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Thoughts from a Mexican Courtyard…

Parked here in the Casa Colonial in Cuernavaca, one could be forgiven for drifting around. Someone from looking at the photo said, “The pool’s not even frozen over!”

Fascinating to be in Mexico picking up a sunburn and picking up on what’s happening here.

Mexico has not been a fine, evolved culture in my experience. It’s not like Europe where traditional fine craftsmanship and exquisite art ruled for so long. But Europe’s out of gas now and Mexico is on fire. It’s not like it was never the world leader in fine art. When the spoils of Cortez were displayed in Brussels, the stellar quality, the unbelievable richness and depth of craftsmanship and artistic work of the Aztecs embarrassed the Euros. They were literally of another world. So, that was a problem that had to be fixed.

Not without regret on Cortes’ part. He regretted that the Aztecs would not come to heel: to stop fighting his advance on the wondrous floating city of Mexico. His grief at destroying it [and them] did not curtail him. Superbly related in “Conquistador” [I found it by fluke], the improbably named Buddy Levy – a former prof at UW – has told a moment by moment riveting tale of the bravado and unrelenting drive of Cortes. Far from a sure thing – on the ropes several times, the conquest prevailed: to the great loss of the majestic Aztec culture and the profit of Spain [and France, to whom some of the treasure was delivered by piracy].   Maybe if they hadn’t done that human sacrifice thing…


Now its their time. The future belongs to Latin America.

The surge of economic activity – 5.4% GDP this year is the ITR projection for Mexico this year – is palpable. Ours? Canada, US are in the 3% neighborhood with a projected minor recession in the offing for 2014.

Here, there’s drive for reform, openness to investment, for modernizing infrastructure. It’s relentless south of the Rio Grande, in many many Latin countries. There are compelling and undeterred new breed politicians who must and will make this happen. And it is – in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico. They are overcoming the status quo. Not much of that around us…


We really must amend our reflexive assessments of Mexico.

It’s not violent. Sure there are stories about violence and there are areas of violence. Same as home.

There is great inequality. A huge gap between rich and poor. However, here, it’s being filled by a new middle class. Ours is widening – termed the Great Divergence in the N Y Times Magazine – contributing to our relative decline. The engine of prosperity? A middle class with discretionary income to spend.

Mexico is not educationally impaired. There are some fine institutions heres Students – and others – work hard, get ahead in technical professions. Better than the surfeit of artists and musicians being allowed to believe there is a future for them [other than as hobbyists] north of the line. Students here are not comfortable, entitled.

But most important? There will be lots of them. The demographics- one third of Mexico’s population is under 15. Babies are everywhere. Remember when that was true of “North America”? And what that necessarily foretold? These up and comers have a justified appetite for the good life and the willingness for work for it. So they will generate that…and they have the market to back it up.

It works – the country works. Biz gets done, projects move ahead. People get where they need to be. Unlike India, the power and water are always on. The people are healthy – well cared for in the national scheme.

Oh, and did I mention it works in Spanish? There is no hegemony of English in the heartland. Seeing someone from north of the border – hearing an English speaker – is an event here in Cuernavaca. Mexico is not the beach world dominated by white tanners we think of. Not anywhere near all of it…

Better brush up! They don’t seem to need English here to do just fine, thank you. Maybe we need to lean their way….


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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