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Poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States.
—Nemesio García Naranjo[3] (misattributed to dictator President of Mexico Porfirio Diaz)[4]

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), is a fairly large country in North America. It borders the United States to the North and Guatemala and Belize to the South. Its capital is Mexico City, which is the largest metropolitan area in North America. Like the United States of America capital it used to be a separate part of the country (in this case, the Federal District) instead of a state, but gained its autonomy in December 2017, with the city's boroughs becoming municipalities and electing their own mayors like the rest of the country. Just like its USA counterpart, Mexico is divided into provinces (32 of them), which it calls states.


Colonization and Independence[edit]

Once the site of Native American civilizations such as the Toltecs, the Maya, the Aztecs (who gave the country its name, from "Mexica", one of the ruling tribes of the Aztec empire), the Mixtecs, and the Zapotecs, the country was conquered by Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. The conquistadores, all Catholic, killed and looted the "inferior" peoples of the Americas, always in the name of their savior:[5]. They got some help from other native groups, since the Aztec habit of capturing children and brutally sacrificing them to their gods understandably didn't go over so well with the people whose children were being sacrificed. For said groups, this turned out to be something of a Faustian bargain.[6] In the early 1500s, Spanish conquistadors swiftly defeated the Aztecs and established Spanish rule over Mexico.

For about 300 years, the Spanish rulers administered Mexico as the Viceroyalty of New Spain,Wikipedia discriminating against the indigenous population, mestizos (those of mixed European and native ancestry), and criollos (Europeans who were born in the colonies) at various levels of government. New Spain became a kind of central hub for Spain's colonies across the Americas and the Pacific, and was exploited for its own natural resources, particularly its silver mines[7]. This is where all the 18th-19th century "Spanish MainWikipedia" pirate stuff comes from as the port city of VeracruzWikipedia became one of the primary departure points for resources being shipped to Spain[8].

In 1808, Napoleon made the fateful decision to occupy Spain and replace the king with his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte,Wikipedia which combined with prior mismanagement by the Bourbon monarchy, caused instability across the massive Spanish Empire[9]. Between 1810 and 1830, most of Spain's empire in the Americas fought wars to gain independence. New Spain got in on that action starting in 1810, when a Catholic priest named Miguel HidalgoWikipedia gave a famous speech - which is now lost - called the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores", Dolores being the town where he made the speech[note 1]) which is considered the start of the Mexican War for Independence[note 2][10]. Hidalgo, who was not actually a military leader by trade, wound up personally leading an army of peasant revolutionaries against the royalists... and proceeded to lose pretty badly. He was ultimately captured and executed. The next decade would see the royalists succeed in nearly snuffing out the independence movement, and only small armies led by rebel generals like Vicente GuerreroWikipedia continued to fight.

In 1812, Napoleonic Spain ratified a liberal constitution,Wikipedia which was revoked in 1814 after Napoleon's defeat and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy; in 1820 a military revoltWikipedia forced the king to reinstate it[11]. This led to an unexpected and decisive turning point: Agustín de Iturbide,Wikipedia an important royalist commander who feared that the constitution would cause Spain to become a republic, decided that the best way to protect New Spain from also becoming a republic was to join the rebels. In February 1821, Iturbide entered negotiations with Guerrero, and they came up with the Plan of Iguala,Wikipedia in which they agreed on the character of an independent Mexico. Iturbide ultimately switched sides[12] and convinced other royalist officers, including one named Antonio López de Santa AnnaWikipedia[note 3], to do the same. With the dwindling and demoralized royalists suddenly in disarray, in August 1821 the viceroy agreed to New Spain's independence,Wikipedia[13] although the government back in Spain did not agree- which would be a problem later.

In September 1821, New Spain became the Mexican Empire, and its leaders, including Iturbide, hoped that the king of Spain would agree to become its emperor - but this never materialized, so Iturbide was elected its emperor in May 1822[14]. However, Iturbide constantly fought with Congress, had a dictatorial streak, and mismanaged the economy, so he quickly became quite unpopular. In late 1822 Santa Anna, who had previously been a staunch supporter of Iturbide, started a revolt against the emperor, which gained steam as Guerrero and other leaders from the war for independence also revolted[15]. In March 1823, Iturbide abdicated and fled to Europe[note 4], and Mexico finally became a republic.

Three Republics[edit]

In the aftermath of independence and Iturbide's brief empire, Mexico found itself divided between two major political factions:

  • The Liberals,Wikipedia originally known as "federalists" - they wanted to follow the liberal, republican ideas of the American and French Revolutions, and opposed having a powerful central government. They also generally distrusted the Catholic Church and hoped to reduce its influence over Mexico.
  • The Conservatives,Wikipedia originally known as "centralists" - they preferred a strong central government, and wanted to preserve the existing social structure. They also tended to support the Catholic Church.

Infighting between these two broad groups would largely define Mexico's history for most of the 19th century. This started almost immediately after Iturbide's abdication; Congress began working on a constitution, but the federalists and centralists could not agree on how they should set up the federal government. The federalists carried the day and the Constitution of 1824, which was modeled on the 1812 Spanish constitution, largely reflected their ideas[16].Throughout the 1820s Spain, which hadn't accepted Mexico's independence, made a few attempts to reconquer Mexico[17] - Santa Anna became a national hero when he defeated the final attemptWikipedia in 1829; Spain finally officially acknowledgedWikipedia Mexican independence in 1836.[18]

After Mexico gained independence and started trying to form its own government, it also looked to start encouraging settlers to move to Texas, a rather large region in northern Mexico which at that time had very little non-indigenous population. Foreign settlers called empresariosWikipedia were given permission to move to Texas and set up farms and businesses. In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery (although they didn't have many slaves to begin with, so it was largely symbolic) but the settlers - who were frequently slave-owning Americans - were granted special permission to keep their slaves[19]. However, over time, Mexico sought to restrict slavery in Texas, and eventually abolish slavery there too. This would cause friction between the TexiansWikipedia (American settlers in Texas) and the Mexican government.

At the end of the 1820s, fed up with political instability and the failures of the Liberals, the Mexican people elected the Conservatives to power. The 1830s would see politics dominated by caudillos, charismatic military commanders like Santa Anna[note 5] and Anastasio Bustamante,Wikipedia who would continually seize power and overthrow each other. In 1833, the life-long Liberal Santa Anna switched sides and joined the Conservatives; in 1835, claiming that the Texian settlers were becoming too independent and were refusing to pay taxes, he passed the Siete Leyes ("Seven Laws") which effectively abolished the 1824 constitution and more strongly centralized power in his own hands; this period is known as the "Centralist Republic"Wikipedia[20].

Several Mexican states rose in revolt against the Centralist Republic, most famously Texas, of course. Santa Anna chose to personally lead the Mexican forces against the Texian rebels and in the disastrous climactic battle,Wikipedia he was personally captured and was "gently encouraged" to sign a treaty granting Texas its independence. The government back in Mexico City declared that Santa Anna was no longer president and that his treaty with the Texians was invalid, but the government was powerless to do anything about the treaty. Texas independence was soon followed by its admission into the United States, which of course led to a disastrous, bullshit invasion by the Americans as well. If that wasn't enough Mexico also found itself fighting a bullshit "Pastry War"Wikipedia against France[21]. In the 1840s, the Siete Leyes were gradually rescinded and in 1846, amidst the war with the United States, the 1824 constitution was officially restored,Wikipedia ending the Centralist Republic.

Despite losing the war with the U.S., the restoration of the federal republic and the tenures of moderate presidents in the late 1840s and early 1850s saw Mexico begin the slow process of recovery. In 1853, a clique of Conservatives longing for the "good old days" engineered a coup which brought Santa Anna to power again. This time he proceeded to make himself dictator, even insisting on being called "his serene highness"[22]. After concluding the controversial Gadsden Purchase,Wikipedia Santa Anna was overthrown for the last timeWikipedia in August of 1855 and went into exile, thus ending the era of the caudillos for the time being.

La Reforma, Civil War, Occupation, and Dictatorship[edit]

Siege of Puebla by the French.

After Santa Anna finally went away for good, the Liberals were suddenly in control of Mexico again. They went ahead and passed a major overhaul of Mexican laws which became known as La ReformaWikipedia ("The Reform"), and in 1857 they even rewrote the Constitution to make much of the Reforma permanent.[23] The Reforma gave Mexicans all sorts of rights, shifted government power from the presidency to the Congress, and restricted the power of the Catholic Church. It goes without saying that this was all wildly unpopular with the Conservatives and the Catholic Church. In December of 1857, angry Conservatives started a civil war known as the Reform WarWikipedia or the Three Years War. The Liberals eventually won[note 6] but the war absolutely devastated Mexico, leaving it in ruins and deeply in debt. Many prominent Conservatives fled the country, and would be a problem later.[24]

With the war finally over and Mexico shattered, President Benito JuarezWikipedia found that he was unable to pay the debts his government owed to England, France and Spain, so he did the sensible thing and declared that he wouldn't pay. Those countries naturally insisted that he did in fact need to pay those debts,[25] and subsequently militarily occupied the important port city of VeracruzWikipedia to make sure he did.[26] With a metaphorical gun to his head, President Juárez[note 7] agreed to a payment plan. England and Spain were satisfied and left, but France's Emperor Napoleon IIIWikipedia saw an opportunity, and decided to stick around and make Mexico into an Empire which he could control. This resulted in the second French intervention in MexicoWikipedia[note 8], also known as the Franco-Mexican War. Although a very under-trained, under-fed, and under-equipped Mexican army was able to defeat the French army at the Battle of PueblaWikipedia on May 5th, 1862,[note 9] the Mexicans were eventually overwhelmed and Napoleon's forces succeeded in occupying Mexico.[27]

The Conservatives who had gone into exile after the Reform War returned to help France govern their new empire, and Napoleon convinced the brother of the Austrian Emperor to come reign as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.Wikipedia Apparently nobody had done any research on his background, and the Conservatives were dismayed to find that Maximilian actually had strong liberal tendencies as he began passing liberal reforms, including strengthening the Reforma that they hated so much.[28] Maximilian's policies didn't impress the Liberals however, and they refused to accept him as their monarch. Thus, Maximilian had virtually no support in "his" empire, as both political factions hated him.[29] With the end of the American Civil War, the U.S. threw its weight behind the anti-Maximilian rebels, and started supplying them with guns and money.[note 10] The occupation was also very costly for France, and had become quite unpopular with the French people, so in 1866, Napoleon III began withdrawing troops and support for his puppet.[30] With what little support he had suddenly gone, Maximilian's government began consistently losing battles with the rebels. Maximilian was subsequently captured by the rebels, and executed by firing squad on June 19th, 1867.[31]

After Maximilian's ouster, Juárez became president again,[note 11] and reigned until his death. While he was considered a hero for leading the resistance to the French occupation, his presidency was marred by corruption, and with his narrow reelection in 1871, people started to question if it was really OK for him to be president so many times - after Santa Anna's shenanigans and now Juarez apparently heading the same direction, the idea of a president serving multiple terms started to become quite unpopular. Liberal rivals to Juarez then tried to convince a certain General Porfirio Diaz,Wikipedia who had been an important rebel leader during the French intervention, to launch a rebellion against Juarez on the grounds that presidents shouldn't be reelected[32] - thankfully for everyone involved, Juarez died of a heart attack in July 1872 before the rebellion could really get underway. When Juarez's successor ran for reelection in 1876 and won, General Diaz started a revolt against him which quickly succeeded, and Diaz became the new president under the promise that he would not seek reelection.[33] He kept his promise and did not run for reelection; instead, he had his friend run for election, which he easily won. Diaz, who was still very popular, ran again in 1884 and won. He then proceeded to make himself dictator.

Díaz's 31-year dictatorship—the "Porfiriato"Wikipedia—was significant for the history of Mexico because it would bring the rapid industrialization of the country; promising "Orden y Progreso" (Order and Progress), much of Mexico's present heavy rail infrastructure was built during his tenure. Also tax breaks and similar measures meant to incentivize foreign and national investment were applied in select areas that would become burgeoning industrial centers (such as the present-day city of Monterrey), and the country began modeling itself on the image of the great industrial powers of that time, most notably France, of which Díaz himself was a great admirer (he would die in Paris after his self-imposed exile).[34] All was not good for the regular citizens of the country, however, as although the reforms brought wealth to the business class and the establishment of a national army brought political stability to the republic, the regime was also characterized by the brutal repression of labor movements and the genocide of indigenous populations in the states Sonora and Yucatán. Diaz also used his own private militia known as "rurales"[35] to keep unruly peasants in line, subjugating them to an almost slave-like status.[36]

The Mexican Revolution[edit]

Pancho Villa looking like an absolute badass.

In 1908, President Díaz , who was nearly 80 years old, gave an interview with an American journalist where he said that Mexico was ready for democracy, that he was going to start allowing opposition parties again, and that he planned to retire after the 1910 elections.[37] Francisco I. Madero,Wikipedia a liberal from a wealthy landowning family, became a candidate and was able to gain a lot of support by promising to help poorer people. Díaz disapproved of Madero being his successor, so he decided to run one last time, and tried to manipulate the elections as he had done many times in the past. At the last minute, he had Madero thrown in jail; when the election was held, the results showed that Díaz won nearly 100% of the vote,[38] which was a big surprise to all the people who had not, in fact, voted for him. Madero, who was still in jail, called for a popular revolt against Díaz and made more promises to help poor people.[39] This kicked off the Mexican RevolutionWikipedia of 1910-1920, a chaotic period of war and lots of backstabbing. The main rebel leaders at the start were:

Not long into the revolt, an army led by Zapata won a major victoryWikipedia against Díaz's forces in the south, and a joint effort by Orozco and Villa captured an important cityWikipedia on the border with the United States. Madero ratified a peace treatyWikipedia with Díaz, which allowed Díaz to retire to Europe;[note 12] it also set up an interim government and called for elections a few months later. Madero won the election and became the new president.[40] Things were not all well and good for Madero, as conservatives hated him for his liberal politics and for overthrowing Díaz. Liberals and leftists disliked that he failed to implement land reforms and other policies he had promised; his government also became corrupt, as he tended to favor his wealthy friends and family.[41] Orozco[42] and Zapata[43] subsequently rose in revolt against him.

In February 1913 Díaz's nephewWikipedia and other military officers, with encouragement from the Madero-hating U.S. ambassador,Wikipedia took advantage of Madero's sudden unpopularity to launch a counter-revolutionary coup d'etat against Madero. The commander of Madero's forces, an old Porfiriato general named Victoriano HuertaWikipedia defected to the rebels, who successfully overthrew and assassinated Madero. The bloody coup d'etat became known as La Decena Trágica ("the Ten Tragic Days").[44] Huerta seized the presidency, immediately dissolved Congress, and made himself an absolute dictator known as La Mano Dura ("The Iron Hand"). The rebels who had just overthrown Díaz then took up arms against Huerta[note 13][45] Huerta also drew the ire of the U.S. President Wilson[note 14] in April 1914 when some American sailors were arrested in Tampico[46]- so the US then militarily occupied VeracruzWikipedia (again!); Mexican-American relations were further strained when the American troops caught a German ship trying to deliver weaponsWikipedia[47] to Veracruz in an attempt to circumvent an American embargo against Huerta. Huerta, under pressure from the U.S. and the increasingly victorious rebels, fled into exile after a major defeat at Zacatecas[48] in June 1914.

After Huerta's exit, Carranza became the new president. Carranza was the leader of the "ConstitutionalistsWikipedia" who sought to create a new democratic constitution similar to the old 1857 Reforma constitution. Despite this apparently noble goal, disillusioned leftist rebels known as "ConventionistsWikipedia"[note 15] started fighting against him too. Zapata and Villa, the primary Conventionist leaders, began trying to stir up peasant revolts, and in 1916 when Carranza appeared to be cozying up to the United States, Villa launched a surprise raid on a small border town in New Mexico.[49] The U.S. responded by sending an army led by John J. PershingWikipedia to stop Villa, which it failed to do.[note 16][50] However, with Villa's dwindling forces on the run from both the Constitutionalist army and the U.S. army, he ceased to be a threat and ultimately retired to run a hacienda; Carranza then turned his attention towards Zapata. In 1917, Carranza was the president who rejected Germany's suggestion[51] to attack the U.S. and seize the American Southwest... a suggestion which instead pushed the U.S. to join World War I against Germany.

While all this was happening, in 1916 Carranza held a constitutional convention; in 1917, the new constitution went into effect and remains in effect to this day.[52] It was loosely based on the Reforma constitution of 1857 but updated with the liberal ideologies of Madero and Carranza. This constitution was at the time one of the most socially progressive in the world, but also led to the imposition of an increasingly inflexible dominant party system.[note 17] In 1919, Zapata was finally killed by Carranza's forces. Álvaro Obregón,Wikipedia a bad ass one-armed[note 18][53] Constitutionalist general and former close ally of Carranza's, along with a clique of like-minded revolutionary generals, launched a coup d'etat in 1920[54] which succeeded when Carranza was killed while fleeing the capital.[55] Obregón's subsequent election to the presidency in late 1920 marks the end of the Mexican Revolution, although some issues lingered and would be sorted out in the following decade.

Villa was assassinated in 1923, probably with Obregón's approval,[note 19] making Obregón the last man standing after over a decade of revolution.[56] In 1926, the implementation of laws making education secular led to a bloody but unsuccessful Catholic uprising,Wikipedia[57] which lasted almost three years, although Obregón was assassinated in the middle of the revolt.[58] In the early 1930s, three presidents ruled Mexico on the orders of Obregón's successor, Plutarco Elías Calles,Wikipedia[note 20] whose behind-the-scenes rule from 1928 to 1934 was known as the Maximato.Wikipedia After Lázaro CárdenasWikipedia won the next election, Calles was exiled. Cárdenas, who leaned pretty hard leftist, nationalized Mexican oil after the American companies refused to obey Mexican law on Mexican land[59] and welcomed Soviet politician and communist Leon Trotsky into Mexico.[note 21] Mexico was also one of the few countries to openly support the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and accepted a sizable number of refugees after the republicans' eventual defeat.[60] The Institutional Revolutionary PartyWikipedia (PRI) ruled the country from 1929 to 2000; at the time Mexico was known as the 'perfect dictatorship', since the country still held elections every six years[note 22] and was spared the political instability and civil wars that marred much of Latin America.[note 23][note 24]

Post-revolution and modern Mexico[edit]

NAFTA signing ceremony in 1992.

In 1940, after Nazi Germany sank two of its ships, Mexico entered World War II and for the first and only time in its history fought on foreign shores when it sent the Escuadrón 201 to the Philippines. After the war, the Mexican economy grew exponentially. In the 1950s the urban population started to grow. By 1960 Mexico was actually quite well off for a "Third World Country". However, the presidents didn't rule as well as they thought, and popular movements began to emerge. One such case was the Movement of 1968. Students were beaten up by the police and they protested against that. After a set of demands and months of protests, students were massacred in the Plaza of the Three Cultures on the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City on October 2, 1968, 10 days before the 1968 Summer Olympic Games started. Three years later, a student demonstration was repressed by a paramilitary group called "Los Halcones".[note 25]

These events marked the beginning of the "Dirty War", in which political dissidents "disappeared". After 3 corrupt presidents, in the 1980s Mexico had some change and opened up the political spectrum a bit. After the Mexico City earthquake of September 19, 1985, Mexicans realized that the current party was not as effective as it claimed to be. After some controversial elections in the late 80s, the PRI saw itself forced to open the political system in the 1990s and lost the presidency to the conservative National Action Party[note 26] candidate Vicente Fox in the 2000 elections.

In 2006, President Felipe Calderón decided to "declare war on drugs" without a proper analysis of the dangers of initiating such a "war" with most of the municipal and state police corporations, as well as the whole government structure completely overridden with corruption and infiltrated by drug dealers. Over ten years later, more than 100,000 people have died in violent crimes related to this "war" and drug cartels still have huge power, sometimes even greater than the government, and the Mexican people noticed the conservatives turned out to not be as good as they thought.

Mexican army drug raid.

As a result, the PRI slowly but steadily regained political ground, and surrounded by very strong accusations of fraud, Enrique Peña Nieto (who was once unable to name three books he has ever read), candidate for the PRI, was able in 2012 to win presidential elections. Peña Nieto resulted in an extremely mediocre and unfit presidency, as evidenced by his continuous displays of ignorance of basic geographical knowledge of the country he rules as well as his inability to keep the Mexican economy stable. When he came to power, an American dollar was worth around twelve pesos. As of June 2015, an American dollar is worth close to 15 pesos, and in early January of 2016, the peso-to-dollar ratio changed from 1:15 to 1:19.[61] This, combined with the classic authoritarianism that plagues Mexican politics, has given way to a huge wave of social, political and economic unrest not seen in the country for decades. In short Peña Nieto in a sense is the Mexican equivalent of George W. Bush, including the dynastic aspect.[note 27] In his defense, however, since he took office, oil, one of Mexico's top exports, fell from over $100 per barrel to less than $40 in August 2015.

In addition to the ongoing unrest, the public widely believes that the current Mexican government propagates and coordinates with the major drug cartels. It is also believed that the ABC Daycare Fire in 2009 in Hermosillo, Mexico, was blamed indirectly on the Mexican government. It was revealed that the daycare had no windows, was at twice the maximum capacity, no emergency fire exits, and, at the time of the incident, didn't possess A/C, resulting in the deaths of 49 children ranging from ages 1-8. The federal daycare oversight agency responsible for preventing this had been bribed by the owners to pass every safety inspection test.[note 28] The disappearance of 43 "Normalista" students from Ayotzinapa at Iguala in September 2014 caused even more uproar after allegations that high-level government officials purportedly knew of the incident but were bribed by the Sinaloa drug cartel to keep quiet were leveled at President Peña Nieto, the mayor of Iguala, who was responsible for handing custody of the arrested students from local police to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, and even the chief of Iguala's police force. As of August 2015, no Mexican government official has been investigated or arrested in connection with any of the above tragedies, and 38 unknown bodies found in an unmarked grave near Iguala have been found, although approximately twenty more students are still missing.[62]

The 2018 election saw a surprising rise of the left. Leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (often called AMLO) gained a wide lead in the polls over his opponents, while his party also gained an advantage in congressional preference. Obrador was elected president with a historic 53% of the vote, and his party also won a majority in Congress (which no party had won in 20 years).

Mexico today[edit]

The US-Mexico border: visible at night.

Currently, Mexico involuntarily plays the part of a conservative boogeyman for Republicans in the United States. If one were to listen to the average conservative blowhard, one would think that Mexico and Mexicans are solely responsible for problems related to immigration and drugs,[note 29] never mind the American demand for cheap, under-the-table labor and marijuana that Mexicans, through two very different means of provision, are quite willing to sate.

Poor Mexicans come to the US to work for cheap; as most poor Mexicans are Mestizo or other scary foreign words for "mixed race", the general assumption in America is that all Mexicans are a scary brown, while in reality "Mexican" is about as descriptive of ethnicity as "New Yorker". As a matter of fact Mexico is actually home to many different types of ethnic groups just like America and the Mexicans you see commonly represented are one of many that live in a country that includes pure whites, Indigenous, blacks (a forgotten minority that wasn't even listed in Mexico's census until 2016), Arabs, and Asians, similar to its northern neighbor.

Mexico and the United States are partnered in the War on Drugs; however, as one of the lower-scoring nations on the corruption perceptions index,[2] it is widely believed that Mexico propagates the expensive war, which is raging on forty years after its declaration, due to drug cartels bribing and giving kickbacks to officials at every level of government, particularly in the states at both the northern and southern borders.

As a major transit country between the main producers (Colombia and others) Mexico, much like Central America has a huge problem with drug smuggling. Since the early 2000s the conflict between different cartels among each other, as well as the police and military against all of them[note 30] has escalated to an outright war. Parts of Northern, Southern and Eastern Mexico have become the most dangerous cities in the world and disappearances and gruesome murders of people who "got in the way" or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time have become a fact of life in Mexico. That being said, other parts are safer than many major cities of the US and most major holiday hotspots are still quite safe. The situation in Mexico today is brilliantly explored in the 2010 movie "El Infierno".Wikipedia

Today, the northern and southern portions of Mexico are controlled by separate quasi-governments of cartels and AutodefensaWikipedia Forces who are in a constant state of conflict.[note 31] The Mexican government is all but gone in these areas, where the rise of Narco Saints to venerate famous and mythical "Robin Hoods" such as Jesus Malverde and Juan Joaquin "El Chapo" Loera Guzman have fostered a soft public image of the cartels, and a strong and powerful cult of personality.[note 32]

Some parts of the capital city have seen a huge influx of English-speaking Americans, to the point English predominates in some neighborhoods. The Spanish-speaking populations there are reacting... about as well as their American counterparts do to influxes of Spanish-speaking people. A large amount of this displeasure is driven by rising rents and living costs, product of gentrification as said neighborhoods become more and more catered to the needs of wealthy Americans living in the country.[63]

Cultural superstitions, woo, and pseudo-medical practices[edit]

Mexico, being a mostly impoverished country, with a strong and active native indigenous movement like its neighbors to the south, is rife with undertones of fundamentalist Christianity, the practices of curanderismo, and those who promote woo and New Age mysticism. Take mysticist María Sabina.Wikipedia Known as one of the founders of the modern New Age movement, she was the first curandera (native shaman, known more broadly as "witch doctors") to truly enter the mainstream culture of Mexico's society. She was also the first curandera to let foreigners receive velado (to light with a candle) treatments, designed to open the gates of the mind, using hallucinogenic mushrooms and drugs as part of the ceremony, a modern aspect of many spiritual New Age and alternative medicine and medical woo promoted heavily by the local occultist and gave Dr. Oz drug dealers a new avenue to make profits.

Mexico states[edit]

Mexico is made up of 32 states (31 federative states and the capital state, Mexico City). Each state has its own congress and constitution and are allowed to do anything they like with their own internal affairs.[64]

The states of Mexico. Mexico City in orange is the capital state.

See also[edit]


  1. "Dolores" also happens to mean "pains" or "suffering" in Spanish, but that's just an interesting coincidence.
  2. Not to be confused with the Mexican Revolution, which came much later.
  3. Also known simply as "Santa Anna"... remember him, he becomes very important later.
  4. In 1824 he returned to Mexico, whereupon he was quickly arrested, tried, and executed.
  5. Who was president for 11 non-consecutive terms, and never actually completed a full term...
  6. Surprisingly, with a little help from Mexico's then-recent enemy, the United States...
  7. Who was the first indigenous leader of an independent country in the Americas being of Zapotec descent and originally a monolingual speaker of that language. He was also surprisingly small at 137 cm (4'6").
  8. The first intervention being the Pastry War back in the 1830s.
  9. Now celebrated as "Cinco de Mayo", a relatively minor holiday (still a reason to drink, of course) in that part of Mexico but Oh my god five Margaritas only 19.99 limited offer only today! Oh my gaaawwwwdddd we're getting wasted! ¡Arriba! in the US
  10. During the Civil War, Lincoln feared France would join the side of the Confederacy, so he chose not to intervene in any significant way despite his opposition to the occupation.
  11. Technically he had never stopped being president, so he simply resumed duties.
  12. To France of all places...
  13. Although Orozco notably sided with Huerta, and to this day he is still commonly viewed as a traitor for it.
  14. Which didn't take much because Wilson, to his credit, disliked the cruel dictator.
  15. Named after a convention held in 1914 that tried to unite all of the anti-Huerta rebels; it failed to do so because Carranza distrusted the other rebels and refused to participate.
  16. But it did give Pershing's army some practice marching around in preparation for the US's imminent entry into World War I.
  17. Unlike "true" single-party states, Mexico never outlawed other parties; however, de facto there was only one party that mattered and well into the 1980s no election at the national level was even close to competitive. The PRI has in fact lost only two presidential elections since 1929 and was in power again between 2012-2018. That said, power struggles within the PRI were often rather public and were sometimes justified on an ideological basis
  18. He lost his arm while fighting against Villa in 1915.
  19. Obregón feared that the still-popular Villa could potentially start a new, bloody revolt against him.
  20. Calles had notably been one of the generals who supported Obregón's revolt against Carranza in 1920.
  21. Who was killed there on Stalin's orders in 1940.
  22. Most of them free and fair, though doubts about the result of the 1988 election are still widespread
  23. Though since American business interests in Mexico were never threatened, the CIA never found it necessary to intervene and make Mexico another puppet state like Argentina or Iran.
  24. Just replace "Latin America" with "former Soviet Union", and you've got United Russia.
  25. Otherwise known as the Corpus Christi Massacre of 1968 or El Halconazo. Halcon means falcon.
  26. In Spanish, the party is named the Partido Accion Nacional and is better known as PAN.
  27. Though in his case it is a party dynasty rather than a family dynasty
  28. Although the conspiracy rumors go that the warehouse next to the daycare had some embarrassing and incriminating tax documents (confirmed) of a politician (disputed) who decided to burn it down. Basically, the daycare was seen as unfortunate collateral damage.
  29. Kinda ironic, considering Mexico is effectively controlled by mostly conservative politicians. So, is Bill O'Reilly warning us about the dangers of Republicans and extreme Christianity?
  30. Though shady deals and "dirty" cops cannot be ruled out entirely
  31. The autodefensas are led by a PRIEST of all people. Well, in Michoacan.
  32. Why do you think there were massive protests organized to free El Chapo?


  1. Oh no, it's a PDF!
  2. 2.0 2.1
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