Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (CNN) – It’s the life Sara Wise always dreamed of: a place with unbeatable weather, sunny beaches, good medical care and an active social life — and all at very affordable prices.
The former manager of retail businesses didn’t find what she wanted in her native U.S., but rather just south of the border in Mexico.
For the last six years, the 63-year-old Minnesotan and her 70-year-old husband Mike Wise, both retired, have been enjoying the warm weather and friendly beaches of Puerto Vallarta, a resort on the Pacific coast.
They have a very active social life and say they have more friends in Mexico than they ever did in the United States, mainly because Puerto Vallarta is full of people just like them.
According to local government estimates, there are around 35,000 U.S. and Canadian citizens living in Puerto Vallarta, many of them retired like Mike and Sara. Read the rest of this entry »
Baja, California – Mexico, one of the world’s great travel destinations, is often singled out for violent crime without telling the whole story. While there is sporadic violence along parts of the U.S. border, the majority of Mexico’s key tourism areas are not only safe, but safer than many other popular tourism areas.
While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster. com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn’t even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com. The assault rate in the U.S. is nearly 5 times greater than that of Mexico in the independent Prominix report adjusted for under-reported crime.
Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico’s famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists. Read the rest of this entry »
In India, people ask you about China, and, in China, people ask you about India: Which country will become the more dominant economic power in the 21st century? I now have the answer: Mexico.
Impossible, you say? Well, yes, Mexico with only about 110 million people could never rival China or India in total economic clout. But here’s what I’ve learned from this visit to Mexico’s industrial/innovation center in Monterrey. Everything you’ve read about Mexico is true: drug cartels, crime syndicates, government corruption and weak rule of law hobble the nation. But that’s half the story. The reality is that Mexico today is more like a crazy blend of the movies “No Country for Old Men” and “The Social Network.” Read the rest of this entry »
This week the leaders of North America’s two most populous countries are due to meet for a neighborly chat in Washington. The re-elected Barack Obama and Mexico’s president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, have plenty to talk about: Mexico is changing in ways that will profoundly affect its big northern neighbor, and unless America rethinks its outdated picture of life across the border, both countries risk forgoing the benefits promised by Mexico’s rise.
The White House does not spend much time looking south. During six hours of televised campaign debates this year, neither Obama nor his vice president mentioned Mexico directly. That is extraordinary. One in 10 Mexican citizens lives in the United States. Include their American-born descendants and you have about 33 million people, about 10 percent of America’s population.
In terms of GDP, Mexico it ranks just ahead of South Korea. In 2011 the Mexican economy grew faster than Brazil’s — and will do so again in 2012. Yet Americans are gloomy about Mexico, and so is their government: three years ago Pentagon analysts warned that Mexico risked becoming a “failed state.” That is wildly wrong. In fact, Mexico’s economy and society are doing pretty well. Even the drug-related violence, concentrated in a few areas, looks as if it is starting to abate.
The tourism promotion video “México en tus sentidos” (Mexico in your Senses), won the Grand Prix of Brazil considered the best international work.
In a statement the Ministry of Tourism reported that the recognition was obtained in Brazil Film Tour that took place last May 21, attracting the best creative in the tourism industry and image of the tourist destinations of Mexico.
With the award, this video has received 91 first places in various international competitions, including the ITB of Berlin, considered by tourism industry as one of the most important trade fairs worldwide.
In that contest, also won Gold in the category of best music and best video of Latin America.
Furthermore, on May 18 Merca 2.0 magazine granted the Editors Choice Award for video “México en tus sentidos” for its high standards of aesthetics and emotional photography.
The United States is overlooking a real economic and political success story in Mexico. Our southern neighbor is going through a transformation of historic dimensions, yet a large gap remains when it comes to U.S. public perceptions of Mexico, which are too often breathtakingly simplistic views of drugs and migration combined with an un-American belief in building walls and exclusion.
Mexican society has undergone a deep change during its decade-long process of democratization. The country has enjoyed strong macroeconomic growth, and this year its GDP is growing fasterthan that of the United States. But the crucial dimension of Mexico’s hidden success story is the rise of a middle class that is younger, more educated, wealthier, healthier, and more able to integrate women into the labor force than any previous generation.
“Although widespread poverty still exists,” write Luis de la Calle and Luis Rubio in their seminal study, Mexico: A Middle Class Society, “Mexico is no longer a poor country.” Within a few decades Mexican society achieved what took over a century when European industrialization created the first modern middle classes in history. Read the rest of this entry »
Take a look at this BBC article written just before the election:
News about Mexico in the past few years has been dominated by gruesome drug violence. But as Mexicans prepare to elect a new president on 1 July, David A Shirk of San Diego University’s Trans-Border Institute argues for an end to overly negative views of the country:
If Mexico were a stock, now might be the time to buy. The country has been severely under-valued in recent years.
Despite high rates of crime and violence elsewhere in Latin America, the media tend to focus relentlessly on Mexico’s drug war.
The murder rate is nearly 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, but this is significantly lower than in Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.
And the Central American nations of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras have murder rates nearly twice that of Mexico.
Still, because of exaggerated fears that Mexico is becoming a “failed state” or sliding into a “narco-insurgency,” many tourists and investors have shied away from the country.