Texas Liberal

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Preview Of Mexico-South Africa World Cup Match—Who Has The Edge In Human Rights?

The first match of the World Cup will be played at 9: 30 AM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday June 11. This match will be between Mexico and host team South Africa.

(Above–Toltec warrior columns in the city of Tula in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.  Here is a good history of Mexico.)

This post is the first of a series of previews I’ll be writing of World Cup matches.

Let’s begin with the some basic facts.

(Below—Mexico City. Looks like a smoggy day. Here is information about visiting Mexico City.)

For Mexico-

Nationality: Noun and adjective–Mexican(s).
Population (July 2009 est.): 111,211,789.
Annual growth rate (2009 est.): 1.13%.
Ethnic groups: Indian-Spanish (mestizo) 60%, Indian 30%, Caucasian 9%, other 1%.
Religions (2000 census): Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6%, other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%.
Language: Spanish.
Education:
Years compulsory–11 (note: preschool education was made mandatory in Dec. 2001). Literacy–91.4%.
Health (2009):
Infant mortality rate–18.42/1,000. Life expectancy–male 73.25 years; female 79 years.
Work force (2008 est., 45.5 million):
Agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing–21.0%;services–32.2%; commerce–16.9%; manufacturing–18.7%; construction–5.6%;transportation and communication–4.5%; mining and quarrying–1.0%.

(Below–Cape Town. I hope black folks can find good paying work on those docks in the new South Africa. Here is information on visiting Cape Town.)

For South Africa

Nationality: Noun and adjective–South African(s).
Annual growth rate (2006 World Bank Group): 1.1%.
Population (2007, 47.9 million): Composition–black 79.7%; white 9.1%; colored 8.8%; Asian (Indian) 2.2%. Official figures from 2007 South African Census at
http://www.statssa.gov.za.
Languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga (all official languages).
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.
Education: Years compulsory–7-15 years of age for all children. The South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, passed by Parliament in 1996, aims to achieve greater educational opportunities for black children, mandating a single syllabus and more equitable funding for schools.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2007)–58 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy–52 yrs. women; 49 yrs. men. Health data from 2007 Census Report:
http://www.statssa.gov.za.

(The links here are from U.S. Department of State fact sheets. There is a lot of information to be found at these links.)

You’ve got to give the advantage to Mexico based on life expectancy.  There is a roughly 25 year edge here for our friends south of the U.S. border. That’s what you get when your leaders go on for years insisting there is no relationship between HIV and AIDS.

(Below–A picture of a Yucca forest in Mexico taken by Tomas Castelazo. Here are facts about Yucca trees.)

How does Amnesty International see the two nations? Who has the human rights advantage?

From Amnesty on Mexico—

“Human rights concerns persist, particularly at the state level where violence surrounds local elections and misuse of the judicial system is common. Federal efforts to combat violence against women in the border town of Ciudad Juárez have continued with limited success. A number of human rights defenders have been threatened and at least three journalists have been killed despite proposed legislation to strengthen human rights protection in the Constitution.”

Here is the full Amnesty report on Mexico.

(Below—The Drakensberg Mountains are the highest mountain chain in South Africa. Photo taken by pzfun. Here is information about visiting these mountains.)

Here is Amnesty on South Africa—

“A significant number of foreign nationals living in South Africa continue to report facing prejudice, discrimination and abuse on a daily basis. Both the International Organization on Migration and Human Rights Watch completed extensive research on the issue of migrants since xenophobic violence exploded in 2008. Many people were killed and more than 100,000 displace during the violence. Local South Africans complain foreign workers are taking away valuable jobs. Although unemployment numbers demonstrate a decline since 2001, the Labor Force Survey approximates 23% of South Africans are unemployed. The construction fueled by the 2010 World Cup is said to have increased the employment outlook over the next several months.”

Here is the full Amnesty report on South Africa.

Here is a profile of Mexico from the BBC.

Here is a profile of South Africa from the BBC.

Summary—This is a close call. Two great and flawed nations are in this match. South Africa has undergone a historic transformation form apartheid to a wider democracy while Mexico is a land that has contributed a great deal to North American history and culture. On the other hand, South Africa has let down the world in its response to AIDS and dominance of the ruling African National Congress threatens to diminish the quality of South African democracy, while Mexico sometimes looks like a failed state in its inability to stop drug-related violence. Let us cheer on both nations as they work towards a more complete realization of their potential.

Here is the official web site of the government of Mexico.

Here is the official web site of the government of South Africa.

(Below—Zulu warriors in 19th century South Africa. Here is a very useful history of South Africa.)

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June 6, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. As someone who spent years researching her Texas book, I say: thank you for all the time you must have spent on this post. Facts are always good for those of us trying to live in the reality-based world (as opposed to that other one)!

    Comment by Shelley | June 6, 2010

  2. Shelley–Thank you very much for the kind words. I can see by your link the effort you have put in yourself on your project.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 7, 2010

  3. Neil, you’re quite welcome! My parents still live in Texas, so I’m always happy that there are “liberal” resources on the net to help all such Texans keep their sanity!

    Comment by sshaver | June 7, 2010

  4. Nice approach! Agree with Shelley.

    Comment by Newton | June 8, 2010

  5. Just a correction, that first picture is actually Mexico on a relatively clear day. Although the air pollution in Mexico City is much better than it was 10-15 years ago, it can still get pretty smoggy.

    On the other hand, I would say that any country with such an expansive border with a country with such a huge market for illegal drugs is going to have a hard time. While Mexico is certainly flawed, you have to place a lot of blame on the U.S., where all that drug money comes from. I don’t know much about daily life in South Africa but I think the level education and civic duty in Mexico is very impressive.

    Comment by Kate Blumberg | June 9, 2010

  6. Ms. Blumberg–Very good. Nothing I can add to an astute point. Please visit the blog again soon.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 13, 2010


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