Fox administration

Vicente Fox was the 64th President of Mexico from December 1 2000 to November 30 2006. After the federal elections in 2000, his administration ended with more than 70 years rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.


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 the Human Development Index (HDI) of Mexico from 1975 to 2003 along with yearly percentage increases.

HDI improved in the first three years of the Fox administration 0.206% annually, 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. [ IV ] ] .

In addition, it is important to note that during the first three years of the presidency of Vicente Fox, many countries such as Canada, France and Great Britain, reported low increases and even some decreases while countries like Cuba [ [ HDI] :Cuba] surpassed Mexico at 0.817 as well as Costa Rica with a 0.838 HDI [ [ HDI] :Costa Rica] and Argentina with a 0.863 HDI [ [ HDI] :Argentina.] , Brazil's HDI increased 1.17% from 2000 to 2003 [ [ HDI] :Brazil] while Mexico's HDI only increased 0.62% from 2000 to 2003.

Relations with Congress

In his inaugural speech, Vicente Fox said that with his Presidency started a new era of relations between the three political powers. "The President will propose, and the Congress will dispose", he said. This implied that, contrary to what was perceived of Presidents before him, Fox would respect the separation of powers and negotiate with Congress any reform that he wished to undertake. [ [ "El Congreso Propone y el Congreso Dispone: las nuevas relaciones entre el ejecutivo y el legislativo en México] by Benito Nacif of Universidad Iberoamericana]

The first major controversy between Fox and Congress occurred during the discussion of a comprehensive tax reform [ [ Comenzaron los jaloneos legislativos por la reforma fiscal] by Proceso.] 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 the reform as proposed by Fox.

From then on, Fox's term was characterized by the strained relation between the Legislative and the Executive. Lawmakers from the opposition parties admitted they had a hard time dealing with Fox, while lawmakers from Fox's party claimed that there were "legislative excesses". [ [ Tormentosa, relación Ejecutivo-Legislativo con Fox: PRI y PAN] by Diario de México]

In his last annual state of the union address in September 2006, President Fox was prevented by leftist lawmakers from delivering his speech. He became the first president to not read his report before Congress and instead gave a televised address to the nation. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

Foreign policy

Before Vicente Fox, Mexico had a foreign policy "doctrine" known as the Estrada Doctrine, so named after its creator, Genaro Estrada (Secretary of Foreign Affairs during the Presidency of Pascual Ortiz Rubio). The Estrada Doctrine was a foreign policy directorate that 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. [ [ "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."] ]

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. [ "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."] ]

During Fox's term, Mexico actively sought (and gained) a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. [ [ Mexico Wins UN Council Seat, Strengthening Fox's World Role - UN Security Council - Global Policy Forum ] ] . However, Luis Ernesto Derbez, Fox's 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. [ [ Mexico becomes conference hotspot: latest international summit confirms Mexico as a top destination for bigshots. | Travel, Hospitality & Tourism > Destinations & Attractions from ] ] In the Monterrey Summit of 2001, which ended in the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus, President Fox and his Foreign Relations cabinet were protagonists of one of the most serious diplomatic scandals of his administration. For the Summit, many heads of State were invited to the International Conference on Financing for Development. However, in the early stages of the meeting Cuban President Fidel Castro surprisingly stood and said that he was leaving the city because of a "a special situation created by my participation in this Summit". Fox repeatedly denied Castro's allegations that he was asked to leave the summit, as per the U.S. request. [ [ Grupo Fórmula - López-Dóriga ] ] Several weeks after the incident, a recorded 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. [ [ Cuba - Castaneda - Mexico - Castro - ] ] .

Relations with the United States

In the opinion of editorialists in the media and think tanks like COHA, the "Castañeda Doctrine" was "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. [ [ Fox Chooses U.S. Over Latin America, Continuing Mexico’s Accommodation to Washington’s Regional Primacy ] ] 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". [ [ Con Estados Unidos a una sana distancia ] ] Indeed, the new foreign policy doctrine openly invited other nations to scrutinize Mexican internal affairs, in contrast with the previously prevalent Estrada Doctrine, which was criticized as an excuse to negate foreign criticism on the previous establishment. Finally, José Galán, an editorialist in "La Jornada", accused the Fox administration of not doing enough to stop border violence against Mexican nationals. [ [ La Jornada ] ] However, during the country's appointment to the UN Security Council, Mexico did not support the U.S. lead invasion of Iraq, [ [ War Threat Divides World, Some Feel U.S. Is Justified, Others Worry About War's Consequences - CBS News ] ] damaging US-Mexico relations. [cite web |publisher= [ U.S. Border Control] |url='Vicente%20Fox%20criticism%20war%20Iraq'|type=pdf|title=Fox Realizes Mexico's Opposition to Iraq War "Damaged U.S-Mexican Relations"|date= May 2003|accessdate=2008-06-09]

During Fox's administration, Mexico pushed negotiations for a "comprehensive immigration reform" that addressed the problem of illegal immigration to the United States. The issue has been called "The Whole Enchilada" by Fox's administration, and states 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". [ [ MIGRATION-US: Mexico Still Wants "The Whole Enchilada" ] ] . However, according to former U.S. ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow, no formal negotiations occurred between the parties, all discussions on the subject were "informal". [ [ El oso y el puercoespín · ELPAÍ ] ]

The immigration reform that Fox hoped to achieve included a Guest Worker Plan, "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". [ [ Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Mexico News | Dallas Morning News ] ] This reform was supported by president Bush and approved by the U.S. Senate, however, the bill was rejected by the House of Representatives. [ [;_ylt=A86.I1NlGTZEThIBNBxnr7sF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM- Bill rejected by House of Representatives] ] According to the Washington Post, the hopes for the approval of the bill are lower than ever and have been complicated by the recent approval of the SBI (Secure Border Initiative), a bill that includes building a convert|700|mi|km|sing=on triple fence between the U.S. and Mexico. [ [] Dead link|date=June 2008]

During Fox's presidency the net migration rate in Mexico increased 152% from -2.84 migrants per 1,000 habitants in 2000 [ [ CIA - The World Factbook 2000 - Net migration rate ] ] to -4.32 in 2006; [ Mexico] , The CIA factbook.] comparably in the same period the population growth decreased 35% from 1.57% [ [ Globalis - an interactive world map - Mexico - Annual population growth rate ] ] to 1.16%. Fox, who was said to be "proud" of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. [ [ Mexico's Fox Urges Fairness for Immigrants - ] ] 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) [ [ Give and take across the border / 1 in 7 Mexican workers migrates - most send money home ] ] [ [ > News > Mexico - Remittances are Mexico's biggest source of income, says Fox ] ] '; sparking criticism from U.S. conservatives that claim that Mexico advocates soft migration policies to continue the influx of foreign generated capital instead of promoting a healthier economy that offers better opportunities to Mexicans slowing migration to the US. [ [ The Unalienable Right » Foreign Ministers of Mexico and Central America - just looking out for the American taxpayer ] ] []

Relations with Latin American countries

Fox created a plan to develop Central America, called the Plan Puebla Panama. He has been criticized for his support of it. [] [] [ [ CorpWatch : PPP: Plan Puebla Panama, or Private Plans for Profit? ] ]

Vicente Fox had several controversies with Latin American countries such as with president of Cuba, Fidel Castro after the Monterrey Summit as well as the president of Argentina, Néstor Kirchner related to the FTAA during the 2005 Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas, and with Ricardo Lagos, then President of Chile regarding the new OAS Secretary General election, 2005 [ details] and president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, about his presumed support for the U.S. president 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. [ [ Mar del Plata Summit] ] Fox would attempt to reinitiate talks of support for the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). [ [ "Fox viaja a Mar del Plata para darle fuerza al ALCA"] , November 2, 2005.] However, discussion on the FTAA was not in the agenda of the Summit.

Upon his arrival to Mar del Plata, Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, declared: [ [ "Leave dissenters out of trade pact: Fox"] :"Today the FTAA is dead and we are going to bury it here. We are here to change the course of history.", Taipei Times, November 6, 2005.]

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. [ [ "Título: Brazil's Lula: Doha Talks Take Precedence Over FTAA Close"] , November 6, 2005]

Marco Aurelio Garcia, one of the closest advisers to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, declared that Fox carried himself with haste in supporting the FTAA. [ "Brasil dice que Fox metió la pata en Mar del Plata"] , November 29, 2005.] Garcia declared that Fox's comment that the FTAA would be created with or without the Mercosur angered many. Fox did not applaud after Néstor Kirchner's presentation at the Summit, and when Fox attempted to bring the issue of the FTAA Kirchner that the FTAA was not the topic at hand at the Summit. [ "El cortocircuito entre Kirchner y Fox en las portadas de los diarios mexicanos"] , La Nación, November 9, 2005.] 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 [ [ "Senado mexicano lamenta actuación de Fox en Mar del Plata"] , November 10, 2005.]

Education, science, and technology

According to René Drucker, coordinator of basic science research for UNAM, "no other government in recent history has neglected research in the basic sciences as Fox's". [ [ Fox sacó cero en impulso a la ciencia, dice Drucker Colín ] ] Fox's plan for the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, CONACYT, was that by 2006 this organization would receive 1% of the GDP, however the budget for this organization for FY 2006 was 0.33% of the GDP. [ [ TODoS@CICESE - La gaceta electrónica ] ] . [ [ TODoS@CICESE - La gaceta electrónica ] ] Federal Government investment on Research and development in 2004 was 0.41% in Mexico versus 0.95% in Brazil and 0.6% in Chile. [ "Gasto en desarrollo e investigación"] , "El Universal", March 16 2007.]

José Vasconcelos Library

The José Vasconcelos Library, labeled by the press as the "Megabiblioteca" ("megalibrary"), is considered the largest investment in infrastructure in the Fox administration. The library is spread on 38,000 square meters [ [ "Arranca la megabiblioteca"] , May 11, 2006.] and had an initial planned cost of 954 million pesos (roughly 98 million dollars). [ [ "En orden los recursos de Biblioteca Vasconcelos: CAPFCE"] , April 4, 2006.]

Fox inaugurated the Library May 16, 2006 declaring that this is one of the most advanced constructions of the 21st century, and it would be spoken of throughout the world. [ [ "Inaugura Fox megabiblioteca "José Vasconcelos"] , May 16, 2006.] This inauguration took place a week before the deadline the president had to promote his accomplishments before the 2006 presidential election [ [ "La Biblioteca Vasconcelos"] , Universia, May 18, 2006.]

The Library had to be closed down in March 2007 because of defects of construction. [ "La ASF pide fincar responsabilidad a funcionarios de Vicente Fox"] , March 30, 2007.] The Superior Auditor of the Federation detected 36 irregularities in its construction and issued 13 motions of responsibility for public servants of the federal government. Among the irregularities found was the misplacement of marble blocks at a cost of 15 million pesos (roughly 1.4 million dollars).

During the Calderón administration efforts to restore it continued with a further investment of 32 million pesos (roughly 3 million dollars) [ [ "32 mdp más a la ´megabiblioteca´"] , "El Universal", May 31, 2007.]

2006 presidential election

Fox openly expressed his support to Santiago Creel to become the candidate of the PAN in the 2006. When Felipe Calderón was chosen as a candidate, Fox expressed his support to him and his dislike towards his opponent populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador prior to and during the 2006 elections. On Chapter 14 of Luis Mandoki's "Who is Mr. López?" documentary titled "Foxilandia" [ [ Who is Mr. López?, Chapter 14: "Foxilandia"] ] Alfonso Durazo, Fox's former personal secretary, declared that no previous President was ever as active campaigning for candidates of his own party as was Fox. After Calderón's win, the elections were contested by López Obrador. The Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation declared the election to be clean but highlighted Fox's influence in it, declaring that it was the greatest irregularity in the election. Alfonsina Bertha Navarro, minister of the Electoral Tribunal, declared [ "Injerencia de Fox, irregularidad mayor del proceso: magistrados"] , "La Jornada", September 6, 2006.] :cquote|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|Alfonsina Bertha Navarro, minister of the Electoral Tribunal

In August 2006, "El Universal" polled 600 people in Mexico City, where López Obrador served as Head of Government from 2000 to 2005, and 59% believed that the 2006 elections were fraudulent and 63% believed votes should have been recounted [ "Se opone al plantón 65% en DF: encuesta"] , "El Universal", August 14, 2006.] . In February 2007, Fox declared about the desafuero process of López Obrador [ "Fox: perdí una ante AMLO, pero me desquité"] , February 13, 2007.] :

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. [cite news | last =Runyan | first =Curtis | title =Informed Debate: The Public Battle over Mexico City’s New Airport | language =English | publisher =World Resources Institute | date =April 2003 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-04 ] .

The proposed airport plan would relocate 4,375 families and convert 5,000 hectares of farmland. [ [ A-Infos] ] Peasants from these areas resisted relocation and formed the Community Front in Defense of Land in 2002. Soon the protests turned violent and protesters held hostages and state forces had to be sent to negotiate their release, while Fox announced no change in plans had been considered. [ [ "Mexican Farmers Hold off Police in Airport Battle"] , July 14, 2002.] After the federal government's failure to negotiate with the farmers the plans for the new airport had to be canceled. The protesters, many of which wore black ski mask 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:

This is in spite of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre. [cite news | title =Warrant for Mexico ex-president | language =English | publisher =BBC News | date =2006-06-30 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-04 ] Jorge Montaño, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States considered Fox was too "naive" to think these farmers would easily give up their lands and that his government should have taken more time negotiating with the farmers of Atenco 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. [ "Double-Edged Machete in Mexico Fight] ", Kevin Sullivan, "The Washington Post", August 9, 2002.]

In May 2006, a group of flower vendors was being relocated from a market of Texcoco, according to a plan of the PRD-led municipal government.cite news | last = Ramon | first = Rene| title = Un muerto y decenas de heridos al enfrentarse ejidatarios y policías | pages = | publisher = El Universal| date = 2006-05-04 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ] The group refused to leave and asked the assistance of the Community Front in Defense of the Land who confronted the police department of Texcoco with machetes. The situation escalated and police officers were held hostage by the protestors. State and federal forces were sent to the site.cite news | last = Resendiz| first = Francisco| title = San Salvador Atenco, "foco rojo" desde hace 25 años | pages = | publisher = El Universal| date = 2006-02-14 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ] According to municipal government servants the protesters have 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. [cite news | last = Alcántara| first = Liliana | title = PGR admite: en Atenco se incurrió en tormento | pages = | publisher = El Universal| date = 2006-06-09 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ]

Fox blamed the Atenco group, lead by Ignacio Valle, for the incident and ordered his arrest calling the group an "insult to society".cite news | last = Vargas | first = Rosa Elvira| title = Achaca Fox a ejidatarios la responsabilidad de la violencia | pages = | publisher = El Universal| date = 2006-05-05 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ] In October 2006, two months before leaving office, Fox declared that the social conflicts of Atenco and Chiapas were solved and Oaxaca would be solved before his successor took office.cite news | last = Roman| first = Jose Antonio| title = Fox da por resueltos casos Chiapas, Atenco y, próximamente, Oaxaca | pages = | publisher = El Universal| date = 2006-10-24 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-29 ]

Congressional investigations

Congress has opened two investigations but has failed to produce evidence to prosecute the Bribiescas. During one of the investigations Fox called the deputies "delinquents". [cite web|url= |title=Critican senadores que Fox proteja a Bribiesca|publisher="El Porvenir"|date= February 11, 2006|accessdate= 2008-06-01] A third congressional investigation was announced in May 2007. [cite web|url=|author=Ricardo Gómez, Andrea Merlos|title= Buscaremos pruebas contra los Bribiesca|publisher=El Universal|date= May 20, 2007|accessdate=2008-06-01]

ee also

* Vicente Fox
* List of Presidents of Mexico
* National Action Party (Mexico)
* Mexican general election, 2000
* Mexican general election, 2006
* Foxilandia


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