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Democracy Interrupted

Jo Tuckman

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An up-to-date portrait of Mexico since 2000, with new insights into the nation's problematic democracy and violent drug wars

In 2000, Mexico's long invincible Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost the presidential election to Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN). The ensuing changeover—after 71 years of PRI dominance—was hailed as the beginning of a new era of hope for Mexico. Yet the promises of the PAN victory were not consolidated. In this vivid account of Mexico's recent history, a journalist with extensive reporting experience investigates the nation's young democracy, its shortcomings and achievements, and why the PRI is favored to retake the presidency in 2012.

Jo Tuckman reports on the murky, terrifying world of Mexico's drug wars, the counterproductive government strategy, and the impact of U.S. policies. She describes the reluctance and inability of politicians to seriously tackle rampant corruption, environmental degradation, pervasive poverty, and acute inequality. To make matters worse, the influence of non-elected interest groups has grown and public trust in almost all institutions—including the Catholic church—is fading. The pressure valve once presented by emigration is also closing. Even so, there are positive signs: the critical media cannot be easily controlled, and small but determined citizen groups notch up significant, if partial, victories for accountability. While Mexico faces complex challenges that can often seem insurmountable, Tuckman concludes, the unflagging vitality and imagination of many in Mexico inspire hope for a better future.

Jo Tuckman is a Mexico-based foreign correspondent who reports for The Guardian, among many other publications on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives in Mexico City.

“An insightful firsthand examination of Mexico from 2000 to the present. . . An important investigation of Mexico's recent political, economic and social past—and its possibilities for the future.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Tuckman is a well-informed and reliable guide, who ranges broadly across a complicated country, covering crime, violence, police, army, parties, elections, the media, tourism, the environment and religion."—Alan Knight, The Guardian

"It may be that Mexico is on the brink of a brighter period. If so then Jo Tuckman, whose affection for Mexico and the Mexicans shines through her book, can be relied on to cover it… A lively account of the ups and downs of Mexico's first steps under democracy."—Tom Wainwright, Literary Review

"a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Mexico, particularly if one is inclined to question those who view the country through a security lens as a potential narco-state." Malcolm Beith, International Affairs

ISBN: 9780300160314
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
328 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
14 b/w in 8-page insert