Separatist sentiment in Catalonia, Spain, has spread to northern Mexico where a movement has formed to defend norteño (northern) pride and culture and advocate for the creation of the Republic of Northern México.
Although a Facebook page advancing the cause was created before last Sunday’s vote on independence for Catalonia, the page has seen more activity since.
Proponents say the main reasons for creating a new country from nine of Mexico’s 32 states are the educational lag and poverty of the south, centralism exerted from the Valley of México and the major contribution to Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product by the northern states.
The new republic would consist of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.
The administrators of the Facebook page maintain that articles 39 and 40 of the constitution would allow their secession.
The first of those states that “national sovereignty resides essentially and originally in the people . . . the people at all times have the inalienable right to alter or modify their form of government.”
The second states that “it is the will of the Mexican people to organize themselves into a federal, democratic, representative republic composed of free and sovereign states in all that concerns their internal government but united in a federation.”
The movement’s Facebook has earned 42,875 likes as of today, and discussion has drawn both supporters and opponents.
Héctor Manuel Malacara Hernández told the newspaper Vanguardia that since the northern states are more industrialized than the rest of the country, northerners believe they live in a more advanced economy.
But the specialist in regional economic sciences refuted that by quoting data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography.
The states that individually contribute the most to the country’s GDP are Mexico City, México state, Jalisco, Nuevo León and Veracruz. When the contribution is broken down by region, it is the states of western Mexico that generate the most, at close to 60%, while the states of the north contribute almost 28%.
This shift from north to west started to happen 15 years and today is a clear reality, continued the researcher at the Autonomous University of Coahuila, pointing to the growth in Querétaro, Guanajuato, Puebla, San Luis Potosí and Jalisco.
“Coahuila is growing between 2 and 3%, just above the national mean, but Querétaro is growing by up to 6 or 7%,” said the specialist.
The “pro-independence animus,” he continued, is very different in Catalonia from northern Mexico, in terms of political, financial, cultural and language contexts.
“When someone asks [a Mexican] where they’re from, they answer ‘from Mexico.'” But in Spain, he remarked, the region from which someone comes is more important than the nationality.
Malacara also refuted the notion that Mexico is a centralized country, citing the amount of debt the states have incurred. Acquiring debt is the sole result of a governor’s decision making, he said.
The viral popularity of the separatist movement on Facebook “only highlights the classism and racism of Mexico, because their arguments are not political or economic, but prejudiced.”