Mexican Political Culture by malj


									Mexican Political Culture
► Over 100 million people in Mexico
    60% Mestizo
    30% Amerindian (Indigenous)
    10% other (European, Asian, etc.)
► Most populated Spanish-speaking country in the
► 75% of Mexico’s population live in urban areas
  (Mexico City’s population is 18 million)
► Population in northern part of Mexico more
  prosperous than central & southern Mexico
    Farther south you go, the greater the poverty
                National Identity
       Mexicans share a strong sense of national
        identification based on common history,
        dominant religion and language
         Importance of religion (Catholicism)
         Patron-clientelism (“You scratch my back, I’ll
          scratch yours”)
         Economic dependency
  Patron-Client System in Mexico
► Roots   in warlordism and loyalty to caudillos
  (political-military leaders) during 19th century
    In return for supporters’ loyalty he granted
     them favors
    Led to establishment of camarillas
► Distribution of political rewards to those willing to
  play by formal/informal “rules of the game”
► Keeps control in the hands of the elite
► Modernization and legitimate democracy tend to
  break up the patron-client system as networks get
  blurred in large population centers, and more
  formal forms of participation are instituted
► Camarillas   – a politician’s personal following in a
  patron-client relationship
► Exchange   of offices and other benefits for support
► Within the PRI, up until the election of 2000, most
  positions within the president’s cabinet were filled
  by supporters or heads of camarillas that the
  president wanted to appease
► Peasants in camarillas received jobs, financial
  assistance, family advice, and even food & shelter
  in return for votes for the PRI
   Part of what allowed PRI to stay in power for over 70
      Citizens, Society, & the State
► Traditionally Mexican citizens have interacted with
  government through patron-client system
► Because camarillas so interwoven in Mexican
  politics, most people have had some contact with
  government during their lives
► Clientelism has generally meant that the
  government had the upper hand through its ability
  to determine which interests to respond to and
  which to ignore
► Role of citizens in Mexico is changing as political
  parties have become competitive and democracy
  becomes more firmly entrenched
             Political Participation
► Historically   characterized by revolution & protest

► Mexican citizens have generally been subjects
  under authoritarian rule of the political elite

► Citizens sometimes benefited from patronage, but
  legitimate channels to policy-makers were few

► Today,  citizens participate through increasingly
  legitimate and regular elections
►Tlatelolco (1968) – student protest
 led to a massacre by government troops
 (400 killed).

►Zapatista Uprising (1994) –
 Chiapas rebellion reminded Mexicans that
 some people still lived in appalling
 conditions, and poverty and lack of
 education were still serious problems
► Citizens in Mexico directly elect the president, Chamber of
  Deputy Representatives, and Senators as well as most local
  & state officials
► Elections are generally competitive, specifically in urban
► Members of congress elected through dual system of
  “first-past-the-post” and proportional
     32 senate seats are determined nationally through a system of
      proportional representation that divides the seats according to the
      number of votes cast for each party (128 Senate seats in total)
     In the Chamber of Deputies, 300 seats are determined by plurality
      within single-member districts, and 200 are chosen by proportional
                     Voter Behavior
►   PRI era
     PRI controlled local, state, & national elections
     Voting rates high because of patron-client system
     Election day festive, accompanied by free food, music, and
     Corruption extensive
     Challengers easily defeated with “tacos” – stuffed ballot boxes
►   Post-PRI era
     Competing parties have existed since 1930s, but no real legitimacy
      until 1994
     78% of eligible citizens voted in 1994
     64% voted in 2000
     Both much better than 49% of 1988 when PRI corruption was at its
        Factors influencing Voters
► Age
   Younger voters were more likely than older voters to
    support Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderon’s PAN, and older
    voters more likely to support the PRI
     ► 59% ofall student voters chose PAN
     ► 19% voted for the PRI

► Education
   The more educated voted for Fox and the PAN (2000)
     ► 60% of those with a college education voted for Fox
     ► 22% of college educated voted for Labastida, the PRI candidate

► Region
   PRI evenly supported throughout the regions of the
   PAN received majority of its support from the north and
    center-west (better educated areas)
► Urban     vs. Rural –          Mexico’s political structure put into place in
 early 20th century when most of population was rural. PRI and patron-client
 system were intended to control large numbers of illiterate peasants in
 exchange for small favors from politicos. Today Mexico is 75% urban, with a
 literacy rate of about 90%. Urban voters less likely to support PRI, more
 receptive to political and economic reform.
► Mestizo      vs. Amerindian –                 only about 10% of Mexicans
 speak indigenous languages, but about 30% consider themselves Amerindians.
 Amerindians marginalized, predominantly rural, and poor. This cleavage tends
 to define social class, with most of Mexico’s wealth in the hands of the mestizo
► North     vs. South – north almost like a different country than the
 area south of Mexico City. Majority of educated citizens and Mexico’s wealth
 lies in the north. Southern Mexico primarily populated by Amerindians,
 characterized and led by Zapatista Movement in Chiapas.

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