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In defense of democracy and institutions

One of the consequences of the lack of security, within democratic regimes, is that they are losing popular support when governments emanating from the polls cannot reduce the levels of violence. This may be one of the causes of loss of support or discontent with our democracy.

Social fatigue, due to high levels of crime, has resulted in violent episodes of demonstrations, not only against specific people within different levels of governments, but also against institutions. It is, in this sense, dangerous for our democracy that we are getting to socially repudiate the institutions, which are supposed to be pillars of our democracy. In the end, that is as much as repudiating democracy itself.

On the other hand, although any social manifestation starts from a specific event, it seems that we are more focused on solving those episodes than on generating profound changes. That is, although the manifestations against acts and crimes committed by public officials start from specific victims, the social requirement should not only be to solve this case, but to generate changes that allow the delivery of justice to be routine, for all, in All the circumstances.

As a society, we must seek to strengthen institutions in favor of improving our democracy, not to upset them. Going against the institutions is to shoot us in the foot. At the end of the day, the government needs the structures of the police and prosecutors or prosecutors. Let’s seek to improve their performance protocols. Requesting resignations of officials or the disappearance of institutions does not pay for the major cause of improving the delivery of justice in our city and in the country.

Institutions are not created overnight. The institutionalization of the delivery of justice is a clearly unfinished process, but it is evolving in the right direction. We would like – as a society – that this evolution of our justice system would give results in the short term. It won’t be like that. After decades living within an inquisitorial and corrupted system, there are inertias within the institutions that will take time to change.

However, we must work because the institutions are so strong that, no matter who is at the head of them, we trust their work. Reaching that level of trust happens because social manifestations put pressure in that direction. If the manifestations are aimed at finding that a particular case is solved, they may succeed, but then each time that situation is repeated, a manifestation of equal magnitude will be needed.

If as a society we are clear that the objective is to improve our democracy, through institutions that work in favor of the population, we can take much better advantage of the spontaneous manifestations that arise from specific cases, which outrage society. Let us not only seek a solution to specific cases, that our primary objective is justice for all, at all times, in all circumstances.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

 

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/08/20/en-defensa-de-la-democracia-y-las-instituciones/.

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

 

Bad signs for the economy

Last week, the price of the Mexican oil mix dropped to less than $ 50 per barrel, eight dollars less than budgeted in the Revenue Law for this fiscal year; However, this is one of the last signs that should put the Mexican government on alert.

The Moody’s agency said just last Thursday that the lack of coherence in government policies is negatively impacting the arrival of private investment and will have a negative effect, both for this year and for 2020. In this regard, Bloomberg published that businessmen interviewed by the magazine rate the policies of the current administration as erratic, which is holding back the investment.

This stagnation in investment is one of the causes of the unfortunate growth of 0.1% during the second quarter of the year. Recall that during the first quarter the economy contracted 0.2%. Likewise, both the federal government and the main banks worldwide have lowered the estimate of growth of the Mexican economy.

To make matters worse, the Inegi announced the behavior of private consumption, which has the weakest growth in a decade. Private consumption grew just 1% as of May 2019, well below the same period of the administrations of  Fox ,  Calderón  and  Peña Nieto , whose advances were 3.7%, 3.1% and 1.7%, respectively. In addition, the sale of cars already adds down 26 consecutive months. Thus, it is estimated that this year sales for the domestic market will decrease by 7%. Toyota, for example, lowered its sales expectations by 10 thousand units. Although production has not fallen, it remains afloat thanks to the export of cars.

Against this background, the SHCP announced the implementation of measures to revive the economy. They plan to advance tenders planned for 2020 and mobilize 485 MMDP; However, even if infrastructure tenders are advanced, formal work will begin until January 2020. On the other hand, the injection into the economy aims to encourage physical investment and private consumption through credit.

What we see is that reality is reaching the republican austerity of 4T. These measures will only be sufficient if the lopezobradorist government recognizes its initial lack of vision of the economy and speeds up the disbursement of resources, especially in terms of infrastructure, and ceases to privilege the transfer of cash as social programs.

In a context adverse to the global economy, derived from trade wars, mainly between China and the United States, and uncertainty over  Brexit  and the unilateral US sanctions against Iran, Mexico must act firmly, with policies that activate investment, both public, as private, in projects that generate long-term economic growth and not measures that only increase in current spending favoring the creation of customers. The lopezobradorista government must stop thinking about the next elections and think about the generations to come, to leave them a better country. Direct transfers of resources to the population will not improve the quality of life of the population in the long term.

 

 

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

 

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/08/13/malas-senales-para-la-economia/.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Sheinbaum, preventing violence or creating fear?

he creation of the National Guard (GN) has been – for others – chaotic. Initially, the government argued that it would be responsible for supporting the public safety efforts of state and municipal governments. The former Undersecretary of Security and Citizen Protection,  Patricia Burgarín , mentioned in February this year, at a meeting of AMCHAM, that the Federal Police (PF) would not disappear and that only some of its elements would be transferred to the GN; However, today we see that the FP is in the process of disappearing. Likewise, the National Guard today has very different responsibilities from those of only supporting entities in security tasks.

It is worth mentioning that Article 92 of the National Guard Law states that “… the collaboration agreements signed between the Secretariat and the federal entities or municipalities will contain the contributions that, if any, they should make when the Guard National perform public safety tasks of local competence ”. A few weeks ago, elements of the National Guard were deployed in Mexico City; However, just last Friday, the Mexico City government (CDMX) published in the Official Gazette the Law of the Citizen Security System of the CDMX where it is established that the city government can establish agreements with the GN ( Articles 72 and 73). This means that before Friday there were no legal mechanisms to establish agreements between the CDMX government and the GN, Under what scheme were GN and local security agencies collaborating? Now, if it were the case that a collaboration agreement already exists, what and how many resources is Mexico City providing? By the way, Claudia Sheinbaum  already recognized, in an interview with MVS news, that there are still no agreements, are we facing an illegality?

Those are questions that could remain in the air if the work between the National Guard and the CDMX government had specific objectives and collaborative schemes that prevented or deterred the crime. However, we find that GN personnel conduct random inspections of subway users by local police. We must be very clear, random inspections do not deter crime, they generate fear in society, especially when they are carried out by the military.

These types of actions, rather than preventing crime, are aimed at positioning a candidacy for the Presidency in 2024. These are visible, but not effective, actions. High-impact crimes in Mexico City are not inside the subway cars, they are outside, when leaving the bank, when leaving the subway itself (the recent kidnapping of women), outside of schools, on primary roads such as Reforma, Periférico or Insurgentes. Inside the subway there are pickpockets and wagon sellers, and in order to attack these crimes, the National Guard is not necessary, what is needed is the will of the local authorities.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

 

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/08/06/sheinbaum-previniendo-la-violencia-o-creando-miedo/.

 

An almighty president?

One of the flags with which the PRI ruled, from its conformation until it lost the presidency in the year 2000, was paternalism; that is, the idea of ​​an almighty President. Only the President could solve problems or only through connections linked to certain officials. These PRI governments were not responsible for institutionalizing the country; that is, to generate the adequate channels within the institutions, so that the population could access social programs or file complaints or denunciations without the need for “intermediaries”, which were actually part of a network of corruption.

The administrations of  Vicente Fox ,  Felipe Calderón  and  Enrique Peña Nieto  advanced, not at the desired speed, in the institutionalization of the country. In those 18 years, the idea that the President could do everything or not do it began to change, not without resistance. It was invested in the creation of decentralized agencies with management autonomy that democratize decision making within the government. Likewise, advances in transparency and access to information have placed limits on the discretion with which some programs, especially social development programs, operated. And this came hand in hand with the agencies responsible for evaluating government policies.

The resistance has been there, inside and outside the government, however, we were moving in the right direction. Although the National Anti-Corruption System, which is key in the democratization of institutions and in ending the idea of ​​character-centered paternalism, has not been able to materialize, there was progress – above all – in changing the mentality of the population. The lopezobradorista government is bringing back the idea of ​​an almighty character who can solve everything, without the help of the institutions, without even the advice of his cabinet. The cult of personality is very dangerous, not only threatens the democratic advances that we have had in Mexico, but it also returns to the population the idea that only with “levers” can you access or request programs from the government.

It is not understood – for example – the need for a President to put on the public agenda issues such as the auction of goods insured to organized crime. A President should ensure the development of the country, to generate better living conditions for vulnerable populations, better education, I know, but not to presume this kind of “achievements.” This is cheap policy.

It cannot be counted as a government’s achievement to sell the insured house to  Zhenli Ye Gon . This sale is a matter of government institutions, not even the work of a secretariat, but of secondary agencies, such as the Service of Administration and Disposal of Assets. The only thing that the President is generating is to maintain, in the collective imagination, the idea that only he can make the government act, instead of advancing in the institutionalization of decision making in the public administration. This is to continue undermining democracy and institutions.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

 

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/07/30/un-presidente-todopoderoso/.

 

Coneval, the next victim of Lopezobradorism?

Assistance is what the head of the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval), Gonzalo Hernández Licona ,  requested. The Coneval is the body dedicated to assessing public policies in the field of social development, that is, in reducing poverty and inequality. Last week we were able to read  Hernández Licona himself  speaking about the asphyxiating measures that the federal government has requested from Coneval to comply with his atrocious republican austerity and, most likely, will result in the Council being unable to carry out its work.

In a country with more than 50 million inhabitants living in conditions of poverty, and with a government that has said “first the poor”, it is not understood that we want to dismantle the instance in charge of telling Mexicans how we are going to fight poverty and in the improvement of the living conditions of those who have less. Public policies that are not evaluated cannot be corrected or improved, who should disappear poverty figures? To a government that does not seek to reduce these rates, but to create clientele from social programs. That is to say, it is not intended that people overcome the conditions of poverty, but that they become dependent on the support of the federal government, associated with the political party that heads it.

This is another attempt by the lopezobradorist government to attack the base institutions of our democracy. The evaluation of public policies is in the daily work of any democratic regime. Thus, the evaluation of government actions is part of the accountability of public officials and government transparency, not press conferences or reports for 100, 200 or 500 days of work of any government.

Hernández Licona  pointed out that the disappearance of the attached general directorates of the Coneval structure will mean eliminating the officials that materialize the evaluation and the substantive tasks of the institution. The attached general directorates were not whims of past administrations, as the President wanted to make public opinion believe, but they are directly responsible for the execution and implementation of public policies, as in the case of Coneval. On the other hand, losing the officials who hold these positions means – likewise – losing the most valuable of any worker, his experience and knowledge.

Although the former Ministry of Social Development, today of Welfare, issued a press release acknowledging the importance of Coneval and giving figures on the budget of the institution, does nothing to clarify the austerity requirements that the government wants to impose. The lopezobradorist government is trying to get the presidential figure back to accumulate power at the expense of the institutions that support the (perfectible) Mexican democracy. The danger is there, but – fortunately – there are people willing to fight for the institutions of the Mexican state.

 

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

 

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/07/23/coneval-la-siguiente-victima-del-lopezobradorismo/.