Experts at UH Weigh in on the Presidential Elections South of the Border

Marisa Ramirez
713-743-8152 (office)
713-204-9798 (cell)
mrcannon@uh.edu

These University of Houston professors can provide timely comment and important background information about the upcoming Presidential Elections in Mexico:

Mexico Has Cleaned Up Its Political Process
John Mason Hart, professor of history, is one of the nation's foremost scholars on Mexican history. For more than 30 years Hart has explored multiple aspects of the Mexican Revolution, Mexican and Mexican-American labor and Mexico’s working class. “Mexico has cleaned up its political process a great deal,” Hart says. “We used to see a lot of trouble in a number of the states. Now the elections problems are comparable to our election predictable tensions.” Reach Hart at 713.743.3100 or jhart@uh.edu.

Immigration to the United States Has Its Own Momentum

Nestor Rodriguez, professor and chair of the sociology department, is the resident expert in immigration studies and Latino issues. Rodriguez is director of the UH Center for Immigration Research. “Immigration to the United States has its own momentum,” Rodriguez says regarding the upcoming Mexican presidential election. “The possibilities of leftist policies in Mexico aren’t enough to make people leave. Immigration isn’t necessarily influenced by what’s happening in the political sphere, but rather economic conditions, family, growing violence and opportunity to participate in the labor force.” Reach Rodriguez at 713.743.3946 or nrodriguez@uh.edu.

A Federal Civil Service Insulated from Political Cronyism
Stephen Zamora, Leonard B. Rosenberg professor of law, is an expert on Mexican law and on NAFTA. In 1996, he served as a member of a dispute resolution panel that decided the first government-to-government NAFTA dispute (U.S. v. Canada, Dairy, Poultry and Eggs from the United States). “During the last two presidential administrations, Mexico has begun to develop democratic institutions that will help preserve political and economic stability,” Zamora says. “These institutions include an increasingly independent and capable judiciary, especially at the federal level; an electoral regime that has earned international recognition; an independent central bank and the beginnings of a federal civil service that is more insulated from political cronyism.” Reach Zamora at 713.743.8152 or mrcannon@uh.edu.

Putting Mexico and Latin America into Perspective
Eduardo Aleman, professor of political science, specializes in the comparative analysis of political institutions and Latin American politics. His current work focuses on executive-legislative relations, parliamentary procedures, party unity and agenda-setting across Latin American legislatures. He is also working on a book about Chilean legislative politics. “This election is a chance to reinvigorate the democratic transition that began with the election of President Fox after decades of rule by the PRI machine. It’s also a test about which direction Mexicans want their country to go--towards a free-market economy and closer economic links with the United States or towards the leftist currents of some South American nations,” Aleman says. “Whoever is elected will most likely lack a congressional majority and, with rising social tensions and potential upswings in the economy, the lack of a clear presidential mandate backed by a large majority may lead to governance problems down the road.” Reach Aleman at 713.743.3933 or ealeman2@uh.edu.

The U.S. Influence on Mexican Campaigning
Luis Salinas, professor of sociology, is a demographer specializing on Latino issues, in particular those issues that are of influence to the Latino Family. He his work with the UH Center for Immigration Research and the UH Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston has resulted in publications on religion and family. “These close elections in Mexico demonstrate that democracy in Mexico is noisy and has been heavily influenced by American style campaigning,” Salinas says. Reach Salinas at 713.743.3957 or lsalinas@uh.edu.

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