The Federal District became history yesterday as President Enrique Peña Nieto officially declared the creation of Mexico City as an autonomous entity within Mexico, which he described as a democratic triumph for its citizens.
The new entity will be known as Ciudad de México, or CDMX. For English speakers there will be no change other than the disappearance of the abbreviated name, DF, for Distrito Federal. It will still be Mexico City.
The metropolis of nearly 9 million people will not be a state but will take on some of the responsibilities and powers that the 31 states already have. It will also get its own constitution and congress, and what are now the 16 delegaciones, or boroughs, will become more like municipalities, and each borough chief will become a mayor.
Writing the constitution is the next step in the process. A constitutional assembly made up of elected and appointed members will begin work on the document in September and finish up by the end of January 2017.
Peña Nieto said that despite the change, Mexico City will continue to be the seat of the federal government, the heart of the country and home to millions of Mexicans.
He did not say, however, how those citizens will be known, which has been the subject of some debate recently.
One option is that proposed by the Spanish language watchdog agency, the Royal Spanish Academy: mexiqueños. A survey last week found that many like the name capitalinos, meaning residents of the capital.
Defeños, which is derived from DF, is a name that has been around for a while, but it would have to become exdefeños. When all is said and done, chilangos is the name that might well stand the test of time.
As for the name of the new entity, there are some concerns over the confusion it might create, given that Mexico City will be the official name of the capital city of a country called Mexico, located within the State of Mexico.
Chilangolandia might have resolved that but apparently it never came up.
A sociologist told The Guardian the name Mexico City reflected a lack of imagination, while a DJ predicted it would always be DF.
“Chilangos will always be ‘defectuoso,’” said Juancho Nuñez, a play on words that combines “DF” and “defective.”