National Geographic : 1901 Jun
MEXICO OF TODAY* BY SENOR DR. DON JUAN N. NAVARRO, CONSUL-GENERAL OF MEXICO IN NEW YORK CITY T HANKS to intelligence and hon esty in the administration of our finances, the continual annual deficit that formerly afflicted Mexico, as it afflicts at present other nations, dis appeared in the fiscal year 1894-' 95, and in its stead we have since had a surplus. The surplus in that year was $2,373, 434.42, and in the following year more than doubled, rising to $5,451,347.29. These results are the more surprising when it is remembered that a good part of our revenue is derived from import duties, and it might be supposed that the rapid development and progress of our industries would diminish that source of revenue. The invoice value of our imports for 1896-'97 was $42,204,095 in gold. Three years later, in 1899-1900, they had increased by nearly one-half, reach ing $61,318,175. The invoice value of our exports (in silver) amounted to $86, 058,210 in 1892-'93, to $104,741,443 in 1896-'97, and to $142,615,070 in 1899 1900. The value of gold exported from Mexico in 1892-'93 was $1,451,01o, and during the next seven years increased many fold, reaching $7,441,290 in 1899 1900. At the end of the fiscal year 1898-'99 the federal treasury had a surplus in cash of $27,535,602.62. Because of this prosperous condition of the treasury the taxes were reduced, and a part of the funds were applied to branches of public service: For building primary schools in the federal district and for the corre sponding departments.......... To finish the general hospital..... For the building of the medical and geological institutes ........... $1,000,000 500,000 200,000 For a new post-office in the capital and for the post-offices of Vera Cruz and Puebla................ $,ooo,ooo For a cable between the peninsula of California and the coast of So nora....................... . .. 300,000 For the Navy Department........ 1,000,000 Total ...................... $4,000,000 To prove the financial credit of Mex ico in the world, I will mention the con version of our public debt from an inter est rate of 6 per cent into another of 5 per cent. The contract for this opera tion, executed personally by our intel ligent minister of finance, and involving a loan of 22,700,000 pounds, was signed in Berlin by different banking-houses from that city, London, New York, and the national bank of Mexico, on July I, 1899. The conditions were as favorable as could be offered to any nation of well established credit, and in the short time open for subscriptions the public of Lon don, Amsterdam, New York, and Berlin subscribed for nearly twenty millions of pounds instead of for the 13,000,000 offered in the markets of those cities. The advantages for our treasury are not only the reduction of the disbursements for interest, a reduction amounting an nually to more than $1,800,000, but the reentry into the treasury of values mort gaged before as securities. To give the last proof of the credit of Mexico, I will add that the bonds of the new loan began to be sold above par only a few months after they were issued. The laws issued by the department on institutions of credit have produced good effects, and in November last we had 18 banks of emission, with a paid-up capi tal of $52,900,000, and with notes in * Concluded from the May number.