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Home | ZimCrisis -- Mexico as a Destination for Zimbabwean Farmers?

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 13:21:38 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- Mexico as a Destination for Zimbabwean Farmers?
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":;, "South African government":;, Commonwealth:;,

Hi everyone,

I received the message below with some interesting insight into a possible option for Zimbabwean farmers who have made the decision to leave, or who are contemplating the possibility.


Craig, your letter and, especially, the one from Mazowe are heartbreaking and as one who grew up in Zim, sadden me tremendously. I don't understand how a basically peaceful people can have turned out to be so evil, and I suppose it's mob violence at work.

When thinking of what I might do as a farmer, or for that matter any citizen in such circumstances, I put together thoughts and experiences gathered over the last few decades. Since I remember the convoys of refugees leaving Katanga about 45 years or so ago, I was left with a profound concern of what can happen. This can happen to anyone's future in any country when disaster strikes.

I would like to introduce a new, radical thought into the thinking in Zimbabwe. About a year ago, my wife and I drove down to the middle of Mexico, specifically to just south of the city of Guadalajara. I had visited the city once before for a day, but this time was on holiday. It's a long drive from Toronto, mostly over very good roads. The central plateau of Mexico is a duplication of Zimbabwe in climate, agriculture, topography, and, in our experience, the friendliness of the people. (Mexico was never really studied in any detail when I was a student at P.E., which I consider to be one of the very few flaws in the curriculum.) The major difference of course with Zimbabwe is that the language spoken is Spanish, and English is not understood by the vast majority of the population. There is, however, a great demand for people who can speak English.

The country is booming. Many Canadian and US visitors go to Lake Chapala just south of Guadalajara, and manage well without speaking Spanish. They do, however, miss out on much of what Mexico has to offer. Many live very well there year round on US$12,000 per year, total income. A car is useful, but not necessary as public transportation is very good for both local and long distance travel. The guest house where we stayed for a month had a lovely garden with Hibiscus, poinsettia, jacarandas, a pool, and the fountain typical of most Mexican gardens. It was deja vu, and absolutely beautiful. Guadalajara, about 30 miles north, is Mexico's second largest city, with over 5 000 000 population. A very well run city, with a strong cultural life.

It struck me that the agriculture there was not as well developed as in Zimbabwe, and that there is a good possibility of cross-fertilization of ideas in this area. I have no information on immigration policies, other than that Canadians are required to show some means of support. There is an active group of house builders encouraging Canadians to move there. There is a Web site at http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/immigration.html which is quite informative. I see they have a refugee classification, and an Embassy in Pretoria. The Chapala area is covered at http://www.focusonmexico.com/Lake-Chapala.html which is mostly for visitors from North America. I don't have any idea of land prices, but houses in the area we stayed in are much less expensive than here in Toronto. I do know that farm and agricultural products are plentiful and cheap. Politically, there are problems in the far south of the country, which appear to be stabilizing at the moment. There is a great deal of US investment in the central area, mostly in manufacturing. The cities are very historic with a strong Spanish influence.

So what does all this mean? If one is thinking of leaving Zimbabwe, Mexico is worth considering. It is, of course, a total break from the past, which has both pros and cons. There may be far less support than in better known areas. I feel that it is possible to do well in Mexico. It would be necessary to learn Spanish eventually, which is a fairly easy language. I took Latin at P.E., and this was a tremendous help in learning the language.

You might want to pass this on to interested parties Craig. The information is almost unknown in Southern Africa, and bears further investigation.

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk