July 19, 2013

Organized crime lurks behind many of the stories in the headlines today, though the connection rarely becomes explicit. Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was just convicted on probably spurious charges of embezzlement, made a name for himself by targeting the corruption that is so deep-seated in today’s Russia that it’s often hard to see where the government leaves off and the mob begins. European Union law enforcement officials warned recently that mobsters are capitalizing on the European financial crisis by taking advantage of black markets in goods and services.

At its core, the Latin Alternative Music Conference is a gathering of dedicated underdogs, rallying behind music that envisions a polyglot, multicultural, border-hopping 21st-century culture but faces stubborn barriers, in the United States, of language and radio formats. The term “Latin alternative” makes room for pop, indie-rock, electronica, hip-hop, punk and hard rock, all loosely connected by a willingness to push past divisions of genre and geography.

In fact, Patients Beyond Borders reports Mexico now attracts more than a million patients a year, many of whom are Hispanics from California, Arizona and Texas. It’s this proximity to North America that makes Latin America’s medical tourism so attractive. Other factors include favorable exchange rates, bilingual healthcare officials, friendly cultures, tropical climates and exotic locations allowing for relaxing and scenic recovery time.

Mexico’s tourism revenue is increasing, thanks to a surge of international travelers. In 2012, Mexico received 23 million international tourists and 178 million domestic tourists. The majority of tourists are traveling from the U.S. and Canada but others come from the UK, Spain and South America.

Mexicans are much more likely to have a degree before going north than they were seven years ago, and the number of years of schooling of 15-19-year-olds is now pretty similar to that in United States. If more educated workers emigrate, it raises their earning capacity, which gives them and their families even more chance of rising up the ranks of the middle class when they and the money flow back to Mexico. In which case, even fewer will need to go to el Norte. That is real progress.

Barack Obama's recent visit to Mexico, the fourth of his presidency, represented an important, deliberate attempt to shift the focus of Mexico-U.S. relations from security to economic improvement. But it also represented much more -- a chance to allay the public's profoundly negative conceptions of Mexico by shifting the conversation to education, labor, environment, and other human-scale issues that are truly vital to the future of both countries.

World-renowned Guitarist Roberto Limon from Mexico will perform at St. John’s College Great Hall 60 College Avenue Annapolis on May 24, 2013, at 7 PM. Mr. Limon is widely recognized as a concert performer throughout the world. He performs regularly as soloist with numerous orchestras in both his own country of Mexico but throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, including the Czech National Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Some of the best Malay movies from Singapore's yesteryears will showcase great performances by well-known names in local theatre in Mexico under a cultural exchange between the National Museum here and the Mexico Embassy.