It has been a century since President Porfirio Díaz lamented, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!" Indeed, nowhere in the world do two countries share such strong connections and disparate economies.
The connections are physical, economic, cultural, and even familial. At the same time, differences in income, opportunity, and in the concentration of wealth are great. Across one of the world's longest and most important land borders, misconceptions abound in both directions.
I have had the opportunity to travel in several parts of Mexico and to live from 1990 to 1997 in the border zone (Tucson, Arizona and Pharr, Texas). Recent stories, especially from some areas of the border, have left me sad and worried. On the occasion of President Obama's visit with President Felipe Calderon, Kai Ryssdal's interviews Council of Foreign Relations expert Shannon O'Neil. Describing the many dimensions of the binational relationship, she helps to keep the current turmoil -- important though it is -- in perspective.