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Place of the Year 2018: Mexico, a year in review

January: In mid-January, a group of divers from the Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM) project connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico, revealing what was believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet. This discovery could potentially inform more about the ancient Maya civilization and lead to further understanding of the development of the people’s culture in the region prior to the Spanish conquest.

February: In February, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southeastern Mexico, with the epicenter in the state of Oaxaca. 348 kilometers (216 miles) away from the epicenter in Mexico City, the earthquake could still be felt. Later in the day, a magnitude 5.8 aftershock struck the Oaxaca area again.

March: Mexico, the United States, and Canada formally submitted their joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in March. It was announced in June that they were successful in their venture, and that the World Cup will return to North America in 2026.

April: In April, Mexico and the European Union reached an agreement on a new free trade deal. The new deal added farm products, additional services, investment and government procurement, included provisions on labor and environmental standards, and efforts to fight corruption.

May: In a rare political move, all four of the presidential hopefuls in Mexico banded together in May to make a statement to United States President Donald Trump, demanding protection for Mexican citizens whose lives have been negatively affected by the President’s crackdown on immigrants. Front-runner and eventual President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, “We will look for a relationship with the United States based on mutual respect, not subordination. We won’t be subordinate to Trump or to any other foreign government.”

June: Mexico defeated defending World Cup champion Germany in a surprise victory in June. While it was initially reported that fans had been celebrating and jumping with such force that they set off earthquake detectors, it was later discovered that there was, in fact, an earthquake.

July: General elections were held on 1 July, where the voters of Mexico elected a new President. Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the election with over 50% of the vote, winning the most states by a candidate since Ernesto Zedillo won every state in the 1994 election. His 6 year term in office began on 1 December 2018.

August: On 1 August, an Aeroméxico passenger plane crashed in the capital of Mexico’s Durango state just moments after take-off. While many were injured, all 103 passengers and crew-members miraculously survived the crash.

September: The number of family members arrested at the US-Mexico border rose to roughly 16,658 in September, a 31 percent increase over the previous month, and the most recorded in a single month since fiscal year 2012 when the Border Patrol started compiling records.

October: The US, Canada and Mexico reach a new trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

November: Tensions at the United States and Mexico border came to an all-time high as US border guards fired tear gas in an effort to stop migrants from crossing the border. This was after 500 migrants on the Mexican side of the border overwhelmed the police blockades at a major US-Mexico border crossing in San Diego.

December: Former Mexico City mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn into office as Mexico’s first leftist president in seven decades on 1 December 2018. At the ceremony he pledged to end corruption and impunity to transform the nation on behalf of the poor and marginalized. At the time of the ceremony in the country’s parliament, his approval ratings were 56%, 32% higher than his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto.

Featured image credit: Torre Latino Mexico City by TildeStudio. CC0 via Pixabay.

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