INTRODUCTION: The What and Why of “The Other Side of the Peso”

Current Mexican $1 peso coin

Current Mexican $1 peso coin

1969 Mexican $1 peso bill

1969 Mexican $1 peso bill

“Águila o sol” (eagle or sun), the Mexican equivalent of “heads or tails,” harks back to a time when the front of a peso bore the sun image of the Aztec calendar and the back showed the eagle and serpent still found on today’s peso coin and on the Mexican flag.

Here in the U.S., Mexico gets its share of negative press. You can’t drink the water. Poor, uneducated Mexicans slip across the border illegally. Powerful drug cartels have made Mexico unsafe for Americans. Undeniably, there is truth in these assertions, but there’s also a flip side to the coin.

The spiraling growth of hyper-violent transnational cartels has seriously impacted Mexico and the way of life for all social classes. A Fox News Latino article published in November, 2012, a month before Felipe Calderon’s presidency ended, stated that organized crime-related violence during Calderon’s six-year tenure claimed 57,449 lives.

What can one person do? Some laudable individuals have spoken out, notably Mexican poet and peace activist Javier Silicia whose own son Francisco lost his life to narco violence in 2011. The millions of productive citizens who contribute positively to their society every day do their part in small ways. I’m an Anglo-American living in California whose life has been tied to Mexico for forty years. This is my response to the difficult challenges facing the country today. “The Other Side of the Peso” is a blog focused on stories of success in vibrant, modern Mexico, particularly in the well-educated and growing middle and upper classes.

It’s intended primarily for Americans who want to be better informed about the successful reality of millions of Mexicans. If you do business with people in Mexico, plan to travel or study in the country or simply want to be better educated about Mexican life, this blog is for you. If you are a Mexican citizen living in the country or abroad, it’s a reminder of positive things that have sometimes gotten overshadowed by the instability in recent years. Weekly posts will cover topics ranging from popular media influences to the Tec system of universities and high schools, thriving businesses and individuals, daily life, routines customs and much more.

I hope you’ll join me in exploring “The Other Side of the Peso.”


“Nearly 60,000 Drug War Deaths Under Calderon” can be found at:


  1. Leslie,
    I look forward to reading more in your blog about the wonderful Mexican people that I know and love. Thank you for doing this for all the beautiful people in that boisterous and inclusive society.

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Thanks, Patricia, for the nice feedback. I hope you’ll check in each Monday for the latest post. -Leslie

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