Question- The PRI dominated Mexico from 1929 to 2000. How did this party begin? Why could it claim it was a democratic party? What do you think might be its future? Opening statement- The PRI, or National Revolutionary Party in English and called the Partido Nacional Revolucionario in Spanish (PNR) was established by Plutarco Elias Calles. He was a military General turned politician and served as the Mexican president in 1924-1928. After his presidency he continued as the de facto president.
In 1929 he organized military officials, politicians, union bosses, and labor organizations and strong-armed and influenced them into joining his party. Factors are discussed in order- The PRI underwent several name changes and reorganizations through the years but gained momentum, power and members. The middle class was able to gain a foothold in politics into the PRI especially during the “stabilizing development” which occurred during the 1950s and 1960s. It was made up of networks of the lower and middle class, unions, members and politicians.
The party thrived on relationships, favors and power. Strength was gained through overall corruption, bribery, and misuse and stealing of public money. It sought to gain popularity by exchanging services and favors for votes. In this way it may have appeared to be a party of the people and a democratic entity. Especially during elections goods flowed freely in exchange for loyalty and votes. It reigned freely and had complete control and could claim they were a party of democracy. President Salinas, elected in 1988 worked hard to reform the party’s image.
He attempted to downplay his relationship with big business and emphasized his support for the little guy in order to gain more popularity, votes and favor with the Mexican people and former enemies such as the Roman Catholic Church and other long alienated industries. Salinas also attempted to restructure the Mexican economy by privatization, but the decades of corruption and absolute rule made this difficult and it wasn’t enough to save the doomed and defunct party. Conclusion and opinion- On July 2, 2000 Vicente Fox won the Mexican Presidential election in what could be called a “landslide”.
This marked a historic victory of a new era for Mexican politics. It also was the end for the longest rule of a governing Party in the world, the PRI. The history for the party doesn’t look so bright. After being such a ruthless and cruel political party its reputation and credibility is in tatters. In 2003 it was nearly exterminated in the Federal District. It is doubtful that the PRI could make a resurgence without cleaning house and reorganizing significantly. As long as the Mexican people continue to stand up and strongly demand accountability and transparency in their government, democracy and real change is possible.
Works Cited: Diamond, Larry “What the Democratization of Mexico Means for The World” Hoover Institute Stanford University (2000) volume no. 4 Knowledgerush (2009) Partido Revolucionario Institucional 8 May 2010 http://www. knowledgerush. com/kr/encyclopedia/Partido_Revolucionario_Institucional/ U. S Library of Congress “Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)” 8 May 2010 http://countrystudies. us/mexico/84. htm Wuhs, Steven T, Savage Democracy University Park, PA, Penn State Press, 2008
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