Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Phantom Prosperity in Maquila Land

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Phantom Prosperity in Maquila Land

Article excerpt

I enter Ciudad Juarez from El Paso, Texas, an American city with a population of 600,000, about 70 percent of it Mexican, or (excuse me) Mexican-American. Juarez, population 2,000,000, all Mexicans, has the proverbial strip with bars, sex clubs, hookers outside.

Juarez has a booming economy - thanks to the maquilas, the foreign-owned factories that make parts for U.S.-based plants. Ford, GM, RCA, big textile and computer companies make items that we touch, wear or use to compose radio commentaries and even broadcast them.

One RCA worker at took me to the top of a barren hill where the poor reside. The rich live in the flats - where there is access to water and the streets are paved. After fighting unpaved streets filled with protruding rocks, we reach his hand-built, wood-stripped shack, covered with sheets of cardboard.

His pregnant wife and small child stare at a TV soap opera in the dirt-floored bedroom. They share with his brother, sister-in-law and their two children a tiny kitchen with a used fridge and stove and a jerrybuilt ceiling light...No living room, dining room or bathroom. All seven share a tiny outhouse, with a crude door built from scrap metal. Like the neighbors, he borrows electric power from a nearby line. One guy recently touched the wrong wire and got fried. Electricity is expensive, except for the maquilas. His wife carries water from a nearby pipe and stores it in barrels.

Outside, the wind blows dust. The cardboard covers holes in the wooden walls. I meet Evangelina, mother of a disappeared woman. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.