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Keen-eyed, tough-minded prof, Denise Dresser, takes some raw history and unveils a bumpy future  

This week, the state of Veracruz reported more than 3,000 homicides in just four years, while Guerrero earlier counted hundreds of slayings in a matter of days. A cue for large numbers of Mexicans to shed their hopefully held complacency.  

Coincidently, on May 15 political analyst Denise Dresser had just addressed the future of Mexican politics at the respected Wilson Center. 

Her assessment differed sharply with Duncan Wood, director of the Center’s Mexican Institute, who cheerfully lauded the possible “advancements” at hand for President Enrique Peña Nieto.  

Dresser is a Mexican political analyst, journalist and university professor, and currently a faculty member of the Department of Political Science at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) in Mexico City.  This is a Mexico City private Ph.D-granting research institute that’s been labeled “the best private university in Mexico” by the capital’s leading daily, El Universal.  And faculty members such as Dresser have made it ”the best undergrad International Relations institute in Mexico.” 

Since 1991 Dresser has taught courses such as Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Contemporary Mexican Politics and Graduation Seminars at ITAM.  She earned her Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton University following completion of undergrad work at El Colegio de Mexico.  She has received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, the Center of International Studies at Princeton, and the Organization of American States.  In 1993 she was named Visiting Fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, was Post Doctoral Fellow at the Center for the International Studies at the University of Southern California, a visiting fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., and a fellow at the Salzburg Seminar.

All that stuff means she’s a serious scholar.  And all that prized scholarship gives her analyses a perceptive and quick-brained heft that too many of Mexico’s politicians (Peña Nieto for instance) have demonstrated they do not possess. Thus when she points out that the early unearned paeans showered on Peña Nieto didn’t last even two years, it’s an assessment to be inevitably followed by a list of irrefutable examples of failure or lies or awkwardly unsuccessful slights of hand that include payoffs and often the deaths of innocent citizens. 

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