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An influx of Californians and other Americans have flown into Mexico City, angering some locals who say they are gentrifying the area, according to a report.
The Los Angeles Times report Wednesday explained how some Mexican residents are “fed up” with the growing number of Americans, many from California, moving and visiting the country, which has contributed to rising rents and the shift from Spanish to Spanish. English in some places.
“New in town? Do you work remotely? Flyers appearing around Mexico City reportedly said. “You have the plague and the locals hate you. Leave.”
The article describes how Americans brought a flavor of “new wave” imperialism as taquerias and convenience stores slowly turned into cafes and Pilates studios.
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English is also reportedly becoming more common as more Americans move and visit Mexico City to take advantage of lower rent and the ability to stay in Mexico for 6 months without a visa.
“We are the only brown people,” Fernando Bustos Gorozpe, a 38-year-old writer and college professor, told the Los Angeles Times. “We are the only ones who speak Spanish apart from the waiters.”
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Bustos then posted a video on TikTok saying the influx of Americans “reeks of modern colonialism” and nearly 2,000 people responded in agreement.
“Mexico is classist and racist,” added Bustos. “White-skinned people are given preference. Now, if a local wants to go to a restaurant or a club, they don’t just have to compete with wealthy, white Mexicans, but also with foreigners.”
The article also pointed to an online social media post where a young American said, “Do yourself a favor and work remotely in Mexico City – it’s truly magical.”
The tweet received many negative responses.
“Please don’t,” said one of the replies. “This town is getting more expensive every day in part because of people like you, and you don’t even realize it or care.”
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While the Los Angeles Times report insists the ‘vast majority’ of Mexico City residents are ‘unwaveringly kind’ to visitors, there remains a ‘friction below the surface’ of what gentrification means for the region.
“There’s a distinction between people who want to know more about where they are and people who like it just because it’s cheap,” Hugo Van der Merwe, 31, a man who has grew up in Florida and Namibia and worked remotely in Mexico City, said. “I’ve met a number of people who don’t really care about being in Mexico, they just care that it’s cheap.”
The State Department reports that there are 1.6 million Americans living in Mexico, many of whom come during the coronavirus pandemic when Mexico eased restrictions earlier than many places in the United States, but we still unclear how many of these Americans are in Mexico City.
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The Los Angeles Times reports that in the first four months of this year, 1.2 million foreign visitors arrived at Mexico City airport.
“We’re just seeing Americans pouring in,” said Alexandra Demou, who runs relocation company Welcome Home Mexico. “These are people who may have their own business, or who may be thinking of starting a consulting or freelance job. They don’t even know how long they’re going to stay. They completely resume their whole lives and just go down here.”
Demou added that she gets 50 calls a week from people considering moving to Mexico City.
Lauren Rodwell, who moved to Mexico City from San Francisco’s Mission district, says she’s sensitive to the issue of gentrification but doesn’t feel guilty as a black woman.
“I feel like as a person of color from America, I’m so economically disadvantaged that wherever I go and have an advantage or equity, I take it” , Rodwell said, adding that “being black in America” is exhausting and “it feels good to take a break.”
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The Los Angeles Times reported a similar situation in Portugal earlier this year in an article titled “Welcome to Portugal, the new expat paradise. Californians, please come home.”
In the article, the outlet reports that the number of Americans living in Portugal has increased by 45% over the past year and that many residents have been frustrated by the associated rising housing costs.