Mexico’s economic system is free market capitalistic with a little tinge of socialism in terms of access to medical care, the Social Security hospitals as far as a bit of a safety net.
One of our employees unfortunately discovered that she had kidney failure and she was in the hospital for about a month. She now has a home dialysis machine provided free of charge so she plugs herself in each night to have dialysis. Once every six weeks, she has to go to a nearby town where she spends the whole day to do dialysis. What the home dialysis does not provide is all paid for by the Social Security. Interestingly enough, when that happened, she was delayed about a day or so getting into a hospital because she never had applied for a Social Security card even though I paid for it. So the first thing I did after we gathered her birth certificate and the proper papers so she could apply for it was to get in a hospital and get the services free of charge.
After that, we had a little meeting of our employees along with our administrator and I asked who had applied for Social Security, not just because they were in my employ then but anytime in the past. Only one of our employees said and she never bothered to enroll her husband or her children. So I told them all, “You have 30 days to go ahead and do it. You need a photograph. You can go across the street to a photographic studio and I'll pay for that. Get you birth certificate and other things you need and in a month or less, I want you to come here with Social Security cards with the photo ID on them for you, your spouse and any children you have under age 18 and our administrator is going to make a photocopy of them. You then keep them, but if anything even happens to you here, while you are at our house, we will have photocopies of that. We can take you to the hospital immediately.”
So there is a social network in terms of at least hospital medical coverage. There is a payee pension system also but we know somebody in Cancun, an American, who is the owner of a marina and after running it for about 15 years they sold it and moved back to North Carolina. He never ever got a dime of the money he put in or the match money that the government supposedly put in because Mexico is very persnickety about paper work. Strange ironic thing is that the name on his account had his middle name wrong in Mexico. Try as he could, even hiring Mexican lawyers, he was never able to convince them that he was that person and the middle name when this account was set-up was wrong. Shame on me, we just found out about it. He never got a dime of that money.
So they are very persnickety about signatures on bank accounts. Checks have to be sequential. You cannot have one checkbook and your wife has the other and you both write checks because your numbers will be non-sequential. The signatures on those things have to be absolutely exactly the same as it is on their signature card. This is a country, like a lot of places, that floats on paperwork, duplicate copies, and notarized copies. That is again where you need to do it right and understand their system and understand how their business is done.
Mexico has a free market capitalist economy. There are huge multinational businesses here. There is a small little ma and pa kind of corner grocery, snack shop, and other similar businesses. Tax evasion is not as bad as it is in Italy but there is an awful lot of off the books business done here, too. It was even to the point when I was told, “Do you want to just pay your construction workers or your staff in cash off the books?” I said, “No. I want to do it totally legally,” but there are a lot of people that are paid that way. I know somebody who owns a restaurant. He pays his people in cash and plus the tips they get but they are not legal employees.
(Annual Christmas Party for employees' children of Casa de los Venados, Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)