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Elections held in July 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that the opposition defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) was sworn in on 1 December 2000 as the first chief executive elected in free and fair elections.The most serious challenge confronting Mexico was an increasingly violent struggle against drug traffickers.Since assuming office in 2006, President Calderón had dispatched approximately 30,000 army troops and federal police to 10 different Mexican states in a high-visibility offensive against drug cartels. During 2007–08 the government arrested several prominent traffickers (including Sandra Ávila Beltrán, known as the “queen of the Pacific” for her leadership of the Sinaloa cartel), and it maintained its policy of extraditing cartel leaders to the United States. These advances, however, came at a very high price for Mexico.Geography Mexico Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US Geographic coordinates: 23 00 N, 102 00 W Map references: North America Area: total: 1,972,550 sq km land: 1,923,040 sq km water: 49,510 sq km Area - comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Texas Land boundaries: total: 4,353 km border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km Coastline: 9,330 km Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin Climate: varies from tropical to desert Terrain: high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert Elevation extremes: lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m Natural resources: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber Land use: arable land: 13% permanent crops: 1.1% other: 85.7% (1998 est.) Irrigated land: 65,000 sq km (1998 est.) Natural hazards: tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts Environment - current issues: scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US- Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate agreements: Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements Geography - note: strategic location on southern border of US People Mexico - Population: 103,400,165 (July 2002 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.8% (male 17,310,230; female 16,630,935) 15-64 years: 62.7% (male 31,552,877; female 33,246,668) 65 years and over: 4.5% (male 2,069,826; female 2,589,629) (2002 est.) Population growth rate: 1.47% (2002 est.) Birth rate: 22.36 births/1,000 population (2002 est.) Death rate: 4.99 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.) Net migration rate: -2.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/ female total population: 0.97 male(s)/ female (2002 est.) Infant mortality rate: 24.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.03 years female: 75.21 years (2002 est.) male: 68.99 years Total fertility rate: 2.57 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.29% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 150,000 (1999 est.) AIDS: HIV/AIDS - deaths: 4,700 (1999 est.) Nationality: noun: Mexican(s) adjective: Mexican Ethnic groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1% Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5% Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 89.6% male: 91.8% female: 87.4% (1995 est.) Government Mexico - Country name: conventional long form: United Mexican States conventional short form: Mexico local short form: Mexico local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos Government type: federal republic Capital: Mexico (Distrito Federal) Administrative divisions: 31 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Distrito Federal*, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz- Llave, Yucatan, Zacatecas Independence: 16 September 1810 (from Spain) National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1810) Constitution: 5 February 1917 Legal system: mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced) Executive branch: chief of state: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since 1 December 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government election results: Vicente FOX Quesada elected president; percent of vote - Vicente FOX Quesada (PAN) 42.52%, Francisco LABASTIDA Ochoa (PRI) 36.1%, Cuauhtemoc CARDENAS Solorzano (PRD) 16.64%, other 4.74% elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held NA July 2006) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general requires consent of the Senate head of government: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since 1 December 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote) and the Federal Chamber of Deputies or Camara Federal de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are directly elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; remaining 200 members are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote, also for three-year terms) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRI 60, PAN 46, PRD 15, PVEM 5, PT 1, CD 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRI 211, PAN 207, PRD 50, PVEM 16, PT 8, PSN 3, PAS 2, CD 1, independents 2 elections: Senate - last held 2 July 2000 for all of the seats (next to be held NA 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2003) Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate) Political parties and leaders: Convergence for Democracy or CD [Dante DELGADO Ranauro]; Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI [Dulce Maria SAURI Riancho]; Mexican Green Ecological Party or PVEM [Jorge Emilio GONZALEZ Martinez]; National Action Party or PAN [Luis Felipe BRAVO Mena]; Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD [Amalia GARCIA Medina]; Party of the Nationalist Society or PSN [Gustavo RIOJAS Santana]; Social Alliance Party or PAS [Guillermo CALDERON Dominguez]; Workers Party or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez] Political pressure groups and Confederation of Employers of the leaders: Mexican Republic or COPARMEX; Confederation of Industrial Chambers or CONCAMIN; Confederation of Mexican Workers or CTM; Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce or CONCANACO; Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations or COECE; Federation of Unions Providing Goods and Services or FESEBES; National Chamber of Transformation Industries or CANACINTRA; National Peasant Confederation or CNC; National Union of Workers or UNT; Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers or CROM; Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Peasants or CROC; Roman Catholic Church International organization APEC, BCIE, BIS, Caricom (observer), participation: CCC, CDB, CE (observer), EBRD, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-6, G-15, G-19, G- 24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTo O, WTr O Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Juan Jose BREMER Martino FAX:  (202) 728-1698 consulate(s): Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Mc Allen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Omaha, Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Presidio (Texas), Raleigh, St.Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Laredo (Texas), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (Arizona), Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan (Puerto Rico) chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006 telephone:  (202) 728-1600 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffery US: DAVIDOW embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal mailing address: P. Box 3087, Laredo, TX 78044-3087 telephone:  55 5080-2000 FAX:  55 5080-2005, 2834 consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak) is centered in the white band Economy Mexico Economy - overview: Mexico has a free market economy with a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector.The nation continues to make an impressive recovery.Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states.
The election of Vicente Fox to the presidency (2000) ended 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Felipe Calderón maintained favourable overall public-approval ratings, he encountered considerable difficulties in advancing his policy agenda during 2008.
It is a republic with two legislative houses; its head of state and government is the president.
Inhabited for more than 20,000 years, the area produced great civilizations in AD 100–900, including the Olmec, Toltec, Maya, and Aztec.
Positive developments in 2001 included a drop in inflation to 6.5%, a sharp fall in interest rates, and a strong peso that appreciated 5% against the dollar. About three-fifths of Mexico's people are mestizos, one-third are American Indians, and the rest are of European ancestry. Mexico has two major peninsulas, the Yucatán in the southeast and Baja California in the northwest.
Mexico City implemented free trade agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the European Free Trade Area in 2001, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. Languages: Spanish (official); more than 50 Indian languages are spoken. The high Mexican Plateau forms the core of the country and is enclosed by mountain ranges: the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Sierra Madre Oriental, and the Cordillera Neo-Volcánica.