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Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

Constitution Day: Now that day is observed on a day adjoining a weekend to make Mexico more productive, can Mexico's Congress also change for the better and stop changing the constitution itself willy-nilly?

       Monday was Constitution Day observed in Mexico. Mexico's move to have holidays fall on a day adjoining a weekend have reduced the amount of productivity lost in puentes, literally bridges, where workers would take off not only the holiday and the weekend, but the day or days in between.

       Constitution Day honors the 1917 Constitution of President Venustiano Carranza, approved on Feb. 5, 1917. Many experts have complained that the Mexican Constitution is far too long — it is about 10 times bigger than the U.S. Constitution — and that it has been modified far too often. Instead of being a guiding document, it has been a more malleable one. For example, Sergio Sarmiento recently said recent major education reforms unnecessarily involved changing the constitution, which can be an unwieldy process, rather than just passing laws. Nevertheless, the constitutional changes in the education reform wound up being approved by enough legislatures to take effect.

      Mexican humorists have sometimes had some fun with their constitution. One humorist asks what has more jokes, a book of jokes or the constitution, noting that constitutional requirements that Mexicans have dignified home, work, education, etc., have frequently not been met.

     The other joke making the rounds involves President Enrique Peña Nieto and his reading habits, or lack thereof. The joke says that when Peña Nieto is asked whether he has read the Constitution, he replies that he is waiting for the movie to come out.