Vicente Fox served as President of Mexico from December 1, 2000 to November 30, 2006. His victory in the federal elections in 2000 ended more than 70 years rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
- 1 Cabinet
- 2 Economy
- 3 Human Development
- 4 Relations with Congress
- 5 Foreign policy
- 6 Education, science, and technology
- 7 Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco
- 8 Institutional image
- 9 2006 Presidential election
- 10 See also
- 11 References
In contrast with his predecessors, President Fox chose the members of his cabinet through head hunters. At the beginning of his term, Fox dubbed his Cabinet as "el gabinetazo" ("the Super Cabinet"), as a way to recognize the capacity of the Cabinet members. Fox had originally stated that the Cabinet chosen at the beginning of his term would last 6 years, throughout his term, however, this did not happen. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa served as Secretary of Energy for eight months, and resigned under pressure relating to his Presidential ambitions, when competing against Secretary of the Interior, Santiago Creel.
Currency and inflation
Mexico experienced some level of currency devaluation at the end of three of the four presidential terms from 1970 to 1994. Ernesto Zedillo floated the peso at the beginning of his term (1994–2000). Zedillo passed the office to Fox without an economic emergency. In 2006, Vicente Fox, like Zedillo in 2000, left office without a significant devaluation.
According to Banco de México (Mexico's Central Bank), inflation rates during Fox's term went from 11%, in January 2000, at the beginning of his term, to 4.05% in December 2006. During most of Fox's term, inflation was consistently below 6%, mostly around 4.5%. According to the Central Bank, inflation hadn't been that low since before 1973 (the lowest inflation between 1973 and 1999 was above 6%, frequently reaching double and even sometimes triple-digits). Mexico created an estimated 1 million new jobs in 2006, a record.
GDP growth dropped from an average of 5.1% in the Zedillo administration to the lowest in a decade, an average of 2.2% during Fox's administration. According to Fox's first government report address (equivalent to the state of the union address in the United States), affected sectors were mining (-1.5% growth), manufacturing (-2.28% growth), and construction (-5.36%), while electricity, gas and water (1.76% growth) and services (2.65%) did not decrease.
Fox's cabinet blamed the low growth on the slowdown of the Economy of the United States, but that country started growing again in 2002-2003. Mexico did not grow at the same pace and was surpassed by China as the second-largest trade partner of the United States. Fox had promised growth of 7% during his campaign and blamed Congress for the low economic growth but his administration had foreseen growth of 3.4% even without the approval of structural reforms, especially fiscal reforms.
Tax revenue as a proportion of GDP fell from 10.6% at the beginning of his administration to 9.7% at the end of his term. In contrast with previous administrations, as a proportion of GDP debt did not grow during Fox's term.
Employment and income
Minimum wages during Fox's administration increased at a nominal rate of 34% from $35.12 pesos per day in 2000 to $47.05 in 2006. However, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, real wages decreased 3.8%, from $80.27 to $77.07. According to Banco de México, this compares favorably to previous administrations, for wages had decreased by 75% from $296.22 PPP pesos per day in January 1976, to $73.91 PPP pesos per day in December 1999. Minimum wages had decreased, in real terms, an average of 38% per Presidential administration from 1976 to 2000.
During Fox's term, the number of registered taxpayers grew by 35%. According to data by the Tributary Administration Service, the main driver behind this increase was salaried workers, starting in 2004, which grew by 217% compared to 2000. The more than 12 million salaried workers who are registered to pay tax constitute 56% of the taxpaying base.
Job creation stalled during Fox's first four years. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit not only were no jobs created from 2000-2004 but the number of street vendors increased 40%. This workforce does not pay income or sales tax and significant minority participates in illicit activities such as smuggling and piracy. The latter grew during Fox's term to an 8 billion industry. Net sales of the clothing industry in Mexico is calculated at approximately 1,500 million dollars, of which 910 million are from smuggled clothing.
The number of registered workers affiliated to the Mexican Social Security Institute decreased from 11,026,370 in December 2000 to 10,881,160. Unemployment increased from 2.7% in 2002 to 3.2 in 2003, and the number of non-payroll workers increased to 20 million people or roughly half of the population able to work. Jobs in maquiladoras decreased by 30%
In 2002, Mexico reached a GDP per capita of 9,381 dollars per year and thus became a medium-high income country. Five years later, Mexico upgraded from beneficiary to full contributor to the United Nations Development Program.
Finance and investments
Housing was among Fox's top priorities. By 2006, the Infonavit, the federal fund for workers' housing, had 60% "market share" in the mortgage business, granting 435,000 credits a year, with an expected yearly growth of 24%.
During Fox's presidency, the Mexican Stock Exchange reached record highs throughout his term. The record highs were caused by a better economic outlook throughout his term, larger foreign currency reserves, and a better debt rating that lowered interest rates.
Mexico suffered a drop in competitiveness during Fox's administration. In 2006, Mexico ranked 56th of 60 countries in the World Competitiveness Yearbook due to poor infrastructure, ease of doing business and high manufacturing costs such as electricity. Fox's large investment in infrastructure did not translate in lower costs, because of a lack of coordination between government bodies. To address this in 2004, Fox launched an Economic Policy for Competitivity ("Política Económica para la Competitividad" or PEC) however, improvement is not expected until after 2013.
|Human Development Index (HDI)
|Year||HDI1||Annual increase (%)|
|1 Source: United Nations Development Programme, 2005 Human Development Reports|
|Human Development Index (HDI)
in Latin America (2003)
|Country||HDI||2000-2003 increase (%)|
|1 Source: United Nations Development Programme, 2005 Human Development Reports|
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living for countries worldwide. The table on the right shows Mexico's Human Development Index (HDI) from 1975 to 2003 along with yearly percentage increases.
HDI improved in the first three years of the Fox administration 0.206% annually, .62% in total, the lowest increase in almost three decades. During the last year of the Zedillo administration Mexico reached, for the first time in history, a HDI of 0.8 which is considered to represent high development. During that period countries such as Canada, France and Great Britain reported low increases and even some decreases while Cuba surpassed Mexico at 0.817, Costa Rica reached 0.838, Argentina scored 0.863 and Brazil increased 1.17%.
Relations with Congress
In his inaugural speech, Fox said that his Presidency marked a new era of relations between the three political branches. "The President will propose, and the Congress will dispose", he said. This implied that Fox would respect the separation of powers and negotiate with Congress.
The first major controversy occurred during the discussion of comprehensive tax reform that included a value added tax of 15% on all products, including food and medicine, to replace the complex system of discretionary exceptions that still exists today. Congress rejected Fox's proposal.
From then on, relation between the Legislative and the Executive were strained. Lawmakers from opposition parties admitted they had a hard time dealing with Fox, while lawmakers from Fox's party claimed that there were "legislative excesses".
In his final state of the union address in September 2006, leftist lawmakers prevented Fox from speaking. He became the first president to not read his report before Congress and instead gave a televised address to the nation.
Congress opened two investigations but has failed to produce evidence to prosecute the Bribiescas. During one of the investigations Fox called the deputies "delinquents". A third congressional investigation was announced in May 2007.
Before Vicente Fox, Mexico practiced the Estrada Doctrine, so named after its creator, Genaro Estrada (Secretary of Foreign Affairs during the Presidency of Pascual Ortiz Rubio). The Estrada Doctrine favored an enclosed view of sovereignty. It claimed that foreign governments should not judge, for good or bad, governments or changes in governments in other nations, because it would imply a breach of their sovereignty.
President Fox appointed Jorge Castañeda to be his Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Castañeda immediately broke with the Estrada Doctrine, promoting what was called by critics the Castañeda Doctrine. The new foreign policy called for an openness and an acceptance of criticism from the international community, and the increase of national involvement in foreign affairs.
During Fox's term, Mexico actively sought (and gained) a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. However, Luis Ernesto Derbez, Secretary of Foreign Affairs after Castañeda, unsuccessfully ran for the position of Secretary General of the Organization of American States, losing to Chilean José Miguel Insulza.
Mexico hosted several international summits during Fox's administration. The Monterrey Summit of 2001 adopted the so-called Monterrey Consensus. President Fox and his Foreign Relations cabinet were protagonists of one of the most serious diplomatic controversies of his administration. At the Summit, many heads of State were invited to the International Conference on Financing for Development. Early in the meeting Cuban President Fidel Castro surprisingly stood and said that he was leaving the city because of "a special situation created by my participation in this Summit". Fox repeatedly denied Castro's subsequent allegations that he was asked to leave the summit, responding to a U.S. request. Several weeks after the incident, a recording of a phone call between Fox and Castro where the Mexican president asks Castro to leave before George Bush arrived at the summit was leaked to the press.
Relations with the United States
Several media pundits and think tanks like COHA judged the Castañeda Doctrine "overtly submissive" to the United States. COHA's opinion was based on Mexico's support of Guatemala for a seat in the UN Security council, instead of supporting Venezuela, the contending candidate for the seat.
During Fox's administration, Mexico pushed for "comprehensive" reform of U.S. immigration law that addressed the problem of Illegal immigration to the United States. The issue had been called "The Whole Enchilada" by Fox's administration, which stated that "immigration reform in the United States should address mutual border problems, the rights of undocumented immigrants, and the development of regions in Mexico that 'expel' migrants". However, according to former U.S. ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow, all discussions between the parties on immigration were informal.
The immigration reform that Fox sought included a guest worker plan. Fox said, "The best thing that can happen to both our countries is to have an orderly flow, a controlled flow, of migration to the United States". This reform was supported by President Bush and approved by the U.S. Senate, however, the bill was rejected by the House of Representatives. According to the Washington Post, the hopes were complicated by the recent approval of the SBI (Secure Border Initiative), a bill that includes building a 700-mile (1,100 km) triple fence between the U.S. and Mexico.
During Fox's presidency the net migration rate in Mexico increased 152% from -2.84 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants to -4.32; in the same period, population growth decreased 35% from 1.57% to 1.16%. Fox, who was said to be "proud" of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has acknowledged the importance of remittances by both legal and illegal Mexican workers in the U.S. (now the #1 source of revenue for the country) sparking criticism from U.S. conservatives who claim that Mexico advocates soft migration policies to maintain the influx of foreign capital instead of promoting a healthier economy that offers better opportunities to Mexicans slowing migration to the US.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the "Castañeda Doctrine", saying that Mexico should not "get involved in the internal lives of other people, because we do not want other people involved in our internal lives". Indeed, the new foreign policy doctrine openly invited other nations to scrutinize Mexican affairs, criticizing the Estrada Doctrine as offering an excuse to ignore foreign criticism. Finally, José Galán, an editorialist in La Jornada, accused the Fox administration of not doing enough to stop border violence against Mexican nationals. However, during the country's appointment to the UN Security Council, Mexico did not support the U.S. lead invasion of Iraq, damaging US-Mexico relations.
Relations with Latin American countries
Fox issues with multiple Latin American countries including Castro (at the Monterrey Summit) Argentinian President Néstor Kirchner (over the FTAA during the 2005 Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas) and with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, regarding the new OAS Secretary General election, 2005 and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, about Fox presumed support for George W. Bush.
2005 Summit at Mar del Plata
The Fourth Summit of the Americas took place on November 4 and the 5th in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Fox assisted with the other 33 presidents of countries in the Americas. Fox attempted to restart talks on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). However, discussion on the FTAA was not in the agenda of the Summit.
Today the FTAA is dead and we are going to bury it here. We are here to change the course of history.
Fox responded that the FTAA could be created with all of the countries in the Americas with the exception of Venezuela or the countries of the Mercosur.
Marco Aurelio Garcia, one of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's closest advisers, declared that Fox was too hasty in supporting the FTAA. Garcia declared that Fox's comment that the FTAA would be created with or without the Mercosur angered many. Fox did not applaud after Kirchner's presentation, and when Fox attempted to raise the issue of the FTAA, Kirchner retorted that the FTAA was not on the Summit agenda. Fox responded to the press declaring that Kirchner was more concerned with pleasing people in his country than the success of the Summit. Kirchner replied that Fox should attend to the Mexicans because it was the Argentine people who voted for him.
The parliamentary groups of the PAN, PRI, PRD and PVEM in the Senate approved a motion to express their disillusionment about the performance of Fox and Derbez, his Secretary of Foreign Affairs, at the Summit
Education, science, and technology
According to René Drucker, coordinator of basic science research for National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), "no other government in recent history has neglected research in the basic sciences as Fox's". Fox's plan for the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, (CONACYT), was that by 2006 this organization would receive 1% of GDP. However the budget for this organization for 2006 reached only 0.33%. Federal government investment on Research and development in 2004 was 0.41% in Mexico versus 0.95% in Brazil and 0.6% in Chile.
José Vasconcelos Library
The José Vasconcelos Library, labeled by the press as the "Megabiblioteca" ("megalibrary"), was Fox's largest investment in infrastructure. The library is spread on 38,000 square metres (410,000 sq ft) and had an initial planned cost of 954 million pesos (roughly 98 million dollars).
Fox inaugurated the library on May 16, 2006 declaring it one of the most advanced constructions of the 21st century, and that it would be spoken of throughout the world. The inauguration took place a week before the deadline the president had to promote his accomplishments before the 2006 Presidential election
The library had to be closed in March 2007 because of construction defects. The Superior Auditor of the Federation detected 36 irregularities and issued 13 motions of responsibility for public servants. Among the irregularities was the misplacement of marble blocks. Repairs cost 15 million pesos (roughly 1.4 million dollars).
During the Calderón administration restoration efforts cost another 32 million pesos (roughly 3 million dollars)
Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco
In 2001, Fox announced the construction of a 2.3 billion dollar international airport in the municipalities of Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco in the State of México to relieve congestion at the overcrowded Mexico City airport, the busiest in Latin America. This new airport would bring thousands of new jobs to an area ravaged by extreme poverty.
The proposed airport plan would relocate 4,375 families and convert 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) of farmland. Peasants from these areas resisted relocation and formed the Community Front in Defense of Land in 2002. The protests turned violent as protesters took hostages and state forces had to negotiate their release, while Fox announced no change in plans had been considered. After the federal government's failure to negotiate with the farmers, plans for the new airport had to be abandoned. The protesters, many of whom wore black ski masks made famous by rebels in Chiapas became instant heroes to poor farmers nationwide. while journalists, like Sergio Sarmiento called this issue "the biggest failure" of Fox's tenure and declared:
|“||The precedent is terrible. Never before has the government so openly promoted the use of violence to resolve conflicts.||”|
This is in spite of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre. Jorge Montaño, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States considered Fox was "naive" to think farmers would easily give up their lands and that his government should have taken more time negotiating with the farmers instead of simply sending out engineers to measure runways and calculate flight paths. Montaño also declared that the compensation these farmers were offered were the minimum allowed under the law (3,000 pesos an acre, roughly 275 US dollars) before raising the offer to 21,000 pesos an acre (1,900 US dollars).
After the cancellation, 76% of Mexicans polled thought more unrest would follow the president during his term.
In May 2006, the PRD-led municipal government was attempting to relocate a group of flower vendors from a market of Texcoco. The group refused to leave and asked the assistance of the Community Front in Defense of the Land who confronted the police with machetes. The situation escalated and police officers were held hostage by the protestors. State and federal forces were sent to the site. According to municipal workers the protesters had felt invincible since the airport incident. The confrontation resulted in two deaths and dozens of injuries. On November 9 of the same year, the Attorney General's office admitted to torture and sexual abuse against the protesters.
Fox blamed the Atenco group, led by Ignacio Valle, for the incident and ordered his arrest calling the group an "insult to society". In October 2006, two months before leaving office, Fox declared that the social conflicts of Atenco and Chiapas were solved and that Oaxaca would be solved before his successor took office.
President Fox was the first President to have an institutional image that did not display the complete National Coat of Arms, causing controversy. The use of the slashed eagle (águila mocha, in Spanish), as it was called by critics (the word "mocha" having a negative connotation, mocho meaning both chopped and prudish Catholic), was extended to all the dependencies of the Executive Branch substituting the Seal of the United Mexican States (located at the bottom right corner of the Institutional logo) by the acronym of the dependencies. Successor President Felipe Calderón returned to using the complete coat of arms. Apart from criticism to showing only part of the Nation's Coat of Arms, some criticized the inclusion of the color blue to the Administration's institutional image (used in one-color depictions of the logo), as said color is associated to Fox's PAN party, and to a presumptive "F"-like band in the bottom of the image, which, critics suggested, gave more emphasis to Fox's personal image than to the Institution of the President.
2006 Presidential election
Fox openly supported Santiago Creel to become the PAN candidate in 2006. When Felipe Calderón was chosen, Fox endorsed him. On Chapter 14 of Luis Mandoki's Who is Mr. López? documentary titled "Foxilandia" Alfonso Durazo, Fox's former personal secretary, declared that no previous President was ever as active campaigning as Fox. After Calderón's win, López Obrador contested the elections. The Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation declared the election to be clean but highlighted Fox's influence, declaring that it was the greatest irregularity in the election. Alfonsina Bertha Navarro, minister of the Electoral Tribunal, declared:
|“||Let's remember that he made indirect or metaphoric comments that affected the competing political positions in the election, and even made explicit mentions related to the process; an interference that constitutes the greatest irregularity detected during the development of the process||”|
In August 2006, El Universal polled 600 people in Mexico City, where López Obrador served as Head of Government from 2000 to 2005. 59% believed that the 2006 elections were fraudulent and 63% believed votes should have been recounted. In February 2007, Fox declared about the desafuero process of López Obrador:
|“||I had to retreat and lost. But 18 months later, I got even when my candidate won.||”|
- Vicente Fox
- List of Presidents of Mexico
- National Action Party (Mexico)
- Mexican general election, 2000
- Mexican general election, 2006
- "El gabinete de Fox" (in Spanish). La Revista Peninsular. Archived from the original on June 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-09. External link in
- El Gabinete Foxista by Grupo Reforma (In Spanish, Requires Subscription) "Se contrató a cuatro empresas especializadas en la búsqueda de talentos al más alto nivel, que propusieron cerca de 400 candidatos; luego un comité hizo una evaluación previa y finalmente presentaron 120 candidatos con características sobresalientes de acuerdo con sus áreas de especialización y el perfil de solidez ética que había exigido Fox; sobre todo se buscó que tuvieran una gran capacidad de trabajar en equipo para acabar con los feudalismos anteriores. Muchos curricula fueron integrados a una base de datos, con una evaluación previa. Ciertas figuras que eran mencionadas en los diferentes medios tuvieron entrevistas con el comité de selección y algunos llegaron a la recta final, quedando fuera perfiles destacados, como Julio Boltvinik y otros."
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- Los cambios en el gabinetazo by Noticieros Televisa "Contratados por seis años, les dijo el Presidente. Pero varios no pudieron cumplir con este plazo."
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- Su aspiración no es un secreto - El Universal - México
- Aspiraciones políticas vulneran al gobierno - El Universal - México
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- HDI:Costa Rica
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- "la doctrina Estrada dice que México no debe juzgar, ni para bien ni para mal, los gobiernos ni los cambios en el gobierno de otras naciones porque implicaría una intromisión en su soberanía." Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "La nueva diplomacia mexicana se definió con base en el cambio político inaugurado el 2 de julio del 2000 y en las transformaciones del mundo. Por tanto, México será activo en defensa de la democracia que le costó muchos años consolidar por la vía de la alternancia."
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- Mar del Plata Summit
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- Who is Mr. López?, Chapter 14: "Foxilandia"
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- Fox: perdí una ante AMLO, pero me desquité, February 13, 2007.