Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Country of the week.
Our other neighbor to the south. Mexico tends not to get much attention from us, except in the negative. Which is a shame, because things are a happenin' down there. Now, nothing is happening on the earth shattering realm of the war in the middle east or the presidential election up here, but it's worth keeping in touch with the great brown south.

Now it's really unfair of me to say Mexico is brown (But about as accurate as calling Canada predominantly white). The land around the border with the US is mostly dry and arid, but Mexico gets greener as you get south, until you are in the Yucatan, which is far more vegetated.

Mexico's government is similar to ours. They have a president, who at the moment is Vicente Fox (I'll get back to him), who is elected every 6 years. They have a two-part congressional body. The Senate has 128 people, although only 96 are elected. The other 32 are allocated to parties by percentage of each parties popular vote. They have a Federal Chamber of deputies, which has 500 seats. 300 are elected and 200 are allocated by percentage of party vote.
They also have a supreme court, who are appointed by the president with consent of the senate.
There are several political parties, most notably the institutional Revolutionary Party (RPI) and the National Action Party (PAN). The RPI has held the Presidency since the Mexican revolution in 1910. That changed in 2000, when Fox was elected as the first non-RPI candidate in history. Some say it was the first fair vote in this countries history.
2006 is going to be quite a mess for the Mexicans as they vote for the entire Senate, Chamber and the Presidency in one shot.

Just for kicks, remember that Cinco de Mayo (1862) is NOT the Mexican Independence day. It is a celebration of the defense of their independence. Their actual independence from Spain was achieved on Sept 16, 1810.

Mexico and the US have a pretty good long standing relationship, despite the tension caused by illegal aliens, drug/border issues, and water rights issues. Since NAFTA ten years ago the economy has been steadily getting better. Things are still pretty dire, but heading in the right direction.

The Mayor of Mexico City has been an overwhelming favorite to become president in 2006, but last month a scandal erupted involving his financial secretary that might depose him from his office.

A devastating flood in northern Mexico, in the state of Coahuila near the US border killed at least 50 people and displaced thousands last month. The tributary of the Rio Grande swelled up to 25 feet.

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