By Jennifer Baeza
This summer I was fortunate enough to go visit where my parents grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico. I’ve traveled a lot to do service in different countries, but had yet to visit my parents hometown. Not many people know, but Mexico has been in financial crisis since 1994. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, “The Mexican peso crisis was a currency crisis sparked by the Mexican government’s sudden devaluation of the peso against the U.S. dollar in December 1994, which became one of the first international financial crises ignited by capital flight” (FBA, 2017). For those who do not know, a peso is the basic currency unit in Mexico. If you exchange one United States dollar to pesos, it becomes 17 or 18 pesos.
In Mexico, I was able to ask local residents about how the crisis has impacted their daily lives. Angelica Hernandez who was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico commented, “Mexico is a poor country. If a person from the United States would go and visit to Mexico, they would automatically assume everything is cheap. It’s not that it is cheap, it’s that it’s so poor over here that the USD is worth more pesos.”
Mexico is a beautiful country to go visit but keep in mind that even though there is beauty, there are many people that are struggling. In Mexico, I saw many people living in rural areas in a house they built from their own hands. They create houses because they cannot afford to buy one. These same people are trying to provide for a family of up to 15 people, but how can they when there are no jobs near them? “It just shows so far how politically and economically behind the country of Mexico really is. It may be one of the closest developed country next to us (Canada to the north), but it’s also one that most needs for our help, and with American politics today, that help isn’t coming fast enough for the country to stay rich in culture,” mentions Adrian Varela, who recently visited Mexico. It is not a surprise to realize why people come to the United States looking for a better life.