1.1 Official name of country
・Estados Unidos Mexicanos (In Spanish)
・United Mexican States (In English)
・México (In Spanish)
・Mexico (In English)
México is another name of the god, Huitzilopochtli, who was known as a patron god of Aztec religion. At first, the capital city was called México Tenustitlan, and México means only the capital city. After the independence from the vice-royalty of New Spain, the name of México became popular as a short form of the name of the country.
1.2 National Flag
The flag has 3 colors, green, white, and red, that show the national liberation army in Mexico. Green represents independence and hope, white implies Catholic and spiritual pureness, and red means racial unification. The central emblem is the Mexican coat of arms, which was the Aztec symbol for México Tenustitlan (now it is called Mexico City).
It was officially adopted in September 16, 1968, but the same flag has been used by Mexicans since 1821.
1.3 National Land /Area
Mexico is a country on the south part of North America. It covers the total area of about 1,960,000 km2, which is 5 times of Japanese land. The land is bordered on the north by United States and on the southeast by Guatemala and Belize. It is also facing the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Gulf of Mexico on the East, and the Caribbean Sea on the south. The coastal line is almost 9,330 km.
Mexico shares a 3,141 km border with the United States on the north. Rio Grande, which is as long as 3,034km, defines the border on the east part.
Most of the land is highland. The average height above sea level on the north part is about 1,000m, and the average of the middle part is about 2,000m. It also has the mountain which is higher than 5,000m.
Distrito Federal (In Spanish)
District Federal (In English)
District Federal (D.F.) is the metropolis which is the largest in terms of political and economic center. The district doesn’t belong to any states as the name shows. People sometimes misunderstand Mexico City as the capital, but to be exact, Mexico City is the name of the area which includes D.F. The population of Mexico City (called Ciudad de México) is more than 20 million. It is known as one of the largest city in Latin America along with San Paulo in Brazil.
The city is in the basin, surrounded by mountains. It used to be Lake Texcoco (Lago de Texcoco), but Spanish people reclaimed land by the lake while Spain once ruled. Though it is in the basin, the height is around 2,240m. It makes some tourists in mountain sickness. The main symptom is anorexia, disorder of sleep, headache, etc. There are also many expatriate staffs who are in trouble because of the sickness.
There is also another problem of air pollution. The shape of the land makes the situation worse. While the government is doing environment countermeasures such as anti-diesel policies, the air is not clean enough.
The weather in Mexico has a wide variety because the land is long from South to North and face to both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The difference in height makes it more various. It can be roughly divided into 4 types of climates:
Desert climate of the peninsula in northwestern Mexico, Baja California
Tropical climate of the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico
Temperate climate and high land climate around the mountain range
Steppe climate of the area next to State of Texas in United States
D.F. is in the high latitudes, but the temperature is around 25℃ for all year because of the height. It is a nice climate to spend time, but the temperature difference between the day and night is clearly noticeable. Even during the summer, a jacket is sometimes needed. From November to February¸it becomes coldest and can be lower than 5℃ at night. You might have the image that it is hot in Mexico, but the protections against cold are necessary to live.
Also, it is important to remember that they have rainy season, which is from June to September. It rains heavily in the evening during the period, and people get caught in heavy traffic. It will take 3 times longer to move in D.F. If you work in D.F. during the rainy season, you need to make the plan only before 3pm.
1.6 Time Difference
There are 4 time zones as the picture shows. A part of Baja California is in PST (Pacific Standard Time), UTC -8. Around the coast of the Gulf of California is in MST (Mountain Standard Time), UTC -7. The other majority part is in CST (Central Standard Time), UTC -6. The most eastern part is in SST (Southeastern Standard Time), UTC -5. From the first Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October is in summer time in all Mexico.
Considering the time difference between Mexico City and Tokyo, Tokyo is 15 hours ahead of Mexico City. In the summer time the difference becomes 14 hours. It is important to consider about the large time difference for the companies in East Asian countries.
Total population is 122.33 million (2013, UN), which is largest in Central America. The rate of population growth has been around 1.1~1.2% for years, and the population of the people in 10~19 years old is specifically large. However, the population of children is decreasing; because the total fertility rate is decreasing, and the young generated people tend to go abroad as emigration.
About 60% of the population is Mestizo, a person of combined American Indian (called Indígena) and European descent. The rest 30% is Indígena, and 10% is European.
Majority of the population is in Mexico City, so traffic jams and terribly crowded trains in the rush hour are the notable problem. Some Mexican people go to the company late with an excuse of traffic jam.
Mexico is the largest country as a Spanish spoken country. The official language is Spanish, and there are more than 60 languages for the indigenous people.
Most people in manager class speak English and Spanish, but there are many people who cannot use English in staff class. We have to note that the people in worker class hardly speak English. Though it is possible to manage the business in English, Spanish is necessary for the daily life. We need to speak Spanish in order to go shopping, eat in restaurants, ride a taxi, etc.
Mexican Peso is the official currency of Mexico. The currency symbol is $, but Mex$ or MXN is often used to distinguish from US$. Supplementary unit is called centavo, and it is shown with ¢. 100¢ is the same as $1.There are 10 types of coins and 6 types of bills.
The average price in Mexico in 2015
Minimum fare for taxi: about $8 (It is $13 for radio taxi.)
Metro: $5 (Fixed Price)
Lunch: $50~$150 (in D.F.)
Dinner: $200~$500 (in D.F.)
House rent: $15,000~$30,000 (It is for the expatriate staffs from Japan, larger than 70㎡)
Other: Electric appliances such as elecommunication equipment, car, bike, etc costs same as those in Japan.
Chip:10~15% of the cost (Not necessary for taxi)
There are a lot of Catholic in Mexico. 85% of Mexican people are Catholic, 8% are Protestant, and other 3% believe in other religions. The religious culture is integrated with long‐established custom. Hence the religious art and the festivals are unique in Mexico.
1.11 Political System
The separation of the three powers is conferred by Section 49 of the Constitution. Federal parliament is in charge of legislation, the president is for administration, and the Supreme Court is for judicature.
Federated republic with constitutional democratic government
[Head of State]
Enrique Peña Nieto: He took office on December 1, 2012. The term of office is 6 years.
Bicameral legislature: The upper house has 128 seats, and the lower house has 500 seats.
They neither have the Prime Minister nor vice president. The president designates the cabinet ministers.
In Mexico, they don’t have coup after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. It makes civilian control possible and the government stable.
Also, Mexican people don’t prefer hierarchical relationship, which means exploitation for them. This is because they have the experience of the colonial period. In a company that has strong hierarchical relationship, workers often change their job.
1.12 The Mexico’s main history
[Downfall of Aztec Empire ~ Colonial Period]
Spanish army forces, led by Hernán Cortés, landed in Mexico and started to invade Aztec Empire in 1519. Tenochtitlan was conquered, and Aztec Empire disappeared in 1521. After that, the land had been a colony for about 300 years. Though there were more than 25 million Indígena at first, it became only 1 million because of the strict colonial rule and the plague, which was brought from Europa.
At the same time, the population of Mestizo became large. It produced new culture, combined the traditional culture of Indigena with the Spanish culture.
[Mexican War of Independence ~ The Reform]
Mexico modernized by experiencing several upheavals such as Mexican War of Independence, Mexican-American War and The Reform through the 19th century.
Criollo, who were born in Mexico from Spanish parents, were controlled by Spanish at first, but they became independent through this reform. At the same time, Mestizo and Indio, who were also under the control, triggered off the class conflict. These upheavals were converged to the reform for liberalism, and the colonial system was finished finally in the middle of 19th century.
Benito Pablo Juárez García, who is from Indio, was elected as the President in 1861. He promoted industrial development and educational promotion, and it was successful. However, the government had stopped paying external debt, so the French army, which was the creditor, occupied Mexico for 4 years.
[Dictatorial government by Porfirio Diaz ~ Mexican Revolution]
Porfirio Diaz became the president after the coup. He governed Mexico dictatorially for 25 years since 1876. It was first time for Mexico to experience the long-term stable government. Though he endorsed activities to elicit investment and achieved the economic development, the citizens were unsatisfied with the autocracy.
The influence of people who pursue democracy became strong, and Mexican Revolution occurred in 1910. Diaz had to get away outside of the country. After that, the power of revolution fought with the power of counterrevolution for taking the initiative. The power of revolution extended their sphere of influence by leading workers and farmers, and finally, they were able to proclaim the new constitution in 1917. The revolution was completed.
[One-party dictatorship by PRI]
Even after the revolution, the confrontation of the political lines was an issue. However, all forces were integrated in 1929, and PNR (Partido Nacional Revolucionario) was established. The government became stable by the agrarian reform and the nationalization of railroad and oil field. In 1946, it was reorganized to PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional). PRI became stable thanks to World War II. The one-party dictatorship by PRI continued for 54 years until 2000.
[Benefits and drawbacks of Mexican Miracle]
PRI promoted industrialization with abundant oil source. While the other countries in Latin America established military administrations in 1950s~1970s, the administration in Mexico remained stable with civilian control. It attracted world capital into Mexico, and the economy developed drastically in 1940s~1970s. It is called Mexican Miracle. In 1968, they hold the Summer Olympic in Mexico City.
However, large gap between rich and poor had emerged because of the development. There were also problems about the government such as the crackdown on the power of ant-government. Moreover, debt accumulation increased because of the trade deficit and a failure of fiscal consolidation. In 1980s, the economy got worse by inflation and the fall in price of oil.
[Conclusion of NAFTA]
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) came into effect between USA, Canada and Mexico in 1994. Because of the low labor costs, many factories of ordinary vehicles and consumer electronics were established in Mexico after the conclusion. More products were imported to USA than earlier, and it increased employment here. After that, the workers can work in Mexico and don’t need to go to USA as migrant workers.
On the other hand, NAFTA influenced badly for petty farmers, who have less power to produce than the farmers in USA. The peasants’ revolt occurred with weapons.
[Beginning of the Government by PAN ~ Revival of PRI]
Vicente Fox Quesada from PAN (Partido Acción Nacional) was elected as the President in 2000. PRI was defeated by PAN because of the political corruption. PRI had taken the power for as long as 71 years before that.
In the election in 2006, PAN was chosen again with the candidate, Felipe Calderón. The candidate from center-left coalition, including PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática), was the biggest rival of Felipe. Felipe promised the narcotics control and system reform, and he got support.
However, economic downturn, influenced by Global Financial Crisis, and the continuous bad security make PAN loose the reliance. In 2009, PAN lost their seat through the election of Congressional district. At the same time, PRI was able to become the leading party.
In 2012, Enrique Peña Nieto was elected from PRI as the president. PRI got the power again for the first time in 12 years.
1.13 Mexican Education System
They have 5 types of education; Primary Education, Middle Education, Secondary Education, Vocational Education and Tertiary Education. The Primary Education, which takes 6 years, and the middle education, which takes 3 years, is compulsory education. The compulsory education doesn’t cost in public schools. Before the elementary education, the children can also take early childhood education from 3 years old. Most schools have the classes in Spanish, but some schools use both Spanish and another minority language depending on the area.
It is called “Primeria” in Mexico, for students aged 6 – 11. This primary education has been compulsory since 2009. Before starting this education, one year of pre-school education is mandatory. There is standardized curriculum for both public and private schools. The National Institute for Assessment of Education monitors standards and provides quality control. In the public schools, they have tripartite system, in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night, so that everyone can go to school.
Secondary education in Mexico is divided to two stages. The lower stage is for middle education, whose students are aged 12-14, and it is also compulsory. The students can take the education without payment if they go to state school. The state school has tripartite system as the primary education do. Most students usually take the upper secondary education after the lower stage, middle education.
Upper secondary education for students aged 15-17 is called “Educación Media Superior.” Many schools of this education are affiliated with public universities.
There are 2 types of schools. In order to enter academic universities, they need to take Preparatory and Professional Technical Education. In this education, the students study general things for the first 2 years, and the last year is for their specialization.
The others are Professional Technical Institutions as Vocational Education. This is to prepare for working immediately after graduation. There are many types of institutions and programs in this type of school. The students can earn the title of professional technician after the completion of this type of schools, which can be registered with registration card as license in Mexico.
The tertiary education system in Mexico is similar to American model. The undergraduate education is for 2 -6 years depending on the major. For example, Associate Degrees are taken with 2 year-education in Technological Universities. In the course of accounting, economics, engineering, law, and architecture, most students go to university for 5 years. After graduation from these universities/institutions, they can take Master’s degree, which lasts 1 or 2 years. There is also Doctorate, and this degree requires at least 2 years of study beyond a Master’s degree.
The level is different depending on the universities. Though UNAM is the most famous, it is said that the people having graduated from ITAM or ITESM are better as the workers for foreign universities.