Mexico: Interview with Javier Treviño

La versión original de este artículo está disponible en español.

The following interview, conducted by Mexican contributing writer, Alan Flores, was translated by Linda Evarts. The interviewee, Javier Treviño Cantú, is a columnist for El Norte and professor of public policy at the Tec de Monterrey.

While reading authors of Mexican blogs, one comes across a little of everything. The Mexican blogosphere is so inclusive that there is no end to the number of topics and authors. One blog that surprised me was that of Javier Treviño. Treviño spoke to me in the following interview:

Alan Flores: Javier Treviño, thank you for accepting this interview. The resume on your blog is very impressive. For those who haven’t read it, will you please tell us: who is Javier Treviño?

Javier Treviño: Thanks for this splendid opportunity. I am a professional linked to the private and public sectors, as well as to international topics and issues of communication. I was born in Monterrey, and I grew up in San Nicolás de los Garza. When I was 20, I went to Mexico City to study international relations. I later won a scholarship to study public policy at Harvard. I then began an almost 14-year career in the public sector, with the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Social Development, and at the Mexican Embassy in Washington. I worked at the Embassy for four years, and was present during the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. In December of 1994, President Zedillo named me as the Sub-Secretary of Foreign Relations. Later, in January of 1998, the President named me the official Director of the Treasury. I had the opportunity to work very closely with Luis Donaldo Colosio and Angel Gurría. At the beginning of 2001, I entered the private sector and worked with CEMEX for 5 years as Vice President of Communication. I am proud to work in a great global business of Mexican origin. CEMEX operates in 50 countries. In addition to my work with the company, I am a professor in the Graduate School of Public Administration and Public Politics of the TEC in Monterrey. I also do commentaries about international politics for the news station TV Monterrey, and I write a bi-weekly column for the editorial pages of El Norte. I am married and I have a daughter and two sons.

AF: And, why the blog?

JT: My blog allows me to make my ideas public. I am passionate about international issues. I have dedicated a good part of my life to studying and living the relations between Mexico and the United States. My blog gives me the opportunity to share what I think about the internal and external politics of Mexico with many readers. The advantage of the blog, as compared to other forms of mass media, is that I am able to continually update information that I have published. I believe that in the future quality blogs will substitute many other forms of communication.

AF: I’m reading an editorial by Miguel Angel Vargas in the newspaper El Norte with the title “Blogalization,” that, in fact, mentions your blog. Are we already in this epoch?

JT: Yes. The advance of information technology and communication has transformed everything. Politics will never be the same. Imagine the possibility that on the day of the next presidential election, on July 2, 2006, some blogs publish photos, videos and analysis of the election throughout the day, including forecasts of the electoral results based on personal interviews, before the authorities are able to do it. Blogs are not subject to regulation as are TV and radio. They can define the information agenda that informs the other media outlets. Blogs allow hundreds of citizens to become permanent reporters and analysts. Readers will have to discriminate afterward as to the quality of the information. But the freedom is there.

AF: Commentaries in the United States have said that blogs might replace newspapers. Is this possible?

JT: It’s possible. In fact, it’s already occurring. In one of my articles I wrote the story of “EPIC 2015″ about the disappearance of the New York Times in 10 years, due to the proliferation of internet outlets that are able to provide information in real time and with better segmentation according to readers’ interests.

AF: The “exponential” growth of technology went beyond the same idea. In your editorial “War for Internet,” we saw how much the blogosphere has changed in just a few years. Will the rise of blogs yield chaos rather than benefits? Do blogs require a “regulating” body?

JT: I don’t believe in bureaucracies. To me it seems that the free flow of information will lead to hierarchy based on quality. What will be very important is investment in the education of our citizens, and above all in our children, because they will be bombarded by all types of information throughout their lives. They need to develop a new ability to know how to distinguish among valuable information and garbage.

AF: How do you view the “blogs” in Mexico? In other countries people have referred to them as political tools, almost literary.

JT: There is still ample space for the development of blogs in Mexico. We are in the beginning stages. We have a long way to go.

AF: What is the situation of blogs in Nuevo León?

JT: Sometimes we are a bit ahead of the rest of the country. If we want to change our country and the metropolitan area of Monterrey into an international city of knowledge, we ought to invest more in the development of more professional and more serious communication. We have to work from primary school to the university.

AF: In your resume, you mention that in 1993 you worked with then Secretary of Social Development Luis Donaldo Colosio, and that you later collaborated with him as an assistant. What was it like to work with Colosio?

JT: It was a real privilege. I met Colosio while working at the Mexican Embassy in Washington when he was the President of the PRI. We developed a very good relationship. When he was named the Secretary of Social Development, he invited me to join his team, which I did in its last year. It was an experience without par. He was very demanding, untiring, and loyal to his boss and his collaborators. He had a very clear vision of what state policy should do for the country. I worked very closely with him and collaborated on the campaign for his candidacy for President of Mexico. After he was named as a candidate, I worked closely with him on his team formulating his strategy and rhetoric. The experience of sharing ideas with him and working on his proposal for the nation was one of the best moments of my professional life. I also cried when he lost. Colosio would have been a great President of Mexico.

AF: You have collaborated in a very active way with the government. Can you tell me your impressions about the current administration?

JT: The federal government arrived at a moment in which the citizens wanted change. Candidate Fox promised change, and the people believed him. Unfortunately, the great historic opportunity has been wasted. We came from an era of great expectations, in 2000, to an era of great frustrations today. Much of this has to do with naivety, ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence. Time will tell.

AF: I am a doctor and I’m interested in blogs only as a pastime, though I have been enriched by many sites with diverse themes. A few friends and I are in the process of forming a local community of bloggers here in Monterrey. I’ve seen sites that I didn’t know existed and I’ve met people who have developed the literary “I” in their writing. Would you recommend that people have a blog?

JT: Without a doubt. We all can have our own blog. They are very easy to make. They don’t require technological expertise. It’s enough to have a desire for self-expression.

AF: Do you believe that in the future blogs will be as numerous in Mexico as they are in other countries?

JT: I believe it’s a only question of time. New generations of Mexicans use this technology more all the time. But, I insist that all will depend on our capacity to improve education in Mexico.

AF: You are a professor of Technology at Monterrey. Are blogs already included in the curriculum?

JT: Yes. Blogs are being used more all the time. The young university students have greater awareness of the opportunities available to them as a result of blogs.


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