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.)
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%.
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.)
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 athttp://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.”
(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.”
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.
(Below—Zulu warriors in 19th century South Africa. Here is a very useful history of South Africa.)
Here is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance Round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.
Above are the Guadalupe Mountains out in West Texas. Here is the link to Guadalupe Mountain National Park. I’ve lived in Houston for 12 years and have never been to West Texas. It is just so far away.
Here is the round-up—
This week on Left of College Station, Teddy asks if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be coming to an end, and also covers the week in headlines. Teddy at will be looking back this week at highlights from Left of College Station’s first two years of blogging, and will be taking the month of June off from blogging. Look for more in-depth coverage of politics and social commentary in July, including extensive research and investigations. Thanks to the Texas Progressive Alliance for supporting political and social thought to the Left of College Station.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson points out that even though there’s been another audit of TxDOT, nothing will change until Texas gets a new governor: TxDOT’s management audit, we’ve heard it all before.
Harris County is considering creating an elections administration department with a non-partisan, unelected appointee at the helm. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is in favor of it, but irregular contributorOpenSourceDem is not.