- (Photo: coha.org)
President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico has said at a news conference on Thursday that he has asked both Houses of Congress to agree to a constitutional reform that would officially change the country's name.
The North American country's official name is the "United Mexican States," or "Estados Unidos Mexicanos," adopted in 1824 after gaining independence from Spain. Almost everywhere around the world, however, the country is simply referred to as simply "Mexico," except for official government documents, like money bills.
"It's time for Mexicans to return to the beauty and simplicity of the name of our country, Mexico," Calderón said, according to The Associated Press. "A name that we chant, that we sing, that makes us happy, that we identify with, that fills us with pride."
Calderón has been pushing for the change since 2003 when he served as a congressman, though his proposal did not gain enough steam back then. The president has said he realizes the name change "doesn't have the urgency of other reforms," but noted it is still a relevant issue.
"Mexico doesn't need a name that emulates another country and that no one uses on a daily basis," he explained.
The name, which is tailored largely after the United States of America, is the subject of some tension in Mexico. Mexican culture largely follows its northern neighbor's TV shows, sports team, and buys American products – but some also feel resentment against America's powerful status in the world.
Calderón has had a difficult tenure since assuming office in 2006, having to deal with a mass-scale drug war against cartels that has lead to over 47,000 casualties – making Mexico one of the bloodiest countries in the world.
A recent poll by Vianovo noted that half of all Americans view Mexico unfavorably, while 70 percent would fear stepping foot in the country.