By Carole Reedy
These were the words of Miguel Angel Mancera, Jefe de Gobierno, head of government of D.F. (distrito federal) after President Enrique Peña Nieto declared the federal district an autonomous entity that is now called Ciudad de México, or CDMX.
You may already have seen some changes in the capital city, formerly known as D.F. As of January 29, 2016, the federal district, the largest city in Mexico and the oldest capital city in the Americas, has changed its name to Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX, as the side of the newly painted pink federal entity like the 31 states. state, CDMX will now have its own constitution among other privileges exercised by the states.
The 16 delegations that make up the city will become separate alcaldias, each with its own mayor and councils. Other administrative changes include the right of the Jefe de Gobierno of CDMX to designate or remove the head of public security and the prosecutor of the city (which before required an approving nod from the President of the country).
The Senate will not be able to remove the Jefe de Gobierno. Education and Health will remain under the auspices of the federal government.
Most of the changes are administrative, but all are leading to a more autonomous capital city, controlling its own destiny. In 1985 after the big earthquake, the city’s citizens were enraged at what they viewed as a blatant lack of support if not abandonment from the federal government, and the liberals were able to push through reforms allowing the first mayoral and assembly elections in 1997 for DF. The city’s left-wing party, the PRD, has maintained control of the city ever since, putting it on the map as one of the most progressive cities in the world, with laws protecting gay marriage and abortion.
The Federal Government, on the other hand, has always been served by the conservative parties, the PRI and PAN. Leaders and a majority of the city’s citizens will strive to maintain the socialist philosophy which has evoked praises from all over the world.
The New York Times named Mexico City number one among 52 cities to visit in 2016. In 2010 Head of Government Marcelo Ebrard was named world’s best mayor by Project World Mayor. Present Head of Government Miguel Angel Mancera maintains the philosophies of his predecessors, but is not nearly as popular as Ebrard or the persistent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has run for president of the country twice and lost in breathtakingly close elections that he and others claim were rife with fraud.
Ah, but the big question. What will we be called? Previously marked as Defeños, some are suggesting we’ll be Mexiqueños or Capitalinos. The popular Chilango moniker for those who hail from Mexico City may well remain the prominent description.
During the coming year the Constitution will be written and put into place, debates and complaints will continue, and the efforts to become even more autonomous will dominate the news. In spite of all the controversies, Mexico City is and will remain a first-world destination to visit and live in the 21st century, as is evident by the new construction projects on every street corner.
The perfect time to visit Ciudad de Mexico is March and April. The beautiful purple jacaranda trees are in bloom, and the weather is a gentle 70 degrees during the day and cooler at night. The two weeks surrounding Easter, known as Semana Santa, are an ideal time to explore the city as most chilangos are sunbathing at the many coastal beaches just a few hours from the hustle bustle of the metropolis.