As many of you know, 204 years ago today, Mexico declared its independence from Spain. Today Mexico is a federal republic comprised of 31 states and a federal district. Many of you know Mexico through Cd. Juárez, El Paso’s sister city. Others know Mexico through its beaches and tourism. However, most US citizens have a perception of Mexico based on misconceptions perpetuated through sensationalized headlines and the debate about immigration reform in the United States. In light of my country’s independence, I thought I would share a little more about my country that many may not know about.
First, let me clear up one of the biggest misconceptions perpetuated by a beer brand, today is Mexico’s Independence Day, not Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is the expulsion of the French occupying force from Mexico. Today, what Mexicans celebrate is the determination of a people to rid itself of the yolk of the Spanish invaders, restoring the indigenous country that had existed previously.
Mexicans are 90% mestizos. Nine percent of us are White. We are the largest Spanish speaking country in the world. Many of you reading this may not realize that the United States has the fifth largest Spanish speaking population in the world.
Mexico’s religious population is predominantly Roman Catholic (83%), followed by Evangelical churches (5%), then by Pentecostals (2%) and then by Jehovah’s Witnesses (1%).
In terms of population, Mexico is the twelfth largest country in the world with a Mexican population of about 120.2 million. We are the second most populous country in Latin America and North America, alike. Approximately one million US citizens live in Mexico. It has been estimated, by various sources, that about 10 million Mexican citizens live in the United States.
Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market. Mexican imports to the United States ranks Mexico as the third-largest source for US imports. Mexico’s economy, at $1.327 trillion in 2013, ranks it the eleventh largest economy in the world.
Mexico’s external debt is $354.9 billion ranking it as 32nd of the countries with debt to foreign investors. The US, is ranked second with an external debt of $15.7 trillion. In 2013, Mexico received about $213 million in US foreign aid.
Mexico is the eleventh largest oil exporter in the world. Mexico has about 48 million Internet users, ranking it eleventh in the world. Mexico has the third most airports in the world. The United States is ranked first with Brazil ranked second, according to the number of airports in each country.
As any country, Mexico has many things to be proud about and some issues, both internally and externally that it needs to resolve. Regardless, today is a day of celebration for a 204-year-old country that I proudly call me own.