Mexico’s ‘Problemita’

Xenophobia is now spreading across southern Mexico as anger festers over the arrival of unprecedented numbers of Central Americans in towns insufficiently equipped by the state to cope with the influx.
Xenophobia is now spreading across southern Mexico as anger festers over the arrival of unprecedented numbers of Central Americans in towns insufficiently equipped by the state to cope with the influx.

Yesterday, I was speaking by phone with a Mexican friend. He is a successful businessman who is center-right when it comes to politics. He is torn between the two centrist candidates, Mr. Meade of the incumbent PRI and Mr. Anaya of the PAN.

He is concerned about leftist candidate Mr. López Obrador, who is currently ahead in the polls, but the lead is shrinking as he continues to speak in generalities without much substance.

AMLO, as his supporters call him, may win, but I hear a lot of concern from middle-class Mexicans about electing someone like that. So don’t bet on his election yet!

My friend and I spoke about the “caravan” of Central Americans going north. He called it our “problemita,” or our little problem. I should add that Mexicans often use the word “problemita” to refer to a problem no one wants to talk about.

My friend told me to read a new article from ICG on the problems Mexico faces in the southern states:

Poverty and violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America (comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) are forcing hundreds of thousands of Central Americans to flee each year to Mexico.

Most are heading north due to deep economic insecurity. But 39.2 per cent of Central Americans surveyed in Mexico by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in December 2016 said they left their homes because they or their families were attacked, threatened, extorted or pressured to join criminal gangs; many in such circumstances would likely qualify as refugees, entitled to international protection under applicable laws.

They are going to or sitting in Mexico’s southern states.

Welcome to Mexico’s “problemita.”

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See Also:

(1) Addressing the Migration Bottleneck in Southern Mexico

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