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UC San Diego Summit: Mexico Must Improve Rule Of Law

UC San Diego's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies hosted its annual "Mexico Moving Forward" event where leaders explored how Mexico can improve its productivity.

U.S. and Mexico policy-makers, economists and other leaders met in San Diego on Friday to discuss how Mexico can improve its economic outlook and security.

Mexico must improve law enforcement and decrease corruption before it can boost productivity, said speakers at UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies annual “Mexico Moving Forward” event.

“The slogan a couple of years ago was: ‘it’s the economics, stupid.’ Now the slogan will be: ‘it’s the rule of law, stupid,’” said Leonardo Curzio, a well-known Mexican news anchor who spoke at the event.

He was one of several speakers who emphasized the importance of shifting the focus from Mexico's economy to Mexico's justice system.

When Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto began implementing sweeping economic reforms three years ago, global industry leaders referred to it as “the Mexico moment.” Foreign investors praised the opening of the country's energy and telecommunications sectors.

But in 2014, a security crisis erupted as Mexican soldiers were implicated in the killings of 22 civilians in the summer and police delivered 43 student activists to a local drug cartel for execution.

The forum focused on how to recapture "the Mexico moment" by strengthening trust in the country's institutions and fighting impunity.

Speakers at the event said the forum was important because San Diego's proximity to Mexico and the unparalleled flow of people through its ports of entry means what happens south of the border has a greater impact here than elsewhere.

“Talking about Mexico is really vital. San Diego in some ways lives with its back to Mexico. And really I think it’s important to turn around and look,” said William Ostick, the U.S. Consul General in Tijuana.

He said the two border cities are increasing the trade of goods as well as ideas.

Others discussed the need to strengthen the binational relationship.

“We have to look at justice not only in Mexico ... but justice in the relation between the U.S. and Mexico,” said Paz Consuelo Marquez-Padilla, professor at the National Autonomous University of San Diego.

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