Entrevistas, Otros Artículos

Jorge Castañeda: Main Character and Privileged Withness

His most recent book is an autobiography that goes over his most joyful, obscure, and less known steps; great moments like spending time with his siblings, the birth of his son, trips with friends, Vicente Fox’s victory, his appointment as chancellor, among others; and also, situations that were extremely difficult to express, such as: the end of his marriage, the estrangement of some of his friends, and the death of his parents. The book’s title is a pun that refers us to the most successful film in modern Mexican cinema: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores perros.After his passage through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his attempt to run as an independent candidate for the presidency during the 2006 elections, Castañeda nowadays acts mostly in the academic arena, completely distancing himself from politics. When I asked if he considered returning to politics, Jorge Castañeda’s response leaves no room for interpretations: “No.” However, he accepts that his retirement from politics influenced his decision to write his autobiography. “It was an option I had… for me, it is a very common genre; secondly, because I thought it was a way to address issues of the history of México, Central America, Cuba, France, the U.S., and Latin America not strictly being an academic paper; and lastly, because there were many things that I considered interesting to tell, which I had begun telling in the book Somos muchos published in 2004.”According to Castañeda, the book was written intermittently over the course of three years and decided to publish it last November in a joint decision with the publishing house in order to take advantage of Guadalajara’s Book Fair.Currently there is a federal legislation that allows the nomination of independent candidates to elected offices which Castañeda defines as “very restrictive, very severe, and actually making it greatly difficult to put someone forward for a post without a party…I think they did that so it wouldn’t work.” Nevertheless, in 2004, Jorge began a legal process to be accepted as an independent candidate for the 2006 presidential election which was rejected by different authorities until the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in his favor.This chapter is included in his book because the former chancellor “wanted to clearly explain the true reaction of Fox and Calderón’s administrations; the hostility of both, and the reasons, I assume, for that hostility. I wanted to explain this clearly; maybe I should have included more about the campaign and less about the legal and political aspects, but I thought trying to establish this issue was important.”Another subject that Castañeda addresses in-depth is his experience as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he mainly covers three subjects: migration, Cuba, and the United Nation’s Security Council during Iraq’s invasion. “… I try to provide abundant information and analysis on these three subjects and also on a few other subjects,” affirms the former member of Mexico’s Communist Party.The famous Mexico’s moment is an issue that has been talked about since the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) returned to the nation’s presidency; however, Castañeda doesn’t believe that Mexico’s moment is something real. “I never truly knew when Mexico’s moment began, nor how long it lasted, nor what it was about… I don’t believe that Mexico’s moment ever existed; therefore, I don’t believe it has disappeared. What disappeared was Peña’s administration success of selling to Mexicans and foreigners this idea that something was happening as a result of the reforms, but the effects of those reforms have not yet come and will not come anytime soon,” Castañeda explains.Amarres perros also addresses his relationship with Fidel Castro’s Cuban government and his criticism to the island’s communist model. But the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba is recent news; however, Castañeda considers that “as long as there is no change in Cuba’s internal political regime, I don’t think Obama will go any further than what he has done in the areas of tourism, trade, and investment, which is not much; it’s more symbolic than substantial, but I also understand that the economic effects of this openness will be minimal for the regular Cuban people.”According to the also N.Y.U.’s professor, his book will be distributed in small print runs through Latin America and will also arrive at U.S. bookshelves in Spanish. “At the end of the day, it is an extremely Mexican book, almost intimately Mexican, and I don’t think it will be considered interesting outside the country,” he says.His most recent book is an autobiography that goes over his most joyful, obscure, and less known steps; great moments like spending time with his siblings, the birth of his son, trips with friends, Vicente Fox’s victory, his appointment as chancellor, among others; and also, situations that were extremely difficult to express, such as: the end of his marriage, the estrangement of some of his friends, and the death of his parents. The book’s title is a pun that refers us to the most successful film in modern Mexican cinema: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores perros.After his passage through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his attempt to run as an independent candidate for the presidency during the 2006 elections, Castañeda nowadays acts mostly in the academic arena, completely distancing himself from politics. When I asked if he considered returning to politics, Jorge Castañeda’s response leaves no room for interpretations: “No.” However, he accepts that his retirement from politics influenced his decision to write his autobiography. “It was an option I had… for me, it is a very common genre; secondly, because I thought it was a way to address issues of the history of México, Central America, Cuba, France, the U.S., and Latin America not strictly being an academic paper; and lastly, because there were many things that I considered interesting to tell, which I had begun telling in the book Somos muchos published in 2004.”According to Castañeda, the book was written intermittently over the course of three years and decided to publish it last November in a joint decision with the publishing house in order to take advantage of Guadalajara’s Book Fair.Currently there is a federal legislation that allows the nomination of independent candidates to elected offices which Castañeda defines as “very restrictive, very severe, and actually making it greatly difficult to put someone forward for a post without a party…I think they did that so it wouldn’t work.” Nevertheless, in 2004, Jorge began a legal process to be accepted as an independent candidate for the 2006 presidential election which was rejected by different authorities until the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in his favor.This chapter is included in his book because the former chancellor “wanted to clearly explain the true reaction of Fox and Calderón’s administrations; the hostility of both, and the reasons, I assume, for that hostility. I wanted to explain this clearly; maybe I should have included more about the campaign and less about the legal and political aspects, but I thought trying to establish this issue was important.”Another subject that Castañeda addresses in-depth is his experience as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he mainly covers three subjects: migration, Cuba, and the United Nation’s Security Council during Iraq’s invasion. “… I try to provide abundant information and analysis on these three subjects and also on a few other subjects,” affirms the former member of Mexico’s Communist Party.The famous Mexico’s moment is an issue that has been talked about since the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) returned to the nation’s presidency; however, Castañeda doesn’t believe that Mexico’s moment is something real. “I never truly knew when Mexico’s moment began, nor how long it lasted, nor what it was about… I don’t believe that Mexico’s moment ever existed; therefore, I don’t believe it has disappeared. What disappeared was Peña’s administration success of selling to Mexicans and foreigners this idea that something was happening as a result of the reforms, but the effects of those reforms have not yet come and will not come anytime soon,” Castañeda explains.Amarres perros also addresses his relationship with Fidel Castro’s Cuban government and his criticism to the island’s communist model. But the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba is recent news; however, Castañeda considers that “as long as there is no change in Cuba’s internal political regime, I don’t think Obama will go any further than what he has done in the areas of tourism, trade, and investment, which is not much; it’s more symbolic than substantial, but I also understand that the economic effects of this openness will be minimal for the regular Cuban people.”According to the also N.Y.U.’s professor, his book will be distributed in small print runs through Latin America and will also arrive at U.S. bookshelves in Spanish. “At the end of the day, it is an extremely Mexican book, almost intimately Mexican, and I don’t think it will be considered interesting outside the country,” he says.Jorge G. Castañeda Gutman was born on May 24, 1953, in Mexico City, and is one of the key figures who help us understand Mexico’s relationship with the world as well as Mexican politics at the beginning of this century.With 25 years as a professor at UNAM and more than fifteen published books, in addition to his passage through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2003, Castañeda is a clear point of reference to understand Mexico.

6 marzo, 2015

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