SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, GUANAJUATO.- “People like me go to Florida to die, San Miguel de Allende come to live,” summarizes Michael Gerber, one of the many retired Americans living the “Mexican dream” in this colonial city, considered the best place to reside in Mexico .
While in his country President Donald Trump criticizes Mexico and its “bad men”, more than 10,000 American retirees have their home, permanent or winter, in this Mexican locality founded in 1542.
Gerber, 74, of Cleveland, decided to settle abroad after retiring as chief administrative officer of a hospital.
He lived in Turkey, Switzerland, Greece and finally in San Miguel, where he has been for 15 years.
Gerber is corporate secretary of Feed the Hungry, an association that distributes food to 3,000 children. It is one of the dozens of NGOs promoted by Americans that have contributed to transform this city.
While walking between monumental mansions and churches of Spanish colonial style, it shows the park remodeled by what he calls a “bunch of gringos”, a handful of Americans.
Always in English, he explains that a “bunch of gringos” rescues stray dogs and another “bunch of gringos” builds houses for poor families.
– Proud to be ‘gringo’ –
“I’m proud to be a gringo,” he says smiling on the way home, showing a red cap similar to Trump’s.
But this one has the inscription “Make America Mexico again“, in allusion to the old Mexican territory turned American after the war of 1847.
With the mass influx of US retirees over the last 20 years, economic boom and booming real estate sector came.
The foreigner is looking for “a property with character, with flavor to Mexico, with flavor to San Miguel de Allende”, that is to say of the colonial style, explains Salvador Moreno, owner of ABC Reality.
– Party and chimes –
Amy Wegner, a 62-year-old Los Angeles expublicist, has lived here since 2006 but does not adapt to the numerous street celebrations, thunderous pyrotechnics, and the ringing of bells in this 160,000-strong city.
“Now I live 8 kilometers from the city. For me, the center has become tumultuous, noisy, dirty, with many crimes, many dogs, too many church bells, “he says.
Instead, her friend Laura Kuykendall, a retired Cleveland lawyer who spends her winters here, is a lover of Mexican culture.
Wear an Indian blouse with a button that proclaims: “I do not support the wall, racism, discrimination or hatred.”
“I’m very worried about the situation in the United States and what (Trump) says about the Mexicans. Mexico is my second country, “says Kuykendall, contemplating moving to San Miguel for the duration of this presidency.
Wegner acknowledges that the migrant workforce is crucial to the United States and visibly excited reminds a Guatemalan woman who was her domestic employee 15 years. “He never said how he arrived. I never asked. She was absolutely adorable, her name was Guadalupe”.
With information of AFP