Mexico's makeover attempt
Four years of bloodshed and 28,000 thousand people have been killed in the so-called drug war, and without any doubt this have damaged immensely the image of Mexico throughout the world, seems to have been enough for the Mexican government to start taking actions to restore and extol the image that country once had.
For quite some time there have been lots of criticism in several sectors of the society regarding to the lack of official information on the drug war. During the meetings “Dialogue for Security: Assessment and Strengthening” that was held in August, President Felipe Calderon admitted —after harsh criticism of intellectuals, journalists and civic organizations regarding to the lack of results of the drug war, and which some considered this as a total failure— that he hasn’t known how to approach and explain to the society what his government is doing in this fight.
Precisely this inability of the federal government has led President Calderon to have several confrontations with the media for its coverage, up to the point of insinuating that the press are being paid by the organized crime to publish in front page their heinous crimes.
Couple of weeks ago, Arturo Sarukhán the Mexican ambassador for the U.S, made a similar statement, blaming the international media for the bad image that Mexico has beyond its border, by saying that, “the international media maintain the dynamic that everything that has to do with blood is front page news”.
In this context, President Calderon have decided to hired the services of the best advertising and PR agencies of the world to launch a worldwide campaign to improve Mexico’s image and boost the tourism in the country, which has been the most affected by the drug war, and recently 53% of employees of that sector were dismissed.
It seems that a worldwide campaign is not enough for President Calderon’s efforts to turn around the negatives views that the world has of Mexico, so Internet will also play a big role to accomplish this with the relaunch online on New Years of the former State run shortwave radio station, Radio Mexico International (RMI) that went off the air in 2004 after 34 years of broadcast. Its main goal in this new phase for RMI, as Ana Cecilia Terrazas Valdes, General Director of the Mexican Institute of Radio — the State radio network— stated “…is to spread the historical knowledge to promote the love of the country”.
President Calderon has no easy task, for his misfortune he also has to cope the discouragement and little faith of many Mexicans in face of the state of the country. The federal government spent around $230 million dollars for the bicentennial of the Independence and centennial of the Mexican Revolution celebrations, that went all year round, and which it seems that it was more an attempt to extol the national pride among Mexicans.
Personally, I believe that these efforts will bear little or no results, while the state of the country continues as it is or worsens. I would advise President Calderon as follows: Fix up the house, make sure it’s safe and then brag about it. It’s clear that his government has shown that they can’t even keep safe its own people.