The mote in Felipe Calderon's eye

What is it about Mexico that has made it an habitually impoverished nation?

The one thing in the illegal immigration debate that everyone seems to agree with is the fact of Mexico's perpetually miserable economy. Such as: Mexicans are sneaking into the United States because they're fleeing poverty. Poverty is the root cause of the drug wars that have spilled across the border into the U.S.  The solution to "our" illegal immigration problem is to create a jobs program in Mexico, not to build a wall.
But none of those questions really leads us to the an answer for the main question: Why is Mexico been a historically poor country. Mexico in one of the world's leading oil producers, but the wealth produced hasn't the kind of economic growth that it has brought to many OPEC nations. (Mexico is not a member of the cartel.) Has the problem been its history of political instability? If so, what accounts for that? Is Mexico locked into a cycle of endless political and economic instability.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon came here this week to lay criticism on Arizona and the United States, as if we were at fault for having such a starkly better economy. I wish, though, he had come equipped with some answers for resolving his country's own perpetual impoverishment.  


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  • instead of helping his own people he comes here and bad mouths our people. charity begins at home mr presidente

  • It can't be political instability, because, until about 15 years ago, they had one party rule. Also, apparently the two parties are not that different in substance.

    Now, think of the other place that has had one party rule at least as long, and how one lame duck leader has done his best to drive business out of the county while enriching his friends and family, while another hopefully lame duck leader has also advocated raising taxes while discouraging business, and can't even make up his mind on the McPier bill, supposedly due to union pressure. I know that the people who settled near Artesian Ave. never found the oil well they were seeking, but it wouldn't have made any difference if they had.

    The final irony here--in that people mentioned why did Obama have Rick Bayless over to cook Mexican food for the Mexican President--If Mexico has such opulent restaurants, why do hordes of their people come up here to work at Mickey D's, El Rey de la Hamburguesa, and Chicago Perros Caliente?

  • It sounds like a base canard but it came from the lips of a Mexican newspaper editor. When I was working in Mexico City as a free-lance political reporter, I became friends with a number of Mexican colleagues. One evening over tequila, several us were discussing the question asked above: why can't Mexico get itself out of its Third World Status? The editor of one of the Mexican newspapers said "It's because Mexico was colonized by the Spanish instead of the English. In latin America the Spanish language and the Catholic religion always brought with them poverty, violence, ignorance and superstition". Not my words, the words of a man who gave Mexico City its news every day.

  • In reply to jimbreeling:

    It's as good an explanation as any other that I've heard. But then again, such explanations are not often heard because the question is so politically incorrect to start with.

  • In reply to jimbreeling:

    They were colonized and robbed by the Spanish Conquistadors. Then we marched in and took a large part of their land and resources. Also the French were active in Mexico. None of these Nations had the welfare of the Country as their goals.
    They were not off to a great start and became our poor neighbors to the South. We should have kept the whole country when we invaded it. That was over a Century ago. By now bygones would be bygones like with Hawaii, Germany and Japan. We would have 67 or so States and all that oil that we did not know about when we invaded. Both Countries would have been better off as one. Maybe even now.
    But we were in an expansion mode at the time. The Indian land , the Mexican land, the Hawaiian Islands and the French lands ( Louisiana Purchase) all were important to our future plans.
    It turned out great for the USA.
    Even Jefferson had a problem with the Constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase. But we wanted that land and the French off our Continent.

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