Misconceptions about Mexico

Just like with any country, people have certain ideas about Mexico and Mexicans. Quite often, these ideas are based upon generalizations and a lack of knowledge. Below are a few of those generalizations, and the true facts along with them.

Misconception #1: Mexicans are lazy

This might be the utmost persistent of them all. “Mexicans are lazy, they lie in the sun all day with a sombrero tilted on their heads.”

I have been in Mexico several times. I have even lived there, in the heart of the country: Mexico City. All around me, people were always on the move, going from one place to the next, working, talking in great gestures. The few people who were sitting somewhere, were enjoying a meal. Even the elderly were always doing something. I know a lot of Mexicans who work from 7AM to 2PM, take a two hour break, and then work from 4PM until late in the evening (sometimes even until 1)PM). The taxi drivers work 12-hour shifts, with virtually no break whatsoever. Bottom line: Mexicans are hard working people.

Misconception #2: Mexico is a Third World country

About 50 years ago, this might certainly be true. Until 1968, when the Olympic Summer Games were held in Mexico City, there was a repressive regime ruling the country, quite comparable with a Third World country dictatorship. But the Tlatelolco massacre proved to be a turning point in Mexican contemporary history. The country was to become a modern and civilized economy, with great prosperity ahead.

Later, in 1985, Mexico City was struck by a huge earthquake, 8.5 on the Richter scale. The devastation of the ancient capital was enormous. Even prominent Mexicans like Placido Domingo single-handedly searched for survivors within the ruins, and a number of western countries offered their help and expertise to re-raise the capital in its former glory – with a transformation towards a more modern city center. Ever since, any later earthquake did not damage the buildings of this metropolis.

When I first visited the city in 2008, I was struck by the modern civilization that lives there. In 2005, Mexico was about to join the BRIC group. However, the country was considered already more advanced than the other 4 countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). This indicates the prosperous economic growth of the country.

Misconception #3: Mexico is a drug ruled country

It is certainly true that, in some parts of the country, there is criminalization going on through drug traffic. Especially the north states of the country suffer from fierce drug cartels, with huge consequences for the population. More and more smuggling takes place around the Rio Grande. And yes, corruption still exists in large amounts – even up to upper level politics. Corruption takes place in every country in the world. The only difference is, that in Mexico it appears to happen more openly. That makes it quite more transparent, doesn’t it? But that just scratches the surface.

In fact, lots of international industries happily settle in this North American country, from all over the world. The thriving economy even triggers USA inhabitants to seek fortune in this country. A few years ago, the migration of people between the USA and Mexico showed a surplus towards Mexico for the very first time!

Misconception #4: Mexicans are dumb, ignorant fools

I could not disagree more with this retarded statement!

The educational system is the most advanced in the entirety of Latin America. In fact, a diploma from the UNAM is considered as the only acceptable Latin American diploma, credited as such in the western world! Its students not seldomly speak at least one foreign language, especially those with a Masters degree. In order to graduate as a Master, knowledge of English is mandatory. Besides, a lot of youngsters I know there know either German, Chinese or French. (In comparison: I don’t know many people from the USA that speak another language but English, by the way)

Its health care is at an extremely high level and its hospitals are among the best in the world. If one is lucky to have a degree of the UNAM, UAM or Politécnico – which, by the way, are open for any student with knowledge and skill – one can often get health care for a lower rate than usual. This may sound cruel, but is in fact a great way to stimulate knowledge. After all: the more educated a person is, the better their benefits.

Misconception #5: Mexico is only good for spending the holidays in a cheap resort

Of course, Mexico is a great country to spend your vacations. And yes, the resorts offer a great recreation time. But Mexico has a lot more to offer than just all-inclusive stays at price-worthy resorts. This country has a history of many millennia, going back to an era when the Mayas lived in the region. The Spanish conquistadors have found it a worthy source of income at the end of the Middle Ages. And the Aztecs are still free to carry out their culture. All in all, it’s a great country for the touristic experience.

In conclusion:

Misconception is one of the themes that occur in my novels The eagle and the serpent and The eagle and the bear. Both are part of a trilogy about my relationship with Natasha. Part 1 is already available in my webshop. Here follows a brief description of part 1:

Natasha, born with spina bifida, a condition that is best described as a split spine, lives with her ultra-conservative parents in Mexico. When she reaches the age of 21, she meets a quite open-minded, yet much older guy from Europe, with whom she starts a relationship. He tells her that she has a choice in how to live her life, after which she starts her struggle for more freedom, together with her boyfriend. The result is a lot of drama, intrigue and the ongoing search for the ultimate freedom. Along with this drama and intrigue, the book also tells the love story of a seemingly impossible love.

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