June 29, 2010
This is the last in a twelve part series on Mexico’s Bicentennial. We have looked at the history of the country from the beginning of the Independence movement, the years of the Hapsburg monarchy through the Revolution 100 years later to the Agrarian Reform and the long 75 year reign of the PRI. In 2000, Vicente Fox, a member of the PAN was elected president
Vicente Fox’s presidency ended in disappointment and the election of a new PAN (Partido de Acción Nacional) President in 2006 was tarnished with accusations of election fraud. Whether the current political situation is a natural consequence of many years of enforced PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) party rule has not been determined. One thing is certain though; Mexicans in general and Yucatecans in particular, are much more involved in the election process. There has been an increase in political awareness and the hope is for a continuation of the democratic process.
In October 2006 US President George W Bush signed legislation to build 1,125 km of fencing along the US-Mexico border. Mexico condemned plans for the barrier, which was intended to curb illegal immigration.
Again, the trial against former president Luis Echeveria was suspended – probably forever this time…
Heavy rains flooded the state of Tabasco in October. Some 500,000 were left homeless in one of the country’s worst natural disasters.
Drug-related killings continued to soar. Murders linked to organized crime leapt to almost 1,400 in first five months of 2007. Hundreds of thousands joined marches throughout Mexico to protest against continuing wave of violence.
Faced with drop in Mexican oil production, the government passed series of energy reforms. The package included controversial plans to allow private investment in state oil giant Pemex.
Already in the first decade of the new millennium, hurricanes have done much damage in the Yucatan peninsula. On Sept. 23, 2002, Hurricane Isadora was particularly destructive to Merida. In 2005, Emily, Katrina, and Wilma veered north and Yucatan was spared but Cancun was not so lucky. The destruction from Wilma was extensive and so the 50,000 tourists who were in the area were bused to Merida. The city’s authorities, business sector and private citizens did a heroic job of looking after the unexpected throng and within three days, everyone was on their way back home.
Yet in the face of the continued struggle, the Mexican people always find something to renew their energy and optimism… such as the designation of the Mayan archaeological site, Chichen Itza, as one of the seven new wonders of the world.
Since the mid 1970s, Mexico has experienced a succession of serious economic and social challenges, but because of tourism and the constant influx of capital, Yucatan has not suffered as greatly as have other parts of the republic. More than 2.5 million visitors come to the Yucatan peninsula every year. With Chichen Itza’s new fame, this is expected to increase. Investment in the region has grown in every sector of the economy, and improved infrastructure has enriched the quality of life for the inhabitants.
During the past twenty years, and especially during the last ten, Yucatan has experienced a large influx of new residents from abroad. The international press is full of unflattering portrayals of the country and truthfully, many issues are unresolved. But this has not deterred the influx. One wonders why…
I believe there is something very special and about this country. Despite the political and social ills, the population is basically generous and happy. Mexicans have the ability to fully enjoy life… Most who come here, even once can feel it and are lured back time and again. This explosive joy is the true milagro mexicano – the magical Mexican miracle.