In This Review

Bordering on Chaos: Guerrillas, Stockbrokers, Politicians, and Mexico's Road to Prosperity
Bordering on Chaos: Guerrillas, Stockbrokers, Politicians, and Mexico's Road to Prosperity
By Andres Oppenheimer
Little, 1996, 367 pp.

A fast-paced, engrossing narrative, in fine journalistic style, of the inside story of the crisis in Mexico. As is to be expected from Pulitzer Prize winner Andres Oppenheimer, senior correspondent for The Miami Herald, there is much new material here -- confidential polls by the Mexican political parties, exclusive interviews with intellectuals, politicians, and Zapatista rebels, a revealing look at the panic on Wall Street, and a glimpse at the falling-out between President Carlos Salinas and his successor, which led to a recent public squabble. While Salinas complains, as he does elsewhere, that what was at stake was not corruption but a struggle over the free market policies he had embarked upon, Oppenheimer concludes instead that the origins of the Mexican problems are largely political and will be resolved by "its conversion to a working democracy among other things by striking a deal with the opposition parties to launch far-reaching electoral, media, labor, education, and anti-corruption reforms." This is a long bill of particulars, and to recite it is to realize how difficult a task Mexico faces in the next few years if the political dilemmas Oppenheimer points to are to be resolved.