In this chapter, we will talk about Mexicans perceptions of democracy in the United States. These perceptions will change over time as the United States matured as a nation and as a government began engaging an imperialist projects that involved interfering with domestic affairs of other countries in the region. Although Mexicans would always suffer the loss of half of the national territory to the United States in 1848, in the 19th century, they still looked up to the United States as a model of democracy. The Mexican elite travelers who visited the United States would still think of this nation as a successful project of a democratic state. They exalted the fact that democracy granted Americans freedoms that were not to be taken granted in the world in which these Mexicans lived, namely the 19th century. Americans enjoyed freedom of speech, of religion, of press and they had the right to own property and its constitution made sure that this right was respected. This was not true for everyone in Mexico. Mexicans marveled at the fact there was democracy in the provision of education and in access to knowledge. In contrast, they also remark that not all people enjoyed these rights. Referring to blacks. At first because of slavery and after Civil War because of racial segregation. It was hard to believe that with segregation, the United States was really a democratic nation. At the onset of the 20th century, with the rights of capitalism and the assertiveness in foreign policy that the United States gained as a powerful country, Mexicans saw the US as a potential threat to Latin American region. Many of the these travelers, such as Frederico Gamboa, Lorenzo de Zavala, Guillermo Prieto and Mart�n Luis Guzm�n had been in contact with their American counterparts in charge of diplomatic relations. From this experience, they knew that Americans had a vision of Latin America that was racist, prejudiced, and lacking good knowledge of their neighbors. Americans view Mexicans and Latin Americans as the other, and as inferior. Already by the end of the 19th century, Mexicans knew that it was unlikely that the US would try to seize more Mexican territory because they didn't want the people who lived in it. But they saw the threat of military intervention in neighboring countries. Interventions in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, and Nicaragua during the first decades of the 20th century were tangible examples. Mexico also feared economic domination, another form of imperialism. Although American investment could bring economic development to our region, this was a double edged sword, since it meant that locals would be under the surveillance of the US government. Like had happened in Cuba and Panama. The growth of the economy could potentially, represent prosperity for US investors and the local Mexican oligarchies who participated in the business. However, average Mexicans feared that wealth could be made at the expense of the impoverished and exploited majority of the people. During the second half of the 20th century, these perceptions would be more deeply rooted. And Mexican intellectuals such as Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes would highlight the hypocrisy of American democracy. And the contradictions of this democracy that the United States wanted to export. Many Mexicans would become harsher critics of segregation policies and the racial discrimination that prevailed after the civil rights movements in the United States. From diplomats to the university professor to the cab driver, Mexicans did not believe that Americans had the moral authority to act as a democracy police in the region. Imperialist endeavors did not match democratic principles, especially when the US government supported military dictatorships in the region. As it did with the Somozas in Nicaragua and, with General Jorge Ubico in Guatemala. It is no surprise that people persecuted for opposing these regimes would seek and receive asylum in Mexico. Mexicans understood that during the Cold War, the fight against communism would drive the United States into supporting military authoritarian regimes. The policies of the Reagan administration in Central America are examples of this. For instance, the US helped crush the attempts of an agrarian reform in Guatemala in the 1950s and then would attempt to crush the Cuban Revolution. In the 1970s, it continued to lend support to Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua. It is in light of these foreign interventions that Carlos Fuentes argued that the United States was never an innocent nation. Octavio Paz pondered on democracy in America. He thought that the origins of how Americans felt about democracy where very much related to how they thought of their history. To Paz, the United States were founded in reverse sense to the rest of the nations, not in response to a common past, but as a vision of the future. They were founded with a singular messianism against history. For the founding fathers, history equaled the privileges and injustice of European hierarchical society. The United States would be the new democratic Jerusalem built against history with the pure materials of the future. But the Utopia turned out to be what the United States is today. A democratic empire, a social reality with all the flaws and virtues of what belongs to history. That is why it's so difficult to talk to a country that spontaneously looks at everything that is foreign as something condemned by history. To Americans, the past is another way of naming the original sin. Today, Mexican intellectuals, who write about the United States, acknowledge this ambivalence of democracy and imperialism, and they are no longer persuaded by the notion of moral superiority that the United States claims to have.