Posts Tagged Mexico

Crime and Economic Punishment in the State of Zacatecas

For years, the economy of the north central Mexican state of Zacatecas has grown increasingly dependent on remittances sent home by sons and daughters living in the United States. Many of the migrants boosted the economy by building homes in their native towns. They returned at Christmas time on the feast days of the local patron saint. Many dreamed of retiring to the place where they had grown up.

Now a great reversal is underway. Across the state, homes have been put up for sale, glutting the market and depressing prices. Many of the migrants have been caught in the U.S. economic downturn and need the money to sustain themselves north of the border. Many are fearful of the violence and kidnapping that have shaken Zacatecas, as kidnappers and drug traffickers become increasingly bold and ruthless.

A story in today’s Reforma newspaper, out of Mexico City, quotes a government official in the town of Jerez as saying a third of the town’s properties are for sale.

When I visited Zacatecas several years ago, the mayor of Jerez said about 30,000 natives had moved to the U.S., leaving about an equal number behind in the town. They had become steadily more dependent on remittances. If you took the remittances out of Jerez, it would wreck the economy, the owner of one of the town’s many money transfer businesses told me.

As the U.S. economy has suffered, so has the economy of Jerez, where remittances have fallen drastically. Crime, especially kidnapping of residents who have relatives in the U.S., has also shaken the area.
. . .
Read More

Advertisements

Comments off

The Cosmic Race

The National Council of La Raza has just wrapped up its annual conference in Chicago. While I think Tom Tancredo was engaging in hyperbole when he described La Raza as “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses” (that describes instead MEChA and the Brown Berets), there’s more to the comparison than people might realize.

La Raza’s attempt to explain away their name as meaning “the people” or “the community” instead of “the race” notes correctly, and approvingly, that the phrase was coined by former Mexican secretary of education Jose Vasconcelos in the 1920s as “La Raza Cosmica.” But maybe they didn’t look closely enough at the theoretical underpinnings of the concept. Here’s what Guillermo Lux and Maurilio Vigil wrote about it in Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano Homeland:

The concept of La Raza can be traced to the ideas and writings of Jose Vasconcelos, the Mexican theorist who developed the theory of la raza cosmica (the cosmic or super race) at least partially as a minority reaction to the Nordic notions of racial superiority. Vasconelos developed a systematic theory which argued that climatic and geographic conditions and mixture of Spanish and Indian races created a superior race. The concept of La Raza connotes that the mestizo is a distinct race and not Caucasian, as is technically the case.

. . .
Read More

Comments off

‘If Mexico had had an avalanche of foreigners so large’

Sergio Sarmiento, a renowned Mexican journalist whose column is syndicated throughout that country, has some interesting observations about the immigration controversy north of the border.

“The resistance in the United States to the Mexican invasion shouldn’t surprise us,” Sarmiento writes (the translation is mine), in a column noting that 11 percent of these born in Mexico are living in the United States. “The growth has been dizzying. In 1960, Mexico was barely seventh among the countries of origin of foreigners in the United States. Now it is first, by far. In 1970, only 760,000 persons born in Mexico lived in the American Union, (representing) 8 percent of the foreigners. By 2008 the number had grown 17-fold, to 12.7 million. In 2009, Mexicans were 21 percent of legal immigrants and 59 percent of the undocumented.”
. . .
Read More

Comments off