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July 5, 2012

Host: José Cárdenas

Mexico Presidential Elections

  |   Video
  • Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is the Mexico's President Elect. Luis Ramirez, President of Ramirez Advisors Inter-National, a firm dedicated to international business and government affairs, talks about the elections and what it means for the United States.
  • Luis Ramirez - President, Ramirez Advisors Inter-National
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: mexico, president, presidential elections, elections, ,

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Richard Ruelas: Mexico's old guard was back into power after a 12-year hiatus last Sunday as the official vote handed a victory to Enrique Pena Nieto. The federal electoral institute's count said Pena Nieto of the institutional revolutionary party or PRI won about 38% of the vote. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the democratic revolution party representative had 31%, and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling national action party had about 25%. With me to talk about the elections is Luis Ramirez, the president of Ramirez Advisors, a firm dedicated to international business and government affairs. Thanks for joining us this evening.

Luis Ramirez: My pleasure.

Richard Ruelas: What happened to Mexico? Tell us the capsule of how the pri returned to power.

Luis Ramirez: A lot of speculation has been that, over the last 12 years, you've had a bad administration. We went through very difficult times, recession, the criminal components in Mexico, so I think people were starting to look for something different, something new. How can we change something? What do we change to get to a better situation? And I think that's what you ended up seeing.

Richard Ruelas: Something new but not entirely new.

Luis Ramirez: Not entirely new. I think it was also -- you know -- people that could say who can we bring in that could do something about the situation. It also is a situation that the PRI is not the same PRI we used to know, that was in power for 71 years. The main candidate himself is not the typical candidate of the pri, not the dinosaur they've referred to. He's a young guy. I'm proud to say he's a young guy, 'cause I'm actually five days older than he is. And he's the next president of Mexico. The image, the presence, it's all different than what the PRI was in the past.

Richard Ruelas: They needed to redo the face of the party?

Luis Ramirez: Well, I think, if you hadn't seen that change, I'm not sure we'd be having the conversation we're having today and that the pri would be in power. I think the people are also looking for the strong hand, somebody that can make a change, somebody that can confront some of the issues, both the criminal and economic and everything else that not only Mexico but the rest of the world is facing. But I think people were saying, if it's just bringing back what we had before, we're not sure that's what we want. Nieto was able to say, we are a different pri.

Richard Ruelas: What ramifications do you see as he takes office and starts his administration?

Luis Ramirez: Well, we'll find out. This is the exciting time. All of us are going to be watching everything from his picks to -- for the members of his cabinet. I think that will say a lot about what we can expect. As almost any campaign, there was a lot of generalities about what they're planning on doing. We haven't seen a lot of specifics. People are saying, he's going to want to privatize, and that's not really what he said. He wants to open it up a little bit more for more private sector investment, the number 1 source of foreign exchange for Mexico's growth. Mexico's dwindling in output in terms of natural gas, but there's new technology that may be available. Can foreign companies bring that technology in without relinquishing the government control? That would be a tremendous battle if that was what he was proposing doing. There were a lot of generalities. The next month or two months, I think we're going to start seeing a lot more details. And particularly his picks for the cabinet, I think, will be critical.

Richard Ruelas: The other sort of rumor-filled spot is how he's going to handle the drug wars. There was talk about him appeasing. And we've got to wrap up quickly, but even the rumors of him changing the drug fear, will that affect the business community?

Luis Ramirez: I think a lot of people misunderstood some of his comments. I think, yes, he was saying we will appease, but I think he was also saying we need to address the day to day criminal feel so that people can go on about their daily lives. Certainly what Rudy Giuliani did in New York many years ago, there was a lot of criminal components he took out of New York, and people felt better about living in New York. I'm trying to read into his mind at this point in time, because he hasn't come out with the details.

Richard Ruelas: Do you see people feeling an unsteadiness about investing or traveling to Mexico now?

Luis Ramirez: Again, I don't think because of the election that took place yesterday -- nothing has changed today. We're still going to see a transitional period, because the Calderon administration is still in power until the end of the year, and then we'll see what the plans are for the Nieto administration, and then we can have another conversation. I don't think anything dramatic is going to change at least at this point in time. Nothing specific has come out saying we're going to do something totally different. I think you heard some of those details in a speech last night that he gave at the pri headquarters.

Richard Ruelas: And obviously the politics affect us here. It affects business.

Luis Ramirez: Absolutely.

Richard Ruelas: It will be interesting to see, as time goes on, what kind of --

Luis Ramirez: We'll be watching very closely. Absolutely.

Richard Ruelas: Always a pleasure to talk to you.

Luis Ramirez: Thank you so much.

Richard Ruelas: Thanks for joining us here on "Horizonte." And that is our show for this Thursday night. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Richard Ruelas. Have a good evening.

SB 1070 Politics

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  • ASU Politicial Science Professor Rudy Espino discusses the politics of the US Supreme Court's ruling on SB 1070.
  • Rudy Espino - Professor of Political Sciences, ASU
Category: Law   |   Keywords: SB, 1070, SB1070, US, supreme, court, arguments, ruling, ,

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Richard Ruelas: The SB 1070 decision had both sides claiming victory, but what will be the political fall-out on the ruling? Joining me tonight to talk about the politics of the decision is Rudy Espino. Both sides did claim victory. Why? Let's discuss governor Brewer who said that this was a complete vindication of the law. What led her to say that?

Rudy Espino: Well, four major provisions, three of them got shut down by the Supreme Court. One of the most important provisions that remained -- and this is why governor Brewer is claiming victory -- is the so-called show me your papers police provision that opened the door for law enforcement in Arizona, when they pulled somebody over, if they suspect that they're in this country illegally, they can proceed and ask their immigration status. For that reason, she's claiming victory. The other side is claiming victory because of three of the other provisions being shut down, and this also establishes some limits on how far states can go in enforcing immigration policies. 'Cause the major decision that the court issued in terms of shooting down those three provisions was saying, hey, states, immigration is the purview of the federal government, and you can't enforce that.

Richard Ruelas: The part that they left standing seemed to come with enough provisions, enough warning that it's hard to see it clear-cut. On principle, is that what the importance is for governor Brewer and others that the principle was upheld?

Rudy Espino: Yeah. The main thing was that local law enforcement now can proceed and inquire in terms of immigration status. That's how they claim victory. But at the same time, both sides are claiming victory. You also have to accept defeat, because Brewer -- a lot of what Brewer wanted did get shot down. On the other hand, the other side, that important provision of show me your papers, that was probably one of the most troubling ones for Latino activists.

Richard Ruelas: Right. The law is going to go into effect at some point. Brewer is not up for election this cycle, but do you think she will have a footprint? Will there be people seeking her endorsement? Is she as popular as she was when she signed this law two years ago?

Rudy Espino: It's hard to -- I think that people within the republican party would be seeking her endorsement. I think her popularity is not as high as it was when she got reelected into office, but undoubtedly people that would be seeking her endorsement are people that would be continuing that mantra saying that they're tough on immigration enforcement. That's certainly something that Jan Brewer has been pushing for since she signed S-B 10-70 back in the spring of 2010.

Richard Ruelas: On this pushing on that side, the people who are running for office, how does this play out or what does this do to sort of the issue of immigration in political races?

Rudy Espino: The republican primaries we're looking at are almost a month away at the end of August, and undoubtedly it's still popular to outimmigration the other parties, saying I'm going to build a bigger fence, a tougher wall, a bigger moat. Those individuals need to keep in mind the growing importance of the Latino electorate in Arizona. Several colleagues of mine had a survey out in the field when the S-B 10-70 court ruling came out. We interviewed registered Latino voters here in Arizona and several other battleground states, and we found among Latino voters across all the states and here in Arizona included that the majority of Latino voters are really troubled by this S-B 10-70 ruling. And also, too, they fear that this is going to create a more hostile environment toward Latinos in the United States. And so you take into account there's a growing demographic group that will be critical in upcoming elections, and they're scared of what the republican party has been pushing.

Richard Ruelas: So does that explain -- I mean, Mitt Romney's response was not as strong as what we saw from Ben Quayle, Jeff Flake. Is he trying to find the path that gets Latinos to vote for him?

Rudy Espino: Yeah. He's appealing to a national audience now. He's clearly the republican nominee. He's now going to have to start moving away from the tacks he's made to the right to win the republican nomination and start appealing to that sensitive voter. A lot of voters now are not as supportive of a tough immigration stance that we see in all the S-B 10-70s. They're more concerned about the economy and the jobs. So Mitt Romney has to start thinking about ways to not be so tough and scare individuals away, particularly Latino voters in a lot of those battleground states: Colorado, Nevada, and of course Florida and New Mexico.

Richard Ruelas: It seems like that, in 2008, 2010, the economy was somehow intertwined with immigration. Do you see that happening in this cycle that the bad economy will be blamed or that immigration will be shown to be part of that?

Rudy Espino: No. I think certainly that rhetoric is moving away, and I think a lot of that data is pointing towards it. We're not having the influx of immigration that we saw when the economy was booming during the early 2000s. To continue to make Latino immigrants the scapegoat, I just don't think that's resonating with that independent voter.

Richard Ruelas: It sounds like you're not anticipating a border fence, a John McCain-type ad this time around.

Rudy Espino: I think what Romney is looking at is learning the lesson that that did not work for McCain and probably going to take some pages out of the play book that George W. bush had in 2004.

Richard Ruelas: Well, it worked for McCain so much that it got him back into office, but you're saying it didn't work in a deeper sense?

Rudy Espino: Well, what I was talking about was with respect to McCain's vote share among Latino voters in 2008 compared to bush's vote share of Latino voters in 2000 but most importantly in 2004. This passionate conservatism. Right? And he made efforts to appeal to Latino voters, talking about comprehensive immigration reform. And that resonated with Latino voters, but McCain sort of backed away from that, and you saw republicans at the state and national levels also following that tack. It has not worked very well for them. I think Romney is trying to cut into Obama's poll numbers, but he's going to have to take some pages out of the George W. bush play book.

Richard Ruelas: Even in local races, state races, you might see it a lot more?

Rudy Espino: Yeah. National politics versus local politics is completely different.

Richard Ruelas: So we'll look for those ads maybe on the small cable stations where we see the state representative border fence attitude.

Rudy Espino: Those will resonate in those races.

Richard Ruelas: We'll have you back before the elections, and I thank you for joining us on this evening.

Rudy Espino: Thank you for having me.

SB 1070 Ruling

  |   Video
  • Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero talks about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on SB 1070.
  • Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero - Consul General of Mexico, Phoenix
Category: Law   |   Keywords: SB, 1070, SB1070, US, supreme, court, arguments, ruling, ,

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Richard Ruelas: The U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on SB 1070 more than a week ago, but it still continues to be a big part of the immigration debate both here and in Mexico. Joining me to talk about the decision is the Consul General of Mexico here in Phoenix, Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero. Sir, thank you for joining me this evening.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Thank you, Richard. Good evening.

Richard Ruelas: What are you hearing at the office from residents of Mexico who are contacting you?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, as general, the Mexican Consul represents the Mexican government here in Arizona. We have five consulates here in the state. We're here to enhance our relationship for those to attend our community here, the Mexican and the Mexican-American community in Phoenix and in the seven counties north of Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: Have you been receiving a higher number of calls of people asking questions about documents since this Supreme Court ruling came in?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, I continue working, business as usual but people need to be informed about what will be the impact of this decision of the Supreme Court, particularly the section 2B.

Richard Ruelas: What do you think the impact will be on the people you represent here in Arizona?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, if we consider what was the situation in 2010, the people will represent some fear when they access the Mexican Consulate, and right now the difference is that they want to have more information, what will be the position of the laws and particularly the situation with the law enforcement authorities in terms of if they will be asking for the papers or not and what will be the proper steps that they have to take and if they have that situation.

Richard Ruelas: Do you expect you're going to be called more often with families of people who have been arrested or been detained? Do you anticipate you're going to get more calls as this law goes into effect, when this law goes into effect?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: No. Not really. We have had an 800 number 24 hours, and we have until now in the same level. We are promoting community forums at the consulate with different organizations here in Arizona. And we are promoting also mobile consulate like this weekend. We are going to go to Cottonwood, close to Sedona. Normally we will be in a position to offer also legal advice, some of the authorities that are working with the consulate providing the proper information to the community. And I think that's the difference between 2012 and 2010 when people had fear and all the evidence was something that everybody considered, but it's important to check first if it's necessary to move to Mexico. Right now the position of the community is to be informed and to know more about what will be the situation if the law enforcement asks for the papers, what will be the proper steps.

Richard Ruelas: So in 2010, which by the way was when you first got here right?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes, I arrived two days after SB 1070 was signed by Governor Brewer.

Richard Ruelas: Welcome to Arizona! It put you right in the middle of it. So the calls from 2010 were more from residents who were going back to Mexico and asking --

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: They are preparing for that. And at that time, we say, “Well, you have to wait until July 2010, because the law was signed, but it's not in effect until July 29th.

Richard Ruelas: But did you get the feeling in 2010 that people were leaving, that people were going back?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, we received more people at that time, and they ask for documents and information about what will be the legal procedure for customs, also what will be the procedures to apply for the children in Mexico. Right now the information is different. People are asking what will be the rights, what will be the sense of this section to beat. They are anxious to have information, the right information, but they are not transpiring some fear like two years ago.

Richard Ruelas: They're not going anywhere. They're not going back to Mexico.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: No, no. They continue working. They continue studying here. They continue to contribute to this economy here in Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: What advice are you giving residents? What do you tell them to do if they're stopped or asked for documents?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: We have this brochure that also includes the new situations after the decision of the Supreme Court, and we are telling them that they have to respect the laws, that the position of the Mexican government here is we respect the laws, and we respect also the right of every state to have their own laws. The point when the Mexican consulate and also the Mexican government is not indifferent is with the situation that the human rights will be violated. As you remember in 2010 a lot of noise about the pressure for filing and also that sense of the Mexican or Hispanic will be detained without any order of the judge or something at that time. Right now, we are in a different situation that we will be checking closely what will be the application of the section 2B, but at the same time we are working very close with the proper authorities, with the police department to know whether the procedures to enforce the law and to inform the people of their rights but also we have the obligation to the Mexican community.

Richard Ruelas: So you're working with police so that they can contact you if there's a situation that arises? You expect that you'll be looped in if someone is detained, if someone is held over?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes. But also to perform properly. The section 2B is not enforced already. We need to wait maybe two weeks more, and the district court has to say, “Okay, that will be the day to implement this law.” Also we need to be aware what will be the proper procedures from the police to inform the people correctly and obviously to avoid any misunderstanding about the law. The people are interested to know about it but, at the same time, they continue working or they are planning to be enrolled in the school for the next year.

Richard Ruelas: You discuss respect for the law, and I could imagine there's some segment of the audience and the United States here in Arizona saying, “Well, what is Mexico doing to tell its citizens not to violate the immigration law to come in.” What steps does Mexico take to stop the problem in Mexico?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes. We need a reform of immigration, and that has to be shared between the Mexican and the U.S. authorities in a responsible manner. We don't want to have undocumented people here, but the situation is that we already have a large portion of Mexican community working particularly here in Arizona and, most of them, they didn't cross the border without documents. They overstayed their tourist Visa, and they had an opportunity to work. We need to do something to fix this situation, but right now we are aware also about the contributions of the Mexican workers here in Arizona, and it's something that I think is important to balance in this political context. Mexico is still the first trading partner of Arizona with more than $9 billion per year. That's the statistics for 2011. And we are partners in trade. Most of the people that overstayed one night here in Arizona came from Sonora, and it's that 70% of that segment of the tourism . We have flights back-to-back from Phoenix to Mexico to different tourist spots. And we share a lot of commerce in our border, the border of Nogales, for example, represents the first tourist and trade contact with Arizona. And most of the vegetables and fruits that we have on our tables come in from that border crossing. That's important to have a balance in terms of the relation with the department and also that we have people that are working here and contributing to the economy of Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: We'll see what happens as the law goes into effect, see how it affects that delicate balance, and we'll probably have you back to discuss it again. Thank you for joining us.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Thank you.