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Friday, March 5, 2010

Dzidzantún / México / Official Name

Official Name:
United Mexican States

Dzidzantún / México / Geography

Area: 1,972,550 sq. km. (761,600 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Texas.
Cities: Capital--Mexico City (22 million, estimate for metro area). Other major cities--Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Torreón, León, San Luís Potosí, Mérida, Veracruz, Acapulco, Oaxaca and Cancún .
Terrain: Coastal lowlands, central high plateaus, and mountains up to 5,400 m. (18,000 ft.).
Climate: Tropical to desert.

Dzidzantún / México / People Stats

People Stats
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Mexican(s).
Population (July 2009 est.): 111,211,789.
Annual growth rate (2009 est.): 1.13%.
Ethnic groups: Indian-Spanish (mestizo) 60%, Indian 30%, Caucasian 9%, other 1%.
Religions (2000 census): Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6%, other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--11 (note: preschool education was made mandatory in Dec. 2001). Literacy--91.4%.
Health (2009): Infant mortality rate--18.42/1,000. Life expectancy--male 73.25 years; female 79 years.
Work force (2008 est., 45.5 million): Agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing--21.0%; services--32.2%; commerce--16.9%; manufacturing--18.7%; construction--5.6%; transportation and communication--4.5%; mining and quarrying--1.0%.

Dzidzantún / México / Government Stats

Government Stats
Type: Federal Republic.
Independence: First proclaimed September 16, 1810; Republic established 1824.
Constitution: February 5, 1917.
Branches: Executive--president (Chief of state and head of government). Legislative--bicameral. Judicial--Supreme Court, local and federal systems.
Administrative subdivisions: 31 states and a federal district.
Political parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Green Ecological Party (PVEM), Labor Party (PT), and several small parties.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Dzidzantún / México / Economy Stats

Economy Stats
GDP (official exchange rate, 2008): $1.088 trillion; (2009 est.) $866 billion.
GDP (PPP method, 2008): $1.550 trillion; (2009 est.) $1.459 trillion. Per capita GDP (PPP method (IMF), 2008): $14,534; (2009 est.) $13,542.
Annual real GDP growth: (2009 est.) -6.8% (-7.3% IMF est.); (2008) 1.3%; (2007) 3.3%; (2006) 5.1%; (2005) 3.2%; (2004) 4.0%; (2003) 1.4%.
Inflation rate: (2009 est.) 3.75%-4.25%; (2008) 6.5%; (2007) 3.8%; (2006) 3.4%; (2005) 3.3%; (2004) 5.2%; (2003) 4.0%.
Natural resources: Petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber.
Agriculture (4% of GDP): Products--corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes, beef, poultry, dairy products, wood products.
Industry (31% of GDP): Types--food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables.
Services (64% of GDP): Types--commerce and tourism, financial services, transportation and communications.
Trade (goods): Exports (2008)--$292 billion f.o.b. Imports (2008)--$309 billion f.o.b. Exports to U.S. (2008)--$234 billion (80% of total). Imports from U.S. (2008)--$151 billion (49% of total). Major markets--U.S., EU, Canada.

Dzidzantún / México / People

Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most-populous country in Latin America after Portuguese-speaking Brazil. About 76% of the people live in urban areas. Many Mexicans emigrate from rural areas that lack job opportunities--such as the underdeveloped southern states and the crowded central plateau--to the industrialized urban centers and the developing areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. According to some estimates, the population of the area around Mexico City is nearly 22 million, which would make it the largest concentration of population in the Western Hemisphere. Cities bordering on the United States--such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez--and cities in the interior--such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Puebla--have undergone sharp rises in population in recent years.

Mexico has made great strides in improving access to education and literacy rates over the past few decades. According to a 2006 World Bank report, enrollment at the primary level is nearly universal, and more children are completing primary education. The average number of years of schooling for the population 15 years old and over was around eight years during the 2004-2005 school year, a marked improvement on a decade earlier--when it was 6.8 years--but low compared with other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Dzidzantún / México / History

Highly developed cultures, including those of the Olmecs, Mayas, Toltecs, and Aztecs, existed long before the Spanish conquest. Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico during the period 1519-21 and founded a Spanish colony that lasted nearly 300 years.

Independence from Spain was proclaimed by Father Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810. Father Hidalgo's declaration of national independence, known in Mexico as the "Grito de Dolores," launched a decade-long struggle for independence from Spain. Prominent figures in Mexico's war for independence were: Father Jose Maria Morelos; Gen. Augustin de Iturbide, who defeated the Spaniards and ruled as Mexican emperor from 1822-23; and Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, who went on to dominate Mexican politics from 1833 to 1855. An 1821 treaty recognized Mexican independence from Spain and called for a constitutional monarchy. The planned monarchy failed; a republic was proclaimed in December 1822 and established in 1824.

Throughout the rest of the 19th century, Mexico's government and economy were shaped by contentious debates among liberals and conservatives, republicans and monarchists, federalists and those who favored centralized government. During the two presidential terms of Benito Juarez (1858-71), Mexico experimented with modern democratic and economic reforms. President Juarez' terms of office and Mexico's early experience with democracy were interrupted by the invasion in 1863 of French forces who imposed a monarchy on the country in the form of Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, who ruled as emperor. Liberal forces succeeded in overthrowing, and executing, the emperor in 1867 after which Juarez returned to office until his death in 1872. Following several weak governments, the authoritarian General Porfirio Diaz assumed office and was president during most of the period between 1877 and 1911.

Mexico's severe social and economic problems erupted in a revolution that lasted from 1910-20 and gave rise to the 1917 constitution. Prominent leaders in this period--some of whom were rivals for power--were Francisco Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Pancho Villa, Alvaro Obregon, Victoriano Huerta, and Emiliano Zapata. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), formed in 1929 under a different name, emerged from the chaos of revolution as a vehicle for keeping political competition among a coalition of interests in peaceful channels. For 71 years, Mexico's national government was controlled by the PRI, which won every presidential race and most gubernatorial races until the July 2000 presidential election of Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN), in what were widely considered at the time the freest and fairest elections in Mexico's history. President Fox completed his term on December 1, 2006, when Felipe Calderon assumed the presidency

Dzidzantún / México / Government

The 1917 constitution provides for a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Historically, the executive has been the dominant branch, with power vested in the president, who promulgates and executes the laws of the Congress. The Congress has played an increasingly important role since 1997, when opposition parties first made major gains. The president also legislates by executive decree in certain economic and financial fields, using powers delegated from the Congress. The president is elected by universal adult suffrage for a 6-year term and may not hold office a second time. There is no vice president; in the event of the removal or death of the president, a provisional president is elected by the Congress.

The Congress is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. Consecutive re-election is prohibited. Senators are elected to 6-year terms, and deputies serve 3-year terms. The Senate's 128 seats are filled by a mixture of direct-election and proportional representation. In the lower chamber, 300 deputies are directly elected to represent single-member districts, and 200 are selected by a modified form of proportional representation from five electoral regions. The 200 proportional representation seats were created to help smaller parties gain access to the Chamber.

The judiciary is divided into federal and state court systems, with federal courts having jurisdiction over most civil cases and those involving major felonies. Under the constitution, trial and sentencing must be completed within 12 months of arrest for crimes that would carry at least a 2-year sentence. In practice, the judicial system often does not meet this requirement. Trial is by judge, not jury. Defendants have a right to counsel, and public defenders are available. Other rights include defense against self-incrimination, the right to confront one's accusers, and the right to a public trial. Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate.

Dzidzantún / México / Principal Government Officials

Principal Government Officials
President--Felipe CALDERON Hinojosa
Foreign Secretary--Patricia ESPINOSA Cantellano
Ambassador to the U.S.--Arturo SARUKHAN Casamitjana
Ambassador to the United Nations--Claude HELLER Rouassant
Ambassador to the OAS--Gustavo ALBIN Santos

Mexico maintains an embassy in the United States at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006 (tel. 202-728-1600). Consular offices are located at 2827 - 16th St. NW, 20009 (tel. 202-736-1000), and the trade office is co-located at the embassy (tel. 202-728-1687, fax. 202-296-4904).

Besides its embassy, Mexico maintains 45 diplomatic offices in the United States. Mexican consulates general are located in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Francisco; consulates are (partial listing) in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, and Tucson.

Dzidzantún / México / Political Conditions

President Felipe Calderon of the PAN was elected in 2006 in an extremely tight race, with a margin of less than one percent separating his vote total from that of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ("AMLO") of the left-of-center Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). AMLO contested the results of the election, alleging that it was marred by widespread fraud. Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal, while acknowledging the presence of randomly-distributed irregularities, rejected AMLO's accusation of widespread fraud and upheld Calderon's victory on September 5, 2006.

President Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) currently is the largest party in the Senate but lost that status in the Chamber of Deputies as a result of the July 2009 elections. The PRI gained a de facto majority in those elections in which every Chamber of Deputies seat was up for vote. Although the PRI does not control the presidency or a majority in the Senate, it is a significant force in Mexican politics, holding 19 governorships and often playing a pivotal role in forming coalitions in Congress. The next national elections--for the president, all 128 seats in the Senate and all 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies--will take place in July 2012. In 2010, 12 governorships will be up for election.

Dzidzantún / México / Reforms

One of former President Fox's (2000-2006) most important reforms was the passage and implementation of freedom of information (FOIA) laws. President Fox also highlighted the need for modernization of Mexico's criminal justice system, including the introduction of oral trials. Judicial reforms stalled at the federal level during the Fox years, but President Calderon succeeded in passing legislation to reform the federal judicial system in 2008. The reform legislation set a timetable of eight years for full implementation.

In addition to judicial reform, President Calderon has also succeeded in negotiating with Congress to pass fiscal, electoral, energy, and pension reforms. The administration is grappling with many economic challenges, including a severe GDP contraction in 2009 and the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize labor laws, and make the energy sector more competitive. Calderon has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs. In the face of the serious threat posed by organized crime, the Mexican Congress passed legislation in 2009 expanding the investigative and intelligence capabilities of the country’s Federal Police. It also set a 4-year deadline for vetting all of the country’s 2,500 federal, state, and municipal police forces.

Dzidzantún / México / Economy

Mexico is highly dependent on exports to the U.S., which represent more than a quarter of the country's GDP. The result is that the Mexican economy is strongly linked to the U.S. business cycle, and has suffered from the economic slowdown in the United States. Real GDP grew by 5.1% in 2006, 3.3% in 2007, and 1.3% in 2008. Government officials expect the economy to contract by 6.8% for 2009 and rebound in 2010 with 3% growth.

Mexico's trade regime is among the most open in the world, with free trade agreements with the U.S., Canada, the EU, and many other countries (44 total). Since the 1994 devaluation of the peso, successive Mexican governments have improved the country's macroeconomic fundamentals. Inflation and public sector deficits are under control, while the current account balance and public debt profile have improved. As of December 2009, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgraded Mexico’s sovereign debt rating one notch, citing fiscal concerns. Nevertheless, Mexico’s sovereign debt remains investment-grade, with a stable outlook

Dzidzantún / México / Trade

The United States was the destination for about 80% of Mexico’s exports in 2008. Top Mexican exports to the U.S. include petroleum, cars, and electronic equipment. There is considerable intra-company trade. Top U.S. exports to Mexico include electronic equipment, motor vehicle parts, and chemicals. Mexico is the second-largest export market for the United States.

Mexico is an active and constructive member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the G-20, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It hosted the September 2003 WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun. The Mexican Government and many businesses support a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Concerns about trade measures and practices between the United States and Mexico are generally settled through direct negotiations between the two countries or addressed via WTO or North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) formal dispute settlement procedures. The most significant areas of friction involve agricultural products such as livestock and sweeteners as well as cross-border trucking. To address the issues that affect these industries in a manner consistent with the principles of free trade, the United States and Mexico have established technical working groups.

Dzidzantún / México / Agriculture

Only 11% of Mexico's land area is arable, of which less than 3% is irrigated. Top revenue-producing crops include corn, tomatoes, sugar cane, dry beans, and avocados. Mexico also generates significant revenue from the production of beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products. In total, agriculture accounted for 3% of GDP in 2008, yet agricultural employment accounted for over 15% of total employment. Most of the population is employed in the services sector (60% of total employment).

Implementation of NAFTA has opened Mexico's agricultural sector to the forces of globalization and competition, and some farmers have greatly benefited from greater market access. In particular, fruit and vegetable exports from Mexico have increased dramatically in recent years, exceeding $4.7 billion to the United States alone in 2009. However, structural inefficiencies that have existed for decades continue to limit improvements in productivity and living standards for many in the agricultural sector. These inefficiencies include a prevalence of small-scale producers, a lack of infrastructure, inadequate supplies of credit, a communal land structure for many producers, and a large subsistence rural population that is not part of the formal economy. It is estimated that half of Mexico's producers are subsistence farmers and over 60% produce corn or beans, with the majority of these farmers cultivating five hectares or less, although the number of Mexican farmers is steadily decreasing as they seek greater economic opportunities from off-farm employment.

Mexico subsidizes agricultural production through various support programs, the most notable being the PROCAMPO initiative. The producer support estimate for Mexico is 13% of gross receipts, compared to 10% for the United States.