Here is an irony I often come across. I meet a fair range of people in Mexico City, from all sides of the financial spectrum. And I’m always curious as to how they view their country from a global viewpoint.
First off I should say, Mexico is rich. Really rich. There is plenty of money here. But it’s held by just a few, with the majority being without. It’s a confusing mix of First World, Third world and Manana World all mixed into one. Latin America’s richest man is Mexican, and he recently built Latin America’s tallest building, Torre Mayor. And it’s really tall. It reaches higher into the sky than anything the US has ever built. Ok, so it does have that 1 mile head start that Mexico City affords it’s architecture. For you Brits to get an understanding…if you climbed to the very top of Ben Nevis, you’ll be about halfway up to Mexico City.
But when I ask Mexicans where they think their country sits on the scale I get surprising answers. Those with decent jobs, and therefore decent money laugh and immediately declare it to be a third world country, followed up by a sad shaking of the head. Well, I guess there are many poor people here.
But when I ask a poor person, I tend to get the opposite. I’m not sure they fully understand the question. I’m told to look around, and see the market stalls full of such a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, all so cheap. Look at the beauty of the tropical regions – Mexico is one of 12 countries that contains 80% of all known life on earth. Look at the Copper Canyon – more than 4 times the length of the Grand Canyon, and 50% deeper at times. The Pacific ocean with it’s wealth of wildlife, eating fish and beautiful sunsets. The incredible history and culture. The art scene is and always has been positively breathing fire. The wonderful people.
Ok, so they misunderstood the question, but they made a good point. A better point that I could think of. Who cares for labels, Mexico is a fantastic country, and they’d be nowhere else. Obviously I didn’t get the opportunity to quiz the several million that skipped across the border to the north…! But the reality is that most wouldn’t go if you gave them a Green Card today.