Espero estar del lado incorrecto de la historia – Por Carolina Cruz Garza

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(English version below) Julio 2, 2018, Monterrey, N.L.

Desde chica, siempre me ha interesado la historia. Leo vorazmente sobre la historia del siglo XX particularmente la de Europa. Estudié Relaciones Internacionales por ser la carrera más afín a este interés. Al leer sobre la Revolución Francesa o la Segunda Guerra Mundial, siempre me imagino cómo sería vivir esos momentos históricos; me imagino en los zapatos de alguien que estaba del lado “ganador” de la historia. En los zapatos de un luchador revolucionario o de alguien que desde la resistencia se opuso al régimen de Hitler, o albergó a una familia judía.

Hoy, con el resultado de las elecciones de México, espero estar del lado “incorrecto” de la historia. Soy regiomontana, parte de una clase “privilegiada” que tuvo un punto de partida de mucha ventaja sobre el promedio de los mexicanos. Somos una familia unida, con oportunidad de dar la mejor educación y oportunidades a sus hijos. Tuve el privilegio de estudiar en los mejores colegios y universidades y de viajar y aprender diferentes idiomas. Sin embargo, en mi familia también se nos ha enseñado el valor del trabajo duro, de la dedicación y del esfuerzo. Nos enseñaron a no asumir nada y trabajar para merecer. Cuando le llamaba a mi abuelo los domingos siempre me preguntaba “¿Qué estás haciendo?”- si mi respuesta inmediata no era “Trabajando”, me decía “Hay que trabajar… ¡También comes en domingo!”.

Por eso soy parte de los millones de mexicanos que creemos que tener un líder con educación y conocimiento del mundo, con visión amplia y realista de nuestra realidad económica y de nuestra posición en el mundo, nos ayudaría a continuar por el camino del crecimiento económico (aunque fuera poco a poco). Soy parte de los millones, que quizás por los últimos 18 años, hemos votado por el “menos peor”. Soy de los millones de mexicanos que queremos creer que México progresa a pesar de sus gobernantes y gracias al esfuerzo de los millones de mexicanos que se levantan cada día a trabajar honestamente para sacar a sus familias adelante, en la iniciativa privada.

latin_americax_worldxs_leftist_leaders_support_mexicoxs_amlo.jpg_1718483346Hoy soy parte de los mexicanos que nos despertamos sorprendidos a un nuevo México.  No nos sorprende que haya ganado AMLO las elecciones y nos da gusto que el proceso democrático se haya llevado a cabo con relativo orden y una amplia participación ciudadana. Como todos los mexicanos, ya estamos hartos de la corrupción, la impunidad, la inseguridad, y el statu quo. Lo que sí nos sorprende y nos preocupa es el poder que hoy tiene AMLO y Morena en sus manos, porque como muchos mexicanos, no creemos en un mesías, y no olvidamos el pasado.  No olvidamos también los muchos movimientos que comenzaron por este mismo camino y la historia nos comprobó que al final fueron devastadores para el pueblo.

Hoy más que nunca me levanto con ganas de seguir trabajando y luchando por este México ideal. Mientras espero estar en el lado “incorrecto” de la historia, no me quedaré esperando. Seguiré trabajando para hacer cumplir este México que soñamos. Hoy más que nunca debemos mantener la guardia alta. No olvidemos que “El poder tiende a corromper, y el poder absoluto corrompe absolutamente” (Lord Acton, Inglaterra). No dejemos que todo ese poder que ayer los mexicanos depositaron en Morena, se vuelva un arma en nuestra contra.

Hoy espero que AMLO, Morena y México me pongan del lado incorrecto de la historia, pero no me quedaré esperando. No dejaré de trabajar por el bien de mi país, de mi ciudad y de mi familia y los invito a hacer lo mismo. Sigamos adelante, apoyando donde haya buenas ideas y resistiendo activamente donde no.

Carolina Cruz Garza es es Lic. en Relaciones Internacionales con maestría en negocios europeos. Es mexicana, esposa de un mexicano y orgullosa madre de tres niños mexicanos. Carolina es consultora de negocios en materia de gestión del cambio y comunicación.

I HOPE TO BE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY, By Carolina Cruz Garza.

July 2nd, 2018, Monterrey, N.L.

 

Ever since I was a small girl, I’ve always been a fan of history. I particularly love to read about 20th century European history. I studied International Relations in university because of this personal love for history.

When I read about the French Revolution or World War II, I always imagine how it would have been like living through these historical times. I imagine what it must have felt like to be on the “winning” side of history and I put myself in the shoes of a courageous revolutionary, a member of the resistance against Hitler’s regime or one of the brave people who harbored Jewish families during the Holocaust putting their own lives at risk because they knew it was the right thing to do.

After witnessing the results of Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections, today I hope to be in the “wrong” side of history. I come from Monterrey and I am part of a “privileged” class with much more than an upper hand versus the average Mexican citizen. I am part of a tightly knit family which has been able to give its kids access to quality education and opportunities. I’ve had the privilege of studying in the best schools and universities, I’ve traveled around the world and enjoyed learning different languages. While I don’t deny having this privilege, I am also part of a family which teaches the value of hard work, dedication and effort. I’ve been taught never to assume anything and to work hard to deserve what I achieve. When my grandfather was still alive, I would call him on Sundays and he would always ask “what are you doing?”… If my immediate answer was not “working, grandpa”, I would be met with an emphatic “You should be working even if it’s Sunday. You still eat on Sunday, don’t you?”

I am one of the millions of Mexicans who believe that in order to further our economic development, we should have a knowledgeable leader, with a developed world view, a wide vision and real understanding of our economic reality and our role in the global stage. I am one of the millions of Mexicans who, at least for the last 18 years, have voted for “the least worst candidate.” I am one of the millions of Mexicans who want to believe that Mexico can advance despite its government representatives and thanks to the efforts of millions of Mexicans who wake up every day and pour their hearts out to keep their families afloat, doing honest work within the private sector.

Today, I am one of the millions of Mexicans who woke up in amazement and facing a new version of Mexico. We are not amazed that López Obrador won and we’re actually grateful and proud that we went through a relatively peaceful electoral process with ample civic participation. Like all Mexicans, we are fed up with the rampant corruption, impunity, insecurity and status quo. What is amazing and quite frankly, worrying, is the amount of power that López and his party Morena, now hold (having locked in large portions of the upper and lower house of Congress). Like many Mexicans, I don’t believe in the messianic presidential figure and I don’t forget the past. I also don’t forget about similar “movements” which went down similar paths to the one being drawn by López and which resulted in devastation and misery for the people.

Today, more than any other day, I woke up with a will to keep working and fighting for a better, even ideal Mexico. While I hope to be on the “wrong” side of history, I don’t intend to wait for it. I will keep working for the Mexico we’ve dreamed about and want for our children. Today, more than ever, we need to keep our guards up, lest we forget that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton, UK). It is our responsibility to ensure that all the power that a voting majority of Mexicans gave to Morena yesterday, does not become a weapon against our country.

Today I hope López, Morena and Mexico place me in the wrong side of history, but I don’t intend to wait for it. I will not stop working for my country, my city and my family and I hope you don’t either. Let’s keep moving forward, providing support to good ideas and actively resisting bad ones.

Carolina Cruz holds a masters in European Business and a BA in International Relations. She is a Mexican woman, married to a Mexican man and the proud mother of three Mexican kids. Carolina is a business consultant specializing in Change Management and Communication.

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Mexico’s Presidential Race: Running on Air

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Here is a link to my latest article on AQBlog, titled “Mexico’s Presidential Race: Running on Air” , published on Feb. 15th, 2012. Please feel free to visit and comment. Here is a verbatim copy of it in case you prefer to read it on my personal blog, though I recommend actually going to the site because of additional content, other blogger’s articles, etc.

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The stage is finally set for the presidential race between Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD/PT) and Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI/PVEM). What is about to unfold in the coming months is a barrage of party propaganda and news media stories designed to pull the undecided electorate toward one or the other candidates, but the actual content of the messages will surely show the lack of political consciousness in Mexico.

The product of a school system in crisis, a large portion of Mexico’s constituency is comprised of uneducated voters. Moreover, for those lucky enough to have gone through formal schooling, two essential things are missing: development of a widespread civic/political culture and embedding the capacity for critical thinking.  With regard to elections, Mexicans’ decisions have traditionally been based on a simplistic understanding of what candidates represent, if we like the way they talk and even their looks.

 A very young and sensationalist media also works against the creation of a politically informed voter base. Mainstream newspapers and TV networks are more interested in covering and making fun of the latest verbal gaffe by one of the candidates than really doing an in-depth analysis of the actual platforms they are running on. And the worst part is some of the current candidates have caught wind of this so their campaign focus will be less on substance and more on giving the media what they want in order to get more exposure. A secondary concern is the actual proposals and solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

Of the three candidates, the only one who has provided public discourse with a somewhat clear and consistent direction is López Obrador. To be fair, his campaign is six years ahead of the other two but that doesn’t excuse the fact that Vázquez and Peña have been unable to effectively communicate what they stand for and what their governments would seek. They might not even be trying to do this, as they’ve found they can try to win the election through other strategies.  

Today we know that López Obrador opposes the neoliberal model and his macroeconomic policies are less focused on healthy management of public debt and more on building infrastructure. In his presidency, public spending would likely go up via populist programs, less worried about sustainable finance (the way his administration ran Mexico City). We know he opposes the military’s involvement in the war on drugs and gang-related violence, though we are not yet clear on his proposal for an effective alternative. Because he includes it in his rhetoric, we are clear on his views on supporting the agricultural sector and the ever-pervasive and violent SME (Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas), a union which represents employees of a public company that doesn’t exist anymore. His foreign affairs policies would likely skew away from the globalization dynamic and steer more toward regional bloc building with Latin America. Somewhat ironically, being open about his platform has done very little to help AMLO gain support. According to a recent poll, his numbers have been stagnant since October 2011 despite heavy campaigning.

Josefina Vázquez Mota will use her political background and take advantage of the gender-role dynamics to position herself as the modern, socially-focused candidate. We will likely see her include education and jobs as the cornerstones of her campaign but her views on the economic model might only be inferred from her allegiance to the PAN party. On her official website, the closest thing to an actual political platform is an invitation to build a national plan through social inclusion and civil participation. Her public appearances follow suit, with statements on how we must build the nation together but lacking substance. Vázquez’ popularity has recently jumped in the polls, catapulting her as the viable alternative for voters who wish to keep the PRI from coming back to power and (at least for now), relegating López to a distant third place position. Her role in the race is being questioned by the media not for her position on any of the issues but by raising the question “is Mexico ready for a woman to be President?”

The leading candidate is still Peña Nieto but his numbers have been on a tailspin due to a series of statements that validate López’ criticism against him for being a “product” or “junk food” candidate. Of the three, Peña is the one whose positions on anything are still a complete mystery.  His public speeches have been empty and unclear. Besides representing the return of PRI to power, Mexicans have no idea what he stands for or his value proposition. He apparently opposes the ruling party’s recent administration but his platform called “An Effective State” provides nothing new, different or innovative that has not already been pushed forward by Calderón’s administration.

Why is Peña leading in the polls?  Because Mexicans do not vote based on substance. Part of his popularity might be attributed to people disappointed of the PAN alternative looking back to the PRI and thinking “we were better off back then.” Add to this Peña’s good looks and his marriage to a soap opera star which helped him gain points early on in the race. However, Peña is running out of fuel and has nothing with which to fill the tank. Until he proves otherwise, Peña is the candidate “running on empty” as López has pointed out. The possibility of either Vázquez or López catching up, is still very much on the table.

It’s too late for this presidential race, but if Mexicans are to make the right decisions in elections to come, we must invest in creating a better informed and politically conscious voter base and we can’t expect the political elite to do it for us. It’s easier for them to run on personal popularity.

*Arjan Shahani is a contributing blogger to AmericasQuarterly.org. He lives in Monterrey, Mexico, and is an MBA graduate from Thunderbird University and Tecnológico de Monterrey and a member of the International Advisory Board of Global Majority—an international non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of non-violent conflict resolution.