Mexico

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Overview

Mexico has a population of slightly more than 100 million people, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the third most populous country in the Western Hemisphere. Its location just south of the United States, with which it shares a 2,000-mile border, has led to a very close, and at times contentious, relationship with its northern superpower neighbor. A large portion of the Western United States was seized from Mexico in the mid-1800s following the US victory in the Mexican-American War. Relations between the two countries warmed during the latter stages of the 20th century as trade became a powerful interconnection. The bilateral economic relationship with Mexico is among the most important for the United States, thanks in large part to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in effect since 1994. Mexico is the United States’ third most important trading partner, while the United States is Mexico’s most important trading partner.

 
The United States and Mexico are closely tied in areas not directly related to trade and investment. There are links through migration and tourism, drug trafficking, environment and health concerns, and family and cultural relationships. Millions of Mexicans have immigrated to the US, both legally and illegally, resulting in the growing “Latinization” of the American Southwest. Immigration has become a heated political issue in the US, especially along the border, where the Bush administration pushed forward with the building of a 700-mile fence to stem the tide of illegal immigrants, even though the plan has angered officials in the Mexican government.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Bridging the gap between North and Central America, Mexico has a wide range of climate and topography. Two mountain ranges and the high plateau between them dominate central Mexico. The western range, with peaks up to 10,000 feet, is known as the Sierra Madre Occidental; the Sierra Madre Oriental, on the east, is much lower. A range of ancient and active volcanoes crosses Mexico east to west near Mexico City; some of these reach 18,000 feet in elevation. There are wide coastal plateaus, especially on the Gulf of Mexico. The Yucatán Peninsula is an interesting feature; a wide, flat thumb of low-lying jungle thrusting into the Gulf of Mexico, it is the site of ancient Mayan cities, which were abandoned centuries ago and only rediscovered in the 19th century.

 
Distinctions in Mexico's climate are often made vertically, by elevation. Tierra caliente (“hot country”) is land below 3,000 feet, including coastal plains and riverbeds. Tierra templada (“cool country”) is above 6,000 feet, and includes upper mountain slopes and high plateaus.
 
Plant and animal life ranges from the cacti and lizards of the northern deserts to the palms, creepers, and fabled quetzal bird of the tropical regions.
 
Population: 110 million
 
Religions: Catholic 88.8%, Protestant 7.1%, Ethnoreligious 1.1%, Muslim 0.2%, Jewish 0.1%, non-religious 2.5%.
 
Ethnic Groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%.
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 82.1%, Nahuatl language cluster (Central Huasteca, Eastern Huasteca1, Guerrero, Orizaba....) 1.7%, Maya (Yucatán, Chan Santa Cruz) 0.7%, Mazahua (Central, Michoacán) 0.4%, Tzotzil language cluster (Oxchuc, Huixtán, Zinacantán...) 0.4%, Mazatec language cluster (Ayautla, Chicquihuitlán, Mazatlán...) 0.2%, Otomi language cluster (Ixtenco, Mezquital, Tenango...) 0.2%. There are 291 living languages in Mexico.
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History

Mexico’s early history was dominated by four great civilizations—the Mayas, Olmecs, Toltecs and finally the Aztecs. The Spanish, led by Hernán Cortés, conquered the Aztecs in 1519–1521. Spain ruled Mexico for the next 300 years until 1821 when Mexicans won their independence after a 10-year struggle.

 
From 1821 to 1877, Mexico’s government constantly changed leaders (an average of every nine months). Mexico lost Texas in 1836 to the United States in a conflict that featured the famous battle for the Alamo. Another war lasting from 1846–1848 resulted in Mexico losing the area that is now California, Nevada, and Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. These territories were officially ceded to the US under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
 
In 1855, the Indian patriot Benito Juárez began a series of reforms, including the disestablishment of the Catholic Church, which owned vast property. The subsequent civil war was interrupted by the French invasion of Mexico (1861) and the crowning of Maximilian of Austria as emperor (1864). He was overthrown and executed by forces under Juárez, who again became president in 1867.
 
Porfirio Díaz served as president of Mexico from 1876 to 1911 (ruling for 35 years). He became entrenched in power and an influential dictator. When he announced that he would run for his 8th term, he was challenged with harsh resistance.
 
The Flores Magón brothers, Ricardo and Enrique, were anarchist revolutionaries. They published several newspapers opposing Diaz’s stance and furthered their cause by forming the Mexican Liberal Party, which was responsible for many strikes and uprisings between 1906 and 1911.   
The Plan Liberal of 1906 was written by Ricardo Flores Magón in hopes of protecting the rights of the Mexican people. It included opposition to child labor and called for 8-hour workdays 6 days a week with proper pay. Furthermore, the plan argued for an end to capital punishment, the return of ejido land (when the government promotes the use of communal land) and mandatory education with secular schools for children. The plan outlined many ideas that inspired key fundamentals of the Constitution of 1917.
 
While exiled in Texas in 1910, Francisco I. Madero drafted The Plan of San Luis Potosi, which ushered in the Mexican Revolution.  Madero called for democracy and asked for violent direct action from the Mexican people. He gained support from fellow revolutionaries, including Pancho Villa (North) and Emiliano Zapata (South).
 
 After gaining widespread support throughout Mexico, Madero finally took over the presidency in November 1911. A couple months into his presidency, Zapata, his former ally, drafted The Plan of Ayala accusing Madero of being a traitor. The plan summarized Zapata’s resentment of Madero’s lack of incorporation of agrarian reforms, which had been defined in the Plan de San Luis Potosi.
 
In the years following the fall of Porfirio Díaz, Mexico experienced bloody political-military strife, and trouble with the United States, which culminated in the American invasion into northern Mexico (1916–1917) in an unsuccessful pursuit of the revolutionary Pancho Villa.
 
 Eleven months after his inauguration as president, Madero was assassinated by orders from Victoriano Huerta. In response to Madero’s death, the Mexican Revolution reached a drastic, unmanageable stage.
 
The constitutionalist forces opposing the Madero regime responded with The Plan of Guadalupe in 1913. The plan accused Huerta of being a traitor and called his presidency fraudulent.
In 1914, the United States intervened under President Woodrow Wilson’s orders, which ultimately influenced the outcome of the Mexican Revolution. Huerta resigned and fled to Texas. 
Venustiano Carranza led the Constitutionalist Army and managed to defeat the Federal Army. The result was The Mexican Constitution of 1917, which was drafted by Carranza, who assumed power. The constitution incorporated socialist ideals, such as Article 27, which nationalized property, the institution of ejidos, and the labor laws within Article 123. These ideals paved the way for Mexico’s social law. With Carranza as the president, the country regained some much needed stability.
 
The Napoleonic code influenced Europe’s outlook in commercial and financial objectives. In Mexico, the code primarily influenced the development of its criminal law. The code played a role in the shaping of the Civil Code of 1928. The 1928 decision made by Jurisprudencia (case law) extended the powers of the president. The revolution had incited idealists to fight against the supreme power of the government, as would the new government with Plutarco Elías Calles and his drafting of the 1928 Civil Code. The code applies to private laws and citizens’ most private rights.
 
Plutarco Elías Calles was an atheist president who ruled himself (1924-1928) and then vicariously through several succeeding presidents: Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, and Abelardo Rodríguez. Calles was the de-facto ruler during a time period called the “Maximato.” After his election in 1924, he applied anti-clerical laws fiercely. In 1926 he signed the “law for reforming the penal code” which provided specific penalties for priests and other individuals who violated the 1917 constitution. 
 
Between 1926 and 1929, the battle between church and state was culminated in The Cristero Rebellion. The rebellion was set off by anti-clerical articles in the Mexican Constitution of 1917. Some of the articles that demonstrated anti-clerical sentiment include: Article 3, which provided free secular education and prohibited the church from participating in this education, and Article 24 which forbade worship outside of churches.  
 
In 1934, Calles chose his wartime buddy, Lázaro Cárdenas, to secede the presidency. Calles expected to rule through him as well, but when Cárdenas became president he exiled Calles. Lázaro Cárdenas’ rule marked the ending of the “Maximato” and the Cristero Rebellion. 
 
Political stability began to take root in 1929 with the rise of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR; National Revolutionary Party), which was dominated by revolutionary and reformist politicians from northern Mexico. PNR controlled Mexican politics throughout the 20th century and was renamed the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI; Institutional Revolutionary Party) in 1946.
 
 In 1968 protests gained more force as thousands of students rallied in Mexico City to protest the government’s authoritarian rule. As the date approached of hosting the 1968 Summer Olympics, tensions grew as the Mexican government speculated that the protests threatened Mexico’s reputation in the international realm. On October 2nd, ten days before Mexico would host the Olympics, the Mexican Army fired at unarmed protesters in the Tlatelolco Massacre. Estimates vary wildly, ranging from 200 to 2,000 killed in the bloodbath. A similar tragedy occurred on June 10, 1971, when a paramilitary squad opened fire on dozens of students in Mexico City, in what became known as the Corpus Christi Massacre. These two events were part of the so-called “Dirty War” that Mexican authorities waged against opponents from the 1960s to the 1980s.
 
Under the leadership of President José López Portillo, Mexico became a major petroleum producer during the 1970s. By the end of Portillo’s term, however, Mexico had accumulated a huge external debt because of the government’s unrestrained borrowing on the strength of its petroleum revenues. The collapse of oil prices in 1986 cut Mexico’s export earnings.
 
Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who served as president 1988-1994,  recognized the first opposition governor, a member of PAN. He also re-privatized banks and the telephone monopoly, which went to Carlos Slim, who now charges the world’s highest telephone rates.  Salinas made peace with the church, allowing for religious education and public ceremonies and giving priests the right to vote.
 
In January 1994, Mexico joined Canada and the US in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), designed to phase out all tariffs between the three countries over a 15-year period. That same year saw the uprising of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) in Chiapas, one of Mexico’s poorest states. Sub-comandante Marcos is the de-facto leader for the army. EZLN strongly opposes capitalism, globalization and neo-liberalism. 
 
In 1995, Mexico faced a banking crisis, and the US agreed to step in and help prevent the collapse of financial institutions. In return, the US won de facto veto power over much of Mexico’s economic policy.
 
In 1997, the PRI lost control of the lower legislative house and the mayoralty of Mexico City in a stunning upset. Observers declared the election the freest in Mexico’s history. President Ernesto Zedillo promised in 1999 to break precedent and not personally choose the next PRI presidential nominee. Several months later, Mexico held its first presidential primary, which was won by former interior secretary Francisco Labastida, a close ally of Zedillo.
 
In the landmark election of July 2000, the PRI lost the presidency, ending 71 years of one-party rule. The new president, Vicente Fox Quesada of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), vowed tax reform, an overhaul of the legal system, and a reduction in power of the central government. Fox made little headway, however, with his ambitious reform agenda. Disfavor with Fox surfaced in the 2003 parliamentary elections, during which the PRI rebounded.
 
A two-year investigation into the Corpus Christi Massacre resulted in an indictment against former president Luis Echeverría. But the charges were almost immediately dropped by a judge who claimed that the statute of limitations had expired in the case.
 
In 2005, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the popular mayor of Mexico City, was poised to win the presidency as the candidate for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution against Fox, whose popularity had plummeted. But in October 2005, Felipe Calderón unexpectedly became the candidate of Fox’s PAN. Calderón won 35.9% of the vote, a razor-thin margin over López Obrador, who received 35.3%. López Obrador appealed the election, but Mexico’s top electoral court rejected López Obrador’s allegations of fraud. His supporters held massive protest rallies before and after the verdict. Calderón was sworn in on Dec. 1, 2006.
 
On February 26, 2008, lawmakers approved new legislation that restricted cigarette smoking in public spaces in an effort to reduce health-care costs due to smoking-related diseases.
 
In May 2008, Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora announced that more than 4,000 people had been killed in drug-related violence since President Calderon took office, with 1,400 deaths occurring in 2008 alone. In August 2008, hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country marched for the more than 2,700 people who were killed and 300 kidnapped in drug-related violence since January 2008.
 
Since President Calderon declared war on drug traffickers in early 2007, there have been more than 9, 903 drug-war deaths. In 2007, Calderon made several radical changes to the foundation of Mexico's judicial system, which had been highly criticized by the United Nations. His reorganization of the legal profession included increased accessibility to lawyer-prisoner communication, countering harassment and intimidation of lawyers and human rights defenders and trial procedure violations. Additionally, the inefficiency of the "amparo"  procedures and inadequate access to justice for indigenous populations was addressed. The legislation reform included the promise of U.S.-style oral trials and establishing a presumption of innocence for criminal defendants.
 
Although the changes, which included giving police authority to investigate crime and open public trials, were approved by the Mexican Senate in 2007, they are not set to be completely embraced until 2016.
 
On the first day of President Barack Obama’s presidency he struck down the Bush administration’s ban on the allocation of federal money to international groups that either performed abortions or provided information about abortions. This decision rescinded the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “gag rule.” This policy was originally instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 198.4 President Bill Clinton rescinded it in 1993 and President George W. Bush revived in 2001.
 
An outbreak of the H1N1Swine Flu epidemic was reported in April 2009. Mexico’s economy suffered serious side effects because of the epidemic.
 
In 2009 the Mexican government decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs, while providing government-subsidized treatment for drug dependency.
 
In response to Mexico City’s legislation permitting abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The majority of Mexico’s 32 states have opted for enacting anti-abortion laws
 
History: Mexico (Library of Congress Selected Internet Resources)
Timeline: Mexico (BBC News)
History of Mexico (Wikipedia)
Mexican History Directory (MEXonline.com)
Mexico History (World Wide Web Virtual Library)
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History of U.S. Relations with Mexico

Throughout its history, Mexico has had an ambivalent love-hate relationship with its northern neighbor. Relations between the countries often have been characterized by conflict, the most violent of which occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The war of 1846-1848 was the most significant clash, as Mexico lost approximately half of its territory to the US. The war also established the United States dominance vis-à-vis Mexico in terms of future political and military affairs, including the US military expedition into northern Mexico during World War I to capture the bandit Pancho Villa.

 
As the 20th century unfolded, much of the antagonism between the two countries stemmed from great disparities in wealth; a series of interventions by the United States that made Mexico highly critical and suspicious of US positions; cultural differences and stereotypes of both nations; and the high levels of interdependence on many socioeconomic and political issues, both at the national level and in border areas.
 
Mexico defied the United States on a number of crucial hemispheric issues. Mexico never broke relations with the Cuban communist regime, as did the rest of Latin America in the early 1960s. During President Luis Echeverría’s administration, Mexico took a leading role in demands for a new international economic order. During the 1970s, Mexico challenged the US position in Central America, and during the 1980s, the Mexican government was highly critical of American foreign policy in El Salvador and called for formal recognition of the Salvadoran guerrillas in the peace process.
 
The most important bilateral issues in the 1990s were drugs, trade, and illegal immigration into the United States. Drug trafficking became a pressing issue for both Mexico, as a producer and point of entry of the drug trade from South America into the United States drug market, and the United States, as a major consumer. Mexico insisted that the trafficking of drugs would not exist without the enormous and growing market in the United States, thus placing responsibility on its northern neighbor. Nevertheless, the corruption and crime provoked by the growing drug business in Mexico led the Mexican government to carry out domestic anti-drug measures.
 
The government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari launched a massive military campaign to counter the threat posed by the narcotics trade within the country. In 1989 Mexico signed a cooperation agreement with the United States on fighting the illegal drug trade.
 
Trade between the two nations has only grown as an important issue. A trade and environmental agreement signed in late 1989 paved the way for an expansion of bilateral trade and investment with the United States. In 1990 Mexico began negotiations over NAFTA with the United States and Canada. The main objective of NAFTA was to remove all trade barriers and investment obstacles among the three countries. Negotiations concluded in 1992, and NAFTA was approved in 1993. The agreement was activated on January 1, 1994, creating the world’s richest and largest trading bloc, consisting of 360 million consumers in a $6.6 trillion market.
 
There is a long tradition of Mexicans crossing the border for work, and either sending remittances home or establishing residency and bringing their families north. From the beginning of the 20th century through to the 1980s, about 500,000 thousand Mexicans legally immigrated per decade (with the exception of the 1930’s, due to the Depression). Beginning in the 1980s, that number increased to 1 million per decade. Although the number of illegal immigrants is notoriously difficult to estimate, about 1 million illegals have been deported annually since the late 1980s. Since the beginning of mass Mexican migrations in the beginning of the 20th century, most immigrants tend to maintain their plans of eventually returning to Mexico. Between 1900 and 1930 an estimated half of all immigrants eventually returned to Mexico.
 
By the mid-1990s, immigration occupied center stage in US-Mexican relations. The presence of large numbers of illegal residents in the United States, many of whom have benefited from local and federal programs, triggered a proposal (Prop. 187) in 1995 in the state of California to deprive these groups of any US government support. Although the measure was passed by California voters, it was largely thrown out by the courts. Another anti-immigration plan, Prop. 227, outlawed the use of bilingual education in California schools.
 
Over the years, the two countries have negotiated numerous treaties and agreements covering issues ranging from water rights to pollution to health care that affect residents on both sides of the 2,000-mile border.
 
An 1889 convention established the International Boundary Commission, reconstituted by the Water Treaty of 1944 as the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico (IBWC). The IBWC has settled many difficult US-Mexico boundary and water problems, including the regularization of the Rio Grande near El Paso through the 1967 Chamizal settlement (PDF). In recent years, the IBWC has worked to resolve longstanding border sanitation problems, monitor the quantity and quality of border waters, and address water delivery and sedimentation problems of the Colorado River.
 
The 1983 La Paz Agreement and the US-Mexico Border 2012 Program were adopted to protect and improve the border environment.
 
A November 1993 agreement established the North American Development Bank (NADBank) and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) under the auspices of NAFTA, in order to address border environmental problems. The NADBank uses capital and grant funds contributed by Mexico and the US to help finance border environmental infrastructure projects certified by the BECC.
 
The 1993 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) created the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation under NAFTA to improve enforcement of environmental laws and address common environmental concerns.
 
Other agreements have been reached involving wildlife and migratory birds, national parks, forests, marine and atmospheric resources. In July 2000, the US and Mexico signed an agreement to establish a binational Border Health Commission.
 
Mexico U.S.A. Relations (Mexicomatters)
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Current U.S. Relations with Mexico

US relations with Mexico are as important and complex as with any country in the world. A stable, democratic, and economically prosperous Mexico is fundamental to US interests, according to the State Department. US relations with Mexico have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, whether the issue is trade and economic reform, homeland security, drug control, migration, or the promotion of democracy. Each day an average of one million people legally cross the US-Mexico border. In addition, between a half-million and a million American citizens live in Mexico. Along the 2,000-mile shared border, state and local governments interact closely.

 
In March 2005, the US and Mexico (along with Canada) formed the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which seeks to forge trilateral and bilateral initiatives to improve North American security, competitiveness, and economic resilience.
 
There has been frequent contact at the highest levels of the two governments. Presidential meetings have included the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in October 2003 and President Bush’s visits to Monterrey in March 2002 and January 2004 (Summit of the Americas). Presidents Bush and Vicente Fox met in Crawford, Texas, in March 2005 where, along with then Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, they launched the Security and Prosperity Partnership. They held a follow-on SPP meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Harper in Cancun in March 2006. President Calderon joined President Bush and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Montebello, Canada, in August 2007, and in New Orleans for the third SPP leaders’ meeting in April 2008.
 
At the August 2007 SPP leaders’ meeting, Presidents Bush and Felipe Calderón announced the Mérida Initiative (pdf) to work together and with the countries of Central America to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the region. However, the initiative, also known as Plan Mexico, has attracted criticism because it pumps money into the sometimes corrupt military and police forces. In June 2008, President Bush signed the congressional appropriations bill that allocated $400 million in assistance to Mexico under the Merida Initiative.
 
Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along the 2,000-mile common border includes state and local problem-solving mechanisms; transportation planning; and institutions to address resource, environment, and health issues. In 1993, the Border Liaison Mechanism (BLM) was established. Chaired by US and Mexican consuls, the BLMs operate in “sister city” pairs to deal with a variety of local issues ranging from accidental violation of sovereignty by law enforcement officials and charges of mistreatment of foreign nationals to coordination of port security and cooperation in public health matters such as tuberculosis.
 
Approximately 20.6 million people (7.3% of the total population) identified themselves as being of Mexican ancestry in the 2000 US census. In descending order, the states with the highest population of Mexicans are: California, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, and Washington.
 
A total of 19.7 million Americans visited Mexico in 2006. The number of visitors fluctuated between a low of 17.6 million (2003) and a high of 20.3 million (2005) between 2002 and 2006.
 
In 2006, 13.3 million Mexicans traveled legally to the US, constituting 26.1% of all foreign visitors to the US. The number of Mexicans visiting the US has been climbing steadily since 2003, when 10.5 million Mexicans traveled north.
 
Noted Mexican-Americans:
 
Jessica Alba- Was born in California; he mother is of French and Danish descent and her father is Mexican American. She made a mark with the television series, ‘Dark Angel’. She appeared in movies such as ‘Honey’, ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘Good Luck Charm’ etc.

Eva Longoria Parker-

One of the most famous of Mexican Americans today. She is an accomplished that has had roles in several television series such as: ‘Beverly Hills 90210’, ‘The Young and the Restless’, and ‘Desperate Housewives’.

Roberto Enrique-Had his own debut album at age 14. He is a Mexican American actor, singer and songwriter. Roberto Enrique was born and brought up in Los Angeles in California. He has appeared in popular television series such as ‘The Shield’ and ‘Grounded for Life’.

Robert Rodriguez:

Megan Ewing:
 
Mexico's Spreading Drug Violence (by Stephanie Hanson, Council on Foreign Relations)
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress (by Sullivan, Cook and Durand, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
The Immigration Debate and U.S.-Mexican Relations (by Sidney Weintraub, Center for Strategic and International Studies) (PDF)
U.S.-Mexico Relations: Permeable Borders, Transnational Communities (By Denise Dresser and Veronica Wilson, Pacific Council on International Policy) (PDF)
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications (by M Angeles Villareal, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 109th Congress (by K. Larry Storrs, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
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Where Does the Money Flow

Mexico surpassed Japan in 1999 to become the United States’ second most important trading partner following Canada, However it fell to third place in 2008 as US trade with China increased. The United States is Mexico’s most important customer by far, receiving about 87% of Mexico’s exports. Petroleum tops the list of Mexican exports (up from $14 billion in 2003 to $30 billion in 2007). In 2007 Mexico was the world’s eighth-largest crude exporter, and the third-largest supplier of oil to the US. Oil and gas revenues provided more than one-third of all Mexican government revenues.

 
Other top Mexican exports to the US include automobiles and parts ($30 billion annually), televisions and recorders ($18 billion), electric apparatus and parts ($8.8 billion), telecommunications equipment ($7.9 billion) and winter vegetables ($5 billion).
 
Meanwhile, the US provides about 77% of Mexico’s imports. Top US exports to Mexico include electronic equipment ($9.9 billion), motor vehicle parts ($9.9 billion), plastic materials ($5.2 billion), and chemicals ($5 billion).
 
Overall, the US is running a trade deficit with Mexico, importing $186 billion vs. $129 billion in exports in the first ten months of 2008.
 
Trade disputes between the United States and Mexico tend to involve agricultural products such as livestock and sweeteners. To address the issues that affect these industries in a manner consistent with the principles of free trade, the United States and Mexico have established technical working groups.
 
More than 18,000 US companies have investments in Mexico, and the US accounts for more than 60% of foreign investment in Mexico.
 
Mexico received $65.4 million in aid from the US in 2007. The largest recipient programs were Rule of Law and Human Rights ($20.1 million), Counter-Narcotics ($14.7 million), and Counter-Terrorism ($8.3 million). 
 
The budget for 2009 will increase aid to Mexico to $501 million. Counter-Narcotics will receive the lion’s share of aid in 2009, at $430.0 million. This funding was approved as part of President Bush’s Merida Initiative. Approved in June 2008, the initiative is a multi-year proposal to provide support to Mexico and Central American governments with equipment and training in counter-narcotic operations. The initiative provides $450 million in funds for Mexico in 2009, and $100 million for Central American governments.
 
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Controversies

Blackwater Project Raises Concerns along US-Mexico BorderA project run by private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide stirred up concerns in 2008 along the US-Mexico border. Earlier rebuffed in its attempt to open a large training camp in the rural San Diego County community of Potrero, Blackwater found itself in a battle over the company’s bid to open a training facility for the US Navy. The current dispute centered on Blackwater’s 48-student school in San Diego County’s Otay Mesa on the US-Mexico border and just down the road from US Border Patrol offices. According to Blackwater, the site offers indoor shooting instruction and simulated ship training to improve the anti-terrorist skills of naval personnel. US Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) said that the presence of a “private mercenary army” on the border, where it was hard to tell who is a citizen and who was not, was a “recipe for disaster.” Filner and other Blackwater opponents cited the company’s record in Iraq, which included the 2004 killing of four company personnel in Fallujah, Iraq, and the shootings of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater employees.

Blackwater Otay (Citizens’ Oversight Projects)
 
Absolut Ad Angers Anti-Immigration Proponents
An organization fighting illegal immigration launched a boycott of Absolut vodka in 2008 after the Swedish company ran an ad showing large areas of the US as part of Mexico. A map in the ad depicted Mexico owning California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and other US territory, with the slogan, “In an Absolut World,” and pandered to the “separatist” movement among Mexicans, according to the National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC). “There is a rapidly growing separatist movement in the United States that is being fueled by illegal immigration across our southern border with Mexico,” the group said in a statement. “While many in the American media try to ignore or play down the threat, this radical movement is much stronger than most Americans know and global companies like Absolut are trying to cash in on it.”
 
US GMO Corn Raises Alarms in Mexico
A study commissioned by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2005 raised concerns over the potential fallout of genetically modified US corn found in Mexican crop yields. Mexican corn, the original source of all the world’s varieties, has evolved over eight to 10 millennia with myriad characteristics and colors that adapt to a broad array of climates and growing conditions. Most US corn, however, has been artificially altered by inserting genes from other species to make it resistant to pests and to some weed killers. Despite a decade-long ban on growing artificially modified corn in Mexico, some of the altered strains have been showing up among the native crops. Some scientists feared that, if introduced into Mexico, genetically modified corn could spell doom for the rich variety of Mexican corn with its diversity of resistance and adaptability to changing conditions and threats.
U.S. Genetically Modified Corn is Assailed (by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post)
 
Costco Angers Mexicans over Destruction of Murals
Costco shareholders concerned about the company’s destruction of historic murals and green space in Cuernavaca, Mexico, brought the issue to management’s attention at the company’s annual meeting in 2003. Joined by community leaders who traveled from Cuernavaca, shareholders pointed to rising anger across Mexico over the destruction of exceptional murals, architecturally important buildings, and scores of century-old trees at the site of a planned Costco store. Despite President and CEO Jim Sinegal’s claims that Costco had preserved murals and trees, the Cuernavacans offered photographic evidence to the contrary. Photos showed trees and topsoil removed from the site, turning an urban arboretum into a gaping hole in the ground, and large murals damaged beyond repair since Costco’s purchase of the property.
 
Mexico Controversy Dominates Costco Meeting (Frente Civico Pro Casino de la Selva)
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Human Rights

According to the State Department’s 2007 report, the good news with Mexico’s human rights situation is that the government “generally respected and promoted human rights at the national level by investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing public officials and members of the security forces.” The bad news, though, was that “impunity and corruption remained problems, particularly at the state and local level.”

 
Other serious problems cited by US officials included unlawful killings by security forces; kidnappings, including by police; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the judicial system; confessions coerced through physical abuse permitted as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women, often perpetrated with impunity; violence, including killings, against women; trafficking in persons, sometimes allegedly with official involvement; social and economic discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor.
 
Allegations of torture by security forces persisted, and physical abuse in particular continued to be a serious problem. Confessions obtained by physical abuse often were admitted as evidence. Human rights groups charged that authorities employed sophisticated techniques involving psychological torture as well as traditional methods to extract confessions. Confessions continued to be used as the primary evidence in many criminal cases, which encouraged the police to use physical abuse to extract testimony from defendants. Many citizens distrusted law enforcement officials and the justice system in general and were reluctant to register official complaints or to appear as witnesses.
 
On May 2 and 3, 2007, an army unit clashed with alleged drug traffickers in Michoacán State, leaving five soldiers and one colonel dead. The army then raided houses in several surrounding villages looking for individuals related to one of the traffickers. According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and NGOs, soldiers arbitrarily detained, then beat and burned with cigarette lighters an undetermined number of family members, submerged one person in a well, and raped four women, two of them minors. Soldiers allegedly detained 10 individuals at a local military base where they continued to beat and torture them.
 
The CNDH reported that following a clash with four alleged drug traffickers, a second army unit arbitrarily detained and allegedly tortured seven adults and one child at a military base.
 
Kidnapping remained a serious problem for persons of all socioeconomic levels. Many cases continued to go unreported, as families negotiated directly with kidnappers. The number of reported cases to authorities was believed to be far less than the actual number of kidnappings. Express kidnapping, in which a victim is detained for a short period to extract payment, often through forcing the victim to use an ATM card to drain a bank account, was a serious problem, with varying unofficial estimates far surpassing the estimated number of traditional kidnappings.
 
Prison conditions remained poor. The CNDH and other NGOs reported that corruption, overcrowding, alcoholism, and drug addiction were prevalent in most facilities. Health and sanitary conditions were poor, and most prisons did not offer psychiatric care. Poorly trained, underpaid, and corrupt guards staffed most prisons. Authorities occasionally placed prisoners in solitary confinement for indefinite periods; prisoners often had to bribe guards to acquire food, medicine, and other necessities. Prison overcrowding continued to be a common problem. In many prisons inmates exercised significant authority, displacing prison officials and creating general insecurity, leading to inmate deaths, often at the hands of other prisoners. During 2007 there were at least 232 killings and 34 suicides, among a nationwide federal prison population of nearly 218,000.
 
A suspect is deemed guilty until proven innocent. A prosecutor may hold a person up to 48 hours (96 hours in cases of organized crime) before presenting the suspect to a judge and announcing charges.
 
A coalition of local and international human rights groups categorized some arrested leaders of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and the Oaxaca teachers' movement as political prisoners. The groups also charged that family members, lawyers, and human rights representatives had difficulty visiting prisoners.
 
According to Reporters Without Borders, six journalists who disappeared in recent years remained missing; no investigations were being conducted, and none were expected. The Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Journalists noted that, since 1982, more than 50 journalists have been murdered or disappeared because of their profession, 28 of whom were killed since 2001.
 
Corruption continued to be a problem, as many police were involved in kidnapping, extortion, or providing protection for, or acting directly on behalf of organized crime and drug traffickers. Impunity was pervasive to an extent that victims often refused to file complaints. Corruption also was a problem at all levels of government, as some public officials continued to perpetrate bureaucratic abuses and some criminal acts with impunity. The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflected that government corruption was a problem. Corruption at the most basic level involved paying bribes for routine services or in lieu of fines to administrative officials and security forces, but more sophisticated and less apparent forms of corruption included overpaying for goods and services to provide payment to elected officials and political parties.
 
Domestic violence was pervasive and vastly underreported.
 
The country was a point of origin, transit, and destination for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor. The vast majority of non-Mexican trafficking victims came from Central America; lesser numbers came from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, China, Taiwan, India, and Eastern European countries. Victims were trafficked to the United States, as well as to various destinations in the country. Sexual tourism and sexual exploitation of minors were significant problems in the northern border area and in resort areas. Women and children (both boys and girls), undocumented migrants from Central America, the poor, and indigenous groups were most at risk for trafficking.
 
The indigenous population has been long subject to discrimination, repression, and marginalization. Indigenous communities, located principally in the central and southern regions, represented 37% of the population in the states of Oaxaca and Yucatan. These groups remained largely outside the political and economic mainstream, due to longstanding patterns of social and economic marginalization. In many cases their ability to participate in decisions affecting their lands, cultural traditions, and allocation of natural resources was negligible. Political groups, NGOs, and indigenous community leaders continued to allege the use of excessive force against indigenous people. Many such groups considered the continued presence of military units in selected areas of Chiapas and Guerrero to be intimidating.
 
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Debate

Fencing the US-Mexico Border

President George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress pushed through legislation in 2006 to construct a nearly 700-mile-long fence along the US-Mexico border. The decision was aimed at discouraging illegal immigration. The proposal sparked a new round of debate on the contentious issue of whether the US should “fence off” its long border with Mexico. Relations between the two nations have at times been strained since 9/11 as concerns over security and terrorism have clouded the border issue.
 
Mexican President Vicente Fox publicly opposed the fence, calling it “shameful” and damaging to democracy. He also called for immigration reforms that would benefit the many Mexicans living in the US. In a joint meeting, Mexico and its Central American neighbors announced their opposition to the bill, saying it was unnecessarily harsh in its attempt to criminalize the estimated thousands of people who attempt to cross the border into the US each day.
 
Proponents of building the fence, including Let Freedom Ring and We Need a Fence (a project of Let Freddom Ring), believe illegal immigrants do not have a right to seek employment in the US and should be stopped from coming into the US. They consider illegal immigration a threat to the American system of laws and an “affront” to the millions who “play by the rules” in seeking to come to the US. President Bush argued that the United States had not been in complete control of its borders for decades, allowing illegal immigration to rise. “We have a responsibility to address these challenges, we have a responsibility to enforce our laws, we have a responsibility to secure our borders,” said President Bush.
 
Background
Barricading the Border: A History of the US/Mexico Border Fence (by Joseph Nevins and Timothy Dunn, Counterpunch)
United States-Mexico Borderlands/Frontera (by Olivia Cadaval, Smithsonian Education)
 
For
Fence proposed along U.S.-Mexico border (interview with Colin Hanna of WeNeedAFence.com, MSNBC)
 
Against
Ambassador Discusses U.S.- Mexico Relations (interview with Carlos de Icaza, Washington Post)
That Divisive Anti-Immigrant Fence (by Marcela Sanchez, Washington Post)
 
 
The NAFTA Debate
During the US presidential campaign in 2008, the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 and broke down trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico, resurfaced as a major policy debate between Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Both candidates promised to make changes to the treaty in order to better protect certain regions and segments of American society. Clinton in particular pointed to the fact that since 2000, Ohio has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs, real median income there has dropped nearly 10%, and entire communities have been devastated. Critics argue that labor and environmental provisions could be strengthened, and they claim many former supporters of NAFTA admit the agreement hasn’t yielded the promised results it was supposed to.
 
Supporters of NAFTA point out that the trade pact substantially increased the quantity of US economic integration with Canada and Mexico, with trade volume among NAFTA countries more than tripling to $930 billion between 1993 and 2007. They also claim that, overall, NAFTA has not caused trade diversion, aside from a few select industries, such as textiles and apparel, and the World Bank has found that increases in imports among NAFTA countries have been offset by similar increases in exports, maintaining a balance in trade. Plus, NAFTA did not inherently present a systemic threat to the environment, as was originally feared. Problems that did arise occurred in specific areas where government environmental policy, infrastructure, or mechanisms were unprepared for the increasing scale of production under trade liberalization, and these developments are reversible with the proper public policy means.
 
Background & Opinions
NAFTA Debate Mirage (by Shankar Singhan, Washington Times)
What Should the Next President Do on NAFTA? (by Jeffrey Schott, Council on Foreign Relations)
Advancing the NAFTA Debate: Global Living Standards Are Key (by Jonathan Jacoby, Center for American Progress)
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Past Ambassadors

Andrew Jackson was nominated to be the first Ambassador to Mexico in 1823, but declined the appointment.  Five years later, he was elected President of the United States.

 
Ninian Edwards
Appointment: Mar 4, 1824
Note: Did not proceed to post.
 
Joel R. Poinsett
Appointment: Mar 8, 1825
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 1, 1825
Termination of Mission: Recall requested by Government of Mexico, Oct 17, 1829; left post, Jan 3, 1830.
 
Anthony Butler
Appointment: Oct 12, 1829
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 29, 1830
Termination of Mission: Recall requested by Government of Mexico Oct 21, 1835; Butler did not leave post until after his successor had presented credentials.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 12, 1830.
 
Powhatan Ellis
Appointment: Jan 5, 1836
Presentation of Credentials: May 11, 1836
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 28, 1836
Powhatan Ellis
Appointment: Feb 15, 1839
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 7, 1839
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Apr 21, 1842
 
Waddy Thompson
Appointment: Feb 10, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1842
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 9–10, 1844
 
Wilson Shannon
Appointment: Apr 9, 1844
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 1844
Termination of Mission: Mexico severed diplomatic relations with U.S., Mar 28, 1845; Shannon left post, May 14, 1845.
 
John Slidell
Appointment: Nov 10, 1845
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 20, 1846. Proceeded to post, but did not present credentials; left post about Mar 21, 1846.
Slidell later served as a US Senator from Louisiana.
 
Nathan Clifford
Appointment: Jul 28, 1848
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 2, 1848
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 6, 1849
 
Robert P. Letcher
Appointment: Aug 9, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 7, 1850
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 2, 1852
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on May 29, 1850.
 
Alfred Conkling
Appointment: Aug 6, 1852
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 30, 1852
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 17, 1853
Conkling had earlier served as a member of the House of Representatives from New York.
 
James Gadsden
Appointment: May 24, 1853
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 17, 1853
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Oct 23, 1856
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 13, 1854.
 
John Forsyth
Appointment: Jul 21, 1856
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 23, 1856
Termination of Mission: Suspended political relations of the Legation with Government of Mexico, Jun 21, 1858
Note: Forsyth left post, Oct 21, 1858.
 
Robert M. McLane
Appointment: Mar 7, 1859
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 6, 1859
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Dec 22, 1860
 
John B. Weller
Appointment: Nov 17, 1860
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 14, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 12, 1860.
 
Thomas Corwin
Appointment: Mar 22, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: May 21, 1861
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Apr 27, 1864
 
Note: During 1864–1867 the following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim: William H. Corwin (Apr 1864–Apr 1866) and Marcus Otterbourg (Apr 1866–Aug 1987).
 
John A. Logan
Appointment: Nov 14, 1865
Note: Declined appointment. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
Lewis D. Campbell
Appointment: May 4, 1866
Note: Took oath of office and proceeded to Mexico, but did not present credentials.
 
Marcus Otterbourg
Appointment: Jul 1, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 19, 1867
Termination of Mission: Informed Government of Mexico by note, Aug 18, 1867, that he considered his mission terminated; left post Sep 21–30, 1867.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
John A. McClernand
Note: Not commissioned; nomination twice rejected by the Senate.
 
William S. Rosecrans
Appointment: Jul 27, 1868
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 10, 1868
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 26, 1869
 
Thomas H. Nelson
Appointment: Apr 16, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 26, 1869
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 16, 1873
 
John W. Foster
Appointment: Mar 17, 1873
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 16, 1873
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 2, 1880
 
Philip H. Morgan
Appointment: Jan 26, 1880
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1880
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 6, 1885
 
Henry R. Jackson
Appointment: Mar 23, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 11, 1885
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 7, 1886
 
Thomas C. Manning
Appointment: Aug 30, 1886
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1886
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 21, 1887
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 14, 1887.
 
Edward S. Bragg
Appointment: Jan 16, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 27, 1889
 
Thomas Ryan
Appointment: Mar 30, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 9, 1893
 
Isaac P. Gray
Appointment: Mar 20, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1893
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 7, 1894
Note: Returned to post, Feb 14, 1895, but died the same day without resuming charge of the Legation.
 
Matt W. Ramsom
Appointment: Feb 23, 1895
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 18, 1895
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 1, 1895
Note: This appointment was characterized as a nullity in an opinion of the Acting Attorney General, Aug 15, 1895.
Matt W. Ramsom
Appointment: Aug 24, 1895
Presentation of Credentials: [Sep 18, 1895]
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 13, 1897
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 5, 1895. New letter of credence filed with the Foreign Minister on Sep 18, 1895, and not formally presented.
 
Powell Clayton
Appointment: Mar 22, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: May 13, 1897
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 26, 1905
 
Edwin H. Conger
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 15, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1905
 
David E. Thompson
Appointment: Jan 24, 1906
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1906
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1909
 
Henry Lane Wilson
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 5, 1910
Termination of Mission: Normal relations interrupted, Feb 18, 1913; new Government of Mexico still unrecognized by the United States when Wilson left Mexico Jul 17, 1913
 
Note: Nelson O'Shaughnessy was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the Embassy in Mexico was closed, at the request of the Mexican authorities, Apr 22, 1914.
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Feb 25, 1916
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1917
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 25, 1919

Note: George T. Summerlin served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, Jan 1919–Mar 1924.
 
Henry Morgenthau
Note: Not commissioned; nomination not confirmed by the Senate.
 
Charles Beecher Warren
Appointment: Feb 29, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 22, 1924
 
James Rockwell Sheffield
Appointment: Sep 9, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 15, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 5, 1927
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 10, 1925.
 
Dwight W. Morrow
Appointment: Sep 21, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 29, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 17, 1930
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1927.
 
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 3, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 14, 1933
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 16, 1930.
 
Josephus Daniels
Appointment: Mar 17, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 24, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 9, 1941
 
George S. Messersmith
Appointment: Dec 4, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 24, 1942
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 15, 1946
 
Walter Thurston
Appointment: May 4, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1946
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Nov 4, 1950
 
William O'Dwyer
Appointment: Sep 20, 1950
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1950
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Dec 6, 1952
 
Francis White
Appointment: Mar 11, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1957
 
Robert C. Hill
Appointment: May 20, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 25, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Mexico, Dec 1, 1960
 
Thomas C. Mann
Appointment: Apr 18, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 8, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 22, 1963
 
Fulton Freeman
Appointment: Mar 4, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 6, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 6, 1969
 
Robert H. McBride
Appointment: Jun 13, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1969
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jan 25, 1974
 
Joseph J. Jova
Appointment: Dec 19, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 21, 1977
 
Patrick J. Lucey
Appointment: May 26, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 31, 1979
 
Julian Nava
Appointment: Apr 3, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 3, 1981
 
John A. Gavin
Appointment: May 7, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 5, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1986
Gavin spent 25 years as an actor in Hollywood. His career peaked in 1959-1960, when he starred in Imitation of Life, and appeared in Psycho and Spartacus.
 
Charles J. Pilliod, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 16, 1986
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1986
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 7, 1989
 
John D. Negroponte
Appointment: Jun 15, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 5, 1993
 
James Robert Jones
Appointment: Aug 9, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 10, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 25, 1997
 
William F. Weld
Note: Nomination of Jul 23, 1997, withdrawn Sep 19, 1997.
Note: Charles Ray served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Jun 1997–Aug 1998.
 
Jeffrey Davidow
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 5, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 14, 2002
 
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Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Medina-Mora, Eduardo

Mexico sent a new ambassador to its northern neighbor in January 2013, who will have to navigate the thickets of immigration reform, the drug war, and other issues that divide Mexico and the U.S. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza presented his credentials to President Obama on January 14, formally succeeding Arturo Sarukhán, who had served as Mexico's man in Washington since February 2007.

 

Born January 30, 1957, in Mexico City, Medina-Mora followed in the footsteps of his father, a prominent attorney who was president of the Mexican Bar Association, by earning a law degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and practicing law at the family firm of Medina-Mora y Asociados.

 

In the private sector, Medina-Mora was corporate director of Strategic Planning and deputy director general of DESC Group, a large Mexican conglomerate in automotive parts, petrochemicals, agribusiness and real estate, from 1991 to 2000. He also coordinated the legal advisory team to the Mexican Government during the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, focusing on the areas of Agriculture, Rules, Unfair Trade, Investment and Rules of Origin.

 

After serving as chief of staff to the Undersecretary of Fisheries, Medina-Mora held several cabinet-level positions in the Mexican federal government, including service as director general of the Center for Investigation and National Security (the Mexican CIA) from December 2000 to September 2005, as secretary for public security from September 2005 to November 2006, and as attorney general from December 2006 to September 2009, serving ex officio as a member of the Public Security Cabinet and of the National Security Council, which he chaired from 2006 to 2009.

 

As attorney general, Medina-Mora faced directly the intertwined issues of the flows of drugs, money, guns and undocumented immigrants between the two countries, and the violence of the war against the drug cartels that engulfed northern Mexico. There were even rumors that Medina-Mora—a key negotiator of the Merida Initiative that provides U.S. funding to the drug war in Mexico—was replaced as attorney general because officials worried the government could not protect him and his family in Mexico, although it was also said that he was forced to resign after a top deputy was arrested for taking bribes from the drug cartels.

 

Shortly after his removal as attorney general, Medina-Mora was appointed ambassador to the U.K., where he served from November 2009 to January 2013. He has also participated in international forums and negotiations, serving as a member of the High-Level Group on Border Security for Mexico-Guatemala and Mexico-Belize; chief negotiator for the Mexico-U.S. Border Partnership Agreement in 2002; and as negotiator for the Alliance for Prosperity and Security in North America from 2004 to 2005. He also served on a number of delegations and bilateral task forces on security cooperation between Mexico and the U.S., Canada, Colombia and Guatemala.

 

Medina-Mora is co-editor of the book Legitimate Use of Force (2008), and author of the book Fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone, published by the Ministry of Fisheries in 1989. He has also been a member of the Mexican Bar Association and of the American Bar Association.

 

He and his wife, Laura Medina-Mora, have three children.

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Personalidades: Eduardo Medina-Mora (es mas) (Spanish)

Destaca Medina Mora retos e intereses comunes de Mexico y EU (Novedades Acapulco)

En entrevista con Ciro di Constanzo, el embajador de EU Eduardo mora: “La relación más importante que el pais tiene” (by Ciro di Costanzo, 98.5 FM) (audio in Spanish)

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Mexico's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Wayne, Tony
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama choice as the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico is Earl Anthony “Tony” Wayne, a high-ranking career diplomat who has spent little time in Latin America.

 
Born in 1950 in Sacramento, California, Wayne grew up in Concord, where he graduated from high school in 1968. He attended college at UC Berkeley, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972. He later acquired two master’s degrees in political science (Stanford University 1973 and Princeton University 1975) plus a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University (1984).
 
A career diplomat since 1975, his first postings were as a political officer in Rabat, Morocco, and as a China analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During the tenure of Secretary of State Ed Muskie, Wayne served in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat.
 
From 1981 to 1983, he was special assistant to Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Shultz.
 
He served as first secretary at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France (1984-1987).
 
Wayne took a leave of absence from 1987 to 1989 to work as the national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.
 
After returning to the State Department, he was director for regional affairs for the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism from 1989 to 1991.
 
For most of the 1990s, Wayne worked on European affairs, helping organize the semi-annual U.S.-EU summits, formulate and negotiate the U.S.-EU New Transatlantic Agenda, and playing a role in the Stability Pact Summit held in Sarajevo in 1999.
 
From 1991 to 1993, he was director for Western European affairs at the National Security Council.
 
Wayne was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. mission to the European Union (1993-1996), followed by deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Canada (1996-1997), and principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European Affairs (1997-2000).
 
From June 2000 until June 2006, Wayne was assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, making him the longest serving assistant secretary since the inception of that bureau. He served as interim under secretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs for six months in 2005. During this time, he also served as U.S. foreign affairs “sous sherpa” helping to prepare the Gleneagles G-8 Summit, in addition to his duties as assistant secretary.
 
Wayne’s first ambassador role took him to Argentina from November 2006 to June 2009.
 
He later held the position of coordinating director for development and economic affairs, overseeing U.S. government non-military assistance to Afghanistan. In May 2010, he was appointed deputy ambassador in Kabul, putting him in charge of all embassy sections, programs, agencies and offices.
 
Official Biography (U.S. Embassy Argentina)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Pascual, Carlos
ambassador-image

The State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have claimed their first big fish in the U.S. diplomatic community as U.S. ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual was forced to resign on March 19, 2011, after complaints by Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón. Actually, most of the cables portrayed Calderón in a positive light, and Pascual is clearly a scapegoat for widely-held critical opinions of the Mexican government’s battle against drug cartels.
 
It is possible that problems began as soon as President Barack Obama nominated Pascual for the post in April 2009. Pascual was a controversial choice because his specialty was not Latin America, but rather converting newly independent or failed states to democracy and free market capitalism. Consequently, there was suspicion among some Mexicans that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarded Mexico as a failed state or one on the brink of failure. Nevertheless, Pascual was confirmed and presented his credentials in Mexico City on August 9, 2009.
 
Born in 1959 in Cuba, Pascual emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of three. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University in 1980 and his Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1982. 
 
Pascual joined the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1983. In addition to working at the agency’s Africa Bureau in Washington, DC, Pascual was posted to Sudan, South Africa and Mozambique. In June 1992, Pascual became director of USAID’s Office of Program Analysis and Coordination for the New Independent States Task Force. From February 1994 to June 1995 he was deputy assistant administrator for Europe and the New Independent States. In that position, he oversaw budget and policy development for USAID’s annual programs of $1.2 billion in the region. 
 
In June 1995, Pascual left USAID for the National Security Council (NSC), where for three years he was director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for economic policy generally and for Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. From July 1998 to January 2000, Pascual served as special assistant to the President and NSC senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, where he guided US policy related to democracy and market change in Ukraine, and stability, security, and democracy concerns in the Caucasus and Central Asia. From October 2000 to August 2003, Pascual served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. 
 
Returning to Washington in September 2003, Pascual was coordinator for US Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, managing the allocation and implementation of approximately $1.1 billion in annual assistance. Starting in August 2004, Pascual served as coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the State Department. The primary focus of his work was Sudan, Haiti, and several conflict prevention activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 
 
In February 2006, Pascual took his first private sector position as Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, a highly influential, center-liberal policy think tank in Washington, DC. While at Brookings, Pascual co-authored a book on foreign policy, Power & Responsibility: Building International Order in an Era of Transnational Threat, which proposes that greater international cooperation will be needed to meet the global challenges of the 21st Century. He also wrote or supervised reports advising President Obama to “Restore American Leadership to Address Transnational Threats,” encouraging “big thinking” on nuclear nonproliferation, and advocating a policy of “Constructive Engagement,” with Cuba, including the repeal of the trade embargo. The Obama Administration has begun to implement such a policy, beginning with the President’s relaxation of travel and spending restrictions.  
 
Pascal speaks Spanish and Ukrainian. In 2008, he donated $1,000 to the campaign of Barack Obama. 
 
Changing How We Address Global And National Security (by Bruce Jones, Carlos Pascual and Stephen Stedman, Huffington Post). 
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (by Naomi Klein, The Nation)

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Overview

Mexico has a population of slightly more than 100 million people, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the third most populous country in the Western Hemisphere. Its location just south of the United States, with which it shares a 2,000-mile border, has led to a very close, and at times contentious, relationship with its northern superpower neighbor. A large portion of the Western United States was seized from Mexico in the mid-1800s following the US victory in the Mexican-American War. Relations between the two countries warmed during the latter stages of the 20th century as trade became a powerful interconnection. The bilateral economic relationship with Mexico is among the most important for the United States, thanks in large part to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in effect since 1994. Mexico is the United States’ third most important trading partner, while the United States is Mexico’s most important trading partner.

 
The United States and Mexico are closely tied in areas not directly related to trade and investment. There are links through migration and tourism, drug trafficking, environment and health concerns, and family and cultural relationships. Millions of Mexicans have immigrated to the US, both legally and illegally, resulting in the growing “Latinization” of the American Southwest. Immigration has become a heated political issue in the US, especially along the border, where the Bush administration pushed forward with the building of a 700-mile fence to stem the tide of illegal immigrants, even though the plan has angered officials in the Mexican government.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Bridging the gap between North and Central America, Mexico has a wide range of climate and topography. Two mountain ranges and the high plateau between them dominate central Mexico. The western range, with peaks up to 10,000 feet, is known as the Sierra Madre Occidental; the Sierra Madre Oriental, on the east, is much lower. A range of ancient and active volcanoes crosses Mexico east to west near Mexico City; some of these reach 18,000 feet in elevation. There are wide coastal plateaus, especially on the Gulf of Mexico. The Yucatán Peninsula is an interesting feature; a wide, flat thumb of low-lying jungle thrusting into the Gulf of Mexico, it is the site of ancient Mayan cities, which were abandoned centuries ago and only rediscovered in the 19th century.

 
Distinctions in Mexico's climate are often made vertically, by elevation. Tierra caliente (“hot country”) is land below 3,000 feet, including coastal plains and riverbeds. Tierra templada (“cool country”) is above 6,000 feet, and includes upper mountain slopes and high plateaus.
 
Plant and animal life ranges from the cacti and lizards of the northern deserts to the palms, creepers, and fabled quetzal bird of the tropical regions.
 
Population: 110 million
 
Religions: Catholic 88.8%, Protestant 7.1%, Ethnoreligious 1.1%, Muslim 0.2%, Jewish 0.1%, non-religious 2.5%.
 
Ethnic Groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%.
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 82.1%, Nahuatl language cluster (Central Huasteca, Eastern Huasteca1, Guerrero, Orizaba....) 1.7%, Maya (Yucatán, Chan Santa Cruz) 0.7%, Mazahua (Central, Michoacán) 0.4%, Tzotzil language cluster (Oxchuc, Huixtán, Zinacantán...) 0.4%, Mazatec language cluster (Ayautla, Chicquihuitlán, Mazatlán...) 0.2%, Otomi language cluster (Ixtenco, Mezquital, Tenango...) 0.2%. There are 291 living languages in Mexico.
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History

Mexico’s early history was dominated by four great civilizations—the Mayas, Olmecs, Toltecs and finally the Aztecs. The Spanish, led by Hernán Cortés, conquered the Aztecs in 1519–1521. Spain ruled Mexico for the next 300 years until 1821 when Mexicans won their independence after a 10-year struggle.

 
From 1821 to 1877, Mexico’s government constantly changed leaders (an average of every nine months). Mexico lost Texas in 1836 to the United States in a conflict that featured the famous battle for the Alamo. Another war lasting from 1846–1848 resulted in Mexico losing the area that is now California, Nevada, and Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. These territories were officially ceded to the US under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
 
In 1855, the Indian patriot Benito Juárez began a series of reforms, including the disestablishment of the Catholic Church, which owned vast property. The subsequent civil war was interrupted by the French invasion of Mexico (1861) and the crowning of Maximilian of Austria as emperor (1864). He was overthrown and executed by forces under Juárez, who again became president in 1867.
 
Porfirio Díaz served as president of Mexico from 1876 to 1911 (ruling for 35 years). He became entrenched in power and an influential dictator. When he announced that he would run for his 8th term, he was challenged with harsh resistance.
 
The Flores Magón brothers, Ricardo and Enrique, were anarchist revolutionaries. They published several newspapers opposing Diaz’s stance and furthered their cause by forming the Mexican Liberal Party, which was responsible for many strikes and uprisings between 1906 and 1911.   
The Plan Liberal of 1906 was written by Ricardo Flores Magón in hopes of protecting the rights of the Mexican people. It included opposition to child labor and called for 8-hour workdays 6 days a week with proper pay. Furthermore, the plan argued for an end to capital punishment, the return of ejido land (when the government promotes the use of communal land) and mandatory education with secular schools for children. The plan outlined many ideas that inspired key fundamentals of the Constitution of 1917.
 
While exiled in Texas in 1910, Francisco I. Madero drafted The Plan of San Luis Potosi, which ushered in the Mexican Revolution.  Madero called for democracy and asked for violent direct action from the Mexican people. He gained support from fellow revolutionaries, including Pancho Villa (North) and Emiliano Zapata (South).
 
 After gaining widespread support throughout Mexico, Madero finally took over the presidency in November 1911. A couple months into his presidency, Zapata, his former ally, drafted The Plan of Ayala accusing Madero of being a traitor. The plan summarized Zapata’s resentment of Madero’s lack of incorporation of agrarian reforms, which had been defined in the Plan de San Luis Potosi.
 
In the years following the fall of Porfirio Díaz, Mexico experienced bloody political-military strife, and trouble with the United States, which culminated in the American invasion into northern Mexico (1916–1917) in an unsuccessful pursuit of the revolutionary Pancho Villa.
 
 Eleven months after his inauguration as president, Madero was assassinated by orders from Victoriano Huerta. In response to Madero’s death, the Mexican Revolution reached a drastic, unmanageable stage.
 
The constitutionalist forces opposing the Madero regime responded with The Plan of Guadalupe in 1913. The plan accused Huerta of being a traitor and called his presidency fraudulent.
In 1914, the United States intervened under President Woodrow Wilson’s orders, which ultimately influenced the outcome of the Mexican Revolution. Huerta resigned and fled to Texas. 
Venustiano Carranza led the Constitutionalist Army and managed to defeat the Federal Army. The result was The Mexican Constitution of 1917, which was drafted by Carranza, who assumed power. The constitution incorporated socialist ideals, such as Article 27, which nationalized property, the institution of ejidos, and the labor laws within Article 123. These ideals paved the way for Mexico’s social law. With Carranza as the president, the country regained some much needed stability.
 
The Napoleonic code influenced Europe’s outlook in commercial and financial objectives. In Mexico, the code primarily influenced the development of its criminal law. The code played a role in the shaping of the Civil Code of 1928. The 1928 decision made by Jurisprudencia (case law) extended the powers of the president. The revolution had incited idealists to fight against the supreme power of the government, as would the new government with Plutarco Elías Calles and his drafting of the 1928 Civil Code. The code applies to private laws and citizens’ most private rights.
 
Plutarco Elías Calles was an atheist president who ruled himself (1924-1928) and then vicariously through several succeeding presidents: Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, and Abelardo Rodríguez. Calles was the de-facto ruler during a time period called the “Maximato.” After his election in 1924, he applied anti-clerical laws fiercely. In 1926 he signed the “law for reforming the penal code” which provided specific penalties for priests and other individuals who violated the 1917 constitution. 
 
Between 1926 and 1929, the battle between church and state was culminated in The Cristero Rebellion. The rebellion was set off by anti-clerical articles in the Mexican Constitution of 1917. Some of the articles that demonstrated anti-clerical sentiment include: Article 3, which provided free secular education and prohibited the church from participating in this education, and Article 24 which forbade worship outside of churches.  
 
In 1934, Calles chose his wartime buddy, Lázaro Cárdenas, to secede the presidency. Calles expected to rule through him as well, but when Cárdenas became president he exiled Calles. Lázaro Cárdenas’ rule marked the ending of the “Maximato” and the Cristero Rebellion. 
 
Political stability began to take root in 1929 with the rise of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR; National Revolutionary Party), which was dominated by revolutionary and reformist politicians from northern Mexico. PNR controlled Mexican politics throughout the 20th century and was renamed the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI; Institutional Revolutionary Party) in 1946.
 
 In 1968 protests gained more force as thousands of students rallied in Mexico City to protest the government’s authoritarian rule. As the date approached of hosting the 1968 Summer Olympics, tensions grew as the Mexican government speculated that the protests threatened Mexico’s reputation in the international realm. On October 2nd, ten days before Mexico would host the Olympics, the Mexican Army fired at unarmed protesters in the Tlatelolco Massacre. Estimates vary wildly, ranging from 200 to 2,000 killed in the bloodbath. A similar tragedy occurred on June 10, 1971, when a paramilitary squad opened fire on dozens of students in Mexico City, in what became known as the Corpus Christi Massacre. These two events were part of the so-called “Dirty War” that Mexican authorities waged against opponents from the 1960s to the 1980s.
 
Under the leadership of President José López Portillo, Mexico became a major petroleum producer during the 1970s. By the end of Portillo’s term, however, Mexico had accumulated a huge external debt because of the government’s unrestrained borrowing on the strength of its petroleum revenues. The collapse of oil prices in 1986 cut Mexico’s export earnings.
 
Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who served as president 1988-1994,  recognized the first opposition governor, a member of PAN. He also re-privatized banks and the telephone monopoly, which went to Carlos Slim, who now charges the world’s highest telephone rates.  Salinas made peace with the church, allowing for religious education and public ceremonies and giving priests the right to vote.
 
In January 1994, Mexico joined Canada and the US in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), designed to phase out all tariffs between the three countries over a 15-year period. That same year saw the uprising of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) in Chiapas, one of Mexico’s poorest states. Sub-comandante Marcos is the de-facto leader for the army. EZLN strongly opposes capitalism, globalization and neo-liberalism. 
 
In 1995, Mexico faced a banking crisis, and the US agreed to step in and help prevent the collapse of financial institutions. In return, the US won de facto veto power over much of Mexico’s economic policy.
 
In 1997, the PRI lost control of the lower legislative house and the mayoralty of Mexico City in a stunning upset. Observers declared the election the freest in Mexico’s history. President Ernesto Zedillo promised in 1999 to break precedent and not personally choose the next PRI presidential nominee. Several months later, Mexico held its first presidential primary, which was won by former interior secretary Francisco Labastida, a close ally of Zedillo.
 
In the landmark election of July 2000, the PRI lost the presidency, ending 71 years of one-party rule. The new president, Vicente Fox Quesada of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), vowed tax reform, an overhaul of the legal system, and a reduction in power of the central government. Fox made little headway, however, with his ambitious reform agenda. Disfavor with Fox surfaced in the 2003 parliamentary elections, during which the PRI rebounded.
 
A two-year investigation into the Corpus Christi Massacre resulted in an indictment against former president Luis Echeverría. But the charges were almost immediately dropped by a judge who claimed that the statute of limitations had expired in the case.
 
In 2005, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the popular mayor of Mexico City, was poised to win the presidency as the candidate for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution against Fox, whose popularity had plummeted. But in October 2005, Felipe Calderón unexpectedly became the candidate of Fox’s PAN. Calderón won 35.9% of the vote, a razor-thin margin over López Obrador, who received 35.3%. López Obrador appealed the election, but Mexico’s top electoral court rejected López Obrador’s allegations of fraud. His supporters held massive protest rallies before and after the verdict. Calderón was sworn in on Dec. 1, 2006.
 
On February 26, 2008, lawmakers approved new legislation that restricted cigarette smoking in public spaces in an effort to reduce health-care costs due to smoking-related diseases.
 
In May 2008, Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora announced that more than 4,000 people had been killed in drug-related violence since President Calderon took office, with 1,400 deaths occurring in 2008 alone. In August 2008, hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country marched for the more than 2,700 people who were killed and 300 kidnapped in drug-related violence since January 2008.
 
Since President Calderon declared war on drug traffickers in early 2007, there have been more than 9, 903 drug-war deaths. In 2007, Calderon made several radical changes to the foundation of Mexico's judicial system, which had been highly criticized by the United Nations. His reorganization of the legal profession included increased accessibility to lawyer-prisoner communication, countering harassment and intimidation of lawyers and human rights defenders and trial procedure violations. Additionally, the inefficiency of the "amparo"  procedures and inadequate access to justice for indigenous populations was addressed. The legislation reform included the promise of U.S.-style oral trials and establishing a presumption of innocence for criminal defendants.
 
Although the changes, which included giving police authority to investigate crime and open public trials, were approved by the Mexican Senate in 2007, they are not set to be completely embraced until 2016.
 
On the first day of President Barack Obama’s presidency he struck down the Bush administration’s ban on the allocation of federal money to international groups that either performed abortions or provided information about abortions. This decision rescinded the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “gag rule.” This policy was originally instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 198.4 President Bill Clinton rescinded it in 1993 and President George W. Bush revived in 2001.
 
An outbreak of the H1N1Swine Flu epidemic was reported in April 2009. Mexico’s economy suffered serious side effects because of the epidemic.
 
In 2009 the Mexican government decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs, while providing government-subsidized treatment for drug dependency.
 
In response to Mexico City’s legislation permitting abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The majority of Mexico’s 32 states have opted for enacting anti-abortion laws
 
History: Mexico (Library of Congress Selected Internet Resources)
Timeline: Mexico (BBC News)
History of Mexico (Wikipedia)
Mexican History Directory (MEXonline.com)
Mexico History (World Wide Web Virtual Library)
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History of U.S. Relations with Mexico

Throughout its history, Mexico has had an ambivalent love-hate relationship with its northern neighbor. Relations between the countries often have been characterized by conflict, the most violent of which occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The war of 1846-1848 was the most significant clash, as Mexico lost approximately half of its territory to the US. The war also established the United States dominance vis-à-vis Mexico in terms of future political and military affairs, including the US military expedition into northern Mexico during World War I to capture the bandit Pancho Villa.

 
As the 20th century unfolded, much of the antagonism between the two countries stemmed from great disparities in wealth; a series of interventions by the United States that made Mexico highly critical and suspicious of US positions; cultural differences and stereotypes of both nations; and the high levels of interdependence on many socioeconomic and political issues, both at the national level and in border areas.
 
Mexico defied the United States on a number of crucial hemispheric issues. Mexico never broke relations with the Cuban communist regime, as did the rest of Latin America in the early 1960s. During President Luis Echeverría’s administration, Mexico took a leading role in demands for a new international economic order. During the 1970s, Mexico challenged the US position in Central America, and during the 1980s, the Mexican government was highly critical of American foreign policy in El Salvador and called for formal recognition of the Salvadoran guerrillas in the peace process.
 
The most important bilateral issues in the 1990s were drugs, trade, and illegal immigration into the United States. Drug trafficking became a pressing issue for both Mexico, as a producer and point of entry of the drug trade from South America into the United States drug market, and the United States, as a major consumer. Mexico insisted that the trafficking of drugs would not exist without the enormous and growing market in the United States, thus placing responsibility on its northern neighbor. Nevertheless, the corruption and crime provoked by the growing drug business in Mexico led the Mexican government to carry out domestic anti-drug measures.
 
The government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari launched a massive military campaign to counter the threat posed by the narcotics trade within the country. In 1989 Mexico signed a cooperation agreement with the United States on fighting the illegal drug trade.
 
Trade between the two nations has only grown as an important issue. A trade and environmental agreement signed in late 1989 paved the way for an expansion of bilateral trade and investment with the United States. In 1990 Mexico began negotiations over NAFTA with the United States and Canada. The main objective of NAFTA was to remove all trade barriers and investment obstacles among the three countries. Negotiations concluded in 1992, and NAFTA was approved in 1993. The agreement was activated on January 1, 1994, creating the world’s richest and largest trading bloc, consisting of 360 million consumers in a $6.6 trillion market.
 
There is a long tradition of Mexicans crossing the border for work, and either sending remittances home or establishing residency and bringing their families north. From the beginning of the 20th century through to the 1980s, about 500,000 thousand Mexicans legally immigrated per decade (with the exception of the 1930’s, due to the Depression). Beginning in the 1980s, that number increased to 1 million per decade. Although the number of illegal immigrants is notoriously difficult to estimate, about 1 million illegals have been deported annually since the late 1980s. Since the beginning of mass Mexican migrations in the beginning of the 20th century, most immigrants tend to maintain their plans of eventually returning to Mexico. Between 1900 and 1930 an estimated half of all immigrants eventually returned to Mexico.
 
By the mid-1990s, immigration occupied center stage in US-Mexican relations. The presence of large numbers of illegal residents in the United States, many of whom have benefited from local and federal programs, triggered a proposal (Prop. 187) in 1995 in the state of California to deprive these groups of any US government support. Although the measure was passed by California voters, it was largely thrown out by the courts. Another anti-immigration plan, Prop. 227, outlawed the use of bilingual education in California schools.
 
Over the years, the two countries have negotiated numerous treaties and agreements covering issues ranging from water rights to pollution to health care that affect residents on both sides of the 2,000-mile border.
 
An 1889 convention established the International Boundary Commission, reconstituted by the Water Treaty of 1944 as the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico (IBWC). The IBWC has settled many difficult US-Mexico boundary and water problems, including the regularization of the Rio Grande near El Paso through the 1967 Chamizal settlement (PDF). In recent years, the IBWC has worked to resolve longstanding border sanitation problems, monitor the quantity and quality of border waters, and address water delivery and sedimentation problems of the Colorado River.
 
The 1983 La Paz Agreement and the US-Mexico Border 2012 Program were adopted to protect and improve the border environment.
 
A November 1993 agreement established the North American Development Bank (NADBank) and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) under the auspices of NAFTA, in order to address border environmental problems. The NADBank uses capital and grant funds contributed by Mexico and the US to help finance border environmental infrastructure projects certified by the BECC.
 
The 1993 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) created the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation under NAFTA to improve enforcement of environmental laws and address common environmental concerns.
 
Other agreements have been reached involving wildlife and migratory birds, national parks, forests, marine and atmospheric resources. In July 2000, the US and Mexico signed an agreement to establish a binational Border Health Commission.
 
Mexico U.S.A. Relations (Mexicomatters)
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Current U.S. Relations with Mexico

US relations with Mexico are as important and complex as with any country in the world. A stable, democratic, and economically prosperous Mexico is fundamental to US interests, according to the State Department. US relations with Mexico have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, whether the issue is trade and economic reform, homeland security, drug control, migration, or the promotion of democracy. Each day an average of one million people legally cross the US-Mexico border. In addition, between a half-million and a million American citizens live in Mexico. Along the 2,000-mile shared border, state and local governments interact closely.

 
In March 2005, the US and Mexico (along with Canada) formed the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which seeks to forge trilateral and bilateral initiatives to improve North American security, competitiveness, and economic resilience.
 
There has been frequent contact at the highest levels of the two governments. Presidential meetings have included the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in October 2003 and President Bush’s visits to Monterrey in March 2002 and January 2004 (Summit of the Americas). Presidents Bush and Vicente Fox met in Crawford, Texas, in March 2005 where, along with then Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, they launched the Security and Prosperity Partnership. They held a follow-on SPP meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Harper in Cancun in March 2006. President Calderon joined President Bush and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Montebello, Canada, in August 2007, and in New Orleans for the third SPP leaders’ meeting in April 2008.
 
At the August 2007 SPP leaders’ meeting, Presidents Bush and Felipe Calderón announced the Mérida Initiative (pdf) to work together and with the countries of Central America to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the region. However, the initiative, also known as Plan Mexico, has attracted criticism because it pumps money into the sometimes corrupt military and police forces. In June 2008, President Bush signed the congressional appropriations bill that allocated $400 million in assistance to Mexico under the Merida Initiative.
 
Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along the 2,000-mile common border includes state and local problem-solving mechanisms; transportation planning; and institutions to address resource, environment, and health issues. In 1993, the Border Liaison Mechanism (BLM) was established. Chaired by US and Mexican consuls, the BLMs operate in “sister city” pairs to deal with a variety of local issues ranging from accidental violation of sovereignty by law enforcement officials and charges of mistreatment of foreign nationals to coordination of port security and cooperation in public health matters such as tuberculosis.
 
Approximately 20.6 million people (7.3% of the total population) identified themselves as being of Mexican ancestry in the 2000 US census. In descending order, the states with the highest population of Mexicans are: California, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, and Washington.
 
A total of 19.7 million Americans visited Mexico in 2006. The number of visitors fluctuated between a low of 17.6 million (2003) and a high of 20.3 million (2005) between 2002 and 2006.
 
In 2006, 13.3 million Mexicans traveled legally to the US, constituting 26.1% of all foreign visitors to the US. The number of Mexicans visiting the US has been climbing steadily since 2003, when 10.5 million Mexicans traveled north.
 
Noted Mexican-Americans:
 
Jessica Alba- Was born in California; he mother is of French and Danish descent and her father is Mexican American. She made a mark with the television series, ‘Dark Angel’. She appeared in movies such as ‘Honey’, ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘Good Luck Charm’ etc.

Eva Longoria Parker-

One of the most famous of Mexican Americans today. She is an accomplished that has had roles in several television series such as: ‘Beverly Hills 90210’, ‘The Young and the Restless’, and ‘Desperate Housewives’.

Roberto Enrique-Had his own debut album at age 14. He is a Mexican American actor, singer and songwriter. Roberto Enrique was born and brought up in Los Angeles in California. He has appeared in popular television series such as ‘The Shield’ and ‘Grounded for Life’.

Robert Rodriguez:

Megan Ewing:
 
Mexico's Spreading Drug Violence (by Stephanie Hanson, Council on Foreign Relations)
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress (by Sullivan, Cook and Durand, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
The Immigration Debate and U.S.-Mexican Relations (by Sidney Weintraub, Center for Strategic and International Studies) (PDF)
U.S.-Mexico Relations: Permeable Borders, Transnational Communities (By Denise Dresser and Veronica Wilson, Pacific Council on International Policy) (PDF)
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications (by M Angeles Villareal, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 109th Congress (by K. Larry Storrs, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
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Where Does the Money Flow

Mexico surpassed Japan in 1999 to become the United States’ second most important trading partner following Canada, However it fell to third place in 2008 as US trade with China increased. The United States is Mexico’s most important customer by far, receiving about 87% of Mexico’s exports. Petroleum tops the list of Mexican exports (up from $14 billion in 2003 to $30 billion in 2007). In 2007 Mexico was the world’s eighth-largest crude exporter, and the third-largest supplier of oil to the US. Oil and gas revenues provided more than one-third of all Mexican government revenues.

 
Other top Mexican exports to the US include automobiles and parts ($30 billion annually), televisions and recorders ($18 billion), electric apparatus and parts ($8.8 billion), telecommunications equipment ($7.9 billion) and winter vegetables ($5 billion).
 
Meanwhile, the US provides about 77% of Mexico’s imports. Top US exports to Mexico include electronic equipment ($9.9 billion), motor vehicle parts ($9.9 billion), plastic materials ($5.2 billion), and chemicals ($5 billion).
 
Overall, the US is running a trade deficit with Mexico, importing $186 billion vs. $129 billion in exports in the first ten months of 2008.
 
Trade disputes between the United States and Mexico tend to involve agricultural products such as livestock and sweeteners. To address the issues that affect these industries in a manner consistent with the principles of free trade, the United States and Mexico have established technical working groups.
 
More than 18,000 US companies have investments in Mexico, and the US accounts for more than 60% of foreign investment in Mexico.
 
Mexico received $65.4 million in aid from the US in 2007. The largest recipient programs were Rule of Law and Human Rights ($20.1 million), Counter-Narcotics ($14.7 million), and Counter-Terrorism ($8.3 million). 
 
The budget for 2009 will increase aid to Mexico to $501 million. Counter-Narcotics will receive the lion’s share of aid in 2009, at $430.0 million. This funding was approved as part of President Bush’s Merida Initiative. Approved in June 2008, the initiative is a multi-year proposal to provide support to Mexico and Central American governments with equipment and training in counter-narcotic operations. The initiative provides $450 million in funds for Mexico in 2009, and $100 million for Central American governments.
 
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Controversies

Blackwater Project Raises Concerns along US-Mexico BorderA project run by private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide stirred up concerns in 2008 along the US-Mexico border. Earlier rebuffed in its attempt to open a large training camp in the rural San Diego County community of Potrero, Blackwater found itself in a battle over the company’s bid to open a training facility for the US Navy. The current dispute centered on Blackwater’s 48-student school in San Diego County’s Otay Mesa on the US-Mexico border and just down the road from US Border Patrol offices. According to Blackwater, the site offers indoor shooting instruction and simulated ship training to improve the anti-terrorist skills of naval personnel. US Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) said that the presence of a “private mercenary army” on the border, where it was hard to tell who is a citizen and who was not, was a “recipe for disaster.” Filner and other Blackwater opponents cited the company’s record in Iraq, which included the 2004 killing of four company personnel in Fallujah, Iraq, and the shootings of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater employees.

Blackwater Otay (Citizens’ Oversight Projects)
 
Absolut Ad Angers Anti-Immigration Proponents
An organization fighting illegal immigration launched a boycott of Absolut vodka in 2008 after the Swedish company ran an ad showing large areas of the US as part of Mexico. A map in the ad depicted Mexico owning California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and other US territory, with the slogan, “In an Absolut World,” and pandered to the “separatist” movement among Mexicans, according to the National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC). “There is a rapidly growing separatist movement in the United States that is being fueled by illegal immigration across our southern border with Mexico,” the group said in a statement. “While many in the American media try to ignore or play down the threat, this radical movement is much stronger than most Americans know and global companies like Absolut are trying to cash in on it.”
 
US GMO Corn Raises Alarms in Mexico
A study commissioned by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2005 raised concerns over the potential fallout of genetically modified US corn found in Mexican crop yields. Mexican corn, the original source of all the world’s varieties, has evolved over eight to 10 millennia with myriad characteristics and colors that adapt to a broad array of climates and growing conditions. Most US corn, however, has been artificially altered by inserting genes from other species to make it resistant to pests and to some weed killers. Despite a decade-long ban on growing artificially modified corn in Mexico, some of the altered strains have been showing up among the native crops. Some scientists feared that, if introduced into Mexico, genetically modified corn could spell doom for the rich variety of Mexican corn with its diversity of resistance and adaptability to changing conditions and threats.
U.S. Genetically Modified Corn is Assailed (by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post)
 
Costco Angers Mexicans over Destruction of Murals
Costco shareholders concerned about the company’s destruction of historic murals and green space in Cuernavaca, Mexico, brought the issue to management’s attention at the company’s annual meeting in 2003. Joined by community leaders who traveled from Cuernavaca, shareholders pointed to rising anger across Mexico over the destruction of exceptional murals, architecturally important buildings, and scores of century-old trees at the site of a planned Costco store. Despite President and CEO Jim Sinegal’s claims that Costco had preserved murals and trees, the Cuernavacans offered photographic evidence to the contrary. Photos showed trees and topsoil removed from the site, turning an urban arboretum into a gaping hole in the ground, and large murals damaged beyond repair since Costco’s purchase of the property.
 
Mexico Controversy Dominates Costco Meeting (Frente Civico Pro Casino de la Selva)
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Human Rights

According to the State Department’s 2007 report, the good news with Mexico’s human rights situation is that the government “generally respected and promoted human rights at the national level by investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing public officials and members of the security forces.” The bad news, though, was that “impunity and corruption remained problems, particularly at the state and local level.”

 
Other serious problems cited by US officials included unlawful killings by security forces; kidnappings, including by police; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the judicial system; confessions coerced through physical abuse permitted as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women, often perpetrated with impunity; violence, including killings, against women; trafficking in persons, sometimes allegedly with official involvement; social and economic discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor.
 
Allegations of torture by security forces persisted, and physical abuse in particular continued to be a serious problem. Confessions obtained by physical abuse often were admitted as evidence. Human rights groups charged that authorities employed sophisticated techniques involving psychological torture as well as traditional methods to extract confessions. Confessions continued to be used as the primary evidence in many criminal cases, which encouraged the police to use physical abuse to extract testimony from defendants. Many citizens distrusted law enforcement officials and the justice system in general and were reluctant to register official complaints or to appear as witnesses.
 
On May 2 and 3, 2007, an army unit clashed with alleged drug traffickers in Michoacán State, leaving five soldiers and one colonel dead. The army then raided houses in several surrounding villages looking for individuals related to one of the traffickers. According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and NGOs, soldiers arbitrarily detained, then beat and burned with cigarette lighters an undetermined number of family members, submerged one person in a well, and raped four women, two of them minors. Soldiers allegedly detained 10 individuals at a local military base where they continued to beat and torture them.
 
The CNDH reported that following a clash with four alleged drug traffickers, a second army unit arbitrarily detained and allegedly tortured seven adults and one child at a military base.
 
Kidnapping remained a serious problem for persons of all socioeconomic levels. Many cases continued to go unreported, as families negotiated directly with kidnappers. The number of reported cases to authorities was believed to be far less than the actual number of kidnappings. Express kidnapping, in which a victim is detained for a short period to extract payment, often through forcing the victim to use an ATM card to drain a bank account, was a serious problem, with varying unofficial estimates far surpassing the estimated number of traditional kidnappings.
 
Prison conditions remained poor. The CNDH and other NGOs reported that corruption, overcrowding, alcoholism, and drug addiction were prevalent in most facilities. Health and sanitary conditions were poor, and most prisons did not offer psychiatric care. Poorly trained, underpaid, and corrupt guards staffed most prisons. Authorities occasionally placed prisoners in solitary confinement for indefinite periods; prisoners often had to bribe guards to acquire food, medicine, and other necessities. Prison overcrowding continued to be a common problem. In many prisons inmates exercised significant authority, displacing prison officials and creating general insecurity, leading to inmate deaths, often at the hands of other prisoners. During 2007 there were at least 232 killings and 34 suicides, among a nationwide federal prison population of nearly 218,000.
 
A suspect is deemed guilty until proven innocent. A prosecutor may hold a person up to 48 hours (96 hours in cases of organized crime) before presenting the suspect to a judge and announcing charges.
 
A coalition of local and international human rights groups categorized some arrested leaders of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and the Oaxaca teachers' movement as political prisoners. The groups also charged that family members, lawyers, and human rights representatives had difficulty visiting prisoners.
 
According to Reporters Without Borders, six journalists who disappeared in recent years remained missing; no investigations were being conducted, and none were expected. The Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Journalists noted that, since 1982, more than 50 journalists have been murdered or disappeared because of their profession, 28 of whom were killed since 2001.
 
Corruption continued to be a problem, as many police were involved in kidnapping, extortion, or providing protection for, or acting directly on behalf of organized crime and drug traffickers. Impunity was pervasive to an extent that victims often refused to file complaints. Corruption also was a problem at all levels of government, as some public officials continued to perpetrate bureaucratic abuses and some criminal acts with impunity. The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflected that government corruption was a problem. Corruption at the most basic level involved paying bribes for routine services or in lieu of fines to administrative officials and security forces, but more sophisticated and less apparent forms of corruption included overpaying for goods and services to provide payment to elected officials and political parties.
 
Domestic violence was pervasive and vastly underreported.
 
The country was a point of origin, transit, and destination for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor. The vast majority of non-Mexican trafficking victims came from Central America; lesser numbers came from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, China, Taiwan, India, and Eastern European countries. Victims were trafficked to the United States, as well as to various destinations in the country. Sexual tourism and sexual exploitation of minors were significant problems in the northern border area and in resort areas. Women and children (both boys and girls), undocumented migrants from Central America, the poor, and indigenous groups were most at risk for trafficking.
 
The indigenous population has been long subject to discrimination, repression, and marginalization. Indigenous communities, located principally in the central and southern regions, represented 37% of the population in the states of Oaxaca and Yucatan. These groups remained largely outside the political and economic mainstream, due to longstanding patterns of social and economic marginalization. In many cases their ability to participate in decisions affecting their lands, cultural traditions, and allocation of natural resources was negligible. Political groups, NGOs, and indigenous community leaders continued to allege the use of excessive force against indigenous people. Many such groups considered the continued presence of military units in selected areas of Chiapas and Guerrero to be intimidating.
 
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Debate

Fencing the US-Mexico Border

President George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress pushed through legislation in 2006 to construct a nearly 700-mile-long fence along the US-Mexico border. The decision was aimed at discouraging illegal immigration. The proposal sparked a new round of debate on the contentious issue of whether the US should “fence off” its long border with Mexico. Relations between the two nations have at times been strained since 9/11 as concerns over security and terrorism have clouded the border issue.
 
Mexican President Vicente Fox publicly opposed the fence, calling it “shameful” and damaging to democracy. He also called for immigration reforms that would benefit the many Mexicans living in the US. In a joint meeting, Mexico and its Central American neighbors announced their opposition to the bill, saying it was unnecessarily harsh in its attempt to criminalize the estimated thousands of people who attempt to cross the border into the US each day.
 
Proponents of building the fence, including Let Freedom Ring and We Need a Fence (a project of Let Freddom Ring), believe illegal immigrants do not have a right to seek employment in the US and should be stopped from coming into the US. They consider illegal immigration a threat to the American system of laws and an “affront” to the millions who “play by the rules” in seeking to come to the US. President Bush argued that the United States had not been in complete control of its borders for decades, allowing illegal immigration to rise. “We have a responsibility to address these challenges, we have a responsibility to enforce our laws, we have a responsibility to secure our borders,” said President Bush.
 
Background
Barricading the Border: A History of the US/Mexico Border Fence (by Joseph Nevins and Timothy Dunn, Counterpunch)
United States-Mexico Borderlands/Frontera (by Olivia Cadaval, Smithsonian Education)
 
For
Fence proposed along U.S.-Mexico border (interview with Colin Hanna of WeNeedAFence.com, MSNBC)
 
Against
Ambassador Discusses U.S.- Mexico Relations (interview with Carlos de Icaza, Washington Post)
That Divisive Anti-Immigrant Fence (by Marcela Sanchez, Washington Post)
 
 
The NAFTA Debate
During the US presidential campaign in 2008, the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 and broke down trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico, resurfaced as a major policy debate between Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Both candidates promised to make changes to the treaty in order to better protect certain regions and segments of American society. Clinton in particular pointed to the fact that since 2000, Ohio has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs, real median income there has dropped nearly 10%, and entire communities have been devastated. Critics argue that labor and environmental provisions could be strengthened, and they claim many former supporters of NAFTA admit the agreement hasn’t yielded the promised results it was supposed to.
 
Supporters of NAFTA point out that the trade pact substantially increased the quantity of US economic integration with Canada and Mexico, with trade volume among NAFTA countries more than tripling to $930 billion between 1993 and 2007. They also claim that, overall, NAFTA has not caused trade diversion, aside from a few select industries, such as textiles and apparel, and the World Bank has found that increases in imports among NAFTA countries have been offset by similar increases in exports, maintaining a balance in trade. Plus, NAFTA did not inherently present a systemic threat to the environment, as was originally feared. Problems that did arise occurred in specific areas where government environmental policy, infrastructure, or mechanisms were unprepared for the increasing scale of production under trade liberalization, and these developments are reversible with the proper public policy means.
 
Background & Opinions
NAFTA Debate Mirage (by Shankar Singhan, Washington Times)
What Should the Next President Do on NAFTA? (by Jeffrey Schott, Council on Foreign Relations)
Advancing the NAFTA Debate: Global Living Standards Are Key (by Jonathan Jacoby, Center for American Progress)
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Past Ambassadors

Andrew Jackson was nominated to be the first Ambassador to Mexico in 1823, but declined the appointment.  Five years later, he was elected President of the United States.

 
Ninian Edwards
Appointment: Mar 4, 1824
Note: Did not proceed to post.
 
Joel R. Poinsett
Appointment: Mar 8, 1825
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 1, 1825
Termination of Mission: Recall requested by Government of Mexico, Oct 17, 1829; left post, Jan 3, 1830.
 
Anthony Butler
Appointment: Oct 12, 1829
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 29, 1830
Termination of Mission: Recall requested by Government of Mexico Oct 21, 1835; Butler did not leave post until after his successor had presented credentials.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 12, 1830.
 
Powhatan Ellis
Appointment: Jan 5, 1836
Presentation of Credentials: May 11, 1836
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 28, 1836
Powhatan Ellis
Appointment: Feb 15, 1839
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 7, 1839
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Apr 21, 1842
 
Waddy Thompson
Appointment: Feb 10, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1842
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 9–10, 1844
 
Wilson Shannon
Appointment: Apr 9, 1844
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 1844
Termination of Mission: Mexico severed diplomatic relations with U.S., Mar 28, 1845; Shannon left post, May 14, 1845.
 
John Slidell
Appointment: Nov 10, 1845
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 20, 1846. Proceeded to post, but did not present credentials; left post about Mar 21, 1846.
Slidell later served as a US Senator from Louisiana.
 
Nathan Clifford
Appointment: Jul 28, 1848
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 2, 1848
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 6, 1849
 
Robert P. Letcher
Appointment: Aug 9, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 7, 1850
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 2, 1852
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on May 29, 1850.
 
Alfred Conkling
Appointment: Aug 6, 1852
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 30, 1852
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 17, 1853
Conkling had earlier served as a member of the House of Representatives from New York.
 
James Gadsden
Appointment: May 24, 1853
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 17, 1853
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Oct 23, 1856
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 13, 1854.
 
John Forsyth
Appointment: Jul 21, 1856
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 23, 1856
Termination of Mission: Suspended political relations of the Legation with Government of Mexico, Jun 21, 1858
Note: Forsyth left post, Oct 21, 1858.
 
Robert M. McLane
Appointment: Mar 7, 1859
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 6, 1859
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Dec 22, 1860
 
John B. Weller
Appointment: Nov 17, 1860
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 14, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 12, 1860.
 
Thomas Corwin
Appointment: Mar 22, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: May 21, 1861
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Apr 27, 1864
 
Note: During 1864–1867 the following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim: William H. Corwin (Apr 1864–Apr 1866) and Marcus Otterbourg (Apr 1866–Aug 1987).
 
John A. Logan
Appointment: Nov 14, 1865
Note: Declined appointment. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
Lewis D. Campbell
Appointment: May 4, 1866
Note: Took oath of office and proceeded to Mexico, but did not present credentials.
 
Marcus Otterbourg
Appointment: Jul 1, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 19, 1867
Termination of Mission: Informed Government of Mexico by note, Aug 18, 1867, that he considered his mission terminated; left post Sep 21–30, 1867.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
John A. McClernand
Note: Not commissioned; nomination twice rejected by the Senate.
 
William S. Rosecrans
Appointment: Jul 27, 1868
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 10, 1868
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 26, 1869
 
Thomas H. Nelson
Appointment: Apr 16, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 26, 1869
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 16, 1873
 
John W. Foster
Appointment: Mar 17, 1873
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 16, 1873
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 2, 1880
 
Philip H. Morgan
Appointment: Jan 26, 1880
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1880
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 6, 1885
 
Henry R. Jackson
Appointment: Mar 23, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 11, 1885
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 7, 1886
 
Thomas C. Manning
Appointment: Aug 30, 1886
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1886
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 21, 1887
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 14, 1887.
 
Edward S. Bragg
Appointment: Jan 16, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 27, 1889
 
Thomas Ryan
Appointment: Mar 30, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 9, 1893
 
Isaac P. Gray
Appointment: Mar 20, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1893
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 7, 1894
Note: Returned to post, Feb 14, 1895, but died the same day without resuming charge of the Legation.
 
Matt W. Ramsom
Appointment: Feb 23, 1895
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 18, 1895
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 1, 1895
Note: This appointment was characterized as a nullity in an opinion of the Acting Attorney General, Aug 15, 1895.
Matt W. Ramsom
Appointment: Aug 24, 1895
Presentation of Credentials: [Sep 18, 1895]
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 13, 1897
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 5, 1895. New letter of credence filed with the Foreign Minister on Sep 18, 1895, and not formally presented.
 
Powell Clayton
Appointment: Mar 22, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: May 13, 1897
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 26, 1905
 
Edwin H. Conger
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 15, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1905
 
David E. Thompson
Appointment: Jan 24, 1906
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1906
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1909
 
Henry Lane Wilson
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 5, 1910
Termination of Mission: Normal relations interrupted, Feb 18, 1913; new Government of Mexico still unrecognized by the United States when Wilson left Mexico Jul 17, 1913
 
Note: Nelson O'Shaughnessy was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the Embassy in Mexico was closed, at the request of the Mexican authorities, Apr 22, 1914.
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Feb 25, 1916
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1917
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 25, 1919

Note: George T. Summerlin served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, Jan 1919–Mar 1924.
 
Henry Morgenthau
Note: Not commissioned; nomination not confirmed by the Senate.
 
Charles Beecher Warren
Appointment: Feb 29, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 22, 1924
 
James Rockwell Sheffield
Appointment: Sep 9, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 15, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 5, 1927
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 10, 1925.
 
Dwight W. Morrow
Appointment: Sep 21, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 29, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 17, 1930
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1927.
 
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 3, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 14, 1933
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 16, 1930.
 
Josephus Daniels
Appointment: Mar 17, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 24, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 9, 1941
 
George S. Messersmith
Appointment: Dec 4, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 24, 1942
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 15, 1946
 
Walter Thurston
Appointment: May 4, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1946
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Nov 4, 1950
 
William O'Dwyer
Appointment: Sep 20, 1950
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1950
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Dec 6, 1952
 
Francis White
Appointment: Mar 11, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1957
 
Robert C. Hill
Appointment: May 20, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 25, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Mexico, Dec 1, 1960
 
Thomas C. Mann
Appointment: Apr 18, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 8, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 22, 1963
 
Fulton Freeman
Appointment: Mar 4, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 6, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 6, 1969
 
Robert H. McBride
Appointment: Jun 13, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1969
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jan 25, 1974
 
Joseph J. Jova
Appointment: Dec 19, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 21, 1977
 
Patrick J. Lucey
Appointment: May 26, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 31, 1979
 
Julian Nava
Appointment: Apr 3, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 3, 1981
 
John A. Gavin
Appointment: May 7, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 5, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1986
Gavin spent 25 years as an actor in Hollywood. His career peaked in 1959-1960, when he starred in Imitation of Life, and appeared in Psycho and Spartacus.
 
Charles J. Pilliod, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 16, 1986
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1986
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 7, 1989
 
John D. Negroponte
Appointment: Jun 15, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 5, 1993
 
James Robert Jones
Appointment: Aug 9, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 10, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 25, 1997
 
William F. Weld
Note: Nomination of Jul 23, 1997, withdrawn Sep 19, 1997.
Note: Charles Ray served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Jun 1997–Aug 1998.
 
Jeffrey Davidow
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 5, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 14, 2002
 
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Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Medina-Mora, Eduardo

Mexico sent a new ambassador to its northern neighbor in January 2013, who will have to navigate the thickets of immigration reform, the drug war, and other issues that divide Mexico and the U.S. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza presented his credentials to President Obama on January 14, formally succeeding Arturo Sarukhán, who had served as Mexico's man in Washington since February 2007.

 

Born January 30, 1957, in Mexico City, Medina-Mora followed in the footsteps of his father, a prominent attorney who was president of the Mexican Bar Association, by earning a law degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and practicing law at the family firm of Medina-Mora y Asociados.

 

In the private sector, Medina-Mora was corporate director of Strategic Planning and deputy director general of DESC Group, a large Mexican conglomerate in automotive parts, petrochemicals, agribusiness and real estate, from 1991 to 2000. He also coordinated the legal advisory team to the Mexican Government during the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, focusing on the areas of Agriculture, Rules, Unfair Trade, Investment and Rules of Origin.

 

After serving as chief of staff to the Undersecretary of Fisheries, Medina-Mora held several cabinet-level positions in the Mexican federal government, including service as director general of the Center for Investigation and National Security (the Mexican CIA) from December 2000 to September 2005, as secretary for public security from September 2005 to November 2006, and as attorney general from December 2006 to September 2009, serving ex officio as a member of the Public Security Cabinet and of the National Security Council, which he chaired from 2006 to 2009.

 

As attorney general, Medina-Mora faced directly the intertwined issues of the flows of drugs, money, guns and undocumented immigrants between the two countries, and the violence of the war against the drug cartels that engulfed northern Mexico. There were even rumors that Medina-Mora—a key negotiator of the Merida Initiative that provides U.S. funding to the drug war in Mexico—was replaced as attorney general because officials worried the government could not protect him and his family in Mexico, although it was also said that he was forced to resign after a top deputy was arrested for taking bribes from the drug cartels.

 

Shortly after his removal as attorney general, Medina-Mora was appointed ambassador to the U.K., where he served from November 2009 to January 2013. He has also participated in international forums and negotiations, serving as a member of the High-Level Group on Border Security for Mexico-Guatemala and Mexico-Belize; chief negotiator for the Mexico-U.S. Border Partnership Agreement in 2002; and as negotiator for the Alliance for Prosperity and Security in North America from 2004 to 2005. He also served on a number of delegations and bilateral task forces on security cooperation between Mexico and the U.S., Canada, Colombia and Guatemala.

 

Medina-Mora is co-editor of the book Legitimate Use of Force (2008), and author of the book Fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone, published by the Ministry of Fisheries in 1989. He has also been a member of the Mexican Bar Association and of the American Bar Association.

 

He and his wife, Laura Medina-Mora, have three children.

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Personalidades: Eduardo Medina-Mora (es mas) (Spanish)

Destaca Medina Mora retos e intereses comunes de Mexico y EU (Novedades Acapulco)

En entrevista con Ciro di Constanzo, el embajador de EU Eduardo mora: “La relación más importante que el pais tiene” (by Ciro di Costanzo, 98.5 FM) (audio in Spanish)

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Mexico's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Wayne, Tony
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama choice as the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico is Earl Anthony “Tony” Wayne, a high-ranking career diplomat who has spent little time in Latin America.

 
Born in 1950 in Sacramento, California, Wayne grew up in Concord, where he graduated from high school in 1968. He attended college at UC Berkeley, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972. He later acquired two master’s degrees in political science (Stanford University 1973 and Princeton University 1975) plus a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University (1984).
 
A career diplomat since 1975, his first postings were as a political officer in Rabat, Morocco, and as a China analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During the tenure of Secretary of State Ed Muskie, Wayne served in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat.
 
From 1981 to 1983, he was special assistant to Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Shultz.
 
He served as first secretary at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France (1984-1987).
 
Wayne took a leave of absence from 1987 to 1989 to work as the national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.
 
After returning to the State Department, he was director for regional affairs for the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism from 1989 to 1991.
 
For most of the 1990s, Wayne worked on European affairs, helping organize the semi-annual U.S.-EU summits, formulate and negotiate the U.S.-EU New Transatlantic Agenda, and playing a role in the Stability Pact Summit held in Sarajevo in 1999.
 
From 1991 to 1993, he was director for Western European affairs at the National Security Council.
 
Wayne was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. mission to the European Union (1993-1996), followed by deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Canada (1996-1997), and principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European Affairs (1997-2000).
 
From June 2000 until June 2006, Wayne was assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, making him the longest serving assistant secretary since the inception of that bureau. He served as interim under secretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs for six months in 2005. During this time, he also served as U.S. foreign affairs “sous sherpa” helping to prepare the Gleneagles G-8 Summit, in addition to his duties as assistant secretary.
 
Wayne’s first ambassador role took him to Argentina from November 2006 to June 2009.
 
He later held the position of coordinating director for development and economic affairs, overseeing U.S. government non-military assistance to Afghanistan. In May 2010, he was appointed deputy ambassador in Kabul, putting him in charge of all embassy sections, programs, agencies and offices.
 
Official Biography (U.S. Embassy Argentina)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Pascual, Carlos
ambassador-image

The State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have claimed their first big fish in the U.S. diplomatic community as U.S. ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual was forced to resign on March 19, 2011, after complaints by Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón. Actually, most of the cables portrayed Calderón in a positive light, and Pascual is clearly a scapegoat for widely-held critical opinions of the Mexican government’s battle against drug cartels.
 
It is possible that problems began as soon as President Barack Obama nominated Pascual for the post in April 2009. Pascual was a controversial choice because his specialty was not Latin America, but rather converting newly independent or failed states to democracy and free market capitalism. Consequently, there was suspicion among some Mexicans that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarded Mexico as a failed state or one on the brink of failure. Nevertheless, Pascual was confirmed and presented his credentials in Mexico City on August 9, 2009.
 
Born in 1959 in Cuba, Pascual emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of three. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University in 1980 and his Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1982. 
 
Pascual joined the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1983. In addition to working at the agency’s Africa Bureau in Washington, DC, Pascual was posted to Sudan, South Africa and Mozambique. In June 1992, Pascual became director of USAID’s Office of Program Analysis and Coordination for the New Independent States Task Force. From February 1994 to June 1995 he was deputy assistant administrator for Europe and the New Independent States. In that position, he oversaw budget and policy development for USAID’s annual programs of $1.2 billion in the region. 
 
In June 1995, Pascual left USAID for the National Security Council (NSC), where for three years he was director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for economic policy generally and for Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. From July 1998 to January 2000, Pascual served as special assistant to the President and NSC senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, where he guided US policy related to democracy and market change in Ukraine, and stability, security, and democracy concerns in the Caucasus and Central Asia. From October 2000 to August 2003, Pascual served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. 
 
Returning to Washington in September 2003, Pascual was coordinator for US Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, managing the allocation and implementation of approximately $1.1 billion in annual assistance. Starting in August 2004, Pascual served as coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the State Department. The primary focus of his work was Sudan, Haiti, and several conflict prevention activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 
 
In February 2006, Pascual took his first private sector position as Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, a highly influential, center-liberal policy think tank in Washington, DC. While at Brookings, Pascual co-authored a book on foreign policy, Power & Responsibility: Building International Order in an Era of Transnational Threat, which proposes that greater international cooperation will be needed to meet the global challenges of the 21st Century. He also wrote or supervised reports advising President Obama to “Restore American Leadership to Address Transnational Threats,” encouraging “big thinking” on nuclear nonproliferation, and advocating a policy of “Constructive Engagement,” with Cuba, including the repeal of the trade embargo. The Obama Administration has begun to implement such a policy, beginning with the President’s relaxation of travel and spending restrictions.  
 
Pascal speaks Spanish and Ukrainian. In 2008, he donated $1,000 to the campaign of Barack Obama. 
 
Changing How We Address Global And National Security (by Bruce Jones, Carlos Pascual and Stephen Stedman, Huffington Post). 
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (by Naomi Klein, The Nation)

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