Troubled Mexico

November 8, 1985

Report Outline
Economic Aftershocks
American Relations
Internal Challenges

Economic Aftershocks

Earthquake's Political, Financial Impact

The Sympathy of the world went out to Mexico when a massive earthquake leveled clusters of buildings in its populous capital, killing possibly as many as 10,000 people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless. Mexico's trauma and grief were palpable as rescue workers frantically searched for victims in the rubble of buildings that were shattered by the quake. But the grim salvage effort was only a foretaste of the difficult times that lie ahead. Beset by an enormous foreign debt, a stagnant economy and rising political and social discontent, Mexico will need a continued outpouring of support and assistance for years if it is to regain its former position as Latin America's most politically stable and economically powerful nation.

Long after the debris from the earthquake has been cleared, Mexico will still be reeling from the political and economic aftershocks. The earthquake destroyed more than buildings: it effectively ended whatever hope the Mexican government had for a rapid resolution of its foreign debt problem and a return to economic normalcy. Worse still, from the standpoint of Mexican political leaders, the earthquake exposed to the Mexican people and the world the weakness, impotence and outright corruption of the government that, for more than half a century, has seemed unshakeable.

The Mexican government is not expected to fall, now or in the near future. But the morass into which the country has toppled—as much from economic mismanagement as from natural disaster—makes it clear that, in the words of one commentator, “Mexico has arrived at a significant crossroads in its long, complex, deceptive history. Things—if not exactly falling apart—cannot continue on their present course if the center is to hold.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Latin America
Sep. 14, 2018  Turmoil in Central America
Jun. 05, 2012  China in Latin America
Mar. 2008  The New Latin America
Jul. 21, 2006  Change in Latin America
Mar. 14, 2003  Trouble in South America
Nov. 09, 2001  U.S.- Mexico Relations
Sep. 19, 1997  Mexico's Future
Jul. 19, 1991  Mexico's Emergence
May 05, 1989  New Approach to Central America
Mar. 06, 1987  Soviets' Latin Influence
Dec. 26, 1986  Pinochet's Chile
Nov. 08, 1985  Troubled Mexico
Apr. 10, 1981  Latin American Challenges
May 05, 1978  Central America and the U.S.A.
Sep. 23, 1977  Mexican-U.S. Relations
Jun. 04, 1976  Relations with Latin America
Oct. 21, 1970  Chile's Embattled Democracy
Jun. 24, 1970  Mexico's Election and the Continuing Revolution
Apr. 02, 1969  Economic Nationalism in Latin America
Jul. 19, 1967  Guerrilla Movements in Latin America
Dec. 28, 1966  Militarism in Latin America
Oct. 20, 1965  Common Market for Latin America
Aug. 04, 1965  Smoldering Colombia
Jun. 23, 1965  Inter-American Peacekeeping
Dec. 11, 1963  Progress of the Alianza
Oct. 05, 1962  Arms Aid to Latin America
Dec. 13, 1961  Land and Tax Reform in Latin America
Jul. 26, 1961  Commodity Agreements for Latin America
Jan. 11, 1961  Revolution in the Western Hemisphere
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Jan. 13, 1960  Expropriation in Latin America
Jul. 02, 1958  Economic Relations with Latin America
Mar. 02, 1954  Communism in Latin America
Jun. 20, 1952  Political Unrest in Latin America
Sep. 18, 1950  War Aid from Latin America
Oct. 31, 1947  Arming the Americas
Jul. 24, 1946  Inter-American Security
Jan. 02, 1942  Latin America and the War
Jul. 10, 1941  Export Surpluses and Import Needs of South America
Jun. 04, 1941  Economic Defense of Latin America
Jun. 25, 1940  Politics in Mexico
Nov. 01, 1939  Pan American Political Relations
Oct. 10, 1939  United States Trade with Latin America
Apr. 07, 1938  Protection of American Interests in Mexico
Mar. 04, 1936  Peace Machinery in the Americas
Sep. 27, 1933  Trade Relations with Latin America
Oct. 16, 1928  Pan American Arbitration Conference
Jan. 12, 1928  The Sixth Pan American Conference
Jan. 10, 1927  American Policy in Nicaragua
Dec. 27, 1926  Relations Between Mexico and the United States
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Immigration and Naturalization
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean