Bordering on Chaos: Guerrillas, Stockbrokers, Politicians, and Mexico's Road to Prosperity

Overview

Mexico's growing pains in the era of NAFTA and globalization have been singularly acute and dramatic: a guerrilla uprising, the assassination of political leaders, revelations of high-level corruption, economic collapse, and a $50 billion bailout. Bordering on Chaos is an unrivaled account of the headline-making events that have threatened Mexico's social, political, and economic stability. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand Mexico today - when, more than ever before, what happens in ...
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Overview

Mexico's growing pains in the era of NAFTA and globalization have been singularly acute and dramatic: a guerrilla uprising, the assassination of political leaders, revelations of high-level corruption, economic collapse, and a $50 billion bailout. Bordering on Chaos is an unrivaled account of the headline-making events that have threatened Mexico's social, political, and economic stability. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand Mexico today - when, more than ever before, what happens in Mexico directly affects the U.S. national interest.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Miami Herald Latin American correspondent Oppenheimer traveled all over Mexico between 1992 and 1995, and this crisply written, eye-opening report depicts a country in the throes of political turmoil, corruption, peasant rebellions and massive layoffs. The authors, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 as part of a team that uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal, scaled guerrilla-held mountains to interview self-styled Subcommander Marcos, the white, middle-class Marxist revolutionary who in 1994 led a Maya armed uprising in the southern state of Chiapas. Oppenheimer views this revolt as symptomatic of a country marked by vastly unequal distribution of wealth and wasteful public works projects that fail to address the real needs of the people. He offers disturbing, fresh slants on the ruling party's control of TV news, the booming cocaine trade of Mexico's drug mafias, the rise of government-backed monopolies in key industries and the recent political assassinations that have weakened the ruling elite's credibility. Despite this bleak picture, Oppenheimer suggests that Mexico is stumbling toward a modern democracy under its new, technocratic administrator president, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon. Photos. Author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Oppenheimer, who produced an insightful book on Fidel Castro (Castro's Final Hour, LJ 7/92), repeats his performance in this outstanding exploration of the most notable political events in Mexico in the last three years. The author has incisively examined the assassinations of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio and Partido Revolucionario Institucional's secretary general Jos Ruiz Massieu, the arrest of Ral Salinas, the rise of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas, the devaluation crisis, and the extraordinary decline of ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Although many suppositions and incomplete facts about each remain, Oppenheimer, through careful investigation and firsthand interviews, provides convincing interpretations and even fresh, shocking factual information on each of these incidents, melding his analysis into a highly readable, entertaining account. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/95.]-Roderic A. Camp, Latin American Ctr., Tulane Univ., New Orleans
Kirkus Reviews
NAFTA, Zapatista guerrillas, and Wall Street form the backdrop for this fine journalistic account of Mexico's current tumult.

If the people of Mexico ever rise up in revolution—-as they now seem poised to do—it will be at least in part a response to the Wall Street investment bankers who, in Miami Herald reporter Oppenheimer's charged telling, have long profited from that nation's misery. Oppenheimer dissects the career of former president Salinas de Gortari, who is now in hiding, a man who entered office supposedly determined to root out corruption and who, it now appears, robbed the country blind. While doing so, he managed to convince President Clinton to engineer a politically controversial bailout of Mexico, a nation Clinton had hailed as a model of economic development. The complicated financial doings that underlie this story do not make for easy reading, but Oppenheimer lays them out patiently, and Americans wondering just what goes on behind closed doors in Washington can do worse than ponder what he has to tell. What Oppenheimer has to say about Subcomandante Marcos's Zapatista Liberation Army, a substantial portion of the book, is less immediate, if only because Marcos has been so much in the news lately. Still, his tying the Chiapas revolt into the historical context of US-Mexican affairs drives home a needed point; as he writes, "Mexican presidents had conveyed the idea to their friends in Washington . . . that they were the only ones standing between a modernizing, pro-American Mexico and an insurgent Mexico" poised to expropriate American holdings there. That specter, Oppenheimer suggests, now allows the administration to hail yet another "reform president," Ernesto Zedillo and to proclaim against all evidence, as Clinton has done, that "the Mexican economy has turned the corner."

Mexico watchers expect hard times to come for that country, and Oppenheimer's excellent book explains just why.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316650953
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.55 (w) x 9.51 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1 The Party Is Over 3
2 The Scepter of the Seven Forces 16
3 Chiapas: Opera and Revolution 37
4 Marcos 61
5 The Banquet 83
6 The Accidental Candidate 111
7 The Cleanest Election 128
8 A Bittersweet Victory 162
9 Murder in the Family 183
10 The Secret Meeting 195
11 The Christmas Nightmare 215
12 Unmasking Marcos 235
13 Unmasking Mexico 263
14 The Northern Offensive 276
15 The Police Connection 298
16 Fall and Resurrection 313
Afterword 326
Sources 338
Selected Bibliography 363
Index 367
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    Very informative book

    This well written book explains events in the mid 90s in Mexico. He explains the corruption and kickbacks common to the country, and how it was trying to change that with Zedillo. He also tries to explain the mentality of most common Mexicans towards scandals, work ethics, etc. Very interesting reading, mostly facts with a few opinions scattered. Would like to see another book written since Vicente Fox got elected.

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