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What’s in a name?

13 November 2013

Now here’s an idea… changing the official name of Mexico City to  “Mexico City”.


Federal District Coat of Arms. I suppose that can stay, under whatever the new name is.

Since 1824, the Capital of this country… following the custom set by the federal republic to the north, has not been in any state.  While the metaphorical Ciudad de México is pretty much contiguous with the “Distrito Federal” (0r… for a short time during the Revolution, when the Capital was Qúeretaro, the Estado de Valle de México) no one has ever made a logical case for not calling Mexico City “Mexico City”.

Although, unlike the United States, at independence there were no competitors for the site of the national capital, the U.S. had set the model for American Republics … especially large ones with varied regional interests… and everyone just bought off on the assumption that the national capital should be under direct control of the central government.  Thus the Estados Unidos de Mexicanos created the Distrito Federal, modeled on the U.S. District of Colombia.  Like the District of Colombia in the United States, local governance of the Distrito Federal  was not in the hands of local voters, although in 1996, the Distrito Federal acquired not just a locally elected administration, but — unlike the District of Colombia — voting representatives in the national Congress.

Even with that change, and despite having a larger population than several states, the Distrito Federal … not being a state and with a few local officers (notably the police chief) still appointed by the Federal Executive, a distinction was made between the Federal District and the states just… well, just because.

Unlike the United States, the internal structure of state governments (things like whether there is a bicameral or unicameral legislature, etc.) are set by the Federal Constitution.  Although for all practical purposes the Distrito Federal’s governing structure is just a  a cut-and-paste from the constitutional provisions covering state government, there were a few cosmetic changes:  mostly just names and titles.   States have “Governors” ; the Distrito Federal has a “Jefe de Gobierno”.  States have “Legislaturas”; the Distrito has an “Asemblia”.  States have “municipios”; the Distrito Federal has “delegaciónes”.

Which is rather silly.  Proposed constitutional changes, opposed by… well, no one really… would create a 32nd state from the Federal District, with “Ciudad de México” as its capital.  One glitch, and about the only thing that might be even a bone of contention is what to call the place.  There is already a state named “México”, and there would have to be some better name for the one with the federal capital and the big city called Mexico.


One Comment leave one →
  1. 14 November 2013 3:36 am

    Dissolve D.F. and roll the territory into Mexico State. State capital remains in Toluca. Ciudad de Mexico gets to be just another 20,000,000 person pueblito in Edo. Mex.

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