|The Next Generation|
At this point we have been on our Mexico cruise for eight months with about six of those months in Mexico. This has given us the opportunity to see a bit of how Mexico is doing and how the Mexican people are faring, at least from the view point of the itinerant yachtie passing through. In this posting we offer to you a few observations of what we have seen on our Mexican Adventure.
Before leaving the US, we were warned by a number of people and by our ever so helpful US State Department, that security and safety is a major issue in Mexico. Well, so far, we have seen no significant issues. There is a police or military presence on occasion and these are the only people we
have seen armed in Mexico. Yes, there must
be issues in other, primarily in major urban, areas where the drug cartels and
crime happen. However, we saw much more
evidence and concern with crime throughout the Caribbean and even in the US,
than we have here in Mexico. One needs
to be prudent, but that is just the same as it is in many, many places.
|Alejandro--Entrepreneur and Artist|
With a career in public accounting and a college major in economics, it comes as no surprise that Roger is interested in the economic situation of Mexico. In general, things appear to be better than we have encountered before and better than we expected. There is definitely an emerging middle class with a stake in the future. And at the same time there
certainly is a large impoverished lower class, as well as a
rarely seen, truly 1% upper class. The
minimum wage in Mexico is 84 pesos per day – about $4.50. However, we were told that the minimum wage
is rarely used, as the demand for labor has pushed wages up a bit from this
abysmally low amount. All the same, it makes
it easy to see why there is a drive for better jobs in Mexico or in the
U.S. At a conference Roger attended in Mexico
City about 15 years ago, we compared notes with the host accountant on labor
costs and wages. At each point the
Mexican labor amount was about 10% of the U.S. labor amount, whether that be a
for unskilled labor, a starting accountant’s salary, or accounting fees charged
by the accounting firm. It seems today
that this percentage has grown a bit, perhaps to 12 or 15% of the US
amount. This is still a considerable
spread, but there is progress.
|Mexico is Music|
|Jimmy--Los Gatos Fisherman|
We have had the opportunity to talk to several Mexican people about their upcoming presidential election. On July 1 Mexico will elect a new president and the entire legislative assembly. It is undoubtedly the most important election in recent times in Mexico. The two traditional parties—PRI, which led the country for 61 years, but became discredited in a fury of corruption, and PAN, which replaced PRI to a large degree but also lost favor in more corruption, are being challenged by a candidate pushed out of PAN, who then started his own political party. Andre Manuel Lopez Obredor is now the leading candidate by a significant margin over both the PRI and PAN candidates. There is concern that he may be a left leaning Chavez type of president, which has been such a disaster for Venezuela. However, the same political forces which propelled Donald Trump into office are propelling Obredor. Stay tuned to your Mexico news-- this election is a big one!
Perhaps one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Mexican people in general, is their friendliness and openness. When we approach strangers, all it seems it take it is a cheery “Buenos dias—Como esta?”. Simply say hello and ask how they are, and they seem to drop their customary shyness. Often, they will reply that they speak little or no English, to which Roger says in Spanish “Well--you do speak Spanish, don’t you?”. This results in peals of laughter on both sides and immediately we are breaking down the language barrier. We have found that Mexicans we meet to be as very helpful as they can be. In fact, they often try too hard to give you the answer that they think you might want. Of course, all of this is a pure generality and is only the result of chance encounters by a sailing couple roaming the coastline. But it still seems to us that the warmth of the Mexican people is a characteristic that does engender international friendships.
|Sunset Over Baja|
And so how does Mexico fare in the future? Well, one doesn’t know. Certainly, NAFTA has been very helpful for Mexico economically. There is growing middle class with a stake in economic stability and growth. However, in Mexico the past has unraveled too many times and it is difficult to peer into the future. All we can do is wish Mexico all the best.
We are now cruising northbound with a target of catching an airplane flight home on May 23. Schatzi will be parked at a marina in San Carlos on the mainland side of the Sea of Cortes for six months while we return home. Our thought is to do another season in Mexico next winter and spring and then probably ship Schatzi back to Seattle in May, 2019. Meanwhile, we thank you for following these blogs and ask that you wish us well as we wind down our Mexico Adventure for this year.
Roger, Lynne, and Salty
You can reach us at 206-755-4193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org