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The United Mexican States are a federation whose government is representative, democratic and republican based on a presidential system according to the 1917 Constitution. The constitution establishes three levels of government: the federal Union, the state governments and the municipal governments. According to the constitution, all constituent states of the federation must have a republican form of government composed of three branches: the executive, represented by a governor and an appointed cabinet, the legislative branch constituted by a unicameral congress and the judiciary, which will include a state Supreme Court of Justice. They also have their own civil and judicial codes.
The federal legislature is the bicameral Congress of the Union, composed of the Senate of the Republic and the Chamber of Deputies. The Congress makes federal law, declares war, imposes taxes, approves the national budget and international treaties, and ratifies diplomatic appointments.
The federal Congress, as well as the state legislatures, are elected by a system of parallel voting that includes plurality and proportional representation. The Chamber of Deputies has 500 deputies. Of these, 300 are elected by plurality vote in single-member districts (the federal electoral districts) and 200 are elected by proportional representation with closed party lists for which the country is divided into five electoral constituencies. The Senate is made up of 128 senators. Of these, 64 senators (two for each state and two for the Federal District) are elected by plurality vote in pairs; 32 senators are the first minority or first-runner up (one for each state and one for the Federal District), and 32 are elected by proportional representation from national closed party lists.
The executive is the President of the United Mexican States, who is the head of state and government, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Mexican military forces. The President also appoints the Cabinet and other officers. The President is responsible for executing and enforcing the law, and has the power to veto bills.
The highest organ of the judicial branch of government is the Supreme Court of Justice, the national supreme court, which has eleven judges appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Supreme Court of Justice interprets laws and judges cases of federal competency. Other institutions of the judiciary are the Federal Electoral Tribunal, collegiate, unitary and district tribunals, and the Council of the Federal Judiciary.
Three parties have historically been the dominant parties in Mexican politics: the National Action Party: a conservative party founded in 1939 and belonging to the Christian Democrat Organization of America; the Institutional Revolutionary Party, a center-left party and member of Socialist International that was founded in 1929 to unite all the factions of the Mexican Revolution and held an almost hegemonic power in Mexican politics since then; the Party of the Democratic Revolution: a left-wing party, founded in 1989 as the successor of the coalition of socialists and liberal parties.
Public security is enacted at the three levels of government, each of which has different prerogatives and responsibilities. Local and state police departments are primarily in charge of law enforcement, whereas the Mexican Federal Police are in charge of specialized duties. All levels report to the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (Secretary of Public Security). The General Attorney's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is the executive power's agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes at the federal level, mainly those related to drug and arms trafficking, espionage, and bank robberies. The PGR operates the Federal Ministerial Police (Policia Federal Ministerial, PMF) an investigative and preventive agency.
While the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, serious abuses of power have been reported in security operations in the southern part of the country and in indigenous communities and poor urban neighborhoods. The National Human Rights Commission has had little impact in reversing this trend, engaging mostly in documentation but failing to use its powers to issue public condemnations to the officials who ignore its recommendations. By law, all defendants have the rights that assure them fair trials and humane treatment; however, the system is overburdened and overwhelmed with several problems.
Despite the efforts of the authorities to fight crime and fraud, most Mexicans have low confidence in the police or the judicial system, and therefore, few crimes are actually reported by the citizens. The Global Integrity Index which measures the existence and effectiveness of national anti-corruption mechanisms rated Mexico 31st behind Kenya, Thailand, and Russia. In 2008, president Calderón proposed a major reform of the judicial system, which was approved by the Congress of the Union, which included oral trials, the presumption of innocence for defendants, the authority of local police to investigate crime—until then a prerogative of special police units—and several other changes intended to speed up trials.
Drug cartels are a major concern in Mexico. Mexico's drug war has left over 60,000 dead and perhaps another 20,000 missing. The Mexican drug cartels have as many as 100,000 members. Mexico's National Geography and Statistics Institute estimated that in 2014, one out of five Mexicans was victim of crime in some form.
President Felipe Calderón made abating organized crime one of the top priorities of his administration by deploying military personnel to cities where drug cartels operate. This move was criticized by the opposition parties and the National Human Rights Commission for escalating the violence, but its effects have been positively evaluated by the US State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs as having obtained "unprecedented results" with "many important successes".
Since President Felipe Calderón launched a crackdown against cartels in 2006, more than 28,000 alleged criminals have been killed. Of the total drug-related violence 4% are innocent people, mostly by-passers and people trapped in between shootings; 90% accounts for criminals and 6% for military personnel and police officers. In October 2007, President Calderón and US president George W. Bush announced the Mérida Initiative, a plan of law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.
The foreign relations of Mexico are directed by the President of Mexico and managed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The principles of the foreign policy are constitutionally recognized in the Article 89, Section 10, which include: respect for international law and legal equality of states, their sovereignty and independence, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and promotion of collective security through active participation in international organizations. Since the 1930s, the Estrada Doctrine has served as a crucial complement to these principles.
Mexico is one of the founding members of several international organizations, most notably the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the OPANAL and the Rio Group. In 2008, Mexico contributed over 40 million dollars to the United Nations regular budget. In addition, it was the only Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development since it joined in 1994 until Chile gained full membership in 2010.
Mexico is considered a regional power hence its presence in major economic groups such as the G8+5 and the G-20. In addition, since the 1990s Mexico has sought a reform of the United Nations Security Council and its working methods with the support of Canada, Italy, Pakistan and other nine countries, which form a group informally called the Coffee Club.
After the War of Independence, the relations of Mexico were focused primarily on the United States, its northern neighbor, largest trading partner, and the most powerful actor in hemispheric and world affairs. Mexico supported the Cuban government since its establishment in the early 1960s, the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua during the late 1970s, and leftist revolutionary groups in El Salvador during the 1980s. Felipe Calderón's administration put a greater emphasis on relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Mexican Armed Forces have two branches: the Mexican Army (which includes the Mexican Air Force), and the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Armed Forces maintain significant infrastructure, including facilities for design, research, and testing of weapons, vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels, defense systems and electronics; military industry manufacturing centers for building such systems, and advanced naval dockyards that build heavy military vessels and advanced missile technologies.
In recent years, Mexico has improved its training techniques, military command and information structures and has taken steps to becoming more self-reliant in supplying its military by designing as well as manufacturing its own arms, missiles, aircraft, vehicles, heavy weaponry, electronics, defense systems, armor, heavy military industrial equipment and heavy naval vessels. Since the 1990s, when the military escalated its role in the war on drugs, increasing importance has been placed on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, aircraft, helicopters, digital war-fighting technologies, urban warfare equipment and rapid troop transport.
Mexico has the capabilities to manufacture nuclear weapons, but abandoned this possibility with the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1968 and pledged to only use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In 1970, Mexico's national institute for nuclear research successfully refined weapons grade uranium which is used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons but in April 2010, Mexico agreed to turn over its weapons grade uranium to the United States.
Historically, Mexico has remained neutral in international conflicts, with the exception of World War II. However, in recent years some political parties have proposed an amendment of the Constitution in order to allow the Mexican Army, Air Force or Navy to collaborate with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions, or to provide military help to countries that officially ask for it.
The United Mexican States are a federation of 31 free and sovereign states, which form a union that exercises a degree of jurisdiction over the Federal District and other territories.
Each state has its own constitution, congress, and a judiciary, and its citizens elect by direct voting a governor for a six-year term, and representatives to their respective unicameral state congresses for three-year terms.
The Federal District is a special political division that belongs to the federation as a whole and not to a particular state, and as such, has more limited local rule than the nation's states.
The states are divided into municipalities, the smallest administrative political entity in the country, governed by a mayor or municipal president (presidente municipal), elected by its residents by plurality.
Mexico has the 15th largest nominal GDP and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity. GDP annual average growth for the period of 1995–2002 was 5.1%. Mexico's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at US $2.2602 trillion in 2015, and $1.3673 trillion in nominal exchange rates. Mexico's GDP in PPP per capita was US $18,714.05. The World Bank reported in 2009 that the country's Gross National Income in market exchange rates was the second highest in Latin America, after Brazil at US $1,830.392 billion, which lead to the highest income per capita in the region at $14,400. Mexico is now firmly established as an upper middle-income country. After the slowdown of 2001 the country has recovered and has grown 4.2, 3.0 and 4.8 percent in 2004, 2005 and 2006, even though it is considered to be well below Mexico's potential growth. Furthermore, after the 2008–2009 recession, the economy grew an average of 3.32 percent per year from 2010 to 2014.
From the late 1990s onwards, the majority of the population has been part of the growing middle class. But according to Mexico's National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (often shortened as CONEVAL) from 2006 to 2010 the portion of the population who were in poverty rose from 19% to 46% (52 million persons). However, rather than Mexico’s economy crashing, international economists attribute the huge increase in the percentage of population living below the country's poverty line to the CONEVAL changing the standards used to define it, pointing out that the percentage of people living in poverty according Mexico’s national poverty line is around 40 times higher than the one reported by the World Bank’s international poverty line, with the difference between the two being the biggest in the world. It is pondered then if it wouldn't be better for countries in the situation of Mexico to adopt more internationalized standards to measure poverty so the numbers obtained could be used to make accurate international comparisons. According to the OECD's own poverty line (defined as the percentage of a country's population who earns half or less of the national median income) 21.5% of the Mexico's population lives in situation of poverty. This is also reflected by the fact that infant mortality in Mexico is three times higher than the average among OECD nations, and the literacy levels are in the median range of OECD nations. Nevertheless, according to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico will have the 5th largest economy in the world.
Among the OECD countries, Mexico has the second highest degree of economic disparity between the extremely poor and extremely rich, after Chile – although it has been falling over the last decade, being only one of few countries in which this is the case. The bottom ten percent in the income hierarchy disposes of 1.36% of the country's resources, whereas the upper ten percent dispose of almost 36%. OECD also notes that Mexico's budgeted expenses for poverty alleviation and social development is only about a third of the OECD average – both in absolute and relative numbers.
According to a 2008 UN report the average income in a typical urbanized area of Mexico was $26,654, while the average income in rural areas just miles away was only $8,403. Daily minimum wages are set annually being set at $80.04 Mexican pesos ($4.5 USD) in 2017.
The electronics industry of Mexico has grown enormously within the last decade. Mexico has the sixth largest electronics industry in the world after China, United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Mexico is the second largest exporter of electronics to the United States where it exported $71.4 billion worth of electronics in 2011. The Mexican electronics industry is dominated by the manufacture and OEM design of televisions, displays, computers, mobile phones, circuit boards, semiconductors, electronic appliances, communications equipment and LCD modules. The Mexican electronics industry grew 20% between 2010 and 2011, up from its constant growth rate of 17% between 2003 and 2009. Currently electronics represent 30% of Mexico's exports.
Mexico produces the most automobiles of any North American nation. The industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some research and development activities. The "Big Three" (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen and Nissan built their plants in the 1960s. In Puebla alone, 70 industrial part-makers cluster around Volkswagen. In the 2010s expansion of the sector was surging. In 2014 alone, more than $10 billion in investment was committed. Kia Motors in August 2014 announced plans for a $1 billion factory in Nuevo León. At the time Mercedes-Benz and Nissan were already building a $1.4 billion plant near Puebla, while BMW was planning a $1-billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosí. Additionally, Audi began building a $1.3 billion factory near Puebla in 2013.
The domestic car industry is represented by DINA S.A., which has built buses and trucks since 1962, and the new Mastretta company that builds the high-performance Mastretta MXT sports car. In 2006, trade with the United States and Canada accounted for almost 50% of Mexico's exports and 45% of its imports. During the first three quarters of 2010, the United States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico. In August 2010 Mexico surpassed France to become the 9th largest holder of US debt. The commercial and financial dependence on the US is a cause for concern.
The remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account for 0.2% of Mexico's GDP which was equal to US$20 billion per year in 2004 and is the tenth largest source of foreign income after oil, industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry, automobiles, construction, food, banking and financial services. According to Mexico's central bank, remittances in 2008 amounted to $25bn.
Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa, the largest Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world, and TV Azteca.
The telecommunications industry is mostly dominated by Telmex (Teléfonos de México), privatized in 1990. By 2006, Telmex had expanded its operations to Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and the United States. Other players in the domestic industry are Axtel and Maxcom. Because of Mexican orography, providing a landline telephone service at remote mountainous areas is expensive, and the penetration of line-phones per capita is low compared to other Latin American countries, at 40 percent; however, 82% of Mexicans over the age of 14 own a mobile phone. Mobile telephony has the advantage of reaching all areas at a lower cost, and the total number of mobile lines is almost two times that of landlines, with an estimation of 63 million lines. The telecommunication industry is regulated by the government through Cofetel (Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones).
The Mexican satellite system is domestic and operates 120 earth stations. There is also extensive microwave radio relay network and considerable use of fiber-optic and coaxial cable. Mexican satellites are operated by Satélites Mexicanos (Satmex), a private company, leader in Latin America and servicing both North and South America. It offers broadcast, telephone and telecommunication services to 37 countries in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina. Through business partnerships Satmex provides high-speed connectivity to ISPs and Digital Broadcast Services. Satmex maintains its own satellite fleet with most of the fleet being designed and built in Mexico.
The use of radio, television, and Internet in Mexico is prevalent. There are approximately 1,410 radio broadcast stations and 236 television stations (excluding repeaters). Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa—the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world—and TV Azteca.
Energy production in Mexico is managed by state-owned companies: the Federal Commission of Electricity and Pemex.
Pemex, the public company in charge of exploration, extraction, transportation and marketing of crude oil and natural gas, as well as the refining and distribution of petroleum products and petrochemicals, is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, making US $86 billion in sales a year. Mexico is the sixth-largest oil producer in the world, with 3.7 million barrels per day. In 1980 oil exports accounted for 61.6% of total exports; by 2000 it was only 7.3%.
The largest hydro plant in Mexico is the 2,400 MW Manuel Moreno Torres Dam in Chicoasén, Chiapas, in the Grijalva River. This is the world's fourth most productive hydroelectric plant.
Mexico is the country with the world's third largest solar potential. The country's gross solar potential is estimated at 5kWh/m2 daily, which corresponds to 50 times national electricity generation. Currently, there is over 1 million square meters of solar thermal panels installed in Mexico, while in 2005, there were 115,000 square meters of solar PV (photo-voltaic). It is expected that in 2012 there will be 1,8 million square meters of installed solar thermal panels.
The project named SEGH-CFE 1, located in Puerto Libertad, Sonora, Northwest of Mexico, will have capacity of 46.8 MW from an array of 187,200 solar panels when complete in 2013. All of the electricity will be sold directly to the CFE and absorbed into the utility's transmission system for distribution throughout their existing network. At an installed capacity of 46.8 MWp, when complete in 2013, the project will be the first utility scale project of its kind in Mexico and the largest solar project of any kind in Latin America.
Science and technology
The National Autonomous University of Mexico was officially established in 1910, and the university become one of the most important institutes of higher learning in Mexico. UNAM provides world class education in science, medicine, and engineering. Many scientific institutes and new institutes of higher learning, such as National Polytechnic Institute (founded in 1936), were established during the first half of the 20th century. Most of the new research institutes were created within UNAM. Twelve institutes were integrated into UNAM from 1929 to 1973. In 1959, the Mexican Academy of Sciences was created to coordinate scientific efforts between academics.
In 1995, the Mexican chemist Mario J. Molina shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Paul J. Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone. Molina, an alumnus of UNAM, became the first Mexican citizen to win the Nobel Prize in science.
In recent years, the largest scientific project being developed in Mexico was the construction of the Large Millimeter Telescope (Gran Telescopio Milimétrico, GMT), the world's largest and most sensitive single-aperture telescope in its frequency range. It was designed to observe regions of space obscured by stellar dust.
Mexico has traditionally been among the most visited countries in the world according to the World Tourism Organization and it is the most visited country in the Americas, after the United States. The most notable attractions are the Mesoamerican ruins, cultural festivals, colonial cities, nature reserves and the beach resorts. The nation's wide range of climates, from temperate to tropical, and unique culture – a fusion of the European and the Mesoamerican – make Mexico an attractive destination. The peak tourism seasons in the country are during December and the mid-Summer, with brief surges during the week before Easter and Spring break, when many of the beach resort sites become popular destinations for college students from the United States.
As of 2011, Mexico had the 23rd highest income from tourism in the world, and the highest in Latin America. The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada followed by Europe and Asia. A smaller number also come from other Latin American countries. In the 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index report, Mexico was ranked 43rd in the world, which was 4th in the Americas .
The coastlines of Mexico harbor many stretches of beaches that are frequented by sun bathers and other visitors. According to national law, the entirety of the coastlines are under federal ownership, that is, all beaches in the country are public. On the Yucatán peninsula, one of the most popular beach destinations is the resort town of Cancún, especially among university students during spring break. Just offshore is the beach island of Isla Mujeres, and to the east is the Isla Holbox. To the south of Cancun is the coastal strip called Riviera Maya which includes the beach town of Playa del Carmen and the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Há. A day trip to the south of Cancún is the historic port of Tulum. In addition to its beaches, the town of Tulum is notable for its cliff-side Mayan ruins.
On the Pacific coast is the notable tourist destination of Acapulco. Once the destination for the rich and famous, the beaches have become crowded and the shores are now home to many multi-story hotels and vendors. Acapulco is home to renowned cliff divers: trained divers who leap from the side of a vertical cliff into the surf below.
At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, a town noted for its beaches and marlin fishing. Further north along the Sea of Cortés is the Bahía de La Concepción, another beach town known for its sports fishing. Closer to the United States border is the weekend draw of San Felipe, Baja California.
The roadway network in Mexico is extensive and all areas in the country are covered by it. The roadway network in Mexico has an extent of 366,095 km (227,481 mi), of which 116,802 km (72,577 mi) are paved, making it the largest paved-roadway network in Latin America. Of these, 10,474 km (6,508 mi) are multi-lane expressways: 9,544 km (5,930 mi) are four-lane highways and the rest have 6 or more lanes.
Mexico was one of the first Latin American countries to promote railway development, and the network covers 30,952 km (19,233 mi). The Secretary of Communications and Transport of Mexico proposed a high-speed rail link that will transport its passengers from Mexico City to Guadalajara, Jalisco. The train, which will travel at 300 kilometres per hour (190 miles per hour), will allow passengers to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in just 2 hours. The whole project was projected to cost 240 billion pesos, or about 25 billion US$ and is being paid for jointly by the Mexican government and the local private sector including the wealthiest man in the world, Mexico's billionaire business tycoon Carlos Slim. The government of the state of Yucatán is also funding the construction of a high speed line connecting the cities of Cozumel to Mérida and Chichen Itza and Cancún.
Mexico has 233 airports with paved runways; of these, 35 carry 97% of the passenger traffic. The Mexico City International Airport remains the largest in Latin America and the 44th largest in the world transporting 21 million passengers a year.
Water supply and sanitation
Among the achievements is a significant increase in access to piped water supply in urban areas (88% to 93%) as well as in rural areas (50% to 74%) between 1990 and 2010. Additionally, a strong nationwide increase in access to improved sanitation (64% to 85%) was observed in the same period. Other achievements include the existence of a functioning national system to finance water and sanitation infrastructure with a National Water Commission as its apex institution; and the existence of a few well-performing utilities such as Aguas y Drenaje de Monterrey.
The challenges include water scarcity in the northern and central parts of the country; inadequate water service quality (drinking water quality; 11% of Mexicans receiving water only intermittently as of 2014); poor technical and commercial efficiency of most utilities (with an average level of non-revenue water of 43.2% in 2010); an insufficient share of wastewater receiving treatment (36% in 2006); and still inadequate access in rural areas. In addition to on-going investments to expand access, the government has embarked on a large investment program to improve wastewater treatment.