It's not surprising that reports coming out of Mexico say the Mexican people are reacting with skepticism to their new president's economic plan to stem inflation and give relief to the beleagueredpeso. Given their past history of isolationism and economic turmoil, they haven't much reason to expect that things will suddenly get better. We in the United States often criticize them for their ma¤ana attitude, but living in a society that puts them at the whim of an unstable government produces an attitude of lethargy toward their fate.
Jim Meinert, marketing and sales director for Snider Mold Co. Inc. in Mequon, Wis., has spent much time in Mexico during the past few years, and has come to know the Mexican business community and appreciate what it is up against.
``We have more confidence in their future than they do,'' Meinert said.
But from what I've seen, Mexican people are resourceful. Nothing has been handed to them on a plate. There are no unemployment checks, food stamps orwelfare benefits, no Aid to Families with Dependent Children. And so most do what it takes to survive.
A couple of years ago while covering a plastics convention, I stayed at the beautiful Hotel Maria Isabella in downtown Mexico City.
One evening after the convention, about 9 p.m., I walked to a nearby department store to shop. Outside the hotel sat a young woman with three small children, one just a baby in arms.
She held no ``Will work for food'' signs nor did she have her hand out. Instead, she was busily making brightly colored clothes for small, cloth dolls. She braided their black yarn hair with bright ribbons and stitched on the native Mexican costume clothes.
She had about a dozen already made that she was selling for about 13,000 pesos, which then amounted to about $2. One of the little boys ran up to me and begged me in Spanish to buy a doll.
``Quanta cuesta?'' I asked him.
He told me the paltry amount. I bought one as a souvenir. But it has become much more than that as it sits on a shelf in my home. It's become a reminder of how good we have it here in the United States, of how even the poorest of U.S. citizens has it better than many people in Mexico.
The Mexican people are always working at something. If they don't have regular jobs, they make tortillas or jewelry to sell on the street corners. Even here in Arizona, it's rarely the Mexican-American I see standing in the median at the intersection begging for $20 to pay the rent. Even here, they work at a family enterprise and peddle their wares to earn money.
Meinert believes we have much to gain by our relationship with Mexico, and I believe he's right. He hopes that his fellow businessmen and women in the plastics industry will hang in there and promote continued working relationships with those in Mexico. He believes in the long run, we'll all be winners.
I believe he's right.