Boycott Mexico? No, boycott American stupidity

by Eric Lucas

The market vendor handed me the sack of fresh-made potato chips she’d just hauled out of the fryer, and motioned that I should add a bit of salt and lime juice. I told her thanks in my serviceable Spanish (mil gracias, senora) and did as instructed. Then I gently lifted one chip from the sack and took an experimental bite. I’d never tasted made-on-the-spot potato chips until my wife and I wandered by this food cart in the market in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

It was the best potato chip ever.

Too bad that one potato chip had more mental acuity than some of our own countrymen. Don’t go to Mexico and spend your money, urge the Americans United to Halt Tourism in Mexico, on the novel theory that the way to discourage Mexican immigrants from coming here to earn money is for us to not go there and spend money.

“Do not give your tourist dollars to Mexico!” AUHTIM fliers growl.

Americans are infamous for witless ignorance (name another country that ever had a political party called the “Know-Nothings”), but this is a particularly egregious example of mush-for-brains activity. Campaigning to collapse one of the healthiest parts of the Mexican economy might not be the best way to discourage its citizens from seeking work elsewhere. Mexico gets 22 million visitors from the United States every year. Tourism is 8 percent of the country’s GDP. It amounts to more than $10 billion a year.

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