Monday, May 21: We spend all of today in lectures. The first is Democracy in Mexico: Taking the Pulse, by Dr. Dan Lund, President of Mund Americas, part of Mund Group, a large polling company. According to the Mund Group website: MUND Group uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches to derive useful insights about the values, habits, preferences and prejudices in the emerging consumer culture. The group takes into account variations that exist across national boundaries or regions in order to identify specific consumer patterns in each sample site. The group has extensive experience in Latin American countries.
Our second lecture of the morning is Mexican Productivity: Economic Policy in the Calderon Administration by Dr. Jose Loyola, Economic policy adviser to Foreign Minister Derbez and previous Executive Director for the National Election Commission of the PAN Party.
According to Wikipedia, The National Action Party (Spanish: Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. The party’s political platform is generally considered right-wing in the Mexican political spectrum. Since 2000 and until 2012 the President of Mexico had been a member of this party; both houses have PAN pluralities, but the party does not have a majority in either house of the Congress.
The PAN has been linked to a conservative stance in Mexican politics since its inception, but the party does not consider itself a fundamentally conservative party. The party ideology, at least in principle, is that of “National Action” which rejects a fundamental adherence to left- or right-wing politics or policies, instead requiring policies be adopted as needed to address the problems faced by the nation at any given moment. Thus both right- and left-wing policies may be considered equally carefully when formulating national policy (Wikipedia: National Action Party).
In the afternoon, we head to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City for an Overview of the Mexican Economy. We have official briefings by the Commercial and Political section and the Foreign Agriculture Department.
After our day of lectures, we have a group dinner at Sirenas Restaurant, with keynote speaker Carlos Gelista on The New Politics of Mexico.