Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

It's seems like Mexico can't get a break. First it was the narco/ drug war violence that made frightening headlines all over the U.S. and Europe. Certain U.S. government types even characterized Mexico as a "failed state." (that pissed off Mexicans big time) Then the economic crisis hit the country hard. It's reported that 88% of Mexican exports go to the U.S. When the U.S. catches a cold, Mexico gets bronchitis. With the miserable economic conditions in the U.S., we haven't been on a foreign shopping spree lately(at least in Mexico, anyway). So folks here are suffering. Seriously suffering.

And just when they thought it couldn't get any worse, H1N1 Swine Flu came knocking. This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home (and contaminated thousands of people, evidently). Europe issued travel prohibitions to Mexico and banned flights. Of course it's serious, and the world's health authorities are correct to act quickly. But the economic impact in Mexico couldn't have come at a worse time, on top of one-two punch previously discussed. Tourism has been the #3 source of income in the country, after petroleum and remittances sent home from Mexican workers in the U.S. But no one wants to spend a vacation--no matter how beautiful the place--worrying about a pandemic virus strain with no known immunity. That tends to put a damper on your fun.

The local paper has had story after story about empty restaurants, hotels with just one or two rooms occupied, shops going out of business. As the old saying goes, "Ca-Ca rolls downhill." If tourists don't come to the restaurants, the restaurant owners can't employ waiters. If the waiters are without jobs, they can't afford to buy clothes for their kids. Which means the clothing store employees are hurting, and the clothing manufacturers, etc. The pain goes on and on.

The people of Mexico deserve a break.