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February 26, 2024

A Conversation with Xóchitl Gálvez

For the first time, the two leading candidates in Mexico’s presidential race are women. Polls place senator Xóchitl Gálvez as one of the top contenders, as she progressively closes the gap on front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum, former Mexico City mayor.

Xóchitl Gálvez delivering her introductory remarks.
Xóchitl Gálvez delivering her introductory remarks.

On February 5, 2024, the Georgetown Americas Institute at Georgetown University, Sociedad Civil México, the Georgetown University Graduate Association of Mexican Students, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Ibero Students Association hosted Xóchitl Gálvez for a conversation with the Georgetown community.

Gálvez is a successful Mexican technology entrepreneur and business leader who ventured into electoral politics in 2010. Her first electoral success came in 2015, when she was elected as the head of the government of Miguel Hidalgo, a district in Mexico City. In 2018, Gálvez was elected to the Senate as a Partido de Acción Nacional (National Action Party, PAN) member. She served for two legislative sessions until November 2023, when she stepped down to enter the 2024 presidential race.  

From Business to Politics 

Recounting her upbringing in Tepatepec and her experience as a student in Mexico City, Gálvez emphasized how access to education and professional development opportunities allowed her to overcome poverty and succeed in the business world. After making a name for herself in the technology and sustainability sectors, Gálvez entered government, working at the federal and local levels. In 2018, she was elected senator and focused her work on social security reform, urban mobility, telecommunications, and the energy sector. 

“I am convinced it is possible to come out of poverty through education opportunities.” - Xóchitl Gálvez

In her own words, Gálvez is running for president because she disagrees with the direction her country is headed and wants to straighten the course. Earning notoriety after publicly clashing with current president Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador, Gálvez’s candidacy gathered half a million signatures, well over the legal requirement for registering her candidacy and thus granting her the legitimacy to run for president. She believes in the transformative power of determination and hard work and wants to level the playing field by providing equal opportunities to all Mexicans.

Supporting Collaboration and Innovation

Gálvez criticized current policies such as the Abrazos no Balazos (Hugs, Not Bullets) security policy and the elimination of the Seguro Popular (Popular Insurance), both of which she deemed failed in their objectives. She emphasized the need for collaboration and outside-the-box thinking to bring about meaningful change, particularly in terms of the U.S.-Mexico relations.

“It seems like the United States is only concerned with migration and fentanyl, but our relationship runs far deeper than that.” - Xóchitl Gálvez

Gálvez identified limited economic and education opportunities, migration, corruption, and insecurity as key areas for reform, advocating for innovative solutions such as a binational customs agency to address cross-border drug and weapon trafficking. She also suggested partnering with Canada and the United States to implement a tri-national climate change agency, to tackle issues like forest fires, which she believes will become more widespread in coming years. 

A Candid Conversation  

During the final Q&A session with students, Gálvez did not shy away from challenging questions  and offered frank answers on her views regarding Mexico's most pressing challenges. 

The conversation revealed a candidate with a vision on what is not working in Mexico and a plan to fix it. Gálvez expressed a commitment to policies centered on education, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation. Her prioritization of social justice, economic opportunity, and sustainability represent the core of her platform and underscore her vision for Mexico. 

This event was moderated by Alejandro Werner, GAI director .