Journalist and political analyst José Luis Granados Ceja, who covers regional and international news for Venezuelanalysis and shares his insights in a monthly column for the Mexico Solidarity Project, recently visited the School of Public Policy during his East Coast tour of the U.S. at the invitation of policy student group La Gente.
During his visit, Granados Ceja discussed the Mexico Solidarity Project, emphasizing its critical mission of bridging the information gap about Mexico's political realities which often go unnoticed by the international media. He also provided insights into Mexico’s rapidly evolving political landscape and how it influences public policy.
"The voices of the past still have the most residence,” shared Granados Ceja, noting that those voices continue to dominate the narrative and can have profound consequences on policy decisions. He posited that the policy options being explored in response to Mexico's recent political changes could potentially harm the country's stability with unpredictable consequences down the road.
A central theme of Granados Ceja's talk was the defense of national sovereignty – a concept, he says, that has fallen out of fashion in an era of globalization and decreased borders but remains a critical issue for Mexico's political project. He noted that the Mexico Solidarity Project is an independent movement and project that sympathizes with the current political party in Mexico.
Providing an overview of the political reality in Mexico, Granados Ceja highlighted the 2018 watershed moment when Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidency in a landslide victory with over 30 million votes. “Gone were the days where a small elite could count on its control of all the levers of the state to enrich themselves,” he acknowledged. Emphasizing López Obrador's beloved status in his country, Granados Ceja conveyed that his election was a momentous turning point in Mexican politics. The government was no longer at the disposal of the country's ruling class.
Granados Ceja shared an E. Ackerman quote that holds particularly true for Mexico, "The parties that had dominated the political field throughout the neoliberal period were suddenly reduced to rubble.” This transformative moment in Mexican history necessitated a democratic shift, and today the dominant political force in Mexico is Morena, a left-leaning populist political party rooted in anti-neoliberalism which controls 22 of 32 federal entities.
The Mexico Solidarity Project has been closely associated with the anti-neoliberal and nationalist development strategy known as "Mexico's fourth transformation." This strategy has brought about significant changes such as a massive expansion of direct cash-transfer programs, a 90% increase in the minimum wage, the rescue of the state oil company PEMEX, and 71% of Mexican households now benefiting from at least one social program with 9 million less people currently living in poverty. Referencing these changes, Granados Ceja said, “That’s why we get involved with politics – to make people’s lives better.”
Addressing the U.S. media's portrayal of Mexico, Granados Ceja stressed that it often misrepresents the country and urged the audience to seek alternative sources of information. He recommended signing up for the Mexico Solidarity Project's weekly bulletin which offers original news, reporting and interviews with perspectives not commonly found in mainstream media.
On the topic of women running for high office in Mexico, Granados Ceja noted that while the country has high levels of female representation in politics, it still struggles with deep-seated sexism and machismo. Despite this, the current presence of two women running for president – Senator Xóchitl Gálvez and former mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum – has shifted the discourse to focus on policy substance.
Touching on the challenges of gentrification in Mexico and rising prices, Granados Ceja explained that Mexico's nationalist development strategy coexists with the realities of globalization and serves the interests of political and economic elites. He underscored the need for a deeper understanding of these dynamics and power structures.
Concluding with a call to action, Granados Ceja encouraged the audience to engage with alternative sources of information, support the Mexico Solidarity Project and continue their exploration of Mexico's evolving political landscape. He also promoted the upcoming launch of an English-language website to provide more complete information on Mexico's political developments.