Situated between the United States in the north, and Belize and Guatemala in the south. Mexico is a very large country that can only be called extreme. A place of extreme cuisine, extreme history, and culture. and sadly, today extreme violence. Trying to put all these extremes together is quite the task. But Mexico is just too amazing a nation to ignore. So, get ready for the 10 things you didn’t know about Mexico.
10: Mexico War on Drugs
Number 10 thing about Mexico is the war on drugs. In 1971, President Nixon made the first official declaration of a “war on drugs”. Calling drug addiction “Public Enemy number one” and popularizing the term so that nowadays pretty much everyone under the sun knows the phrase the war on drugs. Being geographically well situated and is a major source of heroin and cannabis the so-called war on drugs drove up the prices of these narcotics dramatically on the black market. Making them a hotter than ever commodity in Mexico. And thus, began the extensive exportation of these products to the United States from Mexico.
For the longest time, Mexican drug cartels ruled the streets with an iron fist. Imparted fear and terror to anyone who might speak out against them but in 2006 the president of Mexico Felipe Calderon decided to start up his own war on drugs. Mexican style, to combat the vicious drug cartels but unfortunately for him rather than limiting the amount of violence that took place the armed conflict between the cartels and government military forces only amped it up with his administration ended it had led to the death of at least 60000 people officially with some estimates going into the 120000 unofficially. Every day murder also skyrocketed during his time in office. Corresponding exactly with the beginning of his war on drugs. It’s safe to say that whatever his intentions were, Calderon’s actions ended up leading to even more misery than ever before.
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9: Obese Nation
Number 9 thing about Mexico is that it’s an obese nation. People think that the United States is the most obese nation in the world. But they would be wrong. In recent years Mexico is overtaking the United States in this dubious honor as the fattest country in the world. A combination of rising incomes, sedentary lifestyle and the importation of American fast food is said to be responsible for this. And this has been accompanied by an increase in heart disease and diabetes and many other illnesses that go hand in hand with obesity.
According to official stats, over 70% of Mexican adults are considered to be overweight and a staggering 32.8% of them are considered obese. Unfortunately, the problem which began in the wealthier classes is now starting to catch up with the poor. With more and more of them suffering from the same problems. It’s hard to be optimistic about the sort of thing but we can only hope that Mexicans get this problem sorted out before it kills them.
8: Aztecs of Mexico
Number 8 on our list about Mexico are Aztecs. Most people have heard of the Aztecs. A native American tribe that came to power beginning in the fourteenth century. Some people have even heard that they were incredibly violent. But few people know just how violent they were. To give you an idea of what the Aztecs used to do when the Spanish arrived in Mexico for the first time in the sixteenth century there were in a state of shock, to say the least. According to the famous military adventurer, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who had accompanied the conquistador Hernan Cortes on his conquest of New Spain.
The Aztecs practiced ritual human sacrifice and not just occasionally but in great abundance. They believe that they have to ritually cut out the hearts of human beings to appease the Great son and war god, Huitzilopochtli. And if they did not do this the sun would stop rising and the world would sink into darkness. In addition, to human sacrifice, they also practiced cannibalism. though it isn’t clear whether they did this based solely on nutritional needs or religious ones. Although it was ultimately Hernan Cortes, who militarily toppled the Aztec empire. Some anthropologists have proposed that the Aztec obsession with death and sacrifice had done far more harm to their civilization than Cortes ever could have.
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Almost everyone knows tacos and burritos. Which most people think of when they think of Mexican food. But the reality of Mexican food is far more interesting and exotic than what you might have imagined. In addition to all the standard fare, there are other types of food that include the strange but delicious chili-infused grasshoppers. Which are crispy and packed with protein. Chicatanas or flying ants are ground up with salt and spices to make an amazing flying ant salsa. Cactus flower ice-cream made from a plant called tuna and Escamoles or ant larvae. Which are considered a delicacy and can be described as insect caviar. Commanding high prices at the market. So, if you’re ever in Mexico take advantage of the exotic cuisine that you just can’t get anywhere else.
6: Mayan Culture in Mexico
Number 6 thing about Mexico is about Mayan Culture. Centuries before the Aztecs had arrived in Mexico, there were the Mayans. The Mayan people dominated Central America and were truly one of the great human civilizations of the past. They had an advanced culture that included almost modern city-states, written language in the form of hieroglyphs, and were masters of strikingly accurate astronomy. In its heyday between 300 and 900 AD, the Mayan civilization was the dominant culture in the Americas. In terms of science and advancement. But strangely the Mayan people became victims of their own success.
A combination of growing population and drought led the Mayans to engage in massive deforestation of the areas they lived in to make room for the farming required to run their civilization. But the end result was that there wasn’t enough time to allow the deforest of areas to recover and that coupled with severe drought and the needs of their advanced society marked the point of no return for Mayan culture. And now, though their descendants still live on, the Mayans are just a footnote in history.
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Number 5 thing you didn’t know about Mexico is EZNL. As we’ve mentioned in the beginning Mexico is a place of extremes. And few things personify those extremes like the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional or Zapatista army of national liberation. Which is a Marxist political and military group, based in the southernmost state of Chiapas. Their name comes from Emiliano Zapatista. The commander of the Liberation Army of the south during the Mexican revolution. A strange mixture of libertarian socialism and anarchism.
The EZNL as the acronym goes has declared war on the Mexican state. which it believes corrupt and must be overthrown. One of the major products of the EZNL is the “women’s revolutionary law”. Which states that women should have all rights that men have. And that no barrier should be put in place for them to pursue the same occupations and offices that men can. Being an essentially paramilitary force, the Mexican government is not too fond of the EZNL. And they have frequently been in conflict. It’s unlikely that the EZNL will ever achieve its political dream. But at least they’re trying to make it happen. Which is more than can be said for a lot of organizations.
4: The Day of The Dead
One of the most prominent Mexican customs is the day of the dead. Which is an amalgam of Christian and native pagan religion and involves the celebration of deceased persons where gifts of food and memorabilia are brought to the person so that the souls of the departed will come back and visit for a brief time to hear the comments and prayers directed at them. The day of the dead while seemingly a morbid festival is, in fact, both vibrant and colorful. Involving all manner of costumes, makeup, and food offerings. It could be said that “El Dia de Los Muertos” is the quintessential Mexican holiday. Because it combines strong Catholic traditions, Mexicans, and heritage from Spain, with Mexico’s own native traditions.
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3: Los Zetas of Mexico
Number 3 thing you should know about Mexico is about Los Zetas. We’ve already mentioned the drug war, but we hadn’t talked about the actual cartels. And if you’re going to talk about drug cartels, then one rises above the rest in terms of technology, violence, sophistication, a commitment to see the job through and that is Los Zetas. Named cartel enemy number one by the US government, these guys mean business. And have gone beyond traditional drug trafficking to incorporate sex trafficking and gun trafficking as well. But it isn’t the criminal activities themselves that make Los Zetas special, they have bribed politicians, engaged in massacres, decapitations, kidnappings, conventional and exotic torture such as dunking people in acid baths, and more with nothing being truly beyond them.
There’s no doubt that Los Zetas are the most feared criminals in Mexico with the local populations held in a state of perpetual fear and the police and armed forces being unable to match their brutality and veracity. IT’S with good reason that they are considered the worst and most dangerous Mexican drug cartel. Los Zetas are as mythical as they are real and show no signs of slowing down.
2: Mexico – US Border
Despite a lot of media hype about Mexicans constantly jumping the US border to take American jobs. The reality is that more Mexicans are in fact leaving than they’re coming to the US. The reasons for this are manifold but include the ever-growing difficulty of finding employment as an illegal alien in the United States. The growing belief that life is not really that much better in the US than in Mexico and the risk of deportation can have devastating consequences to illegal immigrants. In fact, in the next few years is likely that Chinese and Indian immigration will eclipse Mexican immigration. So, the media will really need to be creative on how they spin things.
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1: Human Botfly
In the jungles of southern Mexico, there exists a terrifying creature. The name of this animal is the human botfly. The eggs of the human botfly dropped onto the skin of victims. Which can often be dogs and cattle but are just as likely humans. With the eggs hatching and the larvae burying themselves in the skin of the host for weeks on end. Feeding on the tissue of the host. Until it grows large enough and emerges as an adult destined to repeat the cycle. People have caught the larvae in themselves in their growth cycle have reported lesion like bumps and other unpleasant skin abnormalities. If you ever find yourself to be the host of the larvae of a human botfly seek medical attention immediately since they can only be removed in a very specific way but better yet just avoid going to southern Mexico.
So, that’s a wrap on our list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mexico. What do you guys think about Mexico? Please Let us know down below in the comments. Thank you for spending some time with us. Don’t forget to check out our other top lists.