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Will the Mexican Election Bring Big Policy Changes?

WHO:  American University experts available to analyze Mexico’s presidential election

WHAT: Analysis, discussion of candidates and their positions on domestic and foreign policies.

WHEN: June 22 - ongoing

WHERE: In-studio, via telephone, American University

Recent polls show a steady lead for Mexico’s PRI presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto over his opponents with less than 10 days to go before the election. A Nieto victory will also return the PRI to power after it lost the election to the PAN in 2000. In the three-way race, Nieto leads his closest challenger, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the PRD candidate, by 12 points and PAN’s Josefina Vazquez Mota by 18 points. If López Obrador loses will he denounce the election as fraudulent and initiate a protest movement as he did six years ago? Will Obrador’s "civil society" movement, #YoSoy132, try to emulate the Arab Spring? American University experts are available to discuss what the PRI’s return to power may mean for Mexico from battling drug cartels to keeping the economy on its growth trajectory and how relations with the United States could be affected among other issues.

Robert Pastor, director, Center for North American Studies, and co-director, Center for Democracy and Election Management, served as national security advisor for Latin American and Caribbean affairs (1977 to 1981). Pastor is an expert on Mexican politics and its electoral system and its relationship with the United States. He is the author of four books on Mexico and U.S.-Mexican relations, including recently The North American Idea, which offers a vision and blueprint for a new trilateral relationship between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.(Oxford University Press, 2011). He was vice chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on the Future of North America.

Eric Hershberg, director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, focuses his research on the comparative politics of Latin America, and on the politics of development. Hershberg’s current research focuses on the state of democracy and emerging development strategies in South America, and the ways in which elites exercise power in Central America. He has served as a consultant to numerous development and educational agencies. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Manuel Suarez-Mier, economist-in residence, possesses a long career working on Mexico’s financial system and in its foreign service. Suarez-Mier was the chief of staff of the Governor of the Bank of Mexico and the top economic diplomat in Washington at the time of the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. More recently, he represented the Attorney General of Mexico in the United States when the Mérida Initiative, a plan for both nations to jointly fight transnational criminal organizations, was negotiated and approved by the U.S. Congress. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Arturo Porzecanski, distinguished economist-in-residence, is an expert in international finance, emerging markets and Latin American economics. Porzecanski carries out and publishes research in international finance; provides consulting services to legal and financial firms, as well as to U.S. government agencies and multilateral institutions. He’s written most recently about Mexico’s bankruptcy law and its application, particularly in the case of the glass manufacturing company Vitro. Among the positions he held before entering academia was chief economist for emerging markets at ABN AMRO Bank; chief economist for the Americas at ING Bank; chief emerging-markets economist at Kidder, Peabody & Co.; chief economist at Republic National Bank of New York; senior economist at J.P. Morgan Bank; and research economist at the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies in Mexico City. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Louis Goodman, professor and emeritus dean in the School of International Service, carries out research on social change and politics in Latin America. He has published widely on that topic, on foreign investment in developing countries and on civil-military relations in Latin America. He served as a consultant to the Office of the President of Mexico from 1979 to 1981 and has conducted research and lived in Mexico in addition to other Central and South American countries. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Todd Eisenstadt has followed Mexican politics for 25 years, was a visiting professor at El Colegio de Mexico from 1997 to 1999, and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California’s Center for US-Mexican Studies in 2005 and 2006. Author of several articles about earlier Mexican elections, Eisenstadt is a participant this year in research on the 2012 election funded by the United Nations Development Program and Mexico’s electoral institutions, where he conducted interviews on a Mexico City trip earlier this month. Former chair of American University’s Government Department, Eisenstadt is a former director of multiple United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants in Mexico, where he helped train hundreds of stakeholders in judicial reform implementation, electoral observation and other government processes. He is the author of Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011). His prior experience included serving as a Capitol Hill staffer, consultant for USAID and the Organization of American States, and several development companies. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Carolyn Gallaher is an associate professor in the School of International Service. Gallaher and a team of AU colleagues received a 3 year grant in 2011 to study cooperation between the United States and Mexican law enforcement agencies policing drug cartels in Mexico. The team has conducted interviews in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City. They will start doing interviews in El Paso and Juarez this summer. Professor Gallaher also runs a summer study abroad class in Oaxaca Mexico every summer.  

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

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