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Column: Mexico’s brighter dawn

Bell Johnson

Dec. 7, 2012

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

“Sí se puede” isn’t just the famous line from a Disney Channel original movie; it means so much more.

It’s a motto by which Mexico has been striving to achieve for the past couple decades. The phrase literally translates as “yes we can.” And, yes you can, Mexico. After years of disappointments and rising violence, Mexico’s bright dawn is on the horizon.

The current stereotype of Mexico isn’t very favorable. Perceived as a country with an underachieving economy, fierce drug wars and harsh poverty, the world’s outlook on Mexico isn’t fair. Albeit, these predetermined views of the 11th largest country in terms of population were, in fact, often true in previous years.

Today, such is not the case. Mexico’s economy exceeded Brazil last year and will grow twice as fast in the next year. Mexico’s birth rate is lower than that of the U.S. Poverty is being addressed with services such as universal free health care, and murder rates are slowly dropping. Mexico’s recent resurrection is a great thing. With a rising economy, the country can have a more dynamic impact in world trade. Maybe that is why the world’s biggest migration has gone topsy-turvy.

Recall last month’s presidential election and how one of the issues was immigration? Recent surveys indicate that the numbers of Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. are dropping; rather, there is a greater exodus of people leaving — both Latinos and U.S. citizens. So Gov. Mitt Romney’s ingenious proposal of constructing a bigger, more threatening fence around our 2,000-mile border now seems ludicrous.

The Mexican migration ebb has dwindled from the boom between 1995 and 2000, when about 3 million Mexicans moved to the U.S. The Pew Hispanic Center, based in Washington, D.C., now claims that there are more people immigrating to Mexico today than there are emigrating from it. The U.S. Border Patrol foiled 286,000 immigrants this past year, compared to the 1.6 million in 2000. That’s the lowest it’s been in 40 years.

The reasons for the great tide shift can be attributed to Mexico’s growing economy. When China graced the trade industry with its cheaply priced exports, Mexico lost billions of dollars in exports. But now with China’s bargain-export machine at a low, Mexico has stepped back into the light. Instead of spending the extra money to import goods from Asia to America, North and South American countries can now look to their neighbor. Instead of waiting months for a shipment of goods, it can now take a matter of days.

Also consider oil. Mexico hit the jackpot in the 1970s and is now one of the world’s largest exporters of black gold. Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, is planning an energy reform in 2013, when the country might see a change in the nationalization of the oil industry previously established in 1938. If Mexico were to allow oil competition within its country, the economy could dramatically skyrocket.

With the potential of revitalization in Mexico, it’s no wonder that many Latinos are now returning home. America’s slow-growing economy isn’t providing the same prospect of hope that it used to. The reason for the influx in immigrants during the early 2000s was a hope for a brighter life in the U.S. Mexico’s economy was in the tank, and the U.S. looked like a shining beacon of promise for tomorrow.

While it is great to see Mexico pull itself out of a hole, what does this mean for the U.S.? The immigration debate sparks controversy because of immigrants filling jobs where Americans could be employed. A plus for this slowdown of immigration is more job accessibility. But what about the economy?

If more people are leaving to participate in boosting Mexico’s economy, who is going to help boost the United States’?

The Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012. However, new interpretations have disproven this assumption. According to these scientists, the Mayans foretold a renewal, not the apocalypse. It looks as if Mexico has fulfilled the prophecy.

The question now is if the U.S. can pull off a similar turnaround, though it won’t be without some difficulties. I believe they can. Sí se puede, Mexico, sí se puede.

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