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  HOME | North America



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, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Acapulco, Merida, Leon, Veracruz.
Terrain: Coastal lowlands, central high plateaus, and mountains up to 5,400 m. (18,000 ft.).
Climate: Tropical to desert.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Mexican(s).
Population (July 2010 est.): 112,468,855.
Annual population growth rate (2010 est.): 1.118%.
Ethnic groups: Indian-Spanish (mestizo) 60%, Indian 30%, Caucasian 9%, other 1%.
Religions (2000 census): Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3%, 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 (2010): Infant mortality rate--17.84/1,000. Life expectancy--male 73.5 years; female 79.22 years.
Work force (2009 est., 44.5 million): Agriculture--13.7%, industry--23.4%, services--62.2%.

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.

GDP (official exchange rate): $1 trillion (2010 est.); $876 billion (2009); $1.088 trillion (2008).
GDP (PPP method): $1.459 trillion (2009 est.); $1.550 trillion (2008).
Per capita GDP (PPP method): $13,542 (2009 est.); $14,534 (2008).
Annual real GDP growth: 4.5% (2010 est.); -6.5% (2009); 1.3% (2008); 3.3% (2007); 5.1% (2006); 3.2% (2005).
Inflation rate: 4.6% (2010 est.); 3.57% (2009); 6.5% (2008); 3.8% (2007); 3.4% (2006); 3.3% (2005).
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 (2009)--$230 billion f.o.b. Imports (2009)--$234 billion f.o.b. Exports to U.S. (2009)--$185 billion (80% of total). Imports from U.S. (2009)--$112 billion (48% of total). Major markets--U.S., EU (5% of total), Canada (3.6% of total).

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 8 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.

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, “Viva Mexico!,” 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 four presidential terms of Benito Juarez (1858-72), Mexico experimented with modern democratic and economic reforms. President Juarez' terms in office and Mexico's early experience with democracy were interrupted by the invasion of French forces in early 1862. They imposed a monarchy on the country in the form of Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, who ruled as emperor from 1864-67. 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 until 1920 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, also of the PAN, assumed the presidency.

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 by 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 comprised 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 some 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. (See "Reforms" below for comments on judicial reform currently underway.)

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 52 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.

President Felipe Calderon of the PAN was elected in 2006 in an extremely tight race, with a margin of less than 1% 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 currently is the largest party in the Senate but lost its majority in the Chamber of Deputies in the July 2009 elections. The PRI gained a de facto majority (through its alliance with another party) 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 remains a significant force in Mexican politics, holding or having recently been elected to 19 of 31 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, elections were held in 14 of Mexico’s 31 states. The PRI won nine of the 12 governorships up for election, while an alliance of convenience between the PAN, PRD, and smaller parties in three states demonstrated that the PRI could be defeated.

One of 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 8 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.

Mexico is classified by the World Bank as an upper-middle-income country. Poverty is widespread (around 44% of the population lives below the poverty line) and high rates of economic growth are needed to create legitimate economic opportunities for new entrants to the work force. The Mexican economy in 2009 experienced its deepest recession since the 1930s. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6.5%, driven by weaker exports to the United States; lower remittances and investment from abroad; a decline in oil revenues; and the impact of H1N1 influenza on tourism.

Mexico's trade regime is built upon free trade agreements with the United States, Canada, the European Union, 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. Mexico’s sovereign debt remains investment-grade, with a stable outlook.

Mexico is a major recipient of remittances, sent mostly from Mexicans in the United States. Remittances average around U.S. $21 billion per year, and are the country’s second-largest source of foreign currency, after oil. Most remittances are used for immediate consumption--food, housing, health care, education--but some collective remittances, sent from a U.S. community of migrants to their community of origin, are used for shared projects and infrastructure improvements. The Government of Mexico participates through its flagship fund-matching program “3X1 Program for Migrants.” The Mexican Government also has implemented social development programs, like Oportunidades, to address the problems of poverty.

Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market and third-largest trading partner. Top U.S. exports to Mexico include electronic equipment, motor vehicle parts, and chemicals. Trade matters are generally settled through direct negotiations between the two countries or addressed via World Trade Organization (WTO) or North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) formal dispute settlement procedures. The most significant areas of friction involve agricultural products as well as cross-border trucking. Mexico is an active and constructive member of the World Trade Organization, the G-20, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Mexican Government and many businesses support a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

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 4.3% of GDP in 2009 and 3% of GDP in 2008, and agricultural employment accounted for about 15% 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.

Foreign Investment
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mexico for 2009 was $14.4 billion, down 51% from the previous year. The U.S. was once again the largest foreign investor in Mexico, accounting for 45% ($6.4 billion FDI from the U.S.) of reported FDI. The economic slowdown in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009 caused a significant decline in this figure. The Mexican Government estimate of FDI for 2010 is $15 billion to $20 billion.

Oil and Gas
In 2009, Mexico was the world's seventh-largest producer of crude oil, and the second-largest supplier of oil to the U.S. Oil and gas revenues provided more than one-third of all Mexican Government revenues and are the country’s largest source of foreign currency. Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex, holds a constitutionally established monopoly for the exploration, production, transportation, and marketing of the nation's oil. With its primary known oil reserves already in serious decline, Mexico still must determine in the near future how it wants to exploit probable deepwater reserves in order to avoid very difficult economic choices. The Mexican Congress passed energy reform legislation in October 2008 that gives Pemex more budgetary autonomy and transparency. This reform allowed some private investment through contracts which permit some risk-sharing, which are still being developed by Pemex. However, the reform did not completely open the petroleum sector to private sector investment as Pemex is not permitted to issue contracts which give foreign companies either a share of total oil production or a percentage of the price received per barrel produced. In addition, Pemex will continue to have the final word in all investment and production decisions. Mexico also imports finished petroleum products such as gasoline, due to a lack of refinery capacity.

Although private investment in natural gas transportation, distribution, and storage is permitted, Pemex remains in sole control of natural gas exploration and production. Despite substantial reserves, Mexico is a net natural gas importer.

Transportation and Communications
Mexico's land transportation network is one of the most extensive in Latin America with 366,341 kilometers (224,749 mi.) of paved roads, including more than 13,035 kilometers of four-lane paved roads. The 26,704 kilometers (16,382 mi.) of government-owned railroads in Mexico have been privatized through the sale of 50-year operating concessions.

Mexico's ports have experienced a boom in investment and traffic following a 1993 law that privatized the port system. Mexico's ports moved 3.3 million 20-foot container equivalent units (TEU) in 2008 and 2.9 million TEUs in 2009. Several dozen international airlines serve Mexico, with direct or connecting flights from most major cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Latin America. Most Mexican regional capitals and resorts have direct air services to Mexico City or the United States. In 2005, the Government of Mexico agreed to sell Mexicana, one of the two main national airlines, to a private investor, and did the same with Aeromexico in 2007. After experiencing financial difficulties, Mexicana is in the process of being sold to a new investor, PC Capital. Airports are semi-privatized with the government still the majority shareholder, but with each regional airport group maintaining operational autonomy.

The telecommunications sector is dominated by Telmex, the former state-owned monopoly. Several international companies compete in the sector with limited success. The fixed-line teledensity rate in Mexico (18%) is below average in Latin America. Wireless penetration is much higher (77.4%), with 83.5 million wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2009, although 88% of these customers use prepaid cards, and many use their phones to receive calls only. At the close of 2009, 28.5 million Mexicans had some form of Internet access. Mexico's satellite service sector was opened to competition, including limited foreign direct investment, in 2001.

Mexico's armed forces number about 225,000. The air force is a semiautonomous organization that reports to the head of the army, and together the army and air force make up about three-fourths of that total. The navy is a completely autonomous cabinet agency, and there is no joint chief of staff position. Principal military roles include national defense, narcotics control, and civic action assignments such as search and rescue and disaster relief. Mexico’s federal, state, and municipal police forces number approximately 450,000, including analysts and investigators. At the state and local level, police are generally divided into "preventive" and "judicial" police. Preventive police maintain order and public security and generally do not investigate crimes. As noted previously, the Mexican Congress passed legislation in 2009 expanding the investigative and intelligence capabilities of the Federal Police, which itself has expanded from 20,000 personnel to approximately 34,000.

President Calderon has made combating organized crime a priority of his administration and, to that end, has deployed the Mexican military to 10 Mexican states to assist (or replace) the weak and often corrupt local and state police. Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) have responded to increased pressure on their activities with unprecedented violence directed mostly at competing cartels, but also government security forces and innocent citizens. They have also expanded their business beyond narcotics into kidnapping, migrant smuggling, and extortion. Narcotics-related violence took the lives of over 8,000 individuals in 2009, with over half killed in states along the U.S. border; of this total over 400 members of Mexico’s security forces were killed. New estimates suggest that nearly 29,000 people have died in the war on drugs since Calderon took office in December 2006. The Mexican military and police have been increasingly successful in carrying out operations to remove top cartel leaders, including Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen “Tony Tormenta” (Gulf Cartel--killed in a shootout in November 2010); Edgar Valdez Villareal “La Barbie” (Beltran Leyva Cartel--arrested in August 2010); Ignacio Coronel Villareal “Nacho” (Sinaloa Cartel--killed in shootout in July 2010); Eduardo Teodoro Garcia Semental “El Teo” (Arellano Felix Cartel--arrested in January 2010); Carlos Beltran Leyva (Beltran Leyva Cartel--arrested in January 2010); and Arturo Beltran Leyva (Beltran Leyva Cartel--killed during an attempted arrest in December 2009.) As the military has stepped up its engagement in law enforcement activities, allegations of human rights abuses against the military have also increased.

Mexico’s efforts to reform its judicial sector and professionalize its police forces reflect its commitment to promote the rule of law and build strong law enforcement institutions to counter the threat posed by organized crime. The U.S. assists Mexico in this effort through the multi-year $1.4 billion Merida Initiative, which directly supports programs to help Mexico train its police forces in modern investigative techniques, promote a culture of lawfulness, and implement key justice reform. Elements of the police force began to replace the military in strategic locations in 2010.

Traditionally, Mexico has sought to maintain its interests abroad and project its influence largely through moral persuasion and has championed the principles of nonintervention and self-determination. In its efforts to revitalize its economy and open up to international competition, Mexico has sought closer relations with the U.S., Western Europe, and the Pacific Basin. President Calderon has actively promoted international human rights and democracy and sought to increase Mexico's participation in international affairs.

Mexico is a strong supporter of the United Nations and Organization of American States systems. While selective in its membership in other international organizations, it pursues its interests through a number of ad hoc international bodies. Mexico is the Secretary Pro Tempore of the Rio Group for the term 2008-2010; separately, it was elected to a seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2009-2010. In late 2010, it hosted the 16th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Whereas Mexico declined to become a member of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, it nevertheless seeks to diversify its diplomatic and economic relations, as demonstrated by its accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986; its joining the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in 1993; its becoming, in April 1994, the first Latin American member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and its entering the World Trade Organization as a founding member in 1996. Mexico attended the first Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in 1994; managed coordination of the agenda item on education for the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile; hosted a Special Summit of the Americas in early 2004; and participated actively in the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. In 2002 it hosted the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Cabo San Lucas. Mexico hosted the September 2003 WTO Ministerial in Cancun and a Hemispheric Security Conference in October of the same year. It was elected to the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors in 2003. Mexico has emerged as a key middle income player in the G-20 and hosted an H1N1 Conference in Cancun in 2009.

U.S. relations with Mexico are as important and complex as with any country in the world. U.S. relations with Mexico have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans--whether the issue is trade and economic reform, homeland security, drug control, migration, or the environment. The U.S. and Mexico are partners in NAFTA, and enjoy a broad and expanding trade relationship. Since the first North American Leaders’ Summit in 2005, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have been cooperating more closely on a trilateral basis to improve North American competitiveness, ensure the safety of our citizens, and promote clean energy and a healthy environment. The three nations also cooperate on hemispheric and global challenges, such as managing transborder infectious diseases and seeking greater integration to respond to challenges of transnational organized crime.

The scope of U.S.-Mexican relations goes far beyond diplomatic and official contacts; it entails extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties, as demonstrated by the annual figure of about a million legal border crossings a day. In addition, a million American citizens live in Mexico. More than 18,000 companies with U.S. investment have operations there, and the U.S. accounts for more than 40% of all foreign direct investment in Mexico. Along the 2,000-mile shared border, state and local governments interact closely.

There has been frequent contact at the highest levels. Presidents' meetings have included a visit by President Calderon to Washington, DC to meet with President-elect Barack Obama in January 2009; visits by President Obama to Mexico City in April 2009 and to Guadalajara in August 2009 for the North American Leaders’ Summit; a visit by President Calderon to Pittsburgh in September 2009 for a G-20 Summit; and a state visit, hosted by President Obama, in honor of President Calderon in May 2010.

In recent years, U.S.-Mexico cooperation in the struggle against organized crime and drug trafficking has been unprecedented. At the August 2007 North American Leaders' Summit in Montebello, Canada, Presidents George W. Bush and Calderon announced the Merida Initiative to work together and with the countries of Central America to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the region. In June 2008, President Bush signed the congressional appropriations bill allocating assistance to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative. Appropriated funds for Mexico under the initiative totaled $1.4 billion as of November 2010. In March 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa chaired a high-level group meeting that announced four strategic pillars for U.S.-Mexico cooperation. The first pillar aims to disrupt the capacity of organized crime to operate by capturing criminal groups and their leaders and reducing their revenues through better investigations, successful prosecutions, and shipment interdictions. The initiative’s second pillar focuses on enhancing the capacity of Mexico’s government and institutions to sustain the rule of law. The Merida Initiative’s third pillar aims to facilitate legitimate trade and movement of people while thwarting the flow of drugs, arms, and cash. Finally, the fourth pillar seeks to build strong and resilient communities.

Border, Environmental, and Telecom Affairs
Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along the 2,000-mile common border includes state and local problem-solving mechanisms; transportation planning; and institutions to address resource, environment, and health issues. In 1993, the Border Liaison Mechanism (BLM) was established. Chaired by U.S. and Mexican consuls, the BLMs operate in "sister city" pairs and have proven to be effective means of dealing with a variety of local issues ranging from accidental violation of sovereignty by law enforcement officials and charges of mistreatment of foreign nationals to coordination of port security and cooperation in public health matters such as tuberculosis and H1N1 influenza.

With nearly one million people and one billion dollars worth of commerce crossing the U.S.-Mexico border each day, coordination of border crossing operations and development among federal, state, and local partners on both sides of the border is critical. In 2010, the U.S. and Mexico are opening three new border crossings (McAllen TX--Reynosa, Tamaulipas; San Luis AZ--San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora; and Donna TX--Reynosa, Tamaulipas). The multi-agency U.S.-Mexico Binational Group on Bridges and Border Crossings meets twice yearly to improve the efficiency of existing crossings and coordinate planning for new ones. The 10 U.S. and Mexican border states are active participants in these meetings.

The United States and Mexico have a history of cooperation on environmental and natural resource issues, particularly in the border area, where there are serious environmental problems caused by rapid population growth, urbanization, and industrialization. Cooperative activities between the U.S. and Mexico take place under a number of agreements such as:

The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is an international organization with roots dating back to the late 19th century. The IBWC comprises independent U.S. and Mexican sections and has settled numerous difficult U.S.-Mexico boundary and water problems, including the regularization of the Rio Grande near El Paso through the 1967 Chamizal settlement. The IBWC determines and accounts for national ownership of international waters, builds and operates water conservation and flood control projects, and constructs and maintains boundary markers on the land boundary and on international bridges. In recent years, the IBWC has worked to resolve longstanding border sanitation problems, to monitor the quantity and quality of border waters, and to address water delivery and sedimentation problems of the Colorado River.
The 1983 La Paz Agreement to protect and improve the border environment and Border 2012, a 10-year, binational, results-oriented environmental program for the U.S.-Mexico border region. The Border 2012 Program is the latest multi-year, binational planning effort to be implemented under the La Paz Agreement and succeeds Border XXI, a 5-year program that ended in 2000.
A November 1993 agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, establishing the North American Development Bank (NADBank) and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) under the auspices of NAFTA, in order to address border environmental problems. The NADBank uses capital and grant funds contributed by Mexico and the U.S. to help finance border environmental infrastructure projects certified by the BECC. The BECC works with local communities to develop and certify environmental infrastructure projects, such as wastewater treatment plants, drinking water systems, and solid waste disposal facilities. Prior to 2005, both institutions had separate Boards of Directors. In an effort to improve efficiency, the separate Boards were merged into a single entity, which held its first meeting in June 2006.
The 1993 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), creating the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation under NAFTA by the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, to improve enforcement of environmental laws and to address common environmental concerns.
A series of agreements on border health (since 1942), wildlife and migratory birds (since 1936), national parks, forests, marine and atmospheric resources. In July 2000, the U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement to establish a binational Border Health Commission. The Border Health Commission meets annually and is made up of the federal secretaries of health, the 10 border states' chief health officers, and prominent community health professionals from both countries. A representative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the U.S. Section in El Paso, Texas.
The United States and Mexico have also cooperated on telecommunications services in the border area for more than 50 years. Currently, there are 39 bilateral agreements that govern shared use of the radio spectrum. When the United States completed the transition to digital television in 2009, a high percentage of Mexican border cities did the same well ahead of Mexico’s deadline to complete the transition by 2021. Recent border agreements also cover mobile broadband services such as BlackBerrys, smartphones and similar devices. The High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications continues to serve as the primary bilateral arena for both governments to promote growth in the sector and to ensure compatible services in the border area. Under this mechanism, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement to improve cross-border public security communications in the border area in 2009.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Carlos Pascual
Deputy Chief of Mission--John Feeley
Minister Counselor for Political Affairs--Gregory Schiffer, acting
Minister Counselor for Economic and Science Affairs--Adam Shub
Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy--James Williams
Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs--Edward McKeon
Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs--Ann Bacher
Minister Counselor for Management Affairs--Barbara Aycock
Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs--Allan Mustard
Consul General--Sean Murphy

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico is located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, 06500 Mexico, DF. U.S. mailing address: Box 3087, Laredo, Texas 78044-3087; tel. (from the U.S.): (011) (52) 55-5080-2000; Internet: http://mexico.usembassy.gov/eng/main.html

The embassy and the U.S. Consulates General, Consulates, and consular agents provide a range of services to American students, tourists, business people, and residents throughout Mexico.

U.S. Consulates General, Consulates, and Officials
Consulate General, Ciudad Juarez--Dean Haas
Address: Avenida Lopez Mateos 924-N, 32310 Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua
U.S. Postal Address: Box 10545, El Paso, Texas 79995-0545
Tel. (from the U.S.): (011)(52) 656-611-3000

Consulate General, Guadalajara--Daniel Keller
Address: Progreso 175. Col. Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco 44160
U.S. Postal Address: Box 9001, Brownsville, Texas 78520-0901
Tel.: (011)(52) 333-268-2100

Consulate General, Hermosillo--John D. Breidenstine
Address: Calle Monterrey 141 Pte., Col. Esqueda 83260, Hermosillo, Sonora
U.S. Postal Address: Box 1689, Nogales, Arizona 85628
Tel.: (011)(52) 662-289-3500

Consulate General, Matamoros--Michael Barkin
Address: Ave. Primera 2002 y Azaleas, 87330, Matamoros, Tamaulipas
U.S. Postal Address: Box 633, Brownsville, Texas 78522-0633
Tel.: (011)(52) 868-812-4402

Consulate General, Monterrey--Nace Crawford
Address: Avenida Constitution 411 Poniente, 64000 Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
U.S. Postal Address: Box 9002, Brownsville, Texas 78520-0902
Tel.: (011)(52) 818-345-2120

Consulate General, Nuevo Laredo--Donald Heflin
Address: Calle Allende 3330, Col. Jardin, 88260 Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
U.S. Postal Address: Box 3089, Laredo, Texas 78044-3089
Tel.: (011)(52) 867-714-0512

Consulate General, Tijuana--Steven Kashkett
Address: Tapachula 96, Col. Hipodromo 22420 Tijuana, Baja California Norte
U.S. Postal Address: P.O. Box 439039, San Diego, California 92143-9039
Tel.: (011)(52) 664-622-7400

Consulate, Merida--Greg Segas
Address: Calle 60 No 338 K x 29 y 31, Colonia Alcala Martin, CP 97050, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
U.S. Postal Address: Box 9003, Brownsville, Texas 78520-0903
Tel.: (011)(52)(999) 942-5700

Consulate, Nogales--John Dinkelman
Address: Calle San Jose s/n, Fracc. Los Alamos 84065, Nogales, Sonora
U.S. Postal Address: P.O. Box 1729, Nogales, AZ 85628-1729
Tel.: (011)(52) 631-313-4820

Consular Agents
Acapulco--Alexander Richards
Address: Hotel Continental Emporio, Costera M. Aleman 121-Local 14,
39670 Acapulco, Guerrero
Tel. (from the U.S.): (011)(52) 744-481-0100

Cabo San Lucas--Trena Brown Schjetnan
Address: Blvd. Marina, Local C-4, Plaza Nautica, Col. Centro,
23410 Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Tel.: (011)(52) 624-143-3566

Cancun--Rebecca Kubisiak
Address: Plaza Caracol 2, Segundo Nivel, #320-323, Blvd. Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera,
77500 Cancun, Quintana Roo
Tel.: (011)(52) 998-883-0272

Cozumel--Anne R. Harris
Address: Plaza Villa Mar, Plaza Principal, Parque Juarez
(entre Melgar y 5a Av.), Piso 2 Locales 8 y 9, 77600 Cozumel, Quintana Roo
Tel.: (011)(52) 987-872-4574/4485

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo--Debra Loiuse Mione
Address: Hotel Fontan, Blvd Ixtapa S/N, 40880, Ixtapa, Zihuataejo, Guerrero, 40880 Zihuatanejo, Guerrero
Courier Address: Apdo. Postal 169, Paseo de los Hujes 236, Col. El Hujal, 40880 Zihuatanejo, Guerrero
Tel.: (011)(52) 755-553-2100

Mazatlan--Luis Antonio Ramirez Maisonet
Address: Hotel Playa Mazatlan, Playa Gaviotas 202, Zona Dorada,
82110 Mazatlan, Sinaloa
Tel.: (011)(52) 669-916-5889

Oaxaca--Mark A. Leyes
Address: Macedonio Alcala 407, Int. 20,
68000 Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Tel.: (011)(52) 951-514-3054

Piedras Negras--Dina O'Brien
Address: Abasolo 211, Local 3, Col. Centro
Piedras Negras, Coahuila, C.P. 26000
Tel. (011)(52) 878-782-5586/782-8664

Playa del Carmen--Samantha Mason
Address: "The Palapa", Calle 1 Sur, entre Avenida 15 y Avenida 20
Playa del Carmen 77710 Quintana Roo
Tel: (011)(52) 984-873-0303

Puerto Vallarta--Kelly Trainor de Oceguera
Address: Paradise Village Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros #1, Local 4, Int. 17 63732 Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit
Tel.: (011)(52) 322-222-0069

Reynosa--Vera Nicole Vera
Calle Monterrey #390 esq. Sinaloa, Col. Rodriguez
88630 Reynosa, Tamaulipas
Tel. (011)(52) 899-923-9331

San Luis Potosi--Deborah Escobar
Address: Edificio "Las Terrazas," Av. Venustiano Carranza 2076-41, Col. Polanco,
78220 San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi
Tel.: (011)(52) 444-811-7802

San Miguel de Allende--Edward Clancy
Address: Dr. Hernandez Macias 72
37700 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
Tel.: (011)(52) 415-152-2357


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