Rice University experts available to comment on Mexican elections

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Rice University experts available to comment on Mexican elections
Mexicans face a distinct choice between the right and the left, Baker Institute experts say 

HOUSTON – (June 29, 2012) – Mexican voters go to the polls Sunday to choose a new president. Two newly appointed experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy can speak about the elections from a variety of perspectives:

  • Tony Payan, Baker Institute scholar for immigration studies and associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso. He also holds an appointment at Universidad Autónoma de Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
  • Nathan Jones, the Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy. His research focuses on drug violence in northeastern Mexico.

Payan’s points:

  • “This Sunday, Mexicans will choose between the right and the left. The right is represented this time not by the National Action Party (PAN), which has governed Mexico for the last 12 years, but by the PRI, the old authoritarian party, with an extremely pragmatic bent whose only interest is the raw exercise of power with all its privileges, and the left by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), with Andrés López Obrador, the losing candidate of the 2006 elections, as the candidate. If the PRI manages to win, as the polls appear to show, this will represent a return to the old ways of governing in Mexico, a resurgence of authoritarian politics with a right-leaning management of the economy.”
  • “As for the U.S.-Mexico relationship, this too represents a change. Nothing should be different with the PRI, although the American agenda is likely to have to go stealth, after having been out in the open for nearly 12 years. But everything is up for grabs and new understandings if the left were to come to power. The relationship will continue but the current mode (?) of collaboration will not. Important adjustments have to be made: On binational trade, immigration, drug enforcement, diplomacy, the role of American agents on Mexican soil and other goodies that will make for a number of uncomfortable meetings between the best of the State Department and the new Mexican government.”

Jones’ points:

  • “While some have argued that the Mexican presidential candidates’ shift from a counter-drug to a counter-violence strategy in Mexico could hurt U.S.-Mexico cooperation on the ‘drug war,’ I argue that the shift is largely rhetorical and is compatible with U.S. security policy.” For more on Jones’ point, see his recent Baker Institute blog post, “A new anti-drug strategy in Mexico?”   

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Payan or Jones. For more information, contact Jeff Falk at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.


Related materials: 

Payan biography: http://faculty.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=42697

Jones biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/njones

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.