Author: Mexicans must shed culture of individualism

Former Mexican foreign minister talks about his book in San DiegoJorge G. Castañeda brings an unusual vantage point to his native country. Schooled in Mexico, the United States and France, he served as Mexico’s foreign minister under President Vicente Fox and currently teaches at New York University. In a new book entitled Mañana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans, Castañeda examines the Mexican character, and concludes that the country won’t move forward until Mexicans shed a tradition of “radical extreme individualism.” Now on a U.S. book tour, Castañeda discussed his ideas Thursday in San Diego at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and in the San Diego Union-Tribune’s newsroom as he met with reporters, editors and members of the newspaper’s Latino Advisory Council.The individualism, rooted in the Spanish conquest and colonial period, “made a lot of sense for a long time,” Castañeda said, but “is incompatible with the new Mexico emerging as a middle-class society.”The book, published by Alfred A. Knopf, was written in English, but has been translated into Spanish. Watch for a review by David Gaddis Smith, former foreign editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, in the newspaper on June 19.

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