the United States have a moral obligation and authority to participate in Mexican public policy and to propose solutions for Mexico.

Years ago former president Vicente Fox anticipated that part of Mexico’s solutions may come from those of us on the U.S. side of the border.

Still, participation is limited, particularly in electoral matters. In recent years there has been an aperture for allowing Mexican nationals abroad to vote but there are still hindrances.

These are:

1. Not enough Mexican citizens participating in Mexican elections from the United States. The Mexican government allowed for Mexican nationals in the U.S. to register to vote, and now mail in a vote from abroad but registration is not possible without a credencial de elector (voter identification card).

2. The credencial de elector can only be obtained at a Mexican registrar, that is, within Mexican territory.

The following proposals cancel out these two hindrances:

1. Allow Mexican citizens in the United States to register to vote and obtain voter identification cards at all Mexican consulates. This includes all Mexican people eligible for Mexican Citizenship, meaning those born in the United States of Mexican parentage, who choose to obtain their constitutionally-guaranteed Mexican Citizenship.

2. Allow Mexican citizens to cast votes in all Mexican elections in all consulates in the United States.

3. In order to ensure more transparency and maximum citizen participation, allow Mexican nationals abroad to vote in elections for congressmen and women, which is currently disallowed.

I am told that a proposal to do these same things that I suggest is in Mexican Congress. That proposal must be enacted. These rights must be applied to Mexicans abroad who have genuine concern for Mexican matters and prove their concern by sending money to their families, which in turn stimulates local economies, and by doing their moral duty of representing Mexico in the best possible light abroad. This is the duty of not only Mexican diplomats, but of every Mexican citizen.

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