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NYT Readers: Mexico Maybe Not So Awesome After All
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October 02, 2013, 02:27 PM
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From the New York Times:

Mexico’s New Arrivals Mix Praise and Criticism 

By DAMIEN CAVE 

MEXICO CITY — Can Mexico ever ascend to its proper place in the world economy without tackling corruption and crime head on? When will the country, with its rising potential, stop being held down by weak government? 

Those are some of the tough questions raised by readers responding to an article published in The New York Times on Sunday [by Damien Cave] about the growing number of immigrants from around the world who have resettled Mexico in recent years, viewing it as a land of emerging opportunity. Many foreigners who have lived in the country for years stressed that while they wished the world would focus more on Mexico’s strengths, they also wished the country would do more to tackle its flaws – especially corruption and a justice system that does little or nothing. 

“This is a great dynamic place for growth and wonderful things to happen,” said Irene Lee Pagan, 74, a Texas jeweler who moved to San Miguel de Allende 20 years ago. “But the police don’t care. They’re just sitting there getting a paycheck.” 

Though her city’s new mayor put up posters promoting himself, she said, not one of the 50 robberies and assaults that occurred in her neighborhood over the last three years had been solved. Just a few days ago, she added, a Canadian retiree was beaten during a robbery in her home and nearly died, adding another unsolved crime to the list. 

“I told the police, ‘If one or two of these other crimes had been resolved, this woman would not have been at death’s door,`” she said. “But they just don’t see it.”

... And according to one foreign businessman with two decades of experience in Mexico, neither the country’s powerful officials, nor the corporate executives they often court worldwide, have put in the necessary effort to change how things work. 

“The lack of transparency in the government (national and local) and honest enforcement of laws leads often to years of litigation regarding such things as property rights and employment disputes, where all too often whoever has the deeper pockets comes out on top,” he wrote. While Mexico is, in fact, “a land of opportunity,” he said, it is “definitely not for novices.” 

 

The idea of an American owning a home in Mexico is not some novel 2013 breakthrough, it`s actually something that has faded from memory over the decades. For instance, when I was young it wasn`t considered remarkable that the Hispanophilic John Wayne (who had three Hispanic wives) spent much of his time in Mexico, filming movies in Durango and relaxing at his cliff-top home in Acapulco. 

Americans living in Mexico used to be more in the gossip columns because it was a popular destination for celebrities and bohemians who felt hemmed in by pre-1960s America. For example, in 1951 rich writer/druggie William Burroughs shot and killed his wife at a party in Mexico City. The Burroughs cash register heir managed to more or less bribe his way out of that rap. 

As America loosened up, however, the appeal of Mexico declined for American celebrities (although celebrity murderers, such as O.J. Simpson in 1994, continue to keep it in mind). Why go to Tijuana when you can go to Las Vegas?