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juan sanchez-navarro

juan sanchez-navarro
Juan Sanchez-Navarro is a prominent Mexican business leader and owner of Corona Beer.
THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO PERSPECTIVES ABOUT CARLOS SALINAS. FIRST --THAT THE MEXICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS BEEN THE SAME SINCE THE REVOLUTION AND SALINAS IS ONE MORE AMONG OTHERS. THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE IS THAT CARLOS SALINAS CHANGED THE SYSTEM A LOT. WHICH IS YOUR OPINION?

I am closer to the second opinion . Carlos Salinas introduced important economic reforms into the country, following the rules and the same routes that President de la Madrid did in the last two years of his presidency, this was the plan that Mexico should have economically liberal politics. This is the essential base of the Salinas economic plan, in order for him to do this he joined up with the top people, especially with Doctor Aspe [Finance Minister under Salinas]. In the first years they worked successfully, and they made us believe that Mexico would no longer be an emergent or 3rd world country but that Mexico would be part of the first world. And we would join international organizations in order to participate with first world countries that dominate and guide the world economy.

WAS IT OK UNTIL 1994?

During Salinas's regimen politics had a lot of problems, which made 1994 the most critical and frightening year in the modern history of Mexico. It started with a rebellion in Chiapas in the south east of the country. This rebellion was completely unexpected, it was a surprise for all of us and it seems that even the president was surprised. Then the awful year continued with the murders of the top leaders of the official political party (PRI), one was the candidate for president and the other one was the general secretary of the PRI, this whole situation showed a deep and general corruption in national politics.

No, this corruption started prior to 1994, but it was unmasked by the murders and rebellion. These made possible a manifestation of unknown powers in the corruption of the political system.

SALINAS DIDN'T REFORM THE PRI?

In a way I think that Salinas dedicated a lot of time to reforming the economy and far less time to politics. And that became a weakness because the nation began to demand a different political system instead of PRI. The PRI is a particular political party without any possibility of democracy. And overturning the PRI was never a central concept of his national politics.

DID THE RICH GET RICHER?

Overall I believe that is true, there was a major difference in the economic situation of Mexico's social classes. The powerful got unimportant but rich gains and there was a small diminution of income for the majority of the population

WHAT ABOUT CORRUPTION?

What he inherited from his political party was not the best in terms of political matters. In my own opinion corruption got to an extreme point where the government was authoritarian and that led to a lack of democracy. Now things have changed a little bit.

WHAT ABOUT RAUL SALINAS.

Raul Salinas took advantage of the situation of being the brother of the president, and he took it to the limit in terms of enriching himself off his influence in the regime.

AND THE SALINAS FAMILY?

I know them very well, his father was the Minister of Commerce. A very intelligent man, very capable in economics but not very clear with the handling of public funds. The mother was an extraordinary woman, very serious, responsible. And her sons, some of them were good and the others not too good.

IS IT A CORRUPT FAMILY?

In a way yes.

WHOSE FAULT WAS IT?

The fault is of the whole system, it is a heritage that gets deeper in some political aspects of Salinas times, but the whole system was based in the existence of a unique political party that will always dominate the elections, never done in a very clean way, always directing to a specific political class the destiny of the country, and the people's voices were never manifested in a free way.

This country has a long tradition of corrupt systems since colonial times. The kings in Spain used to send representatives that would openly try to enrich themselves.

HOW DO YOU SEE MEXICO'S FUTURE.

If the transition toward democracy is successful, I can see a brilliant and shining future for Mexico as long as we keep the essentials points of a free economy and a fair integration with our neighbors, especially the ones that live in the United States. Also participation in globalization, which is an inevitable situation, will be helpful in transforming our country.

CAN YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT THE BANQUET. (A FAMOUS DINNER IN 1993 IN WHICH CARLOS SALINAS WANTED TO ENRICH THE PRI'S COFFERS AND INVITED THIRTY OF MEXICO'S RICHEST MEN)

I have to thank God that they did not invite me to the banquet! Because I would feel very bad. It was a clear manifestation, I will say perverse, between economic power and the national political system. By that time there was a clear connection regarding economic matters between some businessmen, not all, and the government. What has been discussed in political reform is the financing of political parties, and this has to have a radical change.

They did not consider me rich enough because they thought that I was too open regarding freedom of speech. I think there were other reasons like there were people even richer and closer to the regimen than I was, I am very independent.

IF THEY HAD INVITED YOU?

I would not accept the invitation because I would have to pay an enormous amount of money which I did not have, secondly because I considered it a corrupt system.



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