Language is shaped by a people’s environment. Inuits famously have more than 50 words for snow, while Hawaiians have 65 to describe fishnets. In Mexico, there are 300 terms to refer to corruption.
They are compiled in a new book, the “Mexican Corruptionary,” a tongue-in-cheek effort to get Mexicans to own up to their corrupt behavior, which costs their country’s economy billions of dollars a year and has wreaked social havoc by undermining its institutions. It was put together by Opciona, a civil society group that seeks to improve civility in Mexico under the motto #EmpiezaPorTi, or start with you.
Mexicans rank corruption as their second biggest concern (link in Spanish) after insecurity and crime—which in turn can be linked to corruption via dirty elected officials. (See G, for Góber, short for governor. )
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“Today the rebellion remains a work in progress. Having established complete political and economic autonomy, the Zapatistas govern and police their own communities across five regions of Chiapas. Relations with the state remain strained, and Zapatistas complain of regular harassment by the military and paramilitary forces that surround their territory...
After the fall of the Soviet Union … and the collapse of so many revolutionary movements, it’s really become clear that the old, 20th-century model of revolution by building up the party and capturing control of the state just didn’t work,” explained Holloway, author of Change the World Without Taking Power…
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A Place Called Chiapas is a 1998 Canadian documentary film of first-hand accounts of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) the (Zapatista Army of National Liberation or Zapatistas) and the lives of its soldiers and the people for whom they fight. Director Nettie Wild takes the viewer to rebel territory in the southwestern Mexican state of Chiapas, where the EZLN live and evade the Mexican Army.
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A survey of 43 countries published on October 30th by the Pew Research Centre of Washington, DC, shows that people in emerging markets are within a whisker of expressing the same level of satisfaction with their lot as people in rich countries. The Pew poll asks respondents to measure, on a scale from zero to ten, how good their lives are. (Those who say between seven and ten are counted as happy.)
In 2007, 57% of respondents in rich countries put themselves in the top four tiers; in emerging markets the share was 33%; in poor countries only 16%—a classic expression of the standard view that richer people are more likely to be happy.
But in 2014, 54% of rich-country respondents counted themselves as happy, whereas in emerging markets the percentage jumped to 51%.
A new report by a Mexico-based think tank has revealed some real zingers, including 70 teachers who haul in more pesos than the president of the nation. One impoverished state, Hidalgo, was said to have more than 1,000 teachers listed as 100 or more years old.
The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) calculated the average teacher’s monthly salary at 25,000 pesos, or nearly $2,000, making it the highest paid profession in the country.
That salary is nearly three times the average of any other salary, thanks in large part to powerful labor unions that have secured high wages for teachers, who can sell their positions to friends or bequeath them to relatives, none of whom ever have to be tested for abilities or skills.
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On February 2nd 1848, following a short and one-sided war, Mexico agreed to cede more than half its territory to the United States. An area covering most of present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, plus parts of several other states, was handed over to gringolandia. The rebellious state of Tejas, which had declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, was recognised as American soil too. But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders.
Also, so that we can refer to the piece in our conversation, please print out the one article assigned to you (just a couple pages).
All read and respond to the introductory article. Then Groups 1-4 read:
1. Señores, start your engines
2. The gain before the pain: Mexico’s demographic dividend will be short-lived
3. Stretching the safety net: Falling ill is no longer an economic disaster
4. Mexico’s states: The 31 banana republics
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