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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: With Mexico in close proximity, why aren’t more students interested in getting to know our neighbor to the south?

Mexico: the land of beautiful beaches, delicious tacos, and tequila fun. UA students seem to think of Mexico only when it’s time for their spring break vacation. However, for an extremely corrupt country that’s just over an hour away from campus, UA students seem to know very little about it.

There’s so much more to know about Mexico than just the stereotypical sombreros and mariachis playing during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think of tragic events that the U.S. has lived through. Now, picture a country in which that kind of violence is inflicted upon its citizens by the government itself – that’s Mexico.

Yes, the U.S. has its own problems to worry about and it’s important that UA students stay informed about what goes on in their country, but we shouldn’t be so oblivious about what happens in a country that greatly impacts our community given the close proximity.

For example, as Luis F. Carrasco reported in the Arizona Daily Star in February, Mexicans spend nearly $1 billion every year in Pima County, specifically the Tucson metro area, alone. The better Mexico’s economy is doing, the better Tucson and Arizona’s economy will be.

Even though Mexico brings a lot of wealth into our community during the holiday season, many Tucson residents spend their time complaining about how stores are so packed. It is these kinds of discriminatory and ignorant remarks that prove how uneducated our community is about the way our relations with Mexico work.

If these people had even the slightest bit of knowledge about our neighboring country, they would realize that a couple of months of visitation from these tourists mean more sales tax revenue to improve our community in the long run.

Not only does Mexico contribute to our economic prosperity, but understanding the country means understanding part of the American identity.

The Pew Research Center reported in May 2015 that Hispanics made up 17.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2013; 64.1 percent of which were Hispanics of Mexican origin. Therefore, being more aware of the happenings in Mexico means understanding the identity of a great part of the U.S. population.

Although this community lacks knowledge and understanding on the way Mexico works with different issues, there is the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson that can help immigrants, or even visitors, and offer help with issues they encounter in the U.S.

Jonathan Granados Muñoz, head of the department of community and cultural affairs at the Mexican Consulate, explained they carry out the duties of the Mexican government to help visitors and immigrants with transition issues. He stated that the consulate runs a few programs that help those interested in the Mexican culture connect through a few traditions, but they are in no way in charge of actually informing the public about the country.

Instead, the duty to inform the community about our neighboring country partially lies within the hands of the UA. Sure, there are plenty of courses that teach about the history of Latin America; but what we need are courses that give us knowledge about our current relations with Mexico and the ways in which their problems concern us.

It is taking the university a long time to realize how important it is for students to be aware of the real issues concerning the country that has a direct impact upon our community.


Follow Genesis Lara on Twitter.


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