febrero 28, 2021

Guest Columnist – Mexico, Chaos or Opportunity?

México ¿caos u oportunidad? Mexico Chaos or Opportunity?

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our guest columnists do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of this publication.

Morgan Smith/ Former Colorado Legislator

Haga click aquí para leer la versión en español

At about 6:30 AM on June 26, Omar García Harfuch, the chief of police for Mexico City was ambushed and shot three times on the Paseo de la Reforma, a major boulevard. Two of his bodyguards were killed as well as a woman bystander. Some twenty eight killers were involved using grenades as well as 50 caliber weapons. Yet there has been almost no mention in the press here in the US.

Mexico is at a tipping point between chaos and opportunity and the resolution of this brazen ambush will have much to do with the way the country goes.

It probably seems curious but one opportunity for Mexico is with China. China’s new national security law restricting Hong Kong’s political and economic freedoms is terrifying the international business community and foreign companies are going to be pulling out of Hong Kong and China. Although “Buy American” is a popular slogan here, the major concern of American consumers is cost. Therefore  American companies – or international companies – have to find countries where labor costs are less. China has been the major beneficiary.

In this case, Mexico is the obvious answer. It is close geographically, the language barriers are much less than with China and we have more in common culturally. Eighteen percent of the American population is Latino. In addition, Mexico already has world class manufacturing locales like Aguascalientes with its thriving automobile industry.

Mexico and Canada are Colorado’s two largest export markets.

The shift of investment from China to Mexico could result in more jobs but much needed high skilled jobs that would pay far more than the miserly Mexican minimum wage of less than $6 per day or the low pay at maquilas on the border.

There are obstacles, however, including a lack of support for foreign investment from the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and the implementation of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), particularly in regard to workers’ rights. AMLO is going to meet with President Trump to discuss this.

The attack on Omar García Harfuch has brought focus to the dominant issue – security and homicides. In the first five months of 2020, there were 15,016 homicides in Mexico according to government sources. This compares to 16,214 homicides in the United States in all of 2018. Therefore, there will be roughly twice as many homicides this year in Mexico as the United States. Since the US is two and a half times larger in terms of population, it means that Mexico’s per capita homicide is five times higher than ours.

In a recent report by the Citizen’s Council for public Security and Criminal justice, five of the world’s six most dangerous municipalities were found to be in Mexico – Tijuana, Acapulco, Ciudad Victoria, Ciudad Juárez and Irapuato.

Some say that these homicides as just drug dealers killing other drug dealers but the brazen attack on Omar García Harfuch was totally different, was a direct attack on Mexico’s government. It is also a shocker because Mexico City has been relatively safe and is where most business leaders live.

Business leaders who are thinking of investing in Mexico are thinking about this attack. Can AMLO resolve it and show that Mexico is safe? His country is suffering enormously economically. Let’s hope for the best.

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