By Inside México Original Print Publication: November, 2007
You know who President Felipe Calderon is, and also recognize his nemesis, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from the tense 2006 presidential election. You know who Carlos Slim is and, if you live in Mexico, chances are you write him at least one check a month. You can read former President Vicente Fox's new book in English. Actress Salma Hayek just had a baby. You swooned when actor Gael Garcia Bernal (who is Mexican) played Che Guevara (who wasn't). But aren't you bored of seeing the same old names in the headlines?
That's why we decided to apply some fresh thought to the idea of the "top" list. We looked North and South, solicited input from editors, journalists and people "in the know" around Mexico, gathered a long list and went into the war room. We wanted interesting people who added dimension to our sense of what Mexico is and can be. It got heated, but in the end we came out with 25 amazing people, most of whom you've probably never heard of. Once we had the list we had to chase our busy subjects down. Our team went out to interview and research the nominees, and we got some of the most talented photographers around to take their portraits. The resulting group of 25 scientists, economists, journalists, chefs, artists, conservationists, entrepreneurs, producers, activists, philanthropists and athletes are presented here for your consideration.
No newcomer to public life in Mexico, Patricia Mercado made headlines and won votes during last year's presidential race with her pro-feminist stance and her liberal views on issues ranging from gay rights to abortion.
Patricia Mercado, politician
Born and raised in Sonora, Mercado knew from an early age she wanted to grow up "to make a difference in Mexico." Her commitment to social work began in 1975, when, at 18, she moved to Mexico City to study economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and get involved in the feminist movement. In the early 80s, she became a union leader while quietly nurturing her political aspirations.
"Men are more willing now to see women through a different lens-and there is no going back," she says. While there are prominent women in just about every facet of Mexico's public life today (not the case 30 years ago), Mercado notes that there's still a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
This happily married mother of two draws inspiration from Liberation Theology, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, and the efforts of feminists around the world. She was the 2006 presidential candidate from the Social Democratic and Peasant Alternative Party (PSD)(known as Alternativa in Spanish), which she helped found.
Mercado believes that change happens when people persevere in working together. Her political goals include running for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in the 2009 federal elections and organizing an alliance of leftist movements and parties to contest the 2012 presidential election, regardless of whether or not she becomes a candidate.
Asked to describe herself, Mercado needs just four words: a persevering, optimistic, responsible feminist. Had she not been an activist and politician, she thinks she would have made good executive at the helm of, not surprisingly, her own business.