Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Sergio Aguayo: Mexico

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Sergio Aguayo: Mexico

Article excerpt

From Rights to Governance

Those who have contributed to Mexico's democracy understand that the power needs to be shared with Mexican citizens.

I was asked to give my opinion on the changes that have transpired in the hemisphere in the past 50 years and the role of philanthropy. Of course, it's impossible to quantify the contributions of a single person or organization in processes that are so long-term and complex. But there's no doubt that the Ford Foundation has played a key role in many of the advances we now associate with democratic rights and practices in the region. Three qualities of the Ford Foundation stand out.

Commitment: The most important feature of the Ford Foundation and its officials has always been their commitment to the dignity of the human being and their determination to contribute to the defense of that dignity.

They do so by addressing the immediate without overlooking the long-term. They work with organizations on the front lines of advocacy, as well as with academics on the cutting edge of research and knowledge dissemination-and by doing so, bring issues into the public agenda and influence public policy.

This often means treading into politically incorrect territory. In 1984, the Ford Foundation funded the Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos (which I helped found), an organization that promoted the concept that the continued control of the then-ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) was an expression of U.S. interventionism.

The Art of Dialogue: Some foreigners come to Mexico to tell us what we should do, handing out prescriptions tested in other parts of the world without much thought given to the particularities of our country. …

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