Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Regarding D.F.

This written about México by a stranger. 
Comments and corrections very welcome!

In times past Mexico was outside my work vision in Asia, Europe and the USA.

I failed to understand the astonishing complexity of this country.

Like many in developed countries, Mexico was a beach destination (to which I did not go).

Mexico City, Cuidad de México D.F. was not among my notional destinations. I was no Spanish speaker and the air here in D.F. was known to be filthy. But now this city is a prize winner for improving air quality.

I had unenthusiastically eaten what is called Mexican food elsewhere but which is maybe best thought of as TexMex takeout. Not knowing that the vast plateaux of tropical volcanic soil country provides eternal spring for every conceivable food plant and that, largely bereft of bigger animals to eat historically, pre-Columbian Mexicans built into their souls an astonishingly inventive approach to food. Not just masterchefly wanksomeness but with comprehension and pursuit of nutritional value, as with lime treatment of corn.

The problems of air pollution, as also the questions of personal safety, which discourage people, arise from the great size of the city. But to be in the centre of the city is safe and a delight.

Within D.F. there are eight million people; extending into the Estado de México... well, there are numbers varied, from 20 to 30+ million.
The Greater Mexico City has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$411 billion in 2011, making Mexico City urban agglomeration one of the richest metropolitan areas in the world.[17] The city was responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico's Gross Domestic Product and the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of total national GDP.[18] As a stand-alone country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy inLatin America—five times as large as Costa Rica's and about the same size as Peru's.[19] 
The most dramatic rise in population was from the 1940s to the 1980s with migration from the poorer countryside to the city. By the 1980s and with the 1985 earthquake, the migration target shifted from D.F. to the U.S. [EE UU - Estados Unidos] and the population of the city is relatively stable.

There are a lot of people here and much of the city is desperately poor, so some security issues arise from that... meaning you need to acquire some understanding, not go to wrong places, not act onstentatiously, not act stupidly. This is not the only place in the world where you either shut your head and heart or, with a sense of decency you remain aware of walking among the poor, aware of how lucky you are to be able to buy that modestly priced food item from a person in a small tienda who may envy your wealth and may be hungry.

After many decades in government, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, as is inevitable in any situation of being in power too long, was corrupted. For two six year terms from 2000 Mexico elected presidents from the Partido Accion Nacional, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon. The latter, close to George W Bush, shifted long standing government accommodation with the drug cartels and launched an all out offensive in which many have died and which has made large areas of the country unsafe. The situation is not stabilised with the election of a PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012. Some issues are local, some national, much also arises because this is corridor for narcotics from countries to the south to the insatiable appetites and failed drug policies of EE UU.

Mind you, if we say that perhaps 80,000 people have been killed in this turmoil, compare with the Iraq Body Count which I embedded at in 2003.

Where cartels or local gangsters have not controlled local government and police directly, threats to life compel in many places. Federal intervention includes removal of local authorities... not easy in a country of more than 120 million with considerable ethnic, cultural, linguistic and economic diversity.

In Australia the federal government angers people with its educational reforms, with far less problems underlying.

Use the links in the right column to get some insight into these problems.


We went out for several hours just now and did not walk far. A full and wonderful program... for the next blog entry.

A wonderful positive time. Including talking with a group of tertiary English students and later a father and daughter accompanied in school uniform by friends, with questions in English to be answered in English, the father recording a movie on phone.

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