ON THE EDGE: INDIANS,
WOMEN, AND MIGRANTS
"The indian is rising up. We will no longer let ourselves be fooled. We have seen a change thanks to our zapatista compañeros, who had the courage to awaken the country."
— Domingo López Angel, leader of Regional Indigenous
Council of the Altos of Chiapas (CRIACH), September 1994.
The farm crisis in Mexico is more than a crisis of production and prices, or even of access to land, credit, or technology. The economic upheaval resulting from the globalization of market relations is shaking rural society at its roots. This chapter examines three social sectors in Mexico—indians, women, and migrants—that are among those most adversely affected by these changes.
Particularly vulnerable are Mexico's indians, who face language barriers, caste discrimination, and cultural obstacles in adapting to the patterns of the global market. Because of deeply rooted patriarchal behavior and structures, women and their children are hit hardest by the fragmenting of traditional communal structures and by the expanding economic crisis.
The tragic character of the social and economic upheaval in rural Mexico is probably best illustrated by the increasing number of campesinos who are choosing to leave home. Pushed to the edge of survival in the