Castañeda adopts the voice of a responsible policy entrepreneur in this tract meant to position him to run for president in Mexico’s 2018 election. A leading intellectual and former Mexican foreign minister who has journeyed from the socialist left toward the reformist center, Castañeda recognizes the progress, inadequate though it may be, that Mexico has made in reforming its democratic institutions and protecting its citizens’ social and economic rights. He strikes a cooperative note in discussing relations with the United States and urges Mexico to avoid anachronistic, destructive populism. He seeks to improve his country’s democracy by combating corruption and official impunity, protecting human rights, reforming the electoral system to facilitate the rise of independent candidates, defending minorities, and enhancing consumer protections. Castañeda argues that the dominant political parties are too thoroughly compromised to realize such goals: only an independent movement that rallies civil society can modernize Mexico. He sees hope in an educated, youthful middle class that perceives human rights as a legitimately Mexican concept rather than as a foreign import. In his denunciation of the political class, Castañeda may sound like antiestablishment populists elsewhere. But his campaign platform is more thoughtful, constructive, and, ultimately, affirmative.
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