T rans paren c y a a nd E-Government in Mexico:
Groundbreaking laws and advances in information
technology have allowed Mexico to make tremendous
strides in improving citizen access to public information.
One of the reform’s main advocates looks at
its successes and shortcomings.
Ernesto Villanueva is a researcher at
the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de
México’s Judicial Research Institute.
he movement for transparency in government has
made great advances in Mexico since the defeat of
the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI)in2000.
Parallel to the legal and constitutional reforms that
opened up reams of government records and even the
salaries of public officials, the Internet has improved
the tools available for common citizens to monitor
the goings-on of their government and their public
servants. Or has it?
Passage of a freedom of information law on April
30, 2003 (known as the Federal Transparency and
Access to Governmental Public Information Act, or
LFTAIPG in Spanish), was a highlight of Mexico’s
democratizing reforms following the election of
President Vicente Fox in 2000. After more than 70
years of uninterrupted rule by the PRI, many saw the
government as distant, closed and rife with secrets
that hid endemic corruption and malfeasance. The
signing into law of LFTAIPG promised a new era in
which Mexicans could monitor their government and
demand accountability over budgets and the activities of their federal authorities. Other laws at the local