We’re Not America’s Backyard

A few weeks ago an American in San Miguel de Allende asked
me about Morelia, and I excitedly started to describe the exciting changes in
my town — Bosque Monarca, Tres Marias, the Jack Nicklaus golf course and the Carter Morrish golf course.
And, of course, Paseo Morelia, which will be one of the largest shopping
centers in Latin America. I’m downright proud
of the development in my city, and I know it bodes well for Mexico.

“But this is Meeeexico,” the listener whined. “What’s
happening to this country?” It was apparent that she wanted Mexico to
remain an idealized version of smiling folk astride burros. Her attitude reflected the statement that got
the late Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, who served as National Security Advisor and UN
Security Council Ambassador under the Fox Administration, fired after saying
that the elites and other classes of the U.S. see Mexico
as a “country whose position is that of a back yard.” Aguilar Zinser said that
the U.S.
was only interested in a relationship of convenience and subordination” and a
“weekend fling,” and he stood firm in his position in his resignation letter.

“What’s the point of living in Mexico if you’re near shopping
malls and subdivisions?” she persisted.

And then I realized that this poor misguided soul couldn’t
distinguish between visiting Mexico and living here. She just plain couldn’t understand that expatriates live
Mexican lives, harboring a certain appreciation for development. What’s good
for business is good for Mexico.

Americans who rant and rave about the last Mexican election
without being able to even name the contenders – much less the name of the man
who won – really do see Mexico as nothing more than their backyard and weekend
fling. Mexico’s moving ahead, but sadly its neighbor to the north isn’t.

jennifer j. rose, Morelia


4 comments on “We’re Not America’s Backyard

  1. Felipe Zapata says:

    Well put. Burros indeed!


  2. Tony says:

    I agree with every word. Great post.


  3. oscar says:

    The broad siding of truths only as the individual finds comfort is prevails. Northern beliefs although not exactly accurate are perceptions over images and misunderstanding albeit, brings about the kind of curiosity which has brought many, like you and I into this gracious country. We come here with large hopes and a need to find something more and/or even less then where we come from.
    Reasons or whatever melts into our feet walking and living Mexico, as is. The Mexican’s will and spirit will persist in its own fashion as does all else around us every single moment of our existence.
    Bringing this to the fore is very much an amiable part of you which gives this article a window of who you yourself like being. In a very small way allow me to shore your hopes and beliefs, as well taken and my support of whom you are will always be there in spirit.


  4. Well said.
    I have oft thought that there is a certain type of visitor to Mexico, usually elderly, middle-class and American, who wishes to see us maintain a level of under-development to suit their idealised picture of ‘native bliss’. Whether the desire to keep Mexico poorer than the US is to feel better or to suit some kind of Rousseau-ian mindset I have yet to work out.


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