Analysis Agenda. August 19th, 2013

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As more and more information regarding issues of vital importance for the country’s future comes along – the federal regime of transparency and accountability, creation of regulatory bodies of telecommunications and economic competiton, secondary laws of the educational reform, the current (and future) voids at IFE, the support for PAN to (other) political electoral reform and, of course, the increasingly interesting energy reform (both in its content as well as its alternatives and procesures – it is understandable why PRI was so interested in venting the agenda before the third ordinary session period of the 62nd Legislature of the Federal Congress. The aforementioned goal may be reached. Let us hope that the rush for reporting many approved laws will not diminish their quality and, in the short term, pending issues may be reopened… who am I kidding? It’s better to be prepared in advance.

1-PRD and its anti-openness energy reform. The potential coincidences between PRI and PAN on the matter would make everybody think that the unevitable fate for the energy debate would be to modify the Constitution. The importance of this is not a dogmatic issue, but one regading with economic perspective and planning. Changing the 27th and 28th Constitutional articles is necessary if the ultimate goal is to open up private investment in most part of the country’s energy sectors. The other option, just as PRD officially stated on August 19th through Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, is to reform several secondary laws with the aim of changing the tax regime of Pemex, give it budgetary and administrative autonomy, strenghtening regulatory bodies, modifying the status of the Stabilization Fund as well as to review the systems of rates, prices and subsidies. Is it really feasible a successful reform without openness?  What differences regarding efficiency would the PRD initiative possess in comparison with the openness model?

2-Citizen consultation: is it where “oil defense” lies? During the PRD launch of the energy reform, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas stated that he will “fully” promote the aforementioned iniative and prevent the Peña Nieto’s proposal from materializing. Nevertheless, Càrdenas, in his more political strand, rather than his engineering one, knows that battle in Congress may be lost, though not war. A few weeks ago, PRD leadership announced the intention of submitting the basic tenents of the energy reform for public consultation, especially if there was an openness – restricted or not – towards private entities. This was complied with the endorsement that Cárdenas made regarding the call for a citizen consultation, organized by his party and supported by organizations such as Alianza Cìvica (Civic Alliance), to be held on August 25th and September 1st on several states. According to the political reform issued on August 2012, the citizen consultation may be legally binding under specific circumsntances. Will this be the last stance? How can it operate?

3-The moment of truth for educational reform (this time, it’s for real). Even though modifications to Constitutional articles 3 and 73 were issued since February, discussion regarding their ruling is not only being held until now, but has an August 25th deadline – it is established in the reform’s transitory articles. There is no “turning back”: secondary laws on the education reform should be ready during the extraordinary sessions that Congress will hold during the coming days. Protests organized by the teachers’ union have already started, especially given the fact that the operability of Constitutional reforms lie within the initiatives to reform the General Education Law, as well as the creation of the National Institute of Educational Assessment and the Teaching Professional Service. Regardless of the government’s ability to control (or rather, negotiate) with those that oppose the reform. What benefits would the ruling proposed by the federal government may bring? What other obstacles will the reform find once it’s approved?

4-The IFAI (Federal Institute of Information Access) reforms: an “18 Brumaire” for federal transparency? One of the self-imposed “thornes in the side” by President Peña is his intention to “reform” the regime of federal transparency and its trademark institution. Though his initiative goes back from the transition period, it cannot be yet passed by Congress, especially due to matters regarding power struggles within IFAI and with more important issues – institutionally speaking – such as the non-inclusion of unions and political parties as legally bounded entities or the restrictions of the binding and unenforceable character of the Institute’s resolutions. The ball is on the Deputies Chamber’s side and the guillotine is not only above the necks of the current IFAI commissioners, but also over the essential values of the organization. How far is the commitment of the current government to create a trustworthy transparency and accountability system?

Self-defence groups: has the government already decided what to do with them? Ever since the federal government, while working along with the local authorities of Michoacán, decided to double the number of army forces in the most dangerous zones of the aforementioned state, one of the most sensitive topics has been the self-defence groups. Unlike the scheme of community police that is held in Guerrero – more or less, an extra-judiciary scheme tolerated by local authorities – the Michoacán self-defence groups are the result of an amalgamation between the state’s habits and customs, a failed strategy of fight against drug trafficking within the Tierra Caliente region, as well as the despair and hopelessness of dozens of communities devastated by poverty, marginalization and crime. However, in the most publicized case of the last weeks, the Aquila municipality, federal authorities didn’t hesitate on disarming these groups. While acknowledging the act’s legal effect, should it be repeated when tackling these groups throughout the country? Is this strategy sustainable?


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