Highlights of Mexico (3): Mexico today

Mexico is a large country with a large population. Geographically it covers over two million square kilometres (over 760,000 square miles) which makes it the 13th biggest nation on the globe. It has an estimated population of over 120M which makes it the 11th most populated country on earth. The country has three time zones.

Officially the country is called the United Mexican States and it is a federation of 32 states (one of which is the capital Mexico City). Economically the country has the 15th largest gross domestic product in the world but, among OECD nations, it is second only to Chile in having the highest degree of economic disparity between the extremely rich and the extremely poor.

Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index lists Mexico, at 95th, as the most crooked of all countries in the OECD. The current president is reformist Enrique Peña Nieto – a return to power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 12 years out of office – but he has been involved in his own scandals.

Infamously Mexico is best known outside the country for its war on drugs. This has left over 60,000 dead and perhaps another 20,000 missing over the last decade. The drug cartels have as many as 100,000 members. However, most of the narco violence takes place in the northern states and our holiday is in the most southern states.

Sadly kidnapping is endemic in Mexico and no longer just affects the rich. The true scale of this crime is unknown since most kidnappings are not reported because of the collusion or involvement of present or former police personnel. But they say that tourists are rarely the subject of kidnappings.

Oh, there’s now the Zika virus …


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