AM I A POLITICIAN?
In the summer of 1982, I was feeling that I had the whole world on the palm of my hand when, at only 30 years of age, I had been appointed president of one of the most important regional banks in the north of Mexico. I also had the feeling that I was on the path of a special road which would take me to places that, not even in my most creative dreams, I had envision I could reach. The world was my oyster.
But, in September when then president Lopez Portillo addressed the nation in the middle of the worst financial crisis of our history and blaming everyone but himself, proceeded to, illegally, expropriated the banking system of the country, my world of dreams started to crumble and the next day when I show up at my office for another day of work, I was stop by soldiers of the Mexican army who were there to physically take possession of all the expropriated assets which to my family, had taken almost one hundred years to build.
After just a few days, I became one more of those millions of Mexicans looking for a better life far away from that oppressive country and I was coming to the USA. The difference was that I could do it legally with my American wife and my 3 daughters born in this country, a pretty good education, what I could describe an excellent professional experience, and some capital to start a new life.
I told myself and I swore, that a great part of my life was going to be spend fighting the corrupt government of my country which had been the main force sculpting a poor, underdeveloped and unjust country. I started to develop some kind of repulsion for the political system which had stolen our bank, and just a few years before, thousands of acres of the best cattle land in my home state of Sonora, product of the work of generations, when the same government it expropriated because they had decided that we had too much and some other people too little.
For the next 20 years, I witness some kind of biblical transformation of the world when, one by one, all the tyrants and despots were falling while freedom and free markets regained their pace lost at the beginning of the past century, not only in the USA, but in many other parts of the world. In all those years, I converted to the religion of liberty and started to reject not only the political system of Mexico, but all kind of fat and irresponsible governments, when with bright clarity I saw the way they were destroying societies.
Mexico, like always, had a special and different behavior than the rest of the world. After almost 100 years of tyranny, Mexicans saw a new and bright light when a real patriot was about to take the reinds of the country, and we all believe that he had the magic recipe which would take us to wonderland. Instead, we lost our pilot, our path and the power concentrated for so many years in one branch, the executive, started to split all over in an avalanche of chaos and almost anarchy.
Instead of federalism, we created new feudal lords—governors—in charge of their small kingdoms, instead of the rule of law, we created not rule at all, instead of free markets, we created free targets. The tyranny of the past gave birth to a pack of disoriented entities join not by the force of a real nation, but just by a pale map draw with different colors and hanging in the wall of confusion.
But in one of those newly free states a real federalism was born. In my home state of Sonora, a new and different kind of politician, against all ads, two years ago was elected governor and he started a new political era when, like a creative artist, took over to lead the transformation of Sonora to an island of liberty, freedom, free markets, rule of law and a paradise for all kind of investments. Sonora, right now, is not Mexico, is the new face of what some day the whole country would became.
I had been witnessing that process in awe when Eduardo Bours, our governor, called me for a meeting which I eagerly accepted. I had known Eduardo for almost all my life, and his assertiveness did not surprise me when he immediately told me about an office of the governor in Arizona. Nor when he proceeded to tell me that in this era of globalization, he wanted to set up a real professional outfit as a window for our state, not only to Arizona but the whole USA, to promote free trade, international investments, an open door to the international capital markets, and in his words: “I want the business of Sonora to be business, which is the way to promote economic growth and prosperity for our people.”
Also, one of his very strong and powerful arguments was when he asked me. “Don’t you think that privilege people like you and I who were born among “the families,” who got the best private education and graduate from the best university in Latin America to take a good jab already waiting for us, should give something back to society? I could not argue.
After his exposition, he proceeded to invite me to head that new and creative effort as his representative in the USA which, contagious by his enthusiasm and energy and after he answered all my questions, I decided to accept driven by his vision of building a state of Sonora unique and different. A paradise of law and freedom, a place where international investors can feel at home, secure, protected. A Mexican state where government is an allied, not a burden nor an enemy. We are the new face of Mexico.
I want to invite you to come to Sonora and have a front seat to witness our revolution which I think is going to be pointing the path for the rest of Mexico. A revolution for freedom, liberty and new ideas and business strategies which we know would attract the international investor and help us to build, as governor Bours said; “a prosperous land of opportunities catapulted on liberty not by the government, but for the new civil society and the rule of law.”