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Mexico Glossary
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    Glossary -- Mexico

    A category of legal actions that guards individual civil rights. Literally, amparo signifies protection, assistance, or human refuge.
    corporatist, corporatism
    A political system in which various groups (for instance, the military, labor, and peasants) are organized into official constituencies. The various constituencies influence government policy and are supported by government patronage.
    A diplomatic initiative launched by a January 1983 meeting on Contadora Island off the Pacific coast of Panama, by which the "Core Four" mediator countries of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama sought to prevent through negotiations a regional conflagration among the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In September 1984, the negotiating process produced a draft treaty, the Contadora Acta, which was judged acceptable by the government of Nicaragua but rejected by the other four Central American states concerned. The process was suspended unofficially in June 1986 when the Central American governments refused to sign a revised Acta. The Contadora process was effectively superseded by direct negotiations among the Central American states.
    A landholding peasant community or the land owned collectively by the members of such a community. An ejido, according to Mexican legislation, is a legal entity of the "social interest sector," and its jurisdiction is in the hands of Mexican-born peasants. Its holdings consist of the ejidal plots, i.e., individual farming plots, the school plots, the ejidal urban zones, the houses and annexes to each plot, and any water resources and forest areas associated with the community. Two basic kinds of ejidos exist: the "individual" ejido, in which land tenure and ownership are legally vested in a community but cropland is allocated by plots (parcelas) on a semipermanent basis among the individual ejidatarios (ejido members); and the "collective" ejido, in which land resources are pooled for collectively organized production. A majority of ejidos are of the individual kind.
    fiscal year (FY)
    Mexico's fiscal year is the calendar year. Where reference is made to United States aid appropriations or disbursements, the United States government's fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30, is used with the date of reference drawn from the year in which the period ends. For example, FY 1995 began on October 1, 1994, and ended on September 30, 1995.
    gross domestic product (GDP)
    A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad; hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
    gross national product (GNP)
    The total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding the gross domestic product (q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
    import-substitution industrialization (ISI)
    An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods over primary products.
    International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations (UN) that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance-of-payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients.
    Assembly plants that are also called "in-bond" industries. Established by Mexico's Border Industrialization Program during the mid-1960s to absorb the unemployed along the border with the United States following the termination of the bracero (migrant Mexican worker) program between the United States and Mexico in 1964. Machinery, equipment, and components were initially allowed to be imported duty-free for processing or assembly within a twenty-kilometer strip along the border as long as all the imported products were subsequently reexported. Later legislation permitted the establishment of in-bond industries anywhere in Mexico except Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. End-product output from the assembly operations of the in-bond industries cannot be sold within Mexico.
    literally middle America. Anthropological term for region from central Mexico to northern Honduras that contained advanced civilizations before the arrival of the Europeans.
    new peso (NMex$)
    Mexican monetary unit divided into 100 centavos. The new peso replaced the peso (q.v.) on January 1, 1993, at the rate of 1 new peso = 1,000 pesos. At that time, US$1 = NMex$3.1. In April 1997, US$1 = NMex$7.9.
    Corporation wholly or partially government-owned and managed. Corporate directors general are appointed by the president of Mexico. Although ostensibly managed semiautonomously, boards of directors are subject to the political guidelines of the government.
    peso (Mex$)
    Mexican currency prior to 1993. At par with the dollar in the nineteenth century, the Mexican government occasionally devalued the peso in the first half of the twentieth century. From 1954 until 1975, the peso's value was fixed at US$1 = Mex$12.49. In 1976 the peso was allowed to float and depreciated to about US$1 = Mex$100 in 1982. By 1992, however, the peso's value had fallen to US$1 = Mex$3,000, and a new currency, the new peso (NMex$--q.v.), was introduced, replacing the peso at the rate of 1 new peso = 1,000 pesos.
    Originally a member of the Marxist group in Nicaragua attempting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government in the 1960s and 1970s. The group took its name from Augusto C�sar Sandino, who led a guerrilla struggle against United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s. The political arm of the group, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberaci�n Nacional--FSLN), was the national government of Nicaragua from July 1979 to April 1990. After the late 1970s, the term Sandinista is used for a member or supporter of the FSLN or as the adjectival form of the FSLN.
    World Bank
    The informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans at market-related rates of interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in less developed countries. The MIGA, founded in 1988, insures private foreign investment in developing countries against various noncommercial risks. The president and certain officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The four institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).

    NOTE: The information regarding Mexico on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Mexico Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Mexico Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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