Tag Archives: mexico

Mexico’s wine country – Valle de Guadalupe – is on the rise

Baja California seems like the perfect place to recreate that Italian sense of wine. Both are peninsulas with rolling hills of heat and fresh ocean breezes, perfect for a multitude of grape varieties. Food is central to the culture, like it is in Italy, with most Mexicans in the area practicing some sort of agriculture, aquaculture, or livestock herding. Finally, both have a bustling tourist industry more than ready to accommodate wine loving visitors.

Mark my words, Baja California is on the rise as a wine destination.

A review of Deckman’s seasonal restaurant located on the El Mogor winery:

My dear pal took me to Baja’s wine country – the Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada – to lunch under the pine trees at Drew Deckman’s new seasonal restaurant at the charming Mogor Badan winery…there is no dearth of fine eateries in the Ensenada area.

And all take full advantage of what the region offers including organic produce; regional cheeses in both the farm and European styles; hand-crafted wines that are winning accolades throughout the world, and meats and seafood that are cultivated locally.

 

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Could Mexico grow bigger than Brazil in the next few decades?

What if Mexico were to become a bigger economy than Brazil?

In recent years Brazil has outplayed Mexico, growing at 6% or more as Mexico bumped along in the slow lane. But lately that has changed. Last year Mexico grew by 4% and Brazil by 2.7%. This year Mexico is expected to get close to 4% again, whereas some economists reckon that Brazil’s rate could dip below 2%. A recent report by Nomura predicted that Mexico’s economy, currently half the size of Brazil’s, could end up the bigger of the two within the next decade. – The Economist

To get into some detail, in 2011 Mexico had a GDP of $1.15 trillion and Brazil with $2.48 trillion. It seems like a tall order for Mexico to more than double its economy.

 

Google Public Data

 

But, if you look at certain sectors, like automobiles, Brazil is starting to face some growth problems. Originally, the country grew by exploiting is size, natural resources, and population. In order to keep up growth they will need to expand internationally with products and services.

Last year, Brazilians created 3.4 million cars and exported only 540,000. That is worth $372 million.  Mexico, on the other hand, created 2.6 million cars and exported 2.1 million of them. That is worth $2 billion and reflects a growth of 40%. (The Economist)

Mexico may be more ideally situated for growth in the next few decades than Brazil is.

United States loans three satellites, worth $1 billion, to Mexico – MEXSAT

Did you know that America had an Export-Import Bank?

 

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved a $922 million loan guarantee to support the export of three satellites and related equipment to the Mexican government for the MEXSAT regional mobile satellite system. Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation will purchase the satellites from Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems in El Segundo, Calif. Boeing will produce two satellites with mobile service satellite (MSS) capacity and will subcontract a third satellite with fixed service satellite (FSS) capacity from Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Va.

The three satellites will be used to deploy the MEXSAT system, a next-generation, space-based communications platform that will help support social and economic development within Mexico. Various sectors will benefit from MEXSAT, including programs focusing on education, health care, disaster relief and rural telephonic service.

Mexico is one of Ex-Im Bank’s nine key markets and accounted for $8.3 billion of the Bank’s worldwide credit exposure at the end of FY 2011. In FY 2012 to date, the Bank has authorized approximately $1.8 billion in financing for U.S. exports to Mexico.

 

Source: Embassy of the United States in Mexico

 

 

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The ousted authoritarian government of Mexico – PRI – may be back

When Mexico’s long-ruling party was ousted by voters 12 years ago, giddy celebrants hailed the event as something like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For seven decades, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, had governed virtually unchallenged, aided by election trickery, a well-honed ability to buy off potential troublemakers and, when that didn’t work, an iron fist. Its historic loss in 2000, and its tumble to third place six years later, led some to even imagine a Mexico without the PRI.

Now the PRI is on the verge of an epic comeback. Polls show the party’s presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, holding a double-digit lead over three rivals ahead of the July 1 vote. The party could also end up with majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in 15 years.

The PRI’s march back from humiliation owes as much to widespread anger over skyrocketing drug violence and an anemic job market as to any lessons learned.

But the possibility of a PRI triumph raises a question now at the heart of the race: What kind of PRI would govern — a cleaned-up, “new PRI” retooled for a modernizing Mexico, or the opaque monolith of yore, with its dark intrigues, rampant graft and authoritarian streak?

 

Keep readingThe fall and rise of Mexico’s PRI

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Art exhibit – the native americans who survived the Spanish Colonial period

Here is a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl

You may remember the name Quetzalcoatl as the so-called white-bearded God in Atzec lore. Which Hernán Cortés was supposed to represent and then use to his advantage when he conquered the greatest empire of the Americas.

That understanding is in some dispute but what is not are the enemies of the Aztecs. The Nahua, Mixtec, and Zapotec kingdoms were resisting the Aztecs when the Spaniards arrived. They quickly allied with Spain and established a thriving culture, language, and trade that survives to this day.

These cultures have a strong history and a powerful modern presence in Mexico and the United States. This exhibit presents artifacts from their ancient and colonial history. A fascinating look at Native Americans who somewhat escaped the ravages of colonialism.

The exhibition examines the art and material objects of late pre-Columbian and early colonial societies across Mexico to explore Quetzalcoatl’s role as founder and benefactor of the Nahua-, Mixtec-, and Zapotec-dominated kingdoms of southern Mexico. These socially and culturally complex communities successfully resisted both Aztec and Spanish subjugation, flourishing during an era of unprecedented international entrepreneurship and cultural innovation. On view are painted manuscripts (codices), polychrome ceramics, textiles, and exquisite works of gold, turquoise, and shell that reflect the achievements of the Children of the Plumed Serpent.

 

Learn more about the exhibitLACMA: Children of the Plumed Serpent

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Mexico awards its highest honor for foreigners to three Americans

Two San Diegans — a scholar who found fulfillment studying Mexican migrants and a refugee who built a successful spa in Baja California — are receiving Mexico’s highest honor for foreigners, it was announced Wednesday.

Wayne Cornelius, 66, a longtime professor at the University of California San Diego, was selected “for his work of more than five decades to achieve greater and better understanding of Mexico in the United States,” according to a statement by President Felipe Calderón.

Deborah Szekely, the 90-year-old founder of the internationally known Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, was praised for contributions “oriented to preserving the environmental, social and cultural heritage over the past seven decades.”

A third American recognized with the distinction — called the Order of the Aztec Eagle — is Rick Bayless, a chef who specializes in Mexican cuisine. He hosts the PBS television series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” which recently aired a segment on Baja California cuisine.

via U-T San Diego

 

Additionally, both Deborah Sezekely and Rick Bayless are receiving their honor, in part, due to their environmental and sustainable efforts.

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Our trash pollutes beaches around the world

A recent cleanup of trash on a scenic Mexican beach seemed to confirm what many there thought: Most of the plastic garbage comes from outside Mexico.

On Feb. 25, a cleanup collected more than 6 tons of trash and allowed participants to examine pieces for signs of where it came from.

The answer: all over. Cuba. Venezuela. Honduras. China. Brazil.The  United States. Haiti. Jamaica. The Netherlands. Pretty much everywhere but Mexico.

H. Bruce Rinker, an ecologist based in Maine, said he examined perhaps hundreds of pieces during the cleanup effort.

“I found only two pieces clearly with ‘Product of Mexico’ labels,” he said in an email.

via LA Times

An eco-house in Esenada, Mexico – built into a seaside cliff

An interesting concept for a beach home is profiled in the LA Times. The house is built into a cliff using “rammed-earth,” concrete slabs, and recycled materials.

D’Acosta and Turrent began their two-year construction project by digging a foundation into the cliff, then constructing a perimeter of 3-foot-thick rammed-earth retaining walls. They called the inner structure of earthen tunnels an “hormiguero,” or ants’ nest. A concrete slab hearth supports the weight of the wood floor and roof, “like a huge column supporting a bridge,” D’Acosta said. The result is a 2,300-square-foot house with bohemian flair.

Another component of the home is recycled 100-year-old redwood planks from a bridge in Northern California. The couple bought 200 of the timbers, each 27 feet long and 1 ton, from a salvage yard in Rosarito Beach.

See more pictures and details at LA Times

 

The Oil Industry – the most developed world industry, twice the size of the food industry

In 1950, the United States was the only country with a well developed oil industry. Today, the energy sector as a whole is the largest industry in the world and accounts for over $3 trillion dollars in annual sales. The second largest global industry, food, accounts for $1.7 trillion. Between 1950 and 1973 the world oil industry grew 9-fold – a rate of increase of 10% per year, sustained over a period of 20 years. During that time period, the world produced over 2.5 billion new motor vehicles, half of which in the United States.

The world demand for oil has multiplied from 11 million barrels per day (mbd) in 1950, to 57 mbd in 1970, to almost 80 mbd today. The United States consumes 20.7 mbd, which is the most of any nation and equals the consumption of the next 5 largest national consumers (China, Japan, Germany, Russia and India). World demand has recently grown as the economies of China (6.5 mbd) and India (2.3 mbd) have developed, but the United States remains the largest consumer.

The five largest producers of oil are Saudi Arabia (10.37 mbd), Russia (9.27), United States (8.69), Iran (4.09) and Mexico (3.86). Proven oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East (60%).

via Joseph Coton Wright at Berkeley

Family History Day: a new American holiday

Would you like to celebrate a new holiday with me?

I call it Family History Day, or Ancestors Day. 

Let’s celebrate it right before Halloween with a variety of fun and somber rituals, pulled from the most popular festivals around the world:

  • Qingming festival from East Asia
  • Día de los Muertos from Mexico
  • The rituals of Shinto in Japan.

From each I have chosen the best elements and combined them together to form a truly marvelous holiday. One that, I hope, will accomplish the goal: to gain wisdom. Wisdom is an elusive foe, one that evades us all our lives. Sometimes we find it right before we die or after a great tragedy, but none of us have it on a daily basis. This holiday is an attempt to find wisdom every year by seeking out those in our past who had it, for just a brief moment. It also formalizes the search into a ritual that can teach us about family, honor, and respect. Here is how other cultures celebrate.

Qingming

The Qingming Festival, often called Ancestors Day, occurs on the Spring Equinox, usually around April 15, and is celebrated in many countries from China to Cambodia. “Celebrants remember and honour their ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, paper accessories, and/or libations to the ancestors.” “It is also the time when young couples start courting. Families go on outings.” There is also a rich history of honoring ones ancestors through poetry and painting.

English Translation:

The ceaseless drizzle drips all the dismal day, So broken-hearted fares the traveler on the way. When asked where could be found a tavern bower, A cowboy points to yonder village of the apricot flower.

Día de loe Muertos

Día de los Muertos, translates as Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico over two days, November 1-2. The first day honors children and second honors deceased relatives. It is a fun and morbid holiday that celebrates death with joy. Families create candy and treats for children in the shape of skulls and skeletons.

Young ones get involved with costumes and skeleton dolls at parties with dancing and music. Adults visit cemeteries to “build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages as well as photos and memorabilia of the departed.” Celebrated on the Catholic holiday All Souls Day, the intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that they will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Shinto

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