In this interview, Ernesto Cordero discusses his tenure in the cabinet of President Felipe Calderón of Mexico. He lays out the initial policy agenda for the administration and discusses the process of selecting cabinet members, in which he participated as one of Calderón’s top aides. He also describes the structure of Calderón’s executive branch, in particular that of the Office of the President. The president is free to structure his main executive staff in this office however he chooses, and under the strong Head of the Office position created by Calderón, the office was able to successfully coordinate Cabinet activities. He reflects on the relationships between the President, the Cabinet secretaries, the head of the Office of the Presidency and his staff, explaining how the President was able to keep close tabs on the progress of each secretariat, but also how having junior secretaries at the Office of the President keep close tabs on Cabinet members led to tensions on occasion. Cordero describes his ideal structure for the office, drawing heavily on Calderón’s successful model but with some important modifications based on his experience as both an aide and Cabinet secretary.
Other Key Terms: Felipe Calderón, Juan Carlos Mouriña
At the time of this interview, Ernesto Cordero Arroyo was the President of the Senate of Mexico. A lifelong member of the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN, or the National Action Party), he served in several undersecretary positions under Presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, in addition to serving as a top campaign aide in Calderón’s successful bid for the presidency. Under Calderón, he was appointed Secretary of Social Development, and later on as the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit. He resigned in late 2011 to run for the PAN presidential nomination, but was unsuccessful. Cordero earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.