World Country Mexico

About the world country Mexico, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Southern portion of North America, between Guatemala and the U.S. Size: 761,601 sq. mi. (1,972,547 sq. km.). Population: 70,143,000.

Who Really Rules: Though superficially an electoral democracy, every six years the outgoing president of Mexico handpicks his successor from within the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI). Despite the closed nature of the system, the transition--next scheduled for 1982--often brings dramatic policy shifts. Whatever policies the president pursues, the PRI, which has held power since 1929, had the clout, exercised through leadership, rhetoric, corruption, and force to guarantee implementation.

Mexican presidents build popularity by vilifying wealthy Mexican industrialists, U.S. financial interests, and the U.S. government, but they generally cooperate closely with all three. To encourage investment and obtain credits from the International Monetary Fund and New York private banks, President Lopez Portillo enacted an austerity program that caused hardship for Mexico's lower classes soon after he assumed office in 1976. Mexico's vast oil wealth, controlled by the government, provides the country with new economic options, but it is likely that oil revenues will merely lead to a greater imbalance in the distribution of income.

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