MEXICO CITY — Hola from Mexico. I'm here with our international team for the launch of HuffPost Mexico, the 15th edition of The Huffington Post outside the United States. It's the latest milestone in our international expansion, which began in 2011 with the launch of HuffPost Canada. It's also a special moment for me, as it's the last launch I'll oversee as HuffPost's editor-in-chief before moving on to launch Thrive Global.
Every launch of a new international edition of HuffPost is an opportunity to revisit our core DNA and remind ourselves who we are as an organization. There's no better way to do that than building something new in a new place as we've done over the years of building new editions from London and Sao Paolo to Maghreb and Seoul.
Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world (the U.S. is second) and our Spanish-language site will be a place where we'll be using all the tools at our disposal to tell the most important stories across Mexico — and just as important, using the power of the HuffPost platform to help the people of Mexico tell their stories themselves. And we are excited to be entering the market in partnership with Grupo Imagen Multimedia, one of the top news companies in Mexico, with properties ranging from the country's second oldest paper, Excelsior — founded in 1917 — to digital, radio and TV offerings.
There's no better time than now to bring HuffPost to Mexico. At a time when Donald Trump is running on a platform that includes literally putting up a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, while calling Mexicans killers and rapists, it's more important than ever to open up the conversation between our two countries, build bridges, and counteract this false and dangerous narrative. Our mission to inform, inspire, entertain and empower — informar, inspirar, entretener y empoderar — couldn't be more relevant in Mexico right now.
As HuffPost's Howard Fineman wrote, "We hope that by sharing reporting in Mexico with the world — and vice versa — we can counter taunts with understanding."
There's no question that Mexico is facing daunting challenges, from the notoriously violent drug cartels and high-profile kidnappings to alarming rates o f poverty and inequality. Dramatic stories, such as the saga of the drug lord "El Chapo" and thestill-unsolved case of the 43 students who disappeared one night in September 2014 in the city of Iguala, have led to the widespread perception of Mexico as a dangerous and lawless place.
As Tom Friedman wrote during a visit to Mexico: "Everything you've read about Mexico is true: drug cartels, crime syndicates, government corruption and weak rule of law hobble the nation. But that's half the story."
HuffPost Mexico will be telling the full story. We'll not only report on Mexico's challenges, but on all the ways Mexicans are responding to them, overcoming great odds, and working toward solutions with creativity, grace and compassion — from creative approaches to reducing Mexico City's rising smog levels to the work of social entrepreneurs in places like Monterrey. That city has become known as Mexico's Silicon Valley, drawing young entrepreneurs and innovators determined to solve some of Mexico's biggest problems.
The ties binding our two countries together are strong and will easily withstand the sneers and smears of someone like Donald Trump. More than 1 in 10 Americansare of Mexican descent, and Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic-origin population in the U.S. There's no better time for a robust, open conversation to strengthen these ties, since Mexico's population is one of the most connected in the world, with 80 percent of its online audience on social media and 75 percent consuming video online.
And we're delighted that HuffPost Mexico will be led by editor-in-chief Laura Manzo. With more than 15 years of experience in Mexican media, including overseeing the Mexican launch of InStyle magazine and serving as editor of the entertainment and lifestyle magazine Quién, she brings a deep knowledge of Mexico's digital media landscape and the country's most important issues and influential personalities.
So bienvenido to HuffPost Mexico! As always, use the comments section to let us know what you think.
Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff