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File:Spain flag 2161.jpg

Picture found at an educational website.

"Spain is a peaceful land of giant hats and luchadores (or maybe we're getting that confused)."

Fiction writers seem to not just confuse Mexico and Spain, but to fuse them into a strange amalgam of the most general stereotypes of both, much as Scotireland fuses Scotland and Ireland. Maybe it's because they share a language and religion, the fact that Mexico used to be a Spanish colony, the exotic foods and customs of a non-Anglo-Saxon culture, or simply that the author Did Not Do the Research and hasn't travelled much, either. American writers also have the excuse that Mexico is closer, geographically, to the US than Spain is, so they're more familiar with Mexican culture, colouring their perception of Spain. Never mind that Mexican culture has also much in common with the Aztec, Maya, and other native civilizations and is much more influenced by American culture; they all speak Spanish, so they must be the same, right?

This is represented by a group or town that is full of stereotypically Mexican or Spanish people, set in a location or doing an activity better suited to the other. That is, when they aren't made into a mish-mash. It could be a Spanish mariachi band at a wedding instead of a tuna singing Clavelitos, or a town of thick-mustachioed men in sombreros and ponchos dancing Flamenco. Inversely, it could be a depiction of Spain as a hot, tropical jungle full of revolutionary outlaws, or even a Banana Republic run by a Fascist dictator (technically true during Franco's dictatorship, except there are no tropical jungles in Spain).

Part of this could be that Mexicans have many more demonstrable stereotypes in American pop-culture than Spaniards do. Alternately, U.S. productions will likely have a much easier time casting Mexican actors than Spanish ones (and not care about the accents). Also justified to some degree because, having been a Spanish colony, Mexico still keeps many Spanish traditions.

See Toros Y Flamenco and South of the Border for Hollywood Atlas versions of Spain and Mexico, respectively. See Latin Land for a similar fusion of Central and South America. Note that most of the Americas south of the United States of America is shown as a variant of Spexico (Add jungle or llamas for flavour depending on circumstances, and terrorists if convenient).

Compare Ancient Grome, Scotireland, and Mayincatec. A similar phenomenon also seems to occur with depictions of Quebec in Hollywood movies as being full of Frenchmen with Parisian accents and mannerisms.

Examples of Spexico include:


  • One episode of the dub from Hetalia has Romano calling Spain a "taco eater". Tacos are Mexican food, not Spaniard.


  • Verizon, as seen in this sociologist's blog post, has got a print ad out there with "Coverage in Spain" on it (just ignore the "and 25 more countries than the UN recognizes" part) with the Verizon guy in front of a crowd of stereotypical Mexicans.


  • The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issue The Fourth Nail loops the loop with its visit to Argenspexico. Boleadoras?


  • Viggo Mortensen was cast as a swashbuckling hero in the Spanish Film of the Book Alatriste. This trope comes into play as he speaks fluent Spanish, but it's the Argentine accent, which is different from European (Castillian) Spanish. Mortensen does his best to hide it, but he still sounds like he's having difficulty articulating. Given that the character is rather laconic anyway, the filmmakers might have thought that this was an acceptable artistic choice, or at least enough to justify their willingness to ride his fame.
    • Certainly the last one. Because, you know, that movie was a spanish production...
    • He manages to sound like an Andalusian Spanish after years of heavy drinking. While not exactly the character from the books (who was from Madrid), it does make him sound almost-suitable
  • Many Spanish-speaking actors are cast as other nationalities within the Spanish-speaking world. This isn't particularly surprising given how often all actors play characters of different ethnic backgrounds than their own.
    • Antonio Banderas is Spanish, but often plays Mexican characters, such as in his two El Mariachi films. In the Mexican dub for Shrek he gives Puss-in-Boots a thick Spaniard accent, whereas in the Spaniard dub he uses an Andalusian accent.
    • Jennifer Lopez is Puerto Rican. This caused a small uproar when she portrayed the Mexican-American singer Selena.
    • Penélope Cruz is Spanish, but has played Mexican and even Brazilian characters.
    • Many aspiring Spanish actors worked as extras in spaghetti westerns (shot in scenic Almería) playing Mexican characters. You can make a game of watching these movies and spotting the extras who would later gain recognition.
    • Gael García Bernal, who is Mexican and has played so in Babel, has played the Argentinian Che Guevara in two different movies. He also played a Spaniard in Bad Education, after convincing director Pedro Almodóvar that he could speak with a convincing Castilian accent.
  • Invoked in The Spanish Inn by Cedric Klapisch, a Spanish student takes offense at the way a visiting Brit caricatures her country, and mentions that saying "Caramba" is a Mexican, not a Spanish thing.
    • However, the prevalence of the word "Caramba" in the 1990's song "Sólo se vive una vez" (You only live once) by the Spanish pop duo Azúcar Moreno suggests that "Caramba" is not exclusive to Mexico.
      • It's certainly not exclusive to Mexico or any other Spanish speaking country. But it may be associated with Mexico because Bart Simpson said it with a Mexican accent, or because in the Garfield cartoon theme song, it comes after "La Bamba", which is a Mexican song.
  • Also invoked by Don Cheadle's character in Crash. He cuts short a phone call with his mother because he's "having sex with a white woman." He later remarks that she's Mexican. His girlfriend, who's Hispanic but not from Mexico (forgot where she said her parents were from), is not amused.
    • Her father came from El Salvador, her mother from Puerto Rico-she helpfully points out, "Neither of those is Mexico." His response: "The question we have to ask ourselves is-who gathered together those remarkably different cultures and taught them all to park their cars on their lawns?" in keeping with its theme of "insult every ethnicity imaginable."
  • In Clueless, Cher makes her maid Lucy talk to the gardener for her, and tells her it's because Cher doesn't speak "Mexican". This infuriates Lucy, as she is from El Salvador, which Josh explains. Cher doesn't get what the big deal is; Josh points out that Cher gets mad if anyone thinks she lives below Sunset.
  • In TMNT, the four ancient Aztec generals are named Mono, Gato, Aguila, and Serpiente. Why would ancient Aztec people from 1000BC have names in Spanish? Not only did the Spanish language not exist 3000 years ago- the Spanish people did not colonize Mexico till after 1492 AD. So this is also an Anachronism Stew.
  • In Thumbelina, "Los Sapos Guapos" come from Spain. They feature elements from Cuba, Mexico, and Argentina in their songs (and possibly more countries). They do not stop at Spexico- they also throw in elements from Brazil and Italy! All while living in France.


  • Most astounding example in Tom Clancy 's Op-Center: Balance of Power: It looks like the author's first intention was to draw a paralelism between the nationalities of the former Yugoslavia and Spain, but did not do the most basic research and confused "ethnicity" with race. As a result his depiction of Spain is that of a society divided into racial castes with close resemblance to the traditional ones of Mexico and many other countries in Latin America (i.e. Whites on top, Mestizos in the middle, Indians and Blacks at the bottom), without realizing that said division is the result of an old colonial system that couldn't obviously exist in Spain since she was the original colonizer. And that's only one of the thousands of errors in the book.

Live Action TV

  • Take a band of Zapatistas. The more indigenous the better. Then drop them in the Rockies, dress them with the clothes left over by the Sicilian scenes of The Godfather and make them live in wooden barracks with bananas in the porch. According to MacGyver, this is the Basque Country.
  • Intentionally invoked in Arrested Development when GOB discovers fake plane tickets to Portugal (don't ask you'd have to watch) and that Michael is trying to learn Spanish, he concludes that Michael is fleeing to South America.
  • Lampshaded in Whose Line Is It Anyway, in a sketch where Neil Ashdown is supposed to be a bartender in Spain:

  Neil: Would you care for some tortillas? ...No, wait, that's Mexico. Never mind. ...I've been around, you know.

    • In another episode, during a game of Hollywood Director, the three actors play out a scene from Zorro, which takes place in Mexico. None of their fake accents are even remotely alike, prompting Ryan to comment, "Funny how we all come from a different part of Spain!"
  • Played straight by Blanche about her Cuban suitor in an episode of The Golden Girls:

 Blanche: The point is, [Fidel]'s rich, he's handsome and we were made for each other...even if I don't speak Mexican.

Dorothy: Spanish.

Blanche: WHATEVER!

  • In the Season 5 Angel episode "Unleashed," the episode's villain Crane says the following to his clientele (note that mole is a family of Mexican sauces):

  Crane: When I dined on werewolf in Seville, the cocinera used an understated molé [sic] sauce to bring out the meat's tanginess.

  • One episode of Mind of Mencia had a Spanish celebrity invoke this to get into a nightclub. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • In an episode of Six Feet Under a Mexican-American family comes to Fisher and Sons to bury their son who was killed in a gang shooting. Nate asks Rico to deal with them, since Rico is Hispanic. Rico takes offense — because Nate assumes that he knows how to deal with gangs, but also because Rico is Puerto Rican, not Mexican.
  • The Lost episode "Ab Aeterno"'s flashbacks are set in Spain, yet the accents and dialects used are all Latin American Spanish.

Other Sites

  • Classic example from The Onion that perfectly illustrates this trope.
    • What is more hilarious is that the restaurant had a clearly Spanish name. Don Quixote is a novel written in Spain by Miguel de Cervantes, a Spaniard writer, and set in La Mancha, Spain.
      • Which is precisely the point. The folks who'd make a mistake like the one in the article are unaware that there's any difference between Mexico and Spain, and would still demand to know where the hell their tacos are.

Real Life

  • There was considerable cross-fertilization between Spanish and Mexican culture, back when Mexico was "New Spain," and some practices they picked up from each other persist to this day. Both countries enjoy churros and hot chocolate, though their traditional recipes now differ, and bullfighting is still very popular in both nations.
  • The central Mexican city of Guanajuato (in the state of the same name) fits this trope. It is a very well preserved colonial town that closely resembles remote villages in Spain that have not changed much since the Middle Ages. At first glance, Guanajuato is practically indistinguishable from such villages apart from the fact that the population is of course Mexican rather than Spanish. Playing on the town's colonial heritage are bands whose members dress like sixteenth century Spanish noblemen but play traditional Mexican songs of various genres. Furthermore, you can eat tacos or enchiladas and drink micheladas in little inns that seem to have come right from a Toros Y Flamenco town (none of which serve Spanish food, by the way).
  • A case of The Coconut Effect: Selling Mexican sombreros has become a lucrative business in Barcelona and beach resorts in eastern Spain because of the increasing demand from tourists. Hey, if you can't teach some people, you might as well shrug and make money off of them instead.
  • John McCain starred a quite strange moment during an interview with a Spanish-speaking radio of Miami. When asked if he would receive Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the White House (Spain's Prime Minister at odds with the Bush administration because of his opposition to the war in Iraq), McCain answered that he had "a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not (...) [a]nd that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region". Even after the interviewer made clear that she was talking about "Spain, in Europe" and pressed for a more clear response, McCain continued in his vague remarks and then praised the Mexican government of Felipe Calderon. Critics accused McCain being unfamiliar with the differences between Spain and Latin America.
  • Spanish-born filmmaker Luis Buñuel acquired Mexican citizenship after the Spanish Civil War forced him into exile and made films in both Spain and Mexico (and later on, France) at various points in his career.
  • Reportedly, the Famous Last Words of Spanish writer Ramón del Valle-Inclán (who had lived for nearly 30 years in Mexico) were that Spain wasn't Spain anymore, and that to get a real Spanish feeling you had to cross the Atlantic.
  • In Paris, there are quite a few 'Tex-Mex' restaurants that serve Spanish food.
  • The 1970s rock band Carmen, which was formed by Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, invoke this trope through the use of flamenco stylings and Spanish imagery. Considering they were formed as an outgrowth of the Allen siblings’ parents’ flamenco nightclub it’s at least somewhat justified.
    • Ironically, the band found no initial success at home and only became notable after relocating to Europe, adding a British bassist and drummer and cementing the Spanish influences. Then they became a near-legendary opening act for several British Progressive Rock bands touring the US.
  • On a train from Barcelona to Zaragoza, you might be surprised to see how much the landscape of the Spanish countryside looks like classic depictions of southwestern North America (almost like a Road Runner cartoon). It is for this reason--as well as the high availability of dark-skinned, Spanish-speaking actors, that Sergio Leone and other Italian directors of "Spaghetti Westerns" tended to shoot their films in Spain, particularly in Andalucia, since getting to the actual Mexico or United States was simply too expensive.

Tabletop Games

  • A nice example would be Castille in 7th Sea, with fencers, powerful Inquisition, pirates and Armadas... and inexplicably, Ranchos and El Vago, Zorro's Expy.

Video Games

  • In Freelancer, the Corsairs and the Outcasts, descendants from passengers of the sabotaged spaceship Hispania, were probably modeled after Spain and Latin America.
  • Spain Hill is a location in The World Ends With You whose only feature is... a Mexican restaurant. Note that "Spain Hill" is a real life location in Shibuya, Tokyo, in which the game is set.
    • Besides in real life all the "Spain" you get from there is a spanish flag. Bravo for Square. Un aplauso.
      • Actually it's more than that: the Spanish embassy in Japan is located at the top of that hill.
  • Black Velvetopia in Psychonauts combines bullfighting and Spanish architecture with Mexican luchadores and painters dressed in South of the Border-style outfits. It's mildly justified in that it takes place in the mind of an ambiguously Latino asylum patient who was never involved in bullfighting or masked Mexican wrestling to begin with, and probably hasn't ever been to Spain.

Western Animation

  • In the episode The Bull Market of the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective series, Ace discovers that a stolen bull has been shipped to Spain. Of course, because there is only one city in Spain, he immediately goes to Pamplona, that happens to be in the middle of the Running of the Bulls. Except it's only the bulls who are running because the "Spaniards" are sleeping the siesta inside their ponchos and sombreros in the middle of the street. Ahem.
  • Filmations Ghostbusters' episode "The Ghost of Don Quixote" has a milder example with Spaniards constantly using Mexican slang and a villain who is a walking robber baron stereotype down to the Cantinflas moustache. Also, every Spanish character but Don Quixote has orange skin for some reason.
  • In the 1930's Classic Disney Short Ferdinand the Bull, the narrator tells us the story is set in "sunny Spain." However, many of the Spaniards look like stereotypical Mexicans, with sombreros, brown skin, thick black mustaches, etc.
  • Generator Rex. While fighting four highly skilled assassins in an alley, Rex crosses with Dos, who speaks Spanish. Rex (who is Hispanic) asks him in Spanish if he's from Mexico. Dos raises his weapon and angrily declares "España!"
  • Looney Tunes, more specifically, Speedy Gonzales. The town where Speedy lives is the clearest example of Spexico you'd ever find. Complete with flamenco, bulls, tacos and zarapes.
  • DreamWorks' Puss in Boots. In Shrek 2, the setting is against a take on Authorian England, so viewers assumed Puss was Spanish. In this prequel, it shows he came from somewhat of an anagram of Spain and Mexico. And if the filmmakers did mean for him to be Mexican, that brings up the other question of just how he was able to get across the Atlantic!
  • Subverted in Jackie Chan Adventures when the Enforcers were in Pamplona and were trying to remember what makes that town famous. Hak Foo suggested the paella, Ratso asked if that was the thing people hit with clubs to get candy and Valmont pointed out that was a piñata and that they were in Spain, not in Mexico.
  • Bizarrely, The Road to El Dorado casts Anglo-American/British actors as the Spaniards and (mostly) Latino actors as the Indians.