Monday, June 17, 2024

Mexico as a land of opportunity for foreigners: A perspective from our CEO

Last week my wife and I went to Mexico City for a few days to meet with several embassies and professional organizations on behalf of Mexico News Daily.

We were there to look for additional sources of news and information to bring our readers from unique and experienced perspectives. It was fascinating to meet with and review the plans of embassies like the U.K., U.S., India, and Australia for Mexico in 2024. Witnessing the work of each embassy gives us the chance to peer into the perspectives of its citizens coming to Mexico and to understand their motivations and ambitions.

As someone who has spent significant time over many years in Mexico City, I am used to seeing the incredible diversity of the people of Mexico within Mexico City. It has always been common to hear different Indigenous languages, see completely different clothing styles, and smell and taste different foods reflecting the many unique regions of the country.

But this time was different. Very different. As we walked and took Ubers around the city from meeting to meeting, we were surprised, actually completely blown away, by the amount of foreign diversity that we saw around us. Not just the much-discussed wave of people moving from the United States to areas like Roma Norte and Condesa in Mexico City, but real, full-on global diversity.

One afternoon we had lunch in Lomas de Chapultepec at a Korean BBQ restaurant. The place was packed with Koreans – as well as many other nationalities – and the food was prepared and tasted just as it would be in Seoul. After lunch we strolled to Polanco, where we came across a Chinese grocery store buzzing with Chinese families buying food for the week. We were trying to find an item in the store and as the Mexican employee did not recognize it, a Chinese customer began speaking to us in Spanish to tell us in which aisle to find it. This made-for-TV incident left all of us laughing and smiling.

The next day we had a tasty Indian lunch and the manager amazingly was from a city just 30 minutes away from where my wife grew up in India. Dinner that evening was at a great Lebanese place. While walking the streets, we heard languages from all over the world – from Asia, Europe and South America.

Another sight I was not at all accustomed to seeing in Mexico was that of blue-collar foreign workers. We saw Venezuelans, Central Americans, and Haitians working side by side with Mexicans in construction and other jobs. A lot of thoughts and opinions are likely to arise on this issue in particular, but at the end of the day, Mexico is providing an opportunity for these immigrants to work and try to live a better life than they can in their home countries. Mexico has historically been unable to provide enough opportunities for its own population, so to see people from other countries now working here is an interesting development and one to keep an eye on.

I will end with a final observation of something I am not used to seeing in Mexico – the degree of global experience that an increasing number of Mexicans we meet are now acquiring. During our meetings this week, we met with many young Mexicans who had studied or worked abroad, where they gained global experience, and returned to their home country to work and make an impact.

What does all of this diversity of foreigners coming to Mexico and of Mexicans living abroad and coming back tell us about the country’s future trajectory in the global economy? I will be curious to find out.

Travis Bembenek is the CEO of Mexico News Daily and has been living, working or playing in Mexico for over 27 years.

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