The PRI (National Revolutionary Party) held power in Mexico for 71 years. The country was a one-party state until 2000, when Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN) won the election. Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon, both former Mexico bureau chiefs for The New York Times, spoke at Carnegie Council on March 18, 2004 about the evolution of democracy in the country.

The talk, which happened during Fox's presidency, was illuminating in that it shows optimism and pride in the new democracy of Mexico. In the excerpt attached below, Preston explains why Mexico's route to democracy is unique.