Mexico, officially known as the United Mexican States is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It borders with the United States, Belize and Guatemala. Mexico is the northernmost country in Latin America and the most populous of Spanish-speaking countries.
The capital of Mexico is Mexico City. The population is 100.3 million people. (1999), the Mexicans: 55% of Spanish-Indian mestizo, 29% – American Indians, 15% – the descendants of Europeans. The official language is Spanish. The dominant religion is Catholicism.
The independence was proclaimed in 1821. As a result of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1910-1917 years, there were created the foundations of modern political and social systems of the country. Currently, Mexico is an industrial-agrarian country with a medium level of capitalistic development (Foster 2009).
Political environment in the country
The political regime of Mexico doesn’t differ a lot from American although much more power is given to president of Mexico. The Constitution of the country proclaims the presidential legislative-executive system, the separation of judicial, legislative, and executive power, and a system of federalism which confers considerable power to states.
According to the form of the state-territorial structure, Mexico is a federation that includes 31 states and the Federal District.
The constitutional development in Mexico, unlike most Latin American countries is characterized by relative stability. Based on the Constitution (1917), according to the form of government, Mexico is a presidential republic.
Political regime of the country is liberal (combines elements of democracy and bureaucratic authoritarianism). Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was founded in 1929 and from that time is still in power.
Legislative power is presented by the bicameral Congress of the Union (Congreso de la Union): The Senate (Camera de Senadores) ”“ 128 members (are elected for 6 years), the Federal Chamber of Deputies – 500 members (are elected for 3 years).
The Judiciary is presented by the Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia), judges are appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate.
The head of state and government is the President. The president of the Republic is a pivotal figure in the constitutional arrangements of the government of Mexico. President is elected for six-year term without reelection.
Presidential elections are held in one round and the winner is determined by a simple majority. The current president of Mexico is Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (elected in 2006), from the center-right party “National Action Party”¯ (PAN).
In the states, legislative power belongs to the House of Representatives, and the executive – to the governors (elected for 6 years). The Constitution gives states the power, which doesn’t have central authority, although in practice the Mexican states have rather limited power.
There are 7 parties in the Chamber of Deputies after the elections in July 2009:
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – 241 members (35 senators);
National Action Party (PAN) – 147 (52);
Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) – 72 (31);
Ecological Green Party (PVEM) – 17 (4);
Labor Party (PT) – 9 (3);
Party of a new alliance (PNA) – 8 (1);
Convergence – 6 (2) (Books 2010).
Discussing the stability of the government, it is worth mentioning that the general election in 2000 changed the political situation in the country radically. PRI lost power for the first time in the history of Mexico. Its presidential candidate, Francisco Labastide got only 36.1% of the vote, losing the candidate from the PAN and the block of Green Vicente Fox, who got 42.5% of the vote. However, the coalition that came to power failed to obtain an absolute majority of seats in Congress. PRI lost the re-election of the mayor.
Having come to the presidency, Vicente Fox has promised to implement radical changes. But by 2003 he didn’t manage to do so. As a result, during the parliamentary elections of 2003, the ruling PAN has lost a quarter of the votes and 70 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and the PRI again became the leading party (Camp 2007).
Economical environment of Mexico
Mexico is a country with free market economies, consisting of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture and with the rising share of the private sector. The number of enterprises with state ownership fell from 1000 in 1982 to less than 200 in 2000. The government supported the privatization process and deepened the competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity, natural gas distribution and airports (Ewell 2005).
The major industries of the country are: food and beverages, tobacco production, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum refining, mining, textiles, clothing, car manufacturing, tourism.
In agriculture, the crop is dominated: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes, bred cows and poultry. Mexican industry includes logging, fishing, and shrimp fishing.
A strong export sector helped to cushion the economic downturn in 1995 and led to economic recovery in 1996-1999.
The purchasing power increased by raising wages and increasing employment. However, the economy still requires modernization and improvement of living standards. Trade with the United States and Canada has doubled since the signing in 1994 the free trade agreement. Mexico is trying to sign a similar agreement on free trade with most countries in Latin America, and signed a trade treaty with the European Union to reduce its dependence on the United States (Stokes 2008).
Exports – 230 billion dollars (in 2009). Export partners: (industrial goods, oil and oil products, silver, coffee, cotton, tequila) U.S. 89% Canada 2%, Spain 0.6%, Japan 0.5% Venezuela 0.3%, Chile 0.3 %, Brazil 0.3%.
Imports – 234 billion dollars (in 2009). Import partners: (metalworking machinery, steel products, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for the repair of automobiles, aircraft, spare parts for planes) United States 74.8% Germany 3.8% Japan 3.5% Canada 1 , 9%, South Korea 2%, Italy 1.3% France 1%;
Mexico is an industrial-agrarian country, one of the most developed in Latin America. There is a production of oil, natural gas (one of the leading places in Latin America), iron ore, sulfur, and ores of antimony, mercury and carbon.
Mexico is one of the world’s leading manufacturer and exporter of fluorspar. In manufacturing, the most advanced are ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, machine building, chemical and petrochemical, cotton, flavoring industry.
Refining is not sufficiently developed; being the world’s largest oil exporter, Mexico imports oil. Mexico is included in the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA).
External and internal conflicts of Mexico
Mexico is rarely involved in international conflicts. Most of the conflicts of Mexico are related to the Mexico-American border (migration) and drugs.
One of the major conflicts happened not so long ago ”“ is border disputes with the United States. The U.S. government decided to build a strong wall, because of the constant influx of illegal migrants. The project of building a wall sparked protests from the Mexican side. In particular, the Ministry of Environment said that the wall would cause irreparable damage to cross-border ecosystems, because, equipped with high-tech tracking systems and powerful searchlights could affect the population of animals and birds living on the border.
Mexican authorities have offered the U.S. more environmentally friendly alternatives: for example, to build a wall of cactus and to make a “green corridors”¯ in it. Animals could migrate, but for people to go through a “corridor”¯ would be quite difficult.
Meanwhile the situation on the border remains very volatile. Increasingly, Mexico protested against bad treatment of Mexicans crossing the border with the United States.
The most serious internal conflict is a struggle with drug cartels. Mexican drug war is an armed conflict between warring drug cartels, government troops and police in Mexico.
Although the Mexican drug cartels engaged in drug trafficking, exist already for several decades, they have become more powerful since the collapse of the Colombian cartels – Medellin and Cali in 1990. Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States.
Arrests of cartel leaders have increased the level of violence as aggravated fighting among cartels for control over the routes of drug delivery in the U.S.
Mexico is the main foreign supplier of cannabis and the largest supplier of methamphetamine in the United States. Since 2006, 26 thousand people became victims of drug war. Drug war has become a national threat to Mexico.
U.S. State Department believes that 90% of the cocaine entering the country is coming from Mexico and Colombia – the main producer of cocaine and that the amount of illicit proceeds from drug sales is from 13.6 billion to 48.4 billion dollars a year. All these lead to a number of international conflicts also.
Mexico and UN
Mexico joined the United Nations on November 7, 1945.
Mexico is the 10th biggest contributor to the regular budgets of United Nation. Nowadays it is a member of 18 organizations arisen from the General Assembly, Social and Economic Council and other specialized organizations of the UN.
Mexico held office as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council three times (1946, 1982-83, 2002-03). On the 17th of October 2008, receiving 185 votes, it was elected to serve as a non-permanent member for the fourth time, from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. Starting from April 1, Mexico holds the rotative presidency of the UN Security Council.
In recent years, Mexico has widely impulsed the need of reforming the UN Security Council and its methods of work. Mexico’s ideas were also supported by Canada, Italy, Pakistan and other nine countries. These countries have formed a movement in 1990 that is informally called the Coffee Club, which strongly opposes to the reform that is suggested by the Group of Four (G4) (Ross 2003).
Together with the CastaĆ±eda Doctrine of new openness in Mexico’s foreign policy, signed at the beginning of 2000s, some political parties have offered an amendment of the Constitution in order to allow the Mexican army, air force or navy to cooperate with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. Mexico plays an important role in United Union, seeks for cooperation with it and doesn’t have any conflicts with this organization.