When we hear discussions or read articles about drug wars, killings, and illegal immigration into the United States, many of us immediately think of Mexico. As a nation, Mexico is a much greater country than these commonly referred to issues. Mexico is a country with a broad history, deep family culture, and an economy fueled by oil and tourism. The United States Department of State (USDS) offers a broad range of information on countries outside the US, including Mexico. I found a wealth of information about Mexico through the USDS Background Note provided on their website located at www.state.gov. I will outline for you the key information found in this report, and others, related to the Mexican economy, culture, and more.
The economy of Mexico is vastly diverse, much like that of the United States. Mexico has many different sources of economic revenue including tourism, oil, agriculture, and the automobile industry. The USDS website reports the percentage breakdown of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the largest portion (61%) coming from the service sector. The site defines the service sector as commerce and tourism, financial services, transportation and communications. In 2010, Mexico attracted 21.3 million tourists, making it the 10th most visited destination in the world. The remaining portion of GDP is broken down between industry and agriculture. Industry accounts for (31%) of GDP and is defined as a combination of food and beverage, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, and others. The remaining 5% of GDP comes from agriculture, with the top three crops being corn, wheat, and soybeans. Mexico also has a variety of natural resources including petroleum, silver, copper, and gold, which is included under mining in the industry category.
Like its natural resources, the culture of Mexico is rich with history. A Spanish conquest from the period of 1519 – 1521 ended with the establishment of a Spanish colony. Mexico declared its national independence from Spain in 1810. The people of Mexico are a combination of Aztecs, Mayas, Olmecs, Toltecs, and Spanish. Mexico is a Christian nation, with the primary religion being Catholicism. 76.5% of Mexico’s population practices the Catholic religion. Protestants account for 6.3% of those practicing a religion, with 13.8% being unspecified. The country is the world’s most populous Spanish speaking country, with a 2011 population estimated at 113 million people.
The government structure of Mexico is a federal republic, and is somewhat similar in structure to that of the US. The country has a President, elected by the people, and serves one six-year term. The country also has a Congress, which is a combination of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The people elect members of Congress, like the President, and they may only serve one six-year term as well. The current President of Mexico, Filipe Caulderon, is representative of the National Action Party (PAN). PAN is one...