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Saturday, July 2, 2022

7 Myths About Mexico That Get Underneath My Pores and skin

“Mexico is a poor, harmful backwater nation, made up largely of seashores and sizzling deserts.” As a part-time expat, I get deeply pissed off listening to the stereotypes individuals have about my adopted house — a big, numerous nation with a very wealthy tradition and historical past. 

All cultures arouse stereotypes, however in my expertise, People have much more misconceptions about their neighboring nation than they do about others. After doing cautious analysis, I’ve uncovered some details that shocked even me.

Listed below are seven frequent myths I hope to dispel:

Angel of Independence monument over Mexico Metropolis, Mexico
(Picture Credit score: Nelson Antoine / Shutterstock.com)

Fantasy 1: Mexico Is Harmful

You wouldn’t hesitate to go to New Orleans, proper? How about Mexico Metropolis? When you’re like many People, you assume Mexico Metropolis is way extra harmful. But New Orleans has 5 occasions the assault fee as Mexico Metropolis, which can be safer than Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

The U.S. State Division commonly points warnings to People when touring to Mexico. I used to be shocked to learn that at present solely two of Mexico’s 32 states are thought of utterly protected to journey in. I’m wondering how we’d really feel if Mexico’s Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores issued warnings in regards to the U.S.

After all, Mexico will be harmful, and it’s significantly unsafe for sure professions (like journalism), as a result of narcotraficos don’t need their methods uncovered. And the drug cartels do certainly gas violence in some elements of the nation, a truth of life in Mexico partly attributable to the U.S. drug coverage and our ever-growing consumption of unlawful narcotics, which drives demand up.

Lax gun legal guidelines within the U.S. don’t assist. I used to be amazed to be taught that Mexico has just one gun retailer in your complete nation and points fewer than 50 gun permits a yr. However yearly, half 1,000,000 weapons are smuggled into Mexico from the U.S., and lots of of them find yourself being utilized by drug cartels.

It’s extremely unlikely, nonetheless, that you just’ll get caught up in drug violence. In case you have any anxiousness about security, search on-line for native vacationers’ or expats’ blogs to provide the present “details on the bottom.”

Fantasy 2: Mexico Is Poor

The tenth largest nation on this planet, Mexico has greater than 127 million individuals and an economic system ranked fifteenth globally. Its proportion of center class residents is greater than many international locations, together with some in Europe.

In response to information in 2021 from Mexico’s Nationwide Statistics Institute (INEGI), 42 % of Mexico’s households are center class, which quantities to 39.2 % of Mexico’s inhabitants. It’s even greater in city areas, at 50.1 %.

A middle-class family is more likely to be composed of a married couple with two kids. The pinnacle of the family in all probability has a licenciado (bachelor’s diploma) or the equal of an affiliate’s diploma from one in every of Mexico’s universities. The couple normally owns their house and works within the non-public sector. They personal a automotive, laptop, TV, cell phones, and a minimum of one bank card. Some ship their children to personal colleges.

One of many painful ironies is that, whereas within the U.S., and particularly on the West Coast, homelessness has grow to be the norm. I’ve by no means seen a single homeless encampment wherever in Mexico. The reason being that Mexico’s poor dwell in slums, which may certainly be squalid — however even a flimsy construction within the slums nonetheless gives a roof, and a slum is extra everlasting with a doubtlessly greater high quality of life than a homeless encampment.

Fantasy 3: Mexicans Are Lazy

In response to the Group for Financial Cooperation and Growth (OECD), Mexicans work far more than virtually any nation on this planet — normally as a result of they need to as a way to meet their wants. In 2018, Mexicans labored a median of two,246 hours per yr, together with part-time jobs, whereas People labored 1,783 hours. Germans clock in in any case, at 1,371 hours.

LGBTQ Pride Parade in Mexico City, Mexico, in 2018.
LGBTQ Pleasure Parade in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico, in 2018
(Picture Credit score: Sergio Mendoza Hochmann / Shutterstock.com)

Fantasy 4: Mexico Is A Backwater Nation

I all the time assumed Mexico was means behind the U.S. when it comes to its acceptance of, for instance, same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Incorrect! A 2021 research confirmed that 76 % of the Mexican inhabitants helps same-sex marriage, in comparison with 72 % within the U.S. The primary motive is that 80 % of Mexicans establish as Catholic, which is far more accepting of same-sex marriage than are evangelicals, a bunch growing within the U.S. Mexicans started to assist homosexual rights, too, far sooner than did the U.S., decriminalizing sodomy in 1871, a whopping 124 years earlier than the U.S. did in 2003.

As for abortion, it hasn’t been a criminal offense in Mexico since 2021, though legalization nonetheless varies by state. Inside a number of months, a girl residing within the U.S. could discover it simpler to terminate a being pregnant in Mexico than in her house state — generally even without cost.

Fantasy 5: Mexico Is All the time Scorching

One other frequent fable about Mexico is that it’s made up primarily of sizzling, humid seashores and dry, dusty deserts. Certain, some locations will be highly regarded. Oddly, April and Might are hotter than July and August, as a result of summer season is the wet season when afternoon thunderstorms, just like monsoons, cool issues off.

Neither is it universally sizzling in Mexico. The backbone of central Mexico, the Altiplano, is a excessive mesa-like panorama starting from 5,000–7,000 toes in elevation, with temperatures that vary from 60–75 levels (Fahrenheit) throughout the day in most months of the yr. 

And, no, Mexico isn’t all desert or seaside. It’s additionally wealthy in rainforests, volcanoes, wetlands, prairies, glaciers, jungles, scrubland, tundra, and steppes.

Fantasy 6: Mexico’s Nationwide Language Is Spanish

Whereas Spanish is probably the most broadly spoken language in Mexico, it’s not the official language. In reality, Mexico doesn’t even have an official language. 

Mexico’s proportion of indígenas (Natives), one-third, is the most important of any Western Hemisphere nation. The indígenas communicate as many as 68 languages, the principle ones being Nahuatl, spoken within the states of Puebla and Veracruz; Yucatec Maya; and Mixtec, within the state of Oaxaca.

When you communicate solely a smattering of Spanish, you’ll be joyful to be taught what my husband Barry and I found after we first began visiting Mexico 40 years in the past: It may be simpler to speak with indígenas than mestizos (blended race and by far most Mexicans), as a result of Spanish is the second language of the indígenas, too.

Central Library, National Autonomous University of Mexico.
The UNESCO-listed Central Library of the Nationwide Autonomous College of Mexico
(Picture Credit score: javarman / Shutterstock.com)

Fantasy 7: Larger Schooling In Mexico Is Second-Price

As soon as once more, I used to be flawed assuming that greater schooling in Mexico have to be mediocre. In 2022, the Nationwide Autonomous College of Mexico (UNAM) ranked a hundred and fifth out of 1,300 universities on this planet. In Latin America, it ranks second solely to the College of Buenos Aires. In the meantime, the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico’s MIT, has been ranked within the prime 200 out of 1,673 prestigious universities on this planet for the fifth consecutive yr.

Till I started residing in Mexico, I additionally didn’t understand that whereas college college students need to pay for add-ons, like housing, meals, textbooks, and their precise diploma, tuition itself is totally free. Not solely that, however the Mexican authorities may be very beneficiant with becas, or scholarships. A lot of our Spanish lecturers spent a few semesters learning in Europe or the U.S., totally paid for by the Mexican authorities.

I really like my second house with all my coronary heart, and I would like you to as nicely. Now that every one our mistaken assumptions are hopefully out of the way in which, ¡Ven a visitar! (come go to!). Mexicans will welcome you with open arms.

If this hasn’t offered you on a visit to Mexico, these articles certainly will:

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