Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Krauze’

Mexico: A house divided

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Enrique Krauze has an interesting op-ed in the NYTimes, The Danger in Mexico’s Divided House

In the end, however, Mexico’s old model of governance was brought down not by economic liberalism but by the rise of democracy. First, in 2000, the president as monarch vanished from the scene. The legislature became a genuinely multiparty body, and the Supreme Court far more independent. Free elections were overseen by an entity independent from the government.

Still, those interest groups that had long been dependent on and controlled by the presidency did not exit the scene. On the contrary, they grew dangerously stronger, each trying to secure a place at the center of power. Three of the major reforms proposed by Peña Nieto’s government aim to limit their influence.

Read the full article.

Mexico: Enrique Krauze on oil reform

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013


Mexican historian Enrique Krauze has a must-read op-ed in the NY Times,
Mexico’s Theology of Oil

Over the next few weeks, the Mexican Congress is likely to become a kind of theological council to discuss the so-called Energy Reform proposal put forward by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The measure would modify Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution and allow contracts between the Mexican government and private companies to share profits from the extraction of oil and gas throughout the country as well as deep-water sites in the Gulf of Mexico. It would also open the door to free competition along the whole chain of the industry: refining, transport, storage, distribution and basic petrochemicals.

The historical significance of this proposal cannot be understated. In 1938, the Mexican oil industry was nationalized, and in 1960, a constitutional change assigned full control of the industry to Pemex, a state monopoly.

Krauze asks, “Why can’t Mexico, like Brazil or Norway, develop its publicly owned oil company into an enterprise that can successfully benefit from association or competition with private companies?”

He lists three reasons:

  • The controversial record of privatization in Mexico,
  • nationalism,
  • and a seldom-mentioned, but perhaps most powerful reason of all,
  • the fear that increased oil revenue will simply raise the level of corruption to the point reached during Mexico’s last oil boom, which began in the late 1970s and led to a traumatic experience for the Mexican people.

Read the full article here.

Last night at PU: Krauze and Vargas Llosa, the two giants

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Imagine the two foremost figures of Latin American letters having a conversation on the politics of the region, and you being able to listen. Well, that was the scene last night at 50 McCosh on the Princeton University campus.


Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa conversed with historian Enrique Krauze Kleinbort in front of a standing-room-only audience. The two gentlemen spoke about Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Cuba, among other countries. The Daily Princetonian reports,

“Latin America is improving. We have more democracy; we have large consensus on what kind of economic policies we need to develop and become modern and successfully fight poverty,” Vargas Llosa said, adding that the transformation of most Latin American nations in recent years has been formidable. “Poverty has diminished; in statistical terms, the poverty level is still large, but the way which the middle classes have been grown in the country is fantastic.”

Vargas Llosa cited Uruguay’s economic success as a model for the rest of Latin America. He said that the country has seen very liberal social reforms, including gay marriage and gay rights. “Not liberal in the American sense,” he added to the audience’s laughter.

More importantly, Vargas Llosa enumerated, Uruguay has respected its constitution, has independent strong institutions, observes the rule of law and welcomes foreign investment.

Krauze is not as optimistic on Mexico, pointing out the country’s recent lack of economic growth and the absence of a moderate left.

I had the pleasure of asking what the Pacific Alliance may mean for the hemisphere . Vargas Llosa said it will be the only alliance that will endure; Krauze pointed out “best yet, like the name says, it’s pacific”.

It was a splendid evening, bringing many insights from two of the greatest minds in the contemporary world.

Mexico: Oil industry overhaul?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

If Mexico really makes significant improvement, it will reverse the decline in oil production, says Liam Denning:

Mexico Moves to Overhaul Oil Industry
Bill to End State Monopoly Would Open Vast Offshore Fields to Energy Giants

The Mexican bill, which is likely to get congressional approval but could cause a firestorm among nationalistic politicians and the public, marks a watershed moment for a country that was in 1938 the first big oil producer to nationalize its oil industry—a move followed by other developing nations in the following decades. Mexico has among the world’s most restrictive energy laws, comparable to Kuwait’s; even Cuba’s are more liberal.

“If Mexico passes this bill, and we have peace in the streets, then the country will make an important leap forward,” said Enrique Krauze, a prominent Mexican historian.

Mexican officials hope the initiative, the biggest potential overhaul to the economy since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, will spur economic growth by attracting billions of dollars in investment, improve competitiveness by lowering energy prices for manufacturers and spotlight Mexico as a rising power as other big emerging markets struggle.

The proposal

doesn’t, for instance, give private oil companies outright ownership of oil fields via concessions. And Mr. Peña Nieto said the government won’t give oil firms a share of the oil, but rather the cash equivalent of the oil they find and produce.

and Mexico will probably limit the number of foreign oil companies it will allow to participate.

It’ll be interesting to see the reaction from the labor unions, the nationalists, and the beneficiaries of Pemex cronyism.

Then, in the longer term, is the question of whether future Mexican government administrations wouldn’t nationalize whatever the foreign companies have.

Related, also at the WSJ, Q&A: What Does Mexico Oil Reform Mean for Consumers, Companies?
Why loosen up now, and what will it mean at the pump?

Today’s 15 Minutes on Latin America: Chavez chickens out

Monday, June 1st, 2009

In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, not only did Chávez chicken out from debating Jorge Castañeda, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Enrique Krauze, he cancelled his Alo Presidente show Saturday and Sunday.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who was scheduled to be his Sunday show guest and then travel with Chávez to Mauricio Funes’s inauguration in El Salvador, decided to stay put after all.

Chat’s open at 10:45AM and all podcasts are archived for your convenience.

Venezuela: Chavez’s Persecution, and No Debate

Sunday, May 31st, 2009


My latest article, Venezuela: Chávez’s Persecution, and No Debate, is up at Real Clear World Please read it and leave a comment.


Chávez chickens out

Saturday, May 30th, 2009


Hugo Chávez, rambling as usual in his Aló Presidente TV show (whose 10th anniversary he is celebrating with a 4-day long cadena, as if Venezuelans hadn’t suffered enough), said on Friday that he was willing to debate the speakers at the Cedice conference (prior posts here and here).

Cedice participants Mario Vargas Llosa, Enrique Krauze, and Jorge Castañeda agreed to debate Chávez himself, on the condition that there be equal time for their points so that they wouldn’t be sitting there listening to Chávez rant.

Fair enough.

I have met Mario Vargas Llosa and Enrique Krauze, and they are top intellects. Brilliant men, each of them.

Now, Chávez, self-deluded as he may be, does have a flash or two of lucidity, and decided this debate was not a good idea after all.

He cancelled today’s show without further explanation.

I have an article coming up soon at Real Clear World with more background on Chávez’s current oppression.

Oh, look
Via Drudge, Hugo Chavez to present Obama with book by Vladimir Lenin. Without a hint of irony, the book’s title is, ‘What Is To Be Done?’

Drug trafficking, nationalism and populism: The three enemies of Latin American democracy

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009


Peruvian daily El Comercio celebrated its 170th anniversary with a symposium where they invited Peruvian president Alan Garcia, Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Chilean writer and diplomat Jorge Edwards, and Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, who participated via teleconference. Krauze was not allowed to fly into Peru due to restrictions on flights from Mexico because of the swine flu alert.

Vargas Llosa stressed that democracy can be perfected, and is a system that along with economic freedoms will allow Latin American countries to develop. Krauze stated that a society’s maturity is measured in the ways through which public debate improves. Edwards saw nationalism as a problem, to which Krauze agreed in the sense where nationalism is defined as greed for power as opposed to patriotism, the love of one’s roots. Krauze deplored the tendency towards divisiveness and confrontation among Latin American countries, adding that if only Chile, Peru and Bolivia would achieve brotherly relations, South America would achieve greater prosperity.

All three speakers agreed that drug trafficking, nationalism and populism are the three threats against Latin American democracy.

For prior posts on Krauze, Vargas Llosa and Edwards, please click the links on their names below.

Krauze on Chavez, ‘the Shah of Venezuela’

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to historian Enrique Krauze talk about his article, The Shah of Venezuela:
The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power, and their disastrous consequences

‘I don’t know anything about Marxism, I never read El Capital , I’m not a Marxist or an anti-Marxist,” Hugo Chavez said in 1995. He was telling the truth. Chavez was never, in any strict sense, a Marxist, nor was he familiar with the prickly side of Marx, or with his critique of power. Marx criticized the subordination of civil society to a single leader. He criticized the smothering of freedoms and political institutions, the “terrible parasitical organism” of the state, the cult of personality, demagoguery, and plebiscitary rule. And as if that were not enough, he criticized the political use of the past: “The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future…. In order to arrive at its own content, the revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury its dead.” Point by point, Marx’s critique might have been written in response to Chavez’s plan for Venezuela.

But if he does not hail from a socialist or Marxist tradition, what are Chavez’s ideological and historical origins? Whether he knows it or not, Chavez is the grotesque progeny not of Plekhanov or Marx, but of Thomas Carlyle. It was Carlyle’s historical and political doctrine, condensed in 1841 in the series of lectures published as On Heroes and Hero-Worship , that envisioned and legitimated charismatic power in the twentieth century, the same power that Chavez, for all his outlandishness, represents so skillfully in the twenty-first century. The wishes of his progressive post-Marxist admirers notwithstanding, Chavez comes from a more anachronistic tradition of ideas that does not see history in terms of the struggle of classes or masses, or of races or nations, but of heroes who guide the “people,” who incarnate them and redeem them. There is a name for this tradition. It is fascism.

Krauze does an extraordinary job explaining Chavez’s origins and the nature of his appeal. It’s a very lengthy article but a must-read for any observer of Latin American politics, and anyone who wants to form an opinion on US foreign relations.

Go read every word.