Mexico

Introduction The site of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Mexico came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. A devaluation of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession in over half a century. The nation continues to make an impressive recovery. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states. The elections held in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe CALDERON.
History

Pre-Columbian civilizations

Human presence in Mesoamerica has been shown to date back 40,000 years based upon ancient human footprints discovered in the Valley of Mexico (previous evidence substantiated indigenous inhabitants at 12,500 years ago). For thousands of years, Mesoamerica was a land of hunter-gatherers. Around 9,000 years ago, ancient indigenous peoples domesticated corn and initiated an agricultural revolution, leading to the formation of many complex civilizations.

These civilizations revolved around cities with writing, monumental architecture, astronomical studies, mathematics, and militaries. For almost three thousand years, Aridoamerica and Mesoamerica were the site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations.

In 1519, the native civilizations of Mesoamerica were invaded by Spain; among them the Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs, etc. This was one of the most important conquest campaigns in America. Two years later, in 1521, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was conquered by the Spaniards along with the Tlaxcaltecs, the main enemies of the Aztecs, marking end to the Aztec Empire and giving rise to the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1535, it became the first and largest provider of resources for the Spanish Empire, and the most populated of all Spanish colonies.

Colonial era and independence

Almost 300 years after the New Spain was created, on September 16, 1810, independence from Spain was declared by Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato.[18] This was the catalyst for a long war that ended in 1821 which eventually led to the independence and creation of the ephemeral First Mexican Empire. Agustín de Iturbide was the first and only emperor. Two years later, he was deposed by the republican forces. In 1824, a republican constitution was drafted creating the United Mexican States with Guadalupe Victoria as its first President.

The first four decades after the creation of the country were marked by a constant strife between liberales (those who supported the federal form of government stipulated in the 1824 constitution) and conservadores (who proposed a hierarchical form of government in which all local authorities were appointed and subject to a central authority).[19] General Antonio López de Santa Anna was a strong influence in Mexican politics, a centralist and a two-time dictator. In 1836, he approved the Siete Leyes, a radical amendment to the constitution that institutionalized the centralized form of government. Having suspended the Constitution of 1824, civil war spread across the country, and three new governments declared independence; the Republic of Texas, the Republic of the Rio Grande (recognized by the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Yucatán. Only Texas was able to defeat Santa Anna, and later the annexation of Texas by the United States created a border dispute that would cause the Mexican-American War. Santa Anna played a big role in trying to muster Mexican forces but this war resulted in the resolute defeat of Mexico and as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexico lost one third of its surface area due to civil war with Texas, and later war with the United States.

Dissatisfaction with Santa Anna's return to power, and his unconstitutional rule, led to the liberal Revolution of Ayutla, which initiated an era of liberal reforms, known as La Reforma, after which a new constitution was drafted that reestablished federalism as the form of government and first introduced freedom of religion. In the 1860s the country again underwent a military occupation, this time by France, which established the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria on the Mexican throne as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico with support from the Catholic clergy and the conservative Mexicans. This Second Mexican Empire was victorious for only a few years, when the previous president of the Republic, the Zapotec Indian Benito Juárez, managed to restore the republic in 1867.

20th and 21st centuries

Porfirio Díaz, a republican general during the French intervention, ruled Mexico from 1876–1880 and then from 1880–1911 in five consecutive reelections. The period of his rule is known as the Porfiriato, which was characterized by remarkable economic achievements, investments in art and sciences, but also of huge economic inequality and political repression.[20] An obvious and preposterous electoral fraud that led to his fifth reelection sparked the Mexican Revolution of 1910, initially led by Francisco I. Madero. Díaz resigned in 1911 and Madero was elected president but overthrown and murdered in a coup d'état in 1913 led by a conservative general named Victoriano Huerta after a secret council held with the U.S. ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. This re-ignited the civil war, with participants such as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata who formed their own forces. A third force, the constitutional army led by Venustiano Carranza, managed to bring an end to the war, and radically amended the 1857 Constitution to include many of the social premises and demands of the revolutionaries into what was eventually called the 1917 Constitution. Carranza was killed in 1920 and succeeded by another revolutionary hero, Álvaro Obregón, who in turn was succeeded by Plutarco Elías Calles. Obregón was reelected in 1928 but assassinated before he could assume power. In 1929, Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which became the most influential party during the next 70 years.

Between 1940 and 1980, Mexico experienced substantial economic growth that some historians call "El Milagro Mexicano", the Mexican Miracle.[21] The assumption of mineral rights by the government, and the subsequent nationalization of the oil industry into PEMEX during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río (1938) was a popular move, but sparked a diplomatic crisis with those countries whose citizens had lost businesses expropriated by the Cárdenas government.

Although the economy continued to flourish, social inequality remained a factor of discontent. Moreover, the PRI rule became increasingly authoritarian and at times oppressive.[22] An example of this is the Tlatelolco Massacre [23] of 1968, which according to government officials claimed the life of around 30 protesters, while according to many reputable international accounts around 250 protesters were killed.

In the 1970s there was extreme dissatisfaction with the administration of Luis Echeverría which took missteps in both the national and international arenas. Nonetheless, it was in this decade that the first substantial changes to electoral law were made, which initiated a movement of democratization of a system that had become electorally authoritarian.[24][25] While the prices of oil were at historically high records and interest rates were low, Mexico made impressive investments in the state-owned oil company, with the intention of revitalizing the economy, but overborrowing and mismanagement of oil revenues led to inflation and exacerbated the crisis of 1982. That year, oil prices plunged, interest rates soared, and the government defaulted on its debt. In an attempt to stabilize the current account balance, and given the reluctance of international lenders to return to Mexico given the previous default, President de la Madrid resorted to currency devaluations which in turn sparked inflation.

Former President Vicente Fox and U.S. President George Bush at the signature of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

The first small cracks in the political monopolistic position of PRI were seen in the late 1970s with the creation of 100 deputy seats in the Chamber of Deputies assigned through proportional representation with closed party-lists. Even though at the municipal level the first non-PRI mayor was elected in 1947,[26] it was not until 1989 that the first non-PRI governor of a state was elected. However, many sources claimed that in 1988 the party resorted to electoral fraud in order to prevent leftist opposition candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas from winning the national presidential elections who lost to Carlos Salinas, which led to massive protests in the capital.[27] Salinas embarked on a program of neoliberal reforms which fixed the exchange rate, controlled inflation and culminated with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect in 1994. However, that very same day, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) started a two-week-lived armed rebellion against the federal government, and has continued as a non-violent opposition movement against neoliberalism and globalization. Being an election year, in a process that was then called the most transparent in Mexican history, authorities were reluctant to devalue the peso, a move which caused a rapid depletion of the National Reserves. In December 1994, a month after Salinas was succeeded by Ernesto Zedillo, the Mexican economy collapsed.

With a rapid rescue packaged authorized by United States President Bill Clinton and major macroeconomic reforms started by president Zedillo, the economy rapidly recovered and growth peaked at almost 7% by the end of 1999.[28] After a comprehensive electoral reform to increase party representation during Zedillo's administration, as well as discontent with PRI after the economic crisis, led the PRI to lose its absolute majority in the Congress in 1997. In 2000, after 71 years the PRI lost a presidential election to Vicente Fox of the opposition National Action Party (PAN). Neither party had absolute majority in the Congress.

On March 23, 2005, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was signed by Vicente Fox. During the 2006 elections, the position of PRI in the Congress was further weakened and became the third political force in number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies after PAN and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), even though the party still has the plurality of state governorships. In the concurrent presidential elections, Felipe Calderón, from PAN was declared winner, with a razor-thin margin over Andrés Manuel López Obrador PRD. López Obrador, however, contested the election and pledged to create an "alternative government".

Geography Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US
Geographic coordinates: 23 00 N, 102 00 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 1,972,550 sq km
land: 1,923,040 sq km
water: 49,510 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Texas
Land boundaries: total: 4,353 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km
Coastline: 9,330 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: varies from tropical to desert
Terrain: high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
Natural resources: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Land use: arable land: 12.66%
permanent crops: 1.28%
other: 86.06% (2005)
Irrigated land: 63,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 457.2 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 78.22 cu km/yr (17%/5%/77%)
per capita: 731 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
Environment - current issues: scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion
note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico
Politics

The United Mexican States are a federation whose government is representative, democratic and republican based on a congressional system according to the 1917 Constitution. The constitution establishes three levels of government: the federal Union, the state governments and the municipal governments. All officials at the three levels are elected by voters through first-past-the-post plurality, proportional representation or are appointed by other elected officials.

The federal government is constituted by the Powers of the Union, the three separate branches of government:
Legislative: the bicameral Congress of the Union, composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, which makes federal law, declares war, imposes taxes, approves the national budget and international treaties, and ratifies diplomatic appointments.[30]
Executive: the President of the United Mexican States, who is the head of state and government, as well as the commander in chief of the Mexican military forces. The President also appoints, with Senate approval, the Cabinet and other officers. The President is responsible for executing and enforcing the law, and has the authority of vetoing bills.[31]
Judiciary: The Supreme Court of Justice, comprised by eleven judges appointed by the President with Senate approval, who interpret laws and judge cases of federal competency. Other institutions of the judiciary are the Electoral Tribunal, collegiate, unitary and district tribunals, and the Council of the Federal Judiciary.[32]

All elected executive officials are elected by plurality (first-past-the-post). Seats to the legislature are elected by plurality and proportional representation at the federal and state level.[33] The Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of the Union is conformed by 300 deputies elected by plurality and 200 deputies by proportional representation with closed party lists[34] for which the country is divided into 5 electoral constituencies or circumscriptions.[35] The Senate is conformed by a total of 128 senators: 64 senators, two per state and the Federal District elected by plurality in pairs; 32 senators assigned to the first minority or first-runner up (one per state and the Federal District), and 32 elected by proportional representation with closed party lists for which the country conforms a single electoral constituency.[34]

According to the constitution, all constituent states must have a republican form of government composed of three branches: the executive, represented by a governor and an appointed cabinet, the legislative branch constituted by a unicameral congress and the judiciary, also called a Supreme Court of Justice. They also have their own civil and judicial codes.

In the 2006–2009 Congress of the Union, eight parties are therein represented; five of them, however, have not received neither in this nor in previous congresses more than 4% of the national votes.[36] The other three parties have historically been the dominant parties in Mexican politics:
National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN): a center-right conservative party founded in 1939.
Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI): a center party that ascribes to social democracy, founded in 1929 to unite all the factions of the Mexican Revolution. Prominent right-wing as well as left-wing Mexican politicians have been members of the party.
Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD): a center-left party founded in 1989 by the coalition of socialists and liberal parties, the National Democratic Front which had presented the candidacy of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas in the 1988 elections.

The PRI held an almost hegemonic power in Mexican politics since 1929. Since 1977 consecutive electoral reforms allowed opposition parties to win more posts at the local and federal level. This process culminated in the 2000 presidential elections in which Vicente Fox, candidate of the PAN, became the first non-PRI president to be elected in 71 years.

In 2006, Felipe Calderón of the PAN faced Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the PRD in a very close election (0.58% difference), in a system without a second-ballot. On September 6, 2006, Felipe Calderón was declared President-elect by the electoral tribunal. His cabinet was sworn in at midnight on December 1, 2006 and Calderón was handed the presidential band by outgoing Vicente Fox at Los Pinos. He was officially sworn as President on the morning of December 1, 2006 in Congress.

People Population: 109,955,400 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.6% (male 16,619,995/female 15,936,154)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 34,179,440/female 36,530,154)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 3,023,185/female 3,666,472) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 26 years
male: 24.9 years
female: 27 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.142% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 20.04 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.78 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -3.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 19.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.91 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.84 years
male: 73.05 years
female: 78.78 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.37 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 160,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 5,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican
Ethnic groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)
Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.4%
female: 89.6% (2004 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
local short form: Mexico
Government type: federal republic
Capital: name: Mexico (Distrito Federal)
geographic coordinates: 19 26 N, 99 08 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
note: Mexico is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions: 31 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Distrito Federal*, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz-Llave, Yucatan, Zacatecas
Independence: 16 September 1810 (declared); 27 September 1821 (recognized by Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1810)
Constitution: 5 February 1917
Legal system: mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general requires consent of the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 2 July 2006 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Felipe CALDERON elected president; percent of vote - Felipe CALDERON 35.89%, Andres Manuel LOPEZ OBRADOR 35.31%, Roberto MADRAZO 22.26%, other 6.54%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 seats are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote) and the Federal Chamber of Deputies or Camara Federal de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are elected by popular vote; remaining 200 members are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote; to serve three-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 2 July 2006 for all of the seats (next to be held 1 July 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held 2 July 2006 (next to be held 5 July 2009)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAN 52, PRI 33, PRD 26, PVEM 6, CD 5, PT 5, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAN 207, PRD 127, PRI 106, PVEM 17, CD 17, PT 11, other 15
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion (justices or ministros are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate)
Political parties and leaders: Convergence for Democracy or CD [Luis MALDONADO Venegas]; Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI [Beatriz PAREDES]; Labor Party or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]; Mexican Green Ecological Party or PVEM [Jorge Emilio GONZALEZ Martinez]; National Action Party (Partido Accion Nacional) or PAN [German MARTINEZ Cazares]; New Alliance Party (Partido Nueva Alianza) or PNA [Jorge Antonio KAHWAGI Macari]; Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica) or PRD [Leonel COTA Montano]; Social Democratic and Peasant Alternative Party (Partido Alternativa Socialdemocrata y Campesina) or Alternativa [Alberto BEGNE Guerra]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Broad Progressive Front or FAP; Businessmen's Coordinating Council or CCE; Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic or COPARMEX; Confederation of Industrial Chambers or CONCAMIN; Confederation of Mexican Workers or CTM; Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce or CONCANACO; Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations or COECE; Federation of Unions Providing Goods and Services or FESEBES; National Chamber of Transformation Industries or CANACINTRA; National Peasant Confederation or CNC; National Small Business Chamber or CANACOPE; National Syndicate of Education Workers or SNTE; National Union of Workers or UNT; Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca or APPO; Roman Catholic Church
International organization participation: APEC, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), Caricom (observer), CDB, CE (observer), CSN (observer), EBRD, FAO, G-3, G-15, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, NAFTA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Arturo SARUKHAN Casamitjana
chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 728-1698
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Laredo (Texas), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (Arizona), Omaha, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Indianapolis (Indiana), Kansas City (Missouri), Laredo (Texas), Las Vegas, Little Rock (Arkansas), McAllen (Texas), New Orleans, Omaha, Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Presidio (Texas), Raleigh, Saint Paul (Minnesota), Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson, Yuma (Arizona)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio O. GARZA, Jr.
embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal
mailing address: P. O. Box 9000, Brownsville, TX 78520-9000
telephone: [52] (55) 5080-2000
FAX: [52] (55) 5511-9980
consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana
consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak) is centered in the white band
Culture

Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the blending of pre-Hispanic civilizations and the culture of Spain, imparted during Spain's 300-year colonization of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements mainly from the United States have been incorporated into Mexican culture. As was the case in most Latin American countries, when Mexico became an independent nation, it had to slowly create a national identity, being an ethnically diverse country in which, for the most part, the only connecting element amongst the newly independent inhabitants was Catholicism.

The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself. Since that time, though accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural identity had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element was the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos in his publication La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well.[117] This exalting of mestizaje was a revolutionary idea that sharply contrasted with the idea of a superior pure race prevalent in Europe at the time.

Economy Economy - overview: Mexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is one-fourth that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2007, during his first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass a pension and a fiscal reform. The administration continues to face many economic challenges including the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize labor laws, and allow private investment in the energy sector. CALDERON has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.353 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $886.4 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 26.3%
services: 69.9% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 45.38 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 18%
industry: 24%
services: 58% (2003)
Unemployment rate: 3.7% plus underemployment of perhaps 25% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 13.8% using food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 40% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 37% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.9 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.8% (2007)
Investment (gross fixed): 21.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $209.2 billion
expenditures: $209.2 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 23.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
Industries: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 1.2% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 222.4 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 78.7%
hydro: 14.2%
nuclear: 4.2%
other: 2.9% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 183.3 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 1.597 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 470.7 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 3.784 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 2.078 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 2.268 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 308,500 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 12.88 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 41.37 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 47.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 282.9 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 9.717 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 434.1 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$5.414 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $267.5 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners: US 84.7%, Canada 2.1%, Spain 1.3% (2006)
Imports: $279.3 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
Imports - partners: US 50.9%, China 9.5%, Japan 6%, South Korea 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $189.4 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $85.11 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $182 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $236.2 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $30.75 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $348.3 billion (2006)
Currency (code): Mexican peso (MXN)
Currency code: MXN
Exchange rates: Mexican pesos per US dollar - 10.8 (2007), 10.899 (2006), 10.898 (2005), 11.286 (2004), 10.789 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 19.861 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 57.016 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate telephone service for business and government, but the population is poorly served; mobile subscribers far outnumber fixed-line subscribers; domestic satellite system with 120 earth stations; extensive microwave radio relay network; considerable use of fiber-optic cable and coaxial cable
domestic: low telephone density with about 18 fixed lines per 100 persons; privatized in December 1990; despite the opening to competition in January 1997, Telmex remains dominant; legal challenges to Telmex's alleged anti-competitive behavior in the mobile and fixed-line markets culminated in a World Trade Organization ruling in 2004 against Mexico prompting some strengthening of the powers granted Mexico's telecom regulator
international: country code - 52; Columbus-2 fiber-optic submarine cable with access to the US, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Spain, and Italy; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 submarine cable system together provide access to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 120 (32 Intelsat, 2 Solidaridad (giving Mexico improved access to South America, Central America, and much of the US as well as enhancing domestic communications), 1 Panamsat, numerous Inmarsat mobile earth stations); linked to Central American Microwave System of trunk connections (2005)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 850, FM 545, shortwave 15 (2003)
Radios: 31 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 236 (plus repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 25.6 million (1997)
Internet country code: .mx
Internet hosts: 7.629 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 51 (2000)
Internet users: 22 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 1,834 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 231
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 84
914 to 1,523 m: 77
under 914 m: 29 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1,603
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 63
914 to 1,523 m: 408
under 914 m: 1,131 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 22,705 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,875 km; oil 8,688 km; oil/gas/water 228 km; refined products 6,520 km (2006)
Railways: total: 17,665 km
standard gauge: 17,665 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 235,670 km
paved: 116,751 km (includes 6,144 km of expressways)
unpaved: 118,919 km (2004)
Waterways: 2,900 km (navigable rivers and coastal canals) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 60 ships (1000 GRT or over) 802,128 GRT/1,157,971 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 7, chemical tanker 6, liquefied gas 4, passenger/cargo 11, petroleum tanker 25, roll on/roll off 5
foreign-owned: 4 (Denmark 2, Norway 1, UAE 1)
registered in other countries: 14 (Brazil 1, Honduras 1, Liberia 1, Panama 4, Portugal 1, Spain 3, Venezuela 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Altamira, Coatzacoalcos, Manzanillo, Morro Redondo, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Veracruz
Military Military branches: Secretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Sedena): Army (Ejercito, includes Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana, FAM)); Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaria de Marina, Semar): Mexican Navy (Armada de Mexico, ARM, includes Naval Air Force (FAN) and naval infantry) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 27,774,688
females age 16-49: 29,376,791 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 22,188,284
females age 16-49: 24,884,614 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 16-49: 1,110,544
females age 16-49: 1,073,223 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.5% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: abundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; the US has intensified security measures to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across its border with Mexico; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 5,500-10,000 (government's quashing of Zapatista uprising in 1994 in eastern Chiapas Region) (2007)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Mexico is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor; while the vast majority of victims are Central Americans trafficked along Mexico's southern border, other source regions include South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia; women and children are trafficked from rural regions to urban centers and tourist areas for sexual exploitation, often through fraudulent offers of employment or through threats of physical violence; the Mexican trafficking problem is often conflated with alien smuggling, and frequently the same criminal networks are involved; pervasive corruption among state and local law enforcement often impedes investigations
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Mexico remains on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year based on future commitments to undertake additional efforts in prosecution, protection, and prevention of trafficking in persons, and the failure of the government to provide critical law enforcement data
Illicit drugs: major drug-producing nation; cultivation of opium poppy in 2005 amounted to 3,300 hectares yielding a potential production of 8 metric tons of pure heroin, or 17 metric tons of "black tar" heroin, the dominant form of Mexican heroin in the western United States; marijuana cultivation decreased 3% to 5,600 hectares in 2005 - just two years after a decade-high cultivation peak in 2003 - and yielded a potential production of 10,100 metric tons; government conducts the largest independent illicit-crop eradication program in the world; continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine from South America, with an estimated 90% of annual cocaine movements towards the US stopping in Mexico; major drug syndicates control majority of drug trafficking throughout the country; producer and distributor of ecstasy; significant money-laundering center; major supplier of heroin and largest foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine to the US market