Member Profile | FocusFeatures.com
Sin Nombre's Terrifying Political Reality
Posted March 27, 2009 to photo album "Sin Nombre's Terrifying Political Reality"
Slide 15: Empty Mexican Towns
In Mexico's Cerrito del Agua, freshly painted concrete houses line empty streets because most of their owners are working in the United States. A little more than half of the population of the state of Zacatecas - about 1.8 million people - now live in the United States, especially in areas surrounding Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. (John Gibler, In These Times.)
Likewise in Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement championed by the Clinton administration in the 1990s has exacerbated the kinds of social and economic displacements that make emigration the only feasible option for millions of desperate workers. Despite the growth of Northern Mexico's famous manufacturing maquilas, the much-celebrated trade agreement left that country unable to protect its agriculture and more vulnerable industries from cheaper products made elsewhere in the continent.
Many Mexican factories were shuttered and Mexican farmers found themselves unable to compete with grain imported from the United States. Economic pressures on ordinary people mounted. Mexicans from the countryside streamed north in the United States. Underpaid public officials turned to graft and bribes to survive.