Population The Mexican population is divided into three main groups, the people of European descent, the Native Americans, and the people mixed with European and Native American descent or better known as Mestizos. Of these groups, the Mestizos are by far the Largest, making up about 60% of the people of Mexico. The Native Americans are the next largest with 30% and the Europeans the smallest with only 10%. The society is semi-industrial.
The population of Mexico in the 1995 census was 93,670,000 giving the country an estimated person for about every 4 square miles. About 75% of people live in urban areas. Mexico consists of 32 administrative divisions, 31 states and the Federal District.
The capital and cultural center of Mexico is Mexico City, with a population of 8,236,960 in 1990. Other important cities are Gaudalajara, population 1,628,617, Netzahaulcoyotl, population 1,256,115, Monterrey, population 1,064,197, Puebla, population 1,054,921, Leon, population 758,279, Cuidad Jaurez, population 798,499, and Tijuana.
Climate Mexico is bisected by the tropic of Cancer; therefore, the Southern half is included in the Torrid Zone. In general, climate varies with elevation. The Tierra Caliante (hot land) includes the low coastal plains, extending from sea level to about 3000ft. Weather is extremely humid, with temperatures varying from 60-120 degrees. The Tierra Templata (temperature land) extends from about 3000-6000 ft. with average temperatures of 62-70 degrees. The Tierra Friar (cold land) extends from 6000-9000 ft. with average temperatures of 53-65 degrees.
The rainy season lasts from May to October. Although sections of Southern Mexico receive about 40-60 in. of rain a year most other parts are much dryer. Rainfall averages less than 25 in. in the temperature lands about 18 in. in the cold land and less than 10 in. in the Semiarid North.
Government: 1980-Present During the 1980s Mexico pursued an assertive hemispheric policy. In 1982Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado was elected to succeed President Lopez Portillo. By the mid 1980's a rapid increase in foreign, coupled with falling oil prices, had plunged the country into severe financial straits. Amid reports of widespread irregularities, the PRI claimed victory in congressional elections in 1985. However in that same year the added burden of a devastating earthquake, which killed 7000 kept Mexico's financial systems desolate.
Carlos Salinas De Gortari, the PRI candidate was elected president in 1988. Another thing that happened was Hurricane Gilbert devastated the Yucatan Peninsula and severely damaged the southern most parts of Texas. The overall damage estimate was about $880 million. In 1992 there was a constitutional change that abolished restrictions imposed on the Catholic Church in 1917.In December President Salinas, United States President Bush, and Prime Minister Mulroney of Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, or better as NAFTA. The Mexican Legislature ratified it in 1993 and the treaty went into affect on January 1, 1994. This created the largest free trade zone in the world. By 1993, the Mexican Government had sold 80% of its industries to private investors for about $21 billion and had reduced inflation from 150%-10%.
The 1994 elections were damaged by tragedy. In March the PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta, was assassinated while campaigning in Tijuana. He was replaced by his campaign manager, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce De Leon who won the election in august. In September, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the Secretary General of the PRI assassinated as he left the meeting in Mexico City. Later another was arrested for helping in the assassination. Surprisingly enough it was Hurtado's brother, the former president of Mexico.
On December 1, 1994,Zedillo was sworn in as Mexico's President. A crisis soon followed the election. The lack of confidence in the peso caused withdraws from foreign investors. After, Mexico accepted a loan package of $52 billion. The Zedillo administration faced a broad array of economic problems throughout 1995-1996, including soaring inflation, labor unrest, a decline in investor confidence, and a prolonged recession. Zedillo worked to implement the economic austerity measures that had been a condition of the United States financial bailout and continued efforts to state owned petroleum and transportation enterprises.
In 1996 the Zedillo administration made a number of moves to forge closer ties with the United States government. In 1996 the Mexican government approved a military agreement that transferred 20 United States helicopters to the Mexican Air Force and allowed Mexican Soldiers to train at United States bases. Another plan was made so that the United States could send illegal aliens back to the immigrant’s hometown.
Economy One of the biggest things of the economy was the North American Free Trade Agreement or better known as NAFTA. NAFTA in a nutshell is the gradual removal of tariffs and other trade barriers on most goods sold in North America. NAFTA became affective in Canada, Mexico and the United States on January 1, 1994. NAFTA forms the second largest free trade zone in the world, brining together a total of 365 million consumers. NAFTA in a more advanced sight is that it helps the United States become a wealthier society. Many professionals and technical workers can profit from free trade, and average incomes will rise, but ordinary people will watch their living standards continue to fall. Diminishing popular support for outward looking, liberal trade policies could wither completely.
In areas of direct interest such as environmental and workplace conditions, Americans should note the magnitude of challenges its neighbor faces relative to its economic recourses. Merely demanding that Mexico do better or they will take away all trade benefits prove much less successful than assisting Mexico to aquifer the needed resources.
Free trade vitally supports economic reform in, which intern undermines the corporate system. The privatization of economic decision-making loosens the PRI's grip on the economic lever of political control, adding to pressures on multiparty democracy. Overall, NAFTA will serve United States global economic objectives and policy goals of supporting economic political modernization in Mexico.
Problems One of the biggest problems in Mexico is the Trading and buying of Narcotic drugs. These drugs are a huge threat to national security. The move to elevate narcotics trade beyond a law enforcement issue was initiated in 1986 by National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 221, which was signed by Ronald Reagan. While the text of the directive remains classified, a department of defense briefing on it, outlines some of the documents most important implications. Explicitly calling international narcotics trafficking a threat to the United States national security, the directive widens the circle of national drug enforcers to include the department of defense, Treasury, Transportation, Justice, State Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. According to the briefing, the NSDD directs the military to actively support for the first time a range of international counter narcotics activities, such as planning and execution of large anti-drug operations, intelligence collection, combined exercises, training of foreign military forces, and technical and materiel support to foreign governments.
Later the Reagan administration's new emphasis was on bi lateral drug control accompanied with a demand to participate in directly in Latin America's anti-drug strategies, which created immediate tension in Mexico. Despite the dilemma posed by the issue, President de la Madrid eventually echoed Reagan's announcement that drug trafficking was indeed damaging to Mexican interests and should be considered a threat to the countries security. At the same time de la Madrid began developing an early version of a national security apparatus with the creation of a new National Office for Information and National Security within the government ministry.
Serious public debates over the issue began to emerge in the 1980’s, when Mexico's fiscal crisis, border conflicts with Guatemala, and social unrest throughout Central America provoked new consideration of the concept. Real progress in the establishment of the country's security apparatus did not take place until Salinas took office in 1989. Salinas had strongly reiterated la Madrid's pronouncement that drug trafficking was a security threat because of the harm it could do to the Mexican political and social system.
The United State’s demands for Mexico's help in the drug war has increased While the armed forces had been used in Manual eradication programs for years, contacts between United States agencies and the Mexican military were minimal. Due to Mexico's long standing position that its military should be independent of American influence, few of the ties typical of most Latin American countries and Caribbean nations had been forged with the United States.
Ultimately, recent United States-Mexican drug programs represent a failure of imagination. For years, experts on drug control and drug addiction have called for a drastic reassessment of priorities in the global fight against drugs, pointing to the demand of narcotics as the true battleground. Until Mexico and the United States has the courage to construct creative policy alternatives, the war on drugs will continue to be a lost cause.
A New World Order? It is difficult to form a clear picture of a new world order after the cold war. However, it seems that the split between north and south are widening. The reduction in the third world's share of world trade and capital flows in recent years support the thesis of a great power society, a core of industrialized, interdependent peaceful, and democratic countries, and a extremity of impoverished and poorly interconnected counties in conflict. Under this thesis, the challenge for third world countries is not how to become independent of industrialized nations but how to avoid being left out of the exchange networks. From this perspective, Mexico is trying to board the only boat available, the United States. With NAFTA as an anchor, Mexico expects to become part of the core. Since the Salinas government took office, Mexico has been trying to get into the rich countries club, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Early last year the OECD invited Mexico to a meeting in Paris, at which the county's admittance was discussed.
Despite the attempts made by the Salinas Government to diversify the economy through an increase in ties with other industrialized countries, the compass of the foreign economic agenda has continued to point north. There is no dought that Mexico from the Nouveau riche syndrome. To accuse it of abandoning Latin America is an error.