“The [rise] of the dollar does not affect Mexicans,” said Andrea Legarreta, host of daily morning television show Hoy, in January of this year. The Mexican peso had just plummeted to a historic low against the dollar, valued at about 18 pesos per dollar.
“Que le chinguen más [you have to work more],” said Raul Araiza, the other host of Hoy.
Both hosts faced broad backlash from social media.
“[The dollar] will always affect us. It is the currency that dominates the world,” commented Araiza after the backlash. Both hosts later claimed that what they said weren’t their own opinions, but what their producers told them to say. The television network they work for is Televisa, which is often accused of airing misleading information and ignoring questionable tactics of the Mexican government.
On September 19, the peso lowered to a value of 20 per dollar, a record.
“I don’t care about the dollar, because I don’t go to the United States to shop,” said Juan Pérez to a local newspaper. Juan Pérez is the "John Doe" of Mexico. Newspapers throughout Mexico quote random people, all of them claiming that the devaluation of the peso against the dollar does not affect them at all because they don't shop in the United States. Similar to Televisa network, a lot of the printed media in Mexico publishes misinformation.
In Tijuana, most businesses and many residents pay rent in dollars. The rent for my apartment is $330; rent went from 4125 pesos when I moved in almost three years ago to the current 6600 pesos, an increase of 60 percent. Fortunately, my wages are paid in dollars.
Those who earn their living in dollars are 60 percent richer in Mexico than they were a year ago; those whose wages are paid in pesos have lost purchasing power.
“It’s definitely been a struggle,” says Alfredo Santaolalla from Madueño Brewery. “Our prices to the public haven’t changed much, but the exchange rate keeps hitting us hard. A couple of years ago I tried to switch my contract to pesos and it was a no-go. The only solution to the issue would be if there was a law that would mandate rents to be charged in pesos.”
“Of course the dollar matters for tijuanenses,” a friend who works for the art department in the Tijuana government tells me. “I go to San Diego often to visit friends and go to concerts. With the dollar being so expensive now, I have to really think about visiting el otro lado.”
“It’s awesome for me — now I can get twice as drunk,” said another friend who works retail in San Ysidro. “I’m richer working part-time for minimum wage than most people I know that work full-time and earn in pesos; 50 dollars a day is basically a thousand pesos.”
The peso is hovering around 20 now. Economists predict it will keep losing value throughout the rest of the year, possibly going up to 21 or more next year.