Latin American natives perhaps have the best understanding of the type of quality and delicious taste Mexico-based produce has, seeing as how they're from there and spent much of their life enjoying the fine cuisine there. Some individuals may favor it so much that they're willing to send money to Mexico in return for a shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables from their local farmer's market.
But what these same individuals may not realize is that the fruits that they eat in the U.S. could very well be from Mexico, especially if one of their favorites things to eat are avocados.
As its name suggests, avocados from Mexico is a business that operates out of Mexico and mass produces the pear-shaped fruit for markets around the world through exports. And while the company has long served the U.S. it has recently stepped its marketing campaign in order to encourage more people to enjoy the fine tastes of Mexico and the health benefits that come from the leathery skinned food.
Eduardo Serena, marketing director for the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico, noted that while the campaign hopes to encourage everyone to eat more avocados – thanks in large part to their richness in essential fats, vitamins and minerals – its key demographic are Hispanic consumers.
He also stated that since the Super Bowl, demand for avocados has been swift and with the NCAA college basketball tournament just around the corner, APEAM expects sales to continue operating in the black.
"Avocados from Mexico will keep the momentum going by supplying the right volume, quality and sizing, as well as powerful marketing programs through the coordinated efforts of APEAM and [Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association]," said Serena.
Many grocery stores taking part in marketing campaign
Throughout much of the U.S., APEAM and Avocados from Mexico have set up display cases promoting avocados in grocery stores and supermarkets. Some of the signs show pictures of NCAA college basketball players taking the ball to the rim, with headlines over the picture like "Guacamole – A Slam Dunk." Guacamole is a type of dip often served at party gatherings that's primarily composed of mashed avocado, mixed in with various seasonings, diced tomato, onions, garlic and occasionally chili peppers.
Not only does avocado consumption enable Mexicans to get reacquainted with their Latino roots, but the fruit is also one of the healthiest foods one can eat. According to MyHealthNewsDaily, including avocados into one's regular diet can help improve a wide variety of well-being indicators. Researchers from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey came to this conclusion after reviewing health statistics gathered between 2001 and 2008, following people who ate avocados regularly with those who didn't. The health experts discovered that people who ate the fruit frequently were more likely to have higher levels of HDL – which is the "good" type of cholesterol – were more likely to have a lower body weight have a smaller waist circumference and to eat a well-balanced diet.
"These findings suggest a role for avocados in improving dietary quality and possibly reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome in the United States," the report stated. "Further research is needed to verify this epidemiological data and study the potential association between increased intake of avocados and other dietary components."
While avocados are one of the few fruits that has fat, it's primarily comprised of the monounsaturated kind, which health experts say are crucial to a health heart, skin and reducing the risk of disease. These fats are also found in oils and nuts such as olive oil and almonds.
With each passing day in the U.S., the country moves closer to spring – a season of renewal and revitalization. Before the season arrives, however, many schools have winter vacations planned, where students are able to get away from the classroom for a week so they, too, can reinvigorate their minds before the final push toward the end of the school year.
While some kids and their parents may stay in the U.S. while on holiday, it's not uncommon for families to go on vacation in a different country. In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by brand agency Digitas, 30 percent of Americans intend to frequent international destinations in the second half of February.
Immigrants who send money to Mexico may want to take advantage of this time period in order to head home and enjoy their families and perhaps take in some parts of the country that they may have never experienced prior to moving to the U.S.
Similar to what Washington, D.C. is to America, Mexico City is to Mexico. Both serve as their respective nations' capitals and both are filled with activities that parents and their children can enjoy. Within the past year, CNN published a feature on Mexico City, the metro area that the news source describes as North America's "maximum city" – or the place that can reasonably be described as one of the most "enjoyable places on the planet."
Once again, similar to D.C., Mexico City has a variety of historical places that are worthy of experiencing. Perhaps the most popular is the city's main plaza, where the historic Zocalo is located. It's here that visitors will get that extra sense of patriotism they feel as being native to Mexico, thanks to the historical ruins that are found on virtually every corner. There's lot to see and enjoy at the Zocalo, including Madero Street, which is cordoned off to any vehicle traffic, as it's meant for pedestrian travel only. CNN notes that pageants are often held in this part of the City that are free and open to the public.
But for those who want to get a real taste of what life was like in ancient times, they can't miss the pyramids located in Teotihuacan, which is just north of Mexico City. CNN says that if there's any location in Mexico that visitors – or people who are native to the country – have to see, it's Teotihuacan, which at one point was larger than ancient-day Rome. The pyramids that tower into the sky are a sight to behold.
Food in Mexico City is world-renowned
The food in Mexico City is quite eclectic. Pujol, Casino Espanol and Contramar CNN cites as perhaps the best dining facilities in the entire metropolitan area, many of which have been open for between 10 and 100 years.
There's lots to see and do in Mexico City, which is home to 8.8 million of the country's people and 300 neighborhoods. How vacationers plan their time there will have a tremendously positive impact on the city's economy, as the goods and services there represent more than 20 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product and 4 percent of its total national GDP, according to government statistics.
Nothing screams spring quite like the crack of the bat and the smell of worn-in leather, as every Major League Baseball team is in training camps preparing for the upcoming season. Spring training is anxiously anticipated by baseball enthusiasts throughout the country, many of whom will send money to their local team so that they can secure tickets.
But before MLB's official Opening Day, there's the World Baseball Classic to prepare for, which comes around once every four years.
For the third time since its inception in 2006, 16 teams throughout the globe will compete in the World Baseball Classic, a tournaments that was created by the International Baseball Federation, MLB and the MLB Players Association seven years ago.
While the U.S. has fared relatively well in the two previous tournaments, international teams have dominated the competition. For example, in 2006, Japan won the WBC after defeating Cuba at San Diego's Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play their home games. Some of the best performances were had by Japan's starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who earned the tournament's coveted Most Valuable Player Award.
Four years later, Japan continued its dominance over its competitors, winning the WBC for a second time by topping runner-up South Korea. Japan finished the tourney with the stellar record of seven wins and only two losses.
This year, Japan is expected to continue its strong performance, but there are a variety of indications suggesting that Mexico may be among the tournament's most elite competitors, with the games beginning in the first days of March.
How Mexico has fared in past WBC tournaments
In 2009, Mexico finished had a less-than-sterling showing. The Mexican National Team ranked in the 11th position out of 16 teams after sweeping their competitors in the first round of play.
The initial round has proven to be one of great success for the Mexico, as they also went undefeated in 2006, surrendering just seven runs in 27 innings played.
The team hopes to build on its success with a strong pitching staff, led by David Hernandez of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Fernando Salas of the St. Louis Cardinals, Luis Ayala of the Baltimore Orioles, Alfredo Aceves of the Boston Red Sox, Marco Estrada of the Milwaukee Brewers and Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles.
The team also sports a strong lineup as well, led by Rod Barajas and Ali Solis – who will assume catching duties – players who suit up for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively, in MLB play. Other members of the team include utility infielder Alfredo Amezaga of the Los Angeles Dodgers – and several other members from LA, like Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez – third baseman Jorge Cantu of the San Diego Padres and second baseman Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals.
In some of the initial performances by the Mexican National Team, the starting nine have performed well. For example, in the Caribbean Series – which started on February 2 – Mexico blanked Puerto Rico after winning the first game 3-0. Luis Mendoza threw the first two-thirds of the game, while former MLB starters Dennis Reyes and Jose Cobos kept the game scoreless by pitching in the final three innings. Jose Cobos, Adrian Ramirez and Oscar Villarreal – all of whom still play professionally today – were also involved in the combined relief pitching effort.
As for the WBC, Mexico's first game will be held Thursday, March 7 against Italy.
Exhibited by the frequency with which dance halls are packed with people, not to mention the steps having their roots in Latin culture, Mexico is a hub for dancing. Some of the industry’s most well-known dancers are of Mexican descent.
In light of this, a Mexico City native hopes to draw on Mexicans’ enthusiasm for dance by creating a dance competition that has the potential to be as popular as the salsa, rumba or samba. Much like the steps to these dances, the steps to completing an international wire transfer can be tough without practice. Luckily, Xoom makes it easy.
According to The City 2.0 – the news division arm of a non-profit called TED – Gabriella Gomez-Mont hopes to establish a dance competition in Mexico’s capital city that she believes will provide Mexico’s people with a greater appreciation of their heritage, a sense of camaraderie with their fellow countrymen and as an outlet to exercise.
Gomez-Mont says she was inspired to do this in light of the current health crisis facing many Mexicans today as it pertains to limited exercise and weight gain. As The City 2.0 website points out, diabetes is a major issue in Mexico, which is a blood sugar issue that largely stems from obesity. Approximately 90 percent of diabetes cases in the country derive from issues with weight. This could pose a serious issue for health services in Mexico if the problem isn’t addressed and diagnoses aren’t reduced.
Diabetes is no respecter of persons, either, as its prevalent both among Mexican women and men. Health estimates say diabetes is responsible for 70,000 deaths in Mexico each year, far higher than incidents involving violent crime, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
Dance is an ideal form of aerobic exercise
Research has shown, however, how effective an active lifestyle can be in limiting one’s risk for diabetes. And according to the American Diabetes Association, one of the best forms of exercise is dancing, as it increases the heart rate in the same way that running or walking briskly can.
It’s this knowledge that Gomez-Mont hopes to impart to her fellow Mexicans so that they will become inspired to live a healthy life as they dance their way to a lighter weight and healthier heart.
“What if we could turn a whole megalopolis into one gargantuan dance floor, and promote an active lifestyle while having fun and tapping into the playful, social and happily competitive side of the city?” said Gomez-Mont.
This won’t be an effort she takes on entirely herself, though. The City 2.0 notes that she will also draw on the help from other people at the TED non-profit, including Pablo Landa, Clora Romo and Constanza Gomez-Mont, whom she’s related to.
The Latin dance craze has been on display in the U.S. for decades. A few years ago, The New York Times produced a feature story on Latin dance clubs in the city, which are numerous.
“Anybody can try it,” said Talia Castro-Pozo, a Latin dance instructor, told the newspaper in 2010. “Just look around and you’ll see: there are not just Latinos here, but people of all ages and ethnicities and backgrounds and levels of experience, all of them dancing happily with each other.”
Many of today’s dances have their roots in Latin America, including the salsa, meringue, cha-cha, bachata, mambo and rumba. Other dances that aren’t performed quite as frequently as these – but still have derivations in Mexican culture – are the hat dance, the deer dance and the Mexican agricultural dance.
For many immigrants who send money to Mexico, these types of transfers aren't enough when it comes to staying in touch with their loved ones. Phone calls and emails may help make the separation less burdensome, but nothing beats being able to hug and kiss a spouse or child after several months apart.
It's because of this that many Mexicans will leave their life in the U.S. for a short period and reconnect with their native land, spending quality time with their friends and relatives.
While on vacation, staying at home with loved ones for the entire week or month may be perfectly fine. But for those who hope to take advantage of life in Mexico while they're away, there's plenty that can be done this time of year. The Associated Press recently discussed some of the great destinations the whole family can enjoy.
One of the best take-ins is the Soumaya Museum, which is located in Mexico City in the Polanco neighborhood. Not long ago, Carlos Slim built the museum, which has six floors that are filled to the brim with works of art from impressionists, muralists and craftsmen deriving from Mesoamerican cultures that have never been fully identified.
For those who would rather spend their time in the great outdoors, the Zocalo may fit the bill, the AP notes. Also located in Mexico's capital, the Zocalo is a wide open plaza where most of the country's government leaders congregate, as federal offices and meeting houses are all situated in this part of Mexico City. It's not all business here, however, as street vendors, Aztec dancers and other performers are virtually always in attendance, hoping to entertain those who are visiting as well as those who frequent the area regularly.
Plenty of beautiful parks in Mexico
Nothing beats a leisurely walk in the park and Chapultepec Park is an ideal place to go for a stroll. The news agency points out the park has received a number of improvements in recent years, as it's now teeming with a variety of bicycle and walking trails. Railroad enthusiasts may also find the park pleasing, as one of the country's oldest is here as well. The park is open in the daylight hours only and is closed on Mondays.
That's not the only park to choose from in Mexico, as there are several others that are just as fine. This includes Viveros de Coyoacan. This park hasn't gone through the same renovations as Chapultepec because it's smaller in size but exercise enthusiasts will have plenty to choose from, as it is also filled with pedestrian and cycling pathways, AP notes.
There's something nice about rustic, country living, where residents can mingle with friends and shop at craft stores. The Coyoacan may best exemplify this theme. The Associated Press says that the small village is rife with art galleries and corner shops and can be quite crowded on the weekends.
The tourism industry is a major contributor to Mexico's overall economy. While the summer and early winter tend to be the peak times of year for people to tour the country, virtually every month finds a considerable number of people from other countries who are interested in what Mexico has to offer.
Besides Mexico City, other metro areas known for drawing a considerable number of tourists comprise Oaxaca, Puebla and Chihuahua, to name a few. Beaches that are reputed for drawing massive amounts of people include Acapulco, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta. According to Mexico Explorando, nearly 70 percent of tourists come from the United States.
When Latinos send money to Mexico, they are transferring money to a country that’s increasingly becoming a global leader in environmental sustainability.
According to Bloomberg, Mexico is one of a handful of countries that has made significant strides toward improving the world’s environment by passing legislation that help reduce the carbon footprint nations leave behind from everyday living.
In a recent statement emailed to the news source from the Globe International Alliance of Lawmakers, Mexico was listed as one of 33 countries that’s made considerable headway toward cutting carbon production and increasing the efficiency of man-made technologies such as industrial products and vehicles.
Christiana Figueres, a United Nations diplomat, said that real change can only came through policy and Mexico – along with other industrialized nations – helps make this change a reality.
“The clean revolution we need is being carried forward by legislation,” said Figueres, according to Bloomberg. “Domestic legislation is critical because it is the linchpin between action on the ground and the international agreement.”
The Globe International Alliance of Lawmakers additionally noted that of all the nations that made environmental improvements to policy last year, Mexico serves as a “standout country.” Among the initiatives taken include creating a law that requires companies to reduce carbon production by 30 percent between now and 2020.
Other nations that the Globe says made significant headway in improving environmentally friendly standards in 2012 were Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, Bloomberg reports.
Traffic major contributor to carbon emissions
Mexico hasn’t always held the distinction as being among the nations most environmentally responsible. According to a 2011 report in National Geographic magazine, residents of Mexico’s capital – Mexico City – described the commute there as one of the “most painful” they’ve ever experienced, primarily due to the significant number of traffic jams, accidents and carbon dioxide emissions from running engines.
But in the short time since then, the country’s capital has been awarded with the Sustainable Transport Award from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Walter Hook, chief executive officer of the ITDP, said that the improvements observed in the past 12 months in Mexico City are as stark as night and day.
“Mexico City was like a patient sick with heart disease, its streets were some of the most congested in the world,” said Hook. “In the last year, Mexico City extended its great Metrobus BRT system straight through the narrow congested streets of its spectacular historical core, rebuilt public parks and plazas, expanded bike sharing and bike lanes, and pedestrianized streets.”
He added that Mexico’s capital city is once again a vital part of the country’s future growth and development.
Recent previous winners winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include Medellin, Colombia; San Francisco in the U.S.; Guangzhou, China and Ahmedabad, India.
Some of the most impressive elements of Mexico City earning the award – in addition to the more environmentally sustainable laws that have been put in place in Mexico at large – stem from how densely populated the country and city is. Approximately 115.2 million people live in Mexico, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, and 20 million of that total live in the city’s capital. And as the Christian Science Monitor points out, one out of every four Mexico City residents owns a car.
Yet despite this, officials are confident that the Mexican people will commit to environmentally sustainable living practices, accomplishing the goal of a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.
Mexico has been in the news a lot lately and not just because of the country’s recent presidential election. It’s also because Mexicans who now live in countries like the U.S. have been looking to send money online more often.
While there are a variety of ways in which to send money online, one of the most common forms is by sending a bank deposit to Mexico, as this better guarantees the money that’s needed will be quickly received. And, provided it’s done with Xoom, customers are sure to be pleased with the process.
Money transfers to a bank account are ideal for pretty much everyone because they provide a great deal of convenience and peace of mind. With a few keystrokes and button clicks, the money you send is transferred electronically, which helps prevent human error.
It’s also ideal because it’s fast. For example, one of the most popular banks many of Xoom’s Mexican customers have accounts with is Bancomer. Deposits here normally take about 15 minutes to complete from start to finish. Banamex or Banorte usually take about one hour, only because there’s a little bit more involved. EVen with other banks the transfers only take 24 hours.
No matter which you choose, though, you’re sure to be pleased by the results, as customers come back to Xoom again and again because of its reliability and quality customer service.
Make your next bank deposit with Xoom so you can experience all that it has to offer.
Remittance flows to Mexico fared quite well last month, thanks to more people in the country being the recipients of an online money transfer, a new report indicates.
According to the Bank of Mexico, remittances from Mexicans living abroad jumped nearly 8 percent in May when compared with the same month last year.
Not only was the sheer volume of remittances more significant – as just under 7.1 million transfers were made in the month, up from 6.8 million in May 2011 – but the overall value of them rose as well. The central bank reported that remittances totaled $2.34 billion overall, a fairly significant rise from the $2 billion worth in the previous month. That means that through the first five months of the year, close to $10 billion of remittances have been sent, a clear indication that people have gone out of their way to send money to Mexico.
As for what the average value was for the typical money transfer, the Bank of Mexico said it was $329.21, slightly higher than year-ago levels and well within the total that Xoom enables its users to send.
If remittances continue to flow at their present pace, there’s a strong likelihood the total could outpace what was sent in 2011, as Dow Jones Newswires reports that $22.7 billion was sent to Mexico last year. The news agency also reports that remittances last month primarily emanated from the U.S., as many Mexicans left their native country to pursue employment opportunities on behalf of their families. Remittances typically bring in more money than tourism.
Wherever the money came from, though, more remittances will no doubt come as welcome news for the country, which has experienced some hard times economically and is still in the midst of a recession, despite being the second largest economy in Latin America.
Based on a report from the National Council on Evaluation of Social Development Policy, the World Bank reports that the number of Mexicans currently living in poverty rose by more than 3 million people between 2008 and 2010. This means that of Mexico’s 52 million people, just under half – 46.2 percent – are impoverished.
One positive development that has transpired in the intervening years as the country recovers economically are the number of people who are are dealing with more serious forms of poverty, which the World Bank defines as making less than $980 pesos a month. The dollar equivalent of that is about $76 a month. The number of people in this state fell from 10.6 percent of the population to 10.4 percent, or what equals roughly 11.7 million Mexicans. Even one person in poverty is too many, but this is a positive indication that people are doing better financially.
Statistics from the World Bank indicate that in 2011, Mexico mounted a moderate recovery, with its gross domestic product reaching an average of just under 4 percent. As the year continues, economists forecast that growth will likely average slightly less than that, but its success with exporting manufactured goods should prevent the growth rate from falling below 3.3 percent.
Remittance flows and overall economic activity has been so strong in Mexico as of late that money experts are raising their expectations about how vibrant the country's economy will be this year.
According to a new survey performed by the Bank of Mexico of 29 economists, gross domestic product is expected to grow 3.72 percent this year. That's up from 3.62 percent the last time the poll was conducted.
Also moving at a robust pace were remittances. The Bank of Mexico indicated that in April, an increased flow of money transfers resulted in $2.03 billion. For the year, that puts the value of remittances Mexico has received at $7.4 billion, more than 6 percent ahead of the same four-month period in 2011.
As has been noted by a variety of financial experts, remittances are one of the biggest sources of money for Mexico, particularly from those living in the United States. In fact, the money generated from remittances has been ahead of what tourism has brought in for the country.
While remittances can help establish a country's economic footing, not to mention the financial readiness of a family, a new study suggests that people who receive money from them often have savings accounts, which is a sign that they're financially responsible.
Christian Ambrosius, who conducted the research that was published by Free University Berlin School of Business and Economics, argues that "receiving remittances is strongly correlated with the ownership of savings accounts, and, to some degree, with the availability of borrowing options."
In other words, people who receive money from their loved ones aren't spending what they earn in a wasteful manner. Instead, they're thinking about what they can do with it and then setting it aside in savings accounts so that their earnings can grow.
The researchers also argue that not only do individuals benefit from remittances – as it increases their financial responsibility – but institutions are strengthened as well.
"These effects are more important for rural households than for urban households and are more important for microfinance institutions, than for traditional banks," the study indicated.
This is just the latest handful of ways remittances are beneficial to society.
For the overwhelmingly majority of immigrants, receiving a quality education is of utmost importance. It's often the means by which they can land a job in the U.S. so they can send money home to their family members who need it. Occasionally, however, children of immigrants find themselves in situations where receiving an education in the U.S. can be complicated by circumstances beyond their control.
As recently reported by The New York Times, at the U.S.-Mexico border, a sizable number of people are entering the United States to go to school, even though they live in Mexico. Most of these border-crossers are American citizens, but because their parents have returned to live in Mexico, they are not residents.
Referred to as "transfronterizos," these high school-aged individuals wake up early every morning to catch a bus that will take them near the border. It's here that they cross into the U.S., hoping that customs enforcement officers won't notice them. The Times notes that while some Mexican families pay the tuition that's required, most do not, nor do they pay the property taxes that provide the resources for students to attend classes.
While some transfronterizos are able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation, others use fake addresses that give the impression that they're actually U.S. residents.
"It's stressful," Tijuana resident Martha, a high school senior who attends classes in Chula Vista, California, told The New York Times. "You can get found out and kicked out of school. Sometimes I feel bad for lying. But I’m just going to school."
The motivating factor that's driving so many to cross the border is the quality of education Mexican residents can receive in the U.S. as opposed to their home country. Citing a 1997 study from the University of San Diego, the Times reports that while the educational system has improved in Mexico, low graduation and high dropout rates make a U.S.-based education more appealing.
"The gap between the U.S. and Mexican sides is great enough that people have a strong incentive [to cross]," said David Shirk, director of the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute.
The rise in transfronterizos has put a strain on schools, both in terms of resources and with regards to residency requirements. But ultimately, faculty members feel it's their duty to teach those who come.
"What do we do with these youngsters?" Richard Fragle, superintendent of schools in Calexico, California, told the paper. "Philosophically, as an educator, if a young person comes to the door, we should educate them."