A Los Angeles Times story published Wednesday has revealed a rising undercurrent of hostility toward foreigners — in Mexico. And the foreigners? They’re mostly Americans.
Though American citizens have long been the largest segment represented in Mexico’s vital tourism industry, with resort destinations like Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta coming instantly to mind as premier vacation destinations, the trouble seems to be with the Americans who aren’t leaving. And the locals in Mexico City particularly are getting fed up.
“We’re the only brown people,” Fernando Bustos Gorozpe, a 38-year-old writer and university professor, observed during a recent visit with friends to a cafe, the Los Angeles Times reported. “We’re the only people speaking Spanish except the waiters.”
He couched his criticism of Americans living in the Mexican capital in phrasing that hearkens to the immigration controversy that has shaped American politics for over a decade, noting an “indifference as to how their actions are affecting locals.”
He also told the Times he believes that “Americans, many of whom are white, are reinforcing the city’s pervasive — if infrequently discussed — caste system.”
“Mexico is classist and racist,” Bustos added. “People with white skin are given preference. Now, if a local wants to go to a restaurant or a club, they don’t just have to compete with rich, white Mexicans but with foreigners too.”
Mexico City is being flooded by Americans — including legions of remote workers drawn by cheaper rents.
They’re transforming classic neighborhoods, the housing market and even racial dynamics.
More and more, locals are asking them to please go home.https://t.co/wivG6TDWTP
— Kate Linthicum (@katelinthicum) July 27, 2022
Speaking with Kate Linthicum of the Times, Bustos described a sensation oft-lamented in many southwestern cities by Americans of European descent: He had a realization that native Mexicans in many areas of the capital are becoming outnumbered.
The English language, while the lingua franca in much of the western world for over a century, has been slow to take hold south of the border — or at least it was. Linthicum wrote, “English — well, it’s everywhere: ringing out at supermarkets, natural wine bars and fitness classes in the park.”
Linthicum went on to describe large segments of the city which were largely depopulated or closed down following the cataclysmic 1985 Mexico City earthquake, now flourishing with an influx of Americans. Many of these people come from California and bring with them large sums of money, typically earned through the remote-work freelancing landscape of the ‘digital nomad’ culture.
These younger, untethered professionals, in taking advantage of the comparatively low rent prices coupled with their significantly higher income than locals, are able to live well and pump money into communities that are rapidly adapting in order to better cater to them.
Mexico News Daily referred to the situation unironically as a “foreign invasion” that has left Mexicans incensed over the “gentrification” of their traditional neighborhoods in the historic city.
Spanish-language publication Milenio described the situation (translated): “Loaded with suitcases with casual clothes, their laptop, a plane ticket and a good batch of dollars, thousands of Americans are crossing the Rio Grande to settle in neighborhoods that, although expensive for most Mexicans, offer many foreigners the possibility of spending less than in their countries,” the publication reported.
“Fleeing the ravages of inflation that raised consumer and housing prices and the social consequences of COVID-19 , in this reverse migration they are not looking for jobs in our country, but rather take advantage of the high value of their dollars.”
A common complaint is that businesses are switching signage and advertisements to English and that the approximately 1.6 million Americans staying in Mexico, according to the US State Department, are driving up prices for goods and services and edging out the Mexican locals in a city that they feel is becoming less and less theirs.
Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, commented on the story with a recommendation to the Mexico City denizens: “Mexico, I have an idea for you. PLEASE BUILD THE WALL along our southern border.”
Mexico, I have an idea for you. PLEASE BUILD THE WALL along our southern border.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) July 27, 2022
The Mexican people who have become frustrated by the turn of events offered a blunt message to their new neighbors:
“New to the city? Working remotely?” vulgar posters appearing around the city read in English. “You’re a f***ing plague and the locals f***ing hate you. Leave.”
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