One of the strangest political borders in the world is the one that delineates the United States of America and the United States of Mexico. On paper, their governments appear to be very similar but that is where the similarity ends.
Americans love to travel but not everyone in the United States has the privilege or resources of vacationing in Europe. Mexico, however, is so close that if a person really wants to go there, they can do it and so tens of millions of Americans have taken their vacations in Mexico. They love the beauty of the country but most of them do not know a great deal about its unique history. You shouldn’t hold it against them because in many ways it is a very mysterious and unusual country.
Do you think that Mexico is a Catholic country? Most people think of it as being such and in many ways it is. But let’s take a better look!
Isn’t it interesting that this so-called Catholic country has laws forbidding the exercise of the Catholic faith? The Catholic Church is not free to own property in Mexico and what was formerly church property was confiscated by the Mexican government back in the 1920’s. Even today there are many hostile laws on the books against the Catholic Church. They are not strictly enforced but they are always there in case the government does not like something that the bishops are doing.
Mexico presents itself as a democracy but a single party was in complete control most of the last century. That party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), led from 1920 until about 1997. During its years of control, many of Mexico’s natural resources were nationalized, for example the oil and gas industry and the communications industry, etc., etc. While Mexico is still in the process of developing and is burdened with many internal problems, it has to be acknowledged that it is making steady progress in virtually every area of its national life. Things are beginning to change. One example of progress is that there is a very measurable drop in the number of illegal immigrants pouring into the United States. Ultimately, of course, the solution to emigration depending on complete economic development.
Mexico has had a fascinating and, to a great extent, tragic history. The natives of the country have been there since beyond the beginning of time but for our purposes, the people that stand most important in their story are the Aztecs. Based in what we call the Valley of Mexico, they had conquered roughly the southern half of the area. Then came the Spanish conquest beginning in 1519. By 1521, they had conquered Mexico City and in that first year laid out the outline for the Cathedral which, when finished, was and is one of the largest churches on the planet. The Spanish would rule until 1821 when Mexico, following the example of its northern neighbor, expelled Madrid’s control and declared itself a republic. Then would begin a period of nearly 100 years when there would be very little political stability. With the arrival of the PRI things began to settle down but the political system has never been completely steady. Needless to say, political instability has had a very negative influence on economic development.
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