Mexico: A Bad Neighbor?
The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, greets U.S. President Barack Obama at the North American Leaders' Summit. Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana /Flickr

The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, greets U.S. President Barack Obama at the North American Leaders' Summit. Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana /Flickr

19th July 2016

By Arturo Franco, Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center
“Mexico is a source of problems for the United States.” That’s the opinion of more than half of all Americans – and two out of every three Republicans – according to a recent opinion survey from Vianovo, which measures attitudes toward Mexico. In other words, we are a bad neighbor.
In general terms, Mexico’s reputation in the U.S. is similar to that of countries like Cuba and Colombia, with an unfavorable opinion of 40-45 percent of those surveyed. This should not necessarily surprise us, considering the kind of news and cultural references received about Mexico in most American homes – from Breaking Bad to Chapo Guzmán. But we should be worried, especially when that’s compared with the 75 percent favorable image of our third trading partner, Canada.
“How would you describe the economy of these countries?” was the question asked of more than 1,000 adults who took part in this survey through YouGov. Just 16 percent thought that Mexico is a “modern” country, while more than 32 percent thought Brazil is. In reality, a large majority of our neighbors think we are an underdeveloped economy.
In 2012, with the same question, Mexico represented a “modern” economy for 20 percent of Americans. The Peña Nieto government appears to have achieved the opposite result to the one he wanted. In 2016, the electoral cycle in the United States has placed Mexico in the eye of a …

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