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The President of Mexico has just over one week left in office, but as his final act in power he has launched a bid to change the country’s name to Mexico.
The country’s formal name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or the United States of Mexico, a title which was adopted in 1824 following independence from Spain.
The moniker is little used other than on official documents and is widely seen as an imitation of the United States of America.
Now President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, more usually known as Felipe Calderon, who leaves office on December 1, wants to drop the ‘United States’ from the country’s title in a bid to step out from the shadow of Mexico’s northern neighbour.
“Mexico doesn’t need a name that emulates another country and that no one uses on a daily basis,” he explained.
“Mexico is the name that corresponds to the essence of our nation. Pardon the expression, but the name of Mexico is Mexico.”
It is not the first time Mr Calderon has proposed changing the country’s name. He made a similar suggestion as a congressman in 2003 but the bill did not make it to a vote.
The new constitutional reform he proposed would have to be approved by both houses of Congress and a majority of Mexico’s 31 state legislatures.
But the timing of the bill provoked suggestions that the proposal is largely symbolic. Not only was it made with just over a week left of Mr Calderon’s presidency, but also on the day the United States of America celebrated Thanksgiving.
And it has been mocked by other politicians. Iris Vianey Mendoza, a senator with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, told the New York Times that Mr Calderon was “not prepared to leave power”. She added: “The problem is not that our name emulates that of the American government but that we don’t fight our subordinate relationship to it.”