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Mexico native attempts to make its capital city a worldwide hub for dancing

A Mexico City native hopes to improve the country's poor diabetes history with dance.

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.


Some of Mexico’s best places to frequent for those returning home

Parks in Mexico are some of the best places to tour.

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.


Mexico a leading nation in the green-living movement

More people are biking in Mexico to help cut down on carbon emissions.

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.


Xoom makes Mexican bank deposits easy and reliable

Making a bank deposit with Xoom couldn't be simpler when you're sending money to your family in Mexico.

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.


Mexican remittances jump 7.8 percent

Mexico celebrated Cinco de Mayo and an increased flow of remittances.

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.


Mexican economy expected to flourish further

Mexico's economy is expected to grow more than expected this year thanks to higher remittance volume.

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.


Transfronterizos residing in one country, schooling in another

The New York Times chronicles the life of students who cross the border so they can be taught in the U.S.

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."


Watch the Pacquiao-Marquez Fight for FREE on Pay-Per-View with your First Xoom Money Transfer to the Philippines, Latin America or the Caribbean

Pacquiao vs. Marquez

And get a chance to watch the fight in person with Xoom’s Send Money Now Sweepstakes. is excited to announce another special offer for first time Xoom customers.  All new Xoom customers who send a money transfer to the Philippines, Latin America or the Caribbean from October 3, 2011 – November 12, 2011 are entitled to watch the Pacquiao-Marquez III Pay-Per-View (PPV) fight for freeThis PPV offer is valued at $55.

This is the second time is offering new customers a chance to watch a Pacquiao PPV fight for free.  Earlier this year, also offered new customers the Pacquiao-Mosley PPV fight for free.  “Customers were so thrilled with the Pacquiao-Mosley promotion that we are once again offering this promotion for Pacquiao-Marquez III,” said President and CEO, John Kunze.

In addition, is also running a sweepstakes for its existing customers.  Customers who send a money transfer to the Philippines from October 3, 2011 – November 12, 2011 are automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to watch the fight live.  Customers who also “Like” Xoom on Facebook will be entered in the drawing.  One winner will get a Pacquiao-Marquez vacation package to Las Vegas that includes round trip airfare for two, hotel stay for two nights, two tickets to the fight and $500 in cash.  Ten winners will also receive a $200 prepaid gift card. Weekly drawings will be held on October 17 and October 24 with the grand prize drawing on November 1.  No purchase necessary.

For complete terms and conditions of this offer, please visit This offer is subject to change without notice and is valid until supplies last. For more details on the sweepstakes, please visit


How to Send Money to Mexico

Sending money to loved ones back home is a common practice for those living and working abroad. Fortunately, using Xoom is an easy way to send money to Mexico, as most transfers will be processed extremely quickly.

An important factor to remember when doing this is exchange rates. When you send money using Xoom, you'll be simultaneously converting dollars to pesos. The current exchange rate shows $1 as equivalent to about 12.4 pesos. Xoom will clearly display the day's exchange rate, and you'll lock that rate in as soon as the money is sent.

You have two options when sending money to Mexico: cash pickup or bank deposit. A cash pickup typically processes quickly, and your recipient can pick up their money at one of the many participating banks. Bancomer, HSBC, Banorte, Banamex, Santander and Bansefi are among the participating banks, all of which process the transactions in under 15 minutes.

You can also send money via a bank deposit. This will deposit the funds directly into your recipient's bank account, so they'll be able to access the money at any ATM. This process takes just a bit longer – Banamex, Bancomer and Banorte will have the funds ready in under an hour. Other branches are available for bank deposits as well, but may take slightly longer.


Mexico’s Fine Arts Institute marks 65th anniversary with exhibit

Mexico’s Fine Arts Institute is celebrating its 65th anniversary with an exhibit that looks back over the institution’s long and storied history, collecting some of the most famous artwork to ever be shown in the museum all in one place.

Many Mexicans will want to go to the event, which means that those working in other countries will be sending money back home via international wire transfers. And this is truly not an event to be missed. Mexican President Felipe Calderon opened the event earlier this week.

Some of the artists who have works in the event include Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Saturnino Herran. In total, more than 250 individual works are on display as part of the massive exhibit.

The exhibit was designed not only to celebrate the museum’s past, but to also look ahead to the future. Included alongside the artwork is an explanation of how the museum acquires and restores its pieces.

“We have the basis, the foundation, now we must look to the present and future to define how we want to grow, which museums need strengthening, and what pieces by which artists we want to have,” exhibit curator Ana Garduño told the news source.