This is not your parents' Mexico. Dogs are fatter, cars are bigger and the typical Mexican knows a little more about the workings of her government.
This is nothing to scoff at. For most of the 20th century, Mexico was ruled by a single, secretive political party. Human rights abuses went undocumented, and journalism was practically a state-sponsored profession. Now, after a generation of electoral reform and economic liberalization, Mexicans have finally gotten a taste of sunshine courtesy of the landmark 2002 Federal Transparency and Access to Public Government Information Law. But just as the country starts to enjoy a culture of transparency, vested interests are looking to defang the right to know.
That would be a shame. Mexico has grown into the world's 12th-largest economy and is on the cusp of consolidating its democratic gains. Crowning the achievements are its recent strides toward openness and transparency. Citizens can use a sophisticated website to probe government files and ask pointed questions, such as how much politicians are paid. If an information request is denied, they may appeal to an administrative court within the Federal Institute for Access to Public Information -- the operationally independent executive body charged with administering the law.