Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tonight Mexico celebrate's its independence with the grito, along with lots of alcohol. Last year, you may remember, the day was an occasion for sadness, after grenades tossed among the revelers in Morelia killed eight. This year security is tight at the gritos around the country, and, for a variety of possible reasons (economic uncertainty, fear of terrorism), Mexicans are not feeling so festive about the festivities. Indeed, according to a Milenio poll, only 28 percent say that they are in the mood to party.

The same poll includes lots of data about which values Mexicans attribute to themselves, and to the society as a whole. I always take these kinds of polls with a grain of salt, because the questions lend themselves to gross generalizations. Nonetheless, there were some interesting findings: only 12 percent labeled Mexico a nation of savers, and only 22 percent said that Mexicans were by-and-large honorable. At the same time, 92 percent said they personally were honorable. This confirms something I've long noticed here: a few bad apples aside, Mexicans are a trustworthy bunch, in my experience no different from Americans. Yet Mexicans seem much, much less disposed to trusting strangers than do Americans.

The adjectives that Mexicans were most likely to ascribe to their countrymen were affectionate (46 percent), hard-working (49 percent), and predisposed to solidarity (54 percent).

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