Looking at Them
A Mexican Perspective on the Gap
with the United States
IN NO OTHER country is the gap with the United States more palpable than in Mexico. This is because the gap is much deeper and wider than just the economic disparities between the two countries. It is a moral gap, one that has grown over two centuries of incomprehension and contempt on the part of the United States and ignorance and resentment on the part of Mexico. There is no single explanation for this mutual estrangement, of course, but the two countries find themselves, border to border, in a paradoxical situation.
One of today’s realities in the region is that a part of Mexico, as well as Latin America as a whole, has moved—literally—to the United States. At the risk of failing to recognize itself, Mexico’s northern neighbor cannot afford to disregard the Mexican and Hispanic population that now resides in its cities and rural areas, from Texas to Alaska and from New York to California. By the same token, Mexicans and other Latin Americans cannot succumb to simplistic and Manichaean visions of history, nor cling to the notion that the United States is the source of all of the region’s ills. Therefore, it is important to study the gap between the United States and its southern neighbors not only as