Five Books to Understand Mexico Today

The situation in Mexico is not encouraging, but is not as complex as it looks like. The problem is not trying to understand what is happening in this country. The problem is if there is a way to fix this nation. Is it possible?

Who reads the news every day can notice that the main problems in this nation are related to corruption, organized crime and an apparent lack of justice. Problems that exist all countries but in different levels, and almost all of them are trying to do something, even the poorest countries than Mexico, as Guatemala where a former president is in jail for corruption.

Why is Mexico resisting itself to attack these problems and grow?

There are five books that confirm the hypothesis that the corruption, organized crime and an apparent lack of justice have control over the country, and people with real power don’t want to change that.

Unfortunately for who doesn’t speak or read Spanish there are no versions in English of these books… yet.

presidentes
The Presidents (Original title: Los presidentes) by Julio Scherer García, Grijalbo, México.

The Presidents (Original title: Los presidentes) by Julio Scherer García, is a reedition extended and reviewed by the author, but published after he died. The book is a narrative of the relationship between the author and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Luis Echevarría, José López Portillo, Miguel de la Madrid, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and summarily Enrique Peña Nieto.  The most important is how the power of the Presidency tries to interfere in the media, and how independent publications, as Proceso–founded by Scherer García and others–are in the sight, because they decided to publish articles, reports, articles opinion, pictures, and now videos and multimedia products, that affect the interest of the people in the power, which mostly don’t care about the nation, just the power itself and the money.

casa
Peña Nieto’s White House (Original title: La Casa Blanca de Peña Nieto) by Daniel Lizárraga, Rafael Cabrera, Irving Huerta and Sebastián Barragán. Grijalbo, México.

Peña Nieto’s White House (Original title: La Casa Blanca de Peña Nieto) by Daniel Lizárraga, Rafael Cabrera, Irving Huerta and Sebastián Barragán, is also a Grijalbo publication written by the journalists that did the investigation about one of the most shameful corruption cases in Mexico: the house built by HIGA, company that had a contract from the Peña Nieto’s administration for the train Mexico City-Toluca. The book includes a prologue written by Carmen Aristegui–the authors are part of her news team–who was fired from MVS Radio after she published this report on her website Aristegui Noticias and the Proceso magazine. As Scherer García explains in his book, the Presidency act against free speech, free press, and this is a clear example of the corruption. The case had a non-less shameful chapter: the apology from the President Peña Nieto. What happens after? The president still being president and Aristegui and her team prosecuted.

huerfanos
Javier Valdez Cárdenas, author of Narco-journalism (Original title: Narcoperiodismo), also wrote Narco Orphans (Huérfanos del narco).

Narco-journalism (Original title: Narcoperiodismo) by Javier Valdez Cárdenas. In my opinion, the title could give to the readers an incorrect idea, but at the same time there is no different way to call this situation in Mexico. The war against journalists is from the government and from the organized crime, but when they are working together the consequences are fatal. This volume includes interviews with journalists that were attacked by the cartels and non-protected by the government. At the same time, the author offers chronicles of different assaults or insults against reporters, editors, photographers, CEOs, and even administrative personal at newspapers locations. Again, the conclusion is that some people with the power and the cartels don’t want the good change in Mexico, and they attack­–sometimes together, sometimes apart– the media that have the courage to publish articles and reports about the war against the cartels and how this is affecting citizens and the country. This book will be published by Aguilar and I will be available until September, but I had the opportunity of read it as part of my job.

examen
Examination of my Father (Original title: Examen de mi padre) by Jorge Volpi, Alfaguara, México.

Examination of my Father (Original title: Examen de mi padre) by Jorge Volpi, was published by Alfaguara. The author takes as starting point his personal duel after his father passed away, and wrote ten essays about the situation in México. He accepts that he worked in the government in different moments, and he recognized the ways that sometimes the power works. As one of the most important and mature writers in the country, Volpi mix the life of his father as a physician, and scrutinize different parts of the human body to explain social, judicial, political, and other problems in México. The author shares with us his pain for the loss of his father at the same time that he shows us how a country is losing its way in middle of the corruption, organized crime and an apparent lack of justice.

fuerza
The Force of Imagination (Original title: La fuerza de la imaginación) by Julio A. Millán Bojalil, Conecta, México.

But is everything bad news? No, definitely not. México has hope, as the businessman Julio A. Millán Bojalil explains in his book The Force of Imagination (Original title: La fuerza de la imaginación), published by Conecta. As Scherer García, Millán Bojalil had a close relationship with Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Luis Echevarría, José López Portillo, Miguel de la Madrid, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto; sometimes as a counselor, sometimes as a businessman. He knows the power from inside and with his company he developed a system to apply effective programs. But, again, the government didn’t its work correctly, and ideas that looked well on the paper but didn’t work on real life. The author talks about his life; the book is a kind of autobiography, but at the same time is a chronicle and analysis of economic situation in Mexico. He explains how the country has been losing the opportunity to grow better with partners in Latin America. He also uses examples from Asia, and how countries as China and Japan could grow more than México applying creative visions, maybe not perfect visions, but programs that make these countries more powerful. The author recognized that the corruption and the organized crime are stopping México, and he is emphatic when he says: “Mexico is a over-diagnosed country. Now more than ever, it needs active, proactive leaders”.

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