30 Minutes Away
When it was being signed into law NAFTA’s supporters claimed that it would make people's lives better, that it would help alleviate social injustices caused by economic disparity. Because Mexico was the poorest of the countries that signed the pact much was said about how NAFTA would improve Mexicans' lives. NAFTA did create jobs in Mexico, however whether it could be called an improvement is debatable. Wages in the factories remain low and the cost of living keeps rising. So while people have more money in hand they’re also paying more to live.
30 minutes away from the manicured lawns and neatly paved streets of San Diego Mexicans live in extreme squalor while producing products that the rest of the world consumes. These slums starkly illustrate the cost of what happens when there are not regulations, or they’re not followed, precisely what the Koch Brothers and the Republican government of the United States wants to bring back to this nation claiming that it will “Make America Great Again.” As the 45th president and his Republican Party negotiate downward the following is what American’s can expect if we adopt the unregulated standards that result in the poverty that so much of the world suffers through.
Many of the people who came to Mexico’s northern border came from small towns such as El Gusano featured in the last post. While they did not earn much money in their small villages back home, in many ways life was better: the environment was cleaner, the labor they performed was for their direct profit, they could stay with their families and shape their land as their families had done for generations. Working in the maquiladoras in the north meant that they lived in shantytowns either renting squalid cinderblock dwellings or wooden shacks producing products that they themselves would never be able to afford. It's understandable that so many in the maquiladora slums would rather live across the border in the places where the products they manufacture ultimately end up.