is popular with travelers from all over the world. They go there for reasons almost
too numerous to mention: sunshine, blue seas teeming with fish and coral, crystal-white
beaches, lofty mountains and volcanoes, jungles full of exotic wildlife, collectible
folk art and the breathtaking remains of ancient cultures. And some go for a less
lofty reason: Mexico can be cheap, though you may have to get out of the popular
resort areas to enjoy big savings.
We're compelled, of course, to remind
would-be visitors of Mexico's unevenness. It remains a land of baffling contradictions.
Just down the street from a five-star resort, families camp in ramshackle buildings
without plumbing. Burros, with rough-hewn carts in tow, amble alongside express
highways. Serious pollution problems confront the country, and a huge population
strains its resources. There is widespread poverty and a population yearning for
a better standard of living. But through it all, Mexico endures.
and largest city - Mexico City.
Official language - Spanish.
Other languages: various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages.
site of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Mexico came under Spanish rule for
three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. A devaluation
of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst
recession in over half a century. The nation continues to make an impressive recovery.
Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for
a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement
opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern
states. Elections held in July 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican
Revolution that the opposition defeated the party in government, the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI). Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) was
sworn in on 1 December 2000 as the first chief executive elected in free and fair
America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and
the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US.
Climate - varies from tropical to desert.
The majority of the inhabitants are Mexicans. Ethnic groups:
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%,
white 9%, other 1%.
Religions: nominally Roman Catholic
89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%.
- 110 V.
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