© 2024 91.9 KVCR

KVCR is a service of the San Bernardino Community College District.

San Bernardino Community College District does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

701 S Mt Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino CA 92410
Where you learn something new every day.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

On Mexico's National Holiday, Not Much To Celebrate


Today, in Mexico, it's Independence Day. Most of the country shuts down to celebrate the long struggle, begun in 1810, to break with Spain. But this year, many Mexicans are having trouble finding reason to celebrate. The economy is sinking. Kidnappings and extortion are on the rise, and the capital has been paralyzed by near-daily political protest. NPR's Carrie Kahn sent this report from Mexico City.


CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Tens of thousands sporting oversized sombreros and all manners of red, white and green accessories filled the historic Zocalo Plaza late last night, to hear the new president's first grito, the traditional Independence Day cry.

PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PENA NIETO: Viva Independencia Nacionale.


PENA NIETO: Viva Mexico.


KAHN: As tradition dictates, Enrique Pena Nieto emerged from the balcony of the National Palace, to re-enact the Independence Day call to arms just as the revolutionary heroes did 203 years ago.


KAHN: All that splendor, fireworks and cheer was a stark contrast to the scene just two days ago. That's when water cannons and hundreds of riot-clad police rolled in, to clear out thousands of protesting teachers and setting of hours of street battles.


KAHN: The teachers, upset about a recently passed set of education reforms, were eventually cleared out, but many problems remain. There are signs political opposition is growing against Pena Nieto's aggressive reform agenda. The economy, heralded as the rising Aztec tiger, is expected to grow barely 1 percent this year. The peso has taken a beating lately. Violence is still endemic in wide swaths of the country. And the teachers have vowed to come back to the Zocalo tomorrow and resume their almost daily protests, which have wreaked havoc on this already chaotic capital.

If that weren't enough, the national soccer team, a usually unifying force that trumps politics and prosperity, did not automatically qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil. That's the first time in nearly a quarter-century.

Not to take the sports analogy too far, but the team is much like the country itself these days. It has a star-studded roster poised to rise on the world stage, yet unable to live up to the hype. Last week, though, they hired on a new coach who's said to have the Midas touch in a last-ditch effort to secure a wild-card spot. So viva to Midas. May his touch be golden in sports and in healing a much-bruised national psyche.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.