“Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de Estados Unidos” (Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to United States) -Porfirio Diaz, Mexican dictator
In 1510 Hernan Cortes set foot in what today is Mexican territory, initiating a new era for the whole world. More than 500 years later, the Mexican people are still defining their attitudes based on this event, the Conquest.
Across Mexican history, we found a way of blaming others for our disgrace, even taking on a defeated personality.
First, we pointed to Spanish conquerors; the ones who abused our country for 300 years. Later, we said French people dominated Mexico, imposing an emperor (a move many Mexicans bought into). They won’t let us forget about the Americans who supposedly stole our country (ignoring that Americans paid for the piece of land when the Mexican government was too busy exploiting the south part of Mexico).
Others blame the revolution, the national party (PRI) that ran the country for more than 50 years, “the perfect dictatorship”; the national heroes, or anti-heroes (it depends who is telling the story), who betrayed each other for power. Some blame it on President Salinas, for packing our beaches with “Gringos” and selling our Caribbean paradise to foreign hotels to save the economy. The even less serious may blame the referee in Brazil 2014 during a loss to the Netherlands, “No era Penal.”
All of these events have turned us into what we are today. Mexicans distrust each other, have grown to be a hierarchical, conservative civilization which blames the wealthy (who are the worst of all according to Catholicism) and discriminate against the poor, building a divided society. We blame absolutely everyone about our situation and we never stop thinking that it might be responsible for it.
Today we are facing a similar situation.
For the past two years we have lived in limbo. In 2016 president-elect Donald Trump announced his plan to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. At the very end of August 2018, our country finally got some clarity about what the future holds. A preliminary agreement to revise NAFTA is allowing more than half of the Mexican people to breathe again.
But Mexicans should stop sitting back wondering what others are going to do, and start moving our own country forward in the direction we want to go.
For more than 20 years, we’ve allowed ourselves to be so comfortable trading with America that we’ve taken it for granted that this will never change. In the years to come, Mexico must make an effort to take advantage of this economic flow and put our eggs in other baskets. America will remain a major partner and one of the biggest consumers in the world. But let’s also focus on technology. We are living the tech-era and there are barely any advances in our country.
Mexicans have a terrible complex and consider ourselves part of a conquered society. It is time for our new generation to make a real change, and do not let the past mistakes of our elders become our identity.
Following “Trump´s Scary Movie” (that lasted almost two years) we now understand how highly dependent we are on others, and the destabilization that one man´s words created in our economy. It is time to stop and think about our history; think of it as who we are who we should not wanted to be. Mexican traumas should be left where they belong, in the past; it is time now (and our responsibility) to set up our minds and create a new Mexican Identity.
Alejandra Méndez is originally from Puebla, a city near Mexico City. She has a major in marketing and a second year full-time MBA at IPADE, in Mexico. Currently, she is doing an exchange semester in Washington, DC, at the George Washington University. Although she is working towards a master in business, international relations, politics, and journalism have always caught her attention.