- 1,969,000 km2.
- 81,250,000 (Mar. 1990 census).
- Mexico City.
- Ethnic composition:
- Caucasian (mainly Spanish, 15%), mixed Indian and Spanish
(mestizo, 60%), American Indian (25%).
- Major languages:
- Spanish (official).
- Major religions:
- Roman Catholic.
- Colonized by Spain, Mexico won independence in 1821 and
established a republic in 1824. After the U.S.-Mexican
War of 1846-48, Mexico lost almost half its territory
to the United States. In 1864 Napoleon III installed
Archduke Maximilian of Austria as emperor, but the French
forces withdrew in 1867. In 1910, at the end of a period
of dictatorship, the Mexican Revolution began, and it
culminated in the promulgation of the country's present
constitution in 1917. Among notable recent developments
is Mexico's signing of the North American Free-Trade
Agreement, which took effect in 1994.
- Federal republic.
- Head of state:
- President: Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León. He assumed
office on December 1, 1994, and is serving an
unextendible six-year term.
- The bicameral National Congress encompasses a Senate and
a Chamber of Deputies. The Senate consists of 128
members, 4 each from the 31 states and the Federal
District, elected to six-year terms; an election for half
the Senate seats is held every three years. The Chamber
of Deputies consists of 500 members elected to three-year
terms; 300 seats go to winners in single-member
constituencies, and 200 are distributed on a proportional
basis among parties.
- José Angel Gurría Trevi is the foreign minister.
- Domestic politics:
- The existence of the powerful ruling Institutional
Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario
Institucional, PRI) has facilitated political stability
in Mexico, which has not experienced a coup d'etat
since 1920. Opposition parties made substantial gains in
the presidential and legislative elections of July 1988,
but the ruling party reasserted itself in the midterm
elections of August 1991. When Carlos Salinas de Gortari
became president in 1988, he set the goals of
strengthening democracy, promoting economic recovery and
stable growth, and improving national welfare. The
Salinas administration also took action to enhance
domestic political stability, pay off foreign debts,
ensure law and order, and deal with pollution problems.
In January 1994 the Zapatista National Liberation Army instigated an armed insurrection in the southern state of Chiapas, and in March the political situation was temporarily plunged into confusion by the assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI presidential candidate. The PRI then threw its weight behind Ernesto Zedillo, and it secured his election and also triumphed in the upper and lower houses in the August 1994 poll.
- Foreign policy:
- Seeking to maintain its position as a member of the free
world, Mexico bases its foreign policy on noninterference
in domestic affairs, national self-determination, and the
peaceful resolution of conflicts.
For economic and geopolitical reasons, Mexico places top priority on its relationship with the United States. As a key member of the Rio Group, a forum of Latin American countries, and of the so-called Group of Three (Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia), Mexico has played an active role in efforts to rescue indebted countries, secure peace in Central America, and root out the drug trade. The Salinas administration devoted considerable attention to strengthening relations with Asian countries, Japan in particular, and it secured membership for Mexico in the OECD in April 1994.
- Defense budget, $1,520 million; regular armed forces
(volunteer and short-term conscription) consist of
130,000 members of the army, 37,000 members of the navy,
and 8,000 members of the air force on active duty (of
whom 60,000 are short-term conscripts). In addition,
300,000 members are in reserve.
- $360.5 billion (1993).
- Per capita GDP:
- $3,893 (1992).
- Real growth rate:
- 0.4% (1993).
- 8.0% (1993).
- 3.4% (urban areas, 1993).
- External debt:
- $78.7 billion (1993).
- Exports: $51.8 billion; imports: $65.4 billion (1993).
- Principal items traded:
- Exports: oil, mining and manufacturing products,
agricultural and fishery products; imports: industrial
products, machinery and equipment, agricultural products,
chemical products, steel.
- Foreign-currency reserves:
- $24.5 billion (1993).
- Nuevo Peso.
- Economic conditions:
- On coming into power at the end of 1988, President
Salinas announced an economic stability and growth pact
designed to cure rampant inflation, and this was expanded
into an agreement covering competitiveness and employment
and enforced from October 1992 through December 1994.
Work on reducing Mexico's foreign debts moved into high
gear in March 1988 with a buy-back plan, which exchanged
$1.1 billion worth of newly issued Mexican government
bonds backed by the U.S. government for outstanding debt. In 1989 Mexico signaled
its acceptance of the U.S.-sponsored Brady plan, which
features an infusion of funds from sources like the IMF
and the World Bank to pay back debts to commercial banks.
February 1990 saw the final signing of the debt relief
package, the first application of the Brady plan, and
Japan took part with financing amounting to $2.1 billion
provided by the Export-Import Bank of Japan.
By and large the economic management of the Salinas administration was quite successful. Economic growth was sustained; inflation was curbed; and the budget moved into the black. Now that NAFTA has taken effect, Mexico is expected to place greater priority on preventing inflation than on achieving fast growth.
- Japan's aid:
- Loans: 145.1 billion yen; grants: 4.3 billion yen
(cumulative ODA total through fiscal 1992). In technical
cooperation through fiscal 1992, Japan has accepted 2,975
trainees, dispatched 800 experts and 1,256 mission
members, donated equipment and materials worth 5.3
billion yen, cooperated in 12 projects, and conducted 28
- Japan and Mexico have traditionally maintained friendly
relations. The year 1987 marked the 90th anniversary of
the first Japanese emigrants to Mexico, while 1988 marked
the centennial of a bilateral treaty on amity and
commerce. In 1992 the Japan-Mexico Commission for the
21st Century finished its final report and submitted it
to the Mexican president and Japanese prime minister.
- Exports to Japan: $1,073 million, featuring oil,
nonferrous metals, salt, copper ore, silver bullion,
cotton; imports from Japan: $3,962 million, featuring
general machinery, electric machinery, steel, auto parts
- Cumulative Japanese direct investment through fiscal 1992
came to $2,127 million (301 cases).
- Under a cultural agreement signed in 1954, a bilateral
cultural panel has been meeting regularly, every two
years since 1976. Cultural exchange projects are being
funded by the Japan-Mexico Friendship Fund (Fondo de
Amistad Japón-México), established in July 1981 with a
$1 million endowment from the Japanese government and an
82 million yen contribution from the Japanese business
federation Keidanren. In 1971 the Special Program of
Students and Young Technicians was set up, the exchange
expenses being borne by the host country. Thus far 2,742
people have taken part in this program, which started out
with about 100 participants from each side per year but
was scaled back in 1983. As one fruit of a 1974 visit to
Mexico by Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, the Mexico-Japan
Lyceum (Liceo Mexicano-Japonés was established in
Mexico in 1977 to educate Japanese and Mexican children
- Japanese residing in Mexico:
- About 3,400.
- About 10,500.
- Visits by eminent persons:
- Japan to Mexico: Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama (1990),
Economic Planning Agency Director General Hideyuki Aizawa
(1990), Crown Prince Naruhito (1992), Finance Minister
Tsutomu Hata (1992), Foreign Minister Kabun Muto (1993);
Mexico to Japan: Presidential Chief of Staff José Córdoba Montoya (1990), Commerce and Industrial Development Secretary Jaime José Serra Puche (1990, 1991), President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and his wife (1990), Health Secretary Dr. Jesé Kumate Rodríguez (1991), Finance and Public Credit Secretary Pedro Aspe Armella (1991), Foreign Relations Secretary Fernando Solana Morales (1991), Fisheries Secretary Guillermo Jimúnez Morales (1992), Federal District Governor Victor Manuel Camacho Soli's (1993), Communications and Transport Secretary Emilio Gamboa Patrón (1993), President of the Chamber of Deputies María de los Angeles Moreno Iruegas (1993), Tourism Secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell (1993), President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1993).
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