« Maquiladora Industry in Mexico »
( 754 Words )
Since the implementation of NAFTA, the maquiladora industry in Mexico has skyrocketed from just a few hundred to now 3600 assembly plants. It has created more than 900000 employment opportunity in the border cities of Mexico. According to the paper titled Mexico Economy, Agriculture, and Employment published by the Public Citizen website, foreign investments in Mexico have jumped from an annual average of 3.4 billion in 1993 to now 27.6 billion us dollars. This is enormous economic growth that every country wants, but sadly, these positive statistics in economic growth did not translate into benefits, increase of incomes, for the vast majority of common hard working people in Mexico.

Due to the rapid growing maquiladora industry in border cities in Mexico and the new jobs created by the maquiladoras, a huge migration wave of people from southern parts of Mexico surge to the border cities. They came here with hope and dream of finding a decent job for a better life. However, what awaited them was not what they have all hope for; rather, it was unemployment, overpopulation, crime, police corruption and poverty. Unable to pay high rents and unable to secure a stable job, these people are left with no choice but to build and live in shelters built with anything that they can get their hands on, usually in inhabitable deserts on the outskirt of the cities. Even if they are lucky enough to find a job, the pay is rarely a living wage. They will remain in those clonia and their young daughters were forced to give up education to work in maquiladoras to help the financial needs of their families.

To encourage foreign investment, the Mexican government gives lots of power, rights and privileges to these maquiladora plants. These corporations were able to set their own rules in their maquiladoras despite such rules were against the labor laws set by the Mexican government. According to a passage in Children of NAFTA by Ruben Martinez, it is a common practice for the maquiladoras to penalize their worker of three days of pay for one day of absence even if such absence is due to server weather condition or sickness. To add insult to injury, to maximize their profit, these corporations keep pushing the limit of minimum wages to as low as possible. Since there are no government intervention and regulation, since there are no strong labor unions, since there is a high supply of readily available labor in those border cities, corporations behind these maquiladoras are able to push the limit to a historical low of 4 us dollars per day. With their $4 daily wages, it would take months of saving to just buy a TV, let along a car. These manufactured goods are so close that maquiladora workers assemble, build with their own hands everyday, yet they are so far away, out of reach. This is sad. This is inequality. This is injustice. Despite all their hard work and dedication to their employer, their economy, their government, in return, they were rewarded with poor working conditions, harsh rules, merely life sustaining wage, and lack of government protection.

An ideal democratic government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people. Unfortunately, the people in question for the Mexican government are rich people, very rich people. Thus, those that work in the maquiladora factories will not have their voices in their government, let along an influence on their politicians and representatives to fight for their rights. According to the video on femicide shown in class, from 1989 to present, 320 women in Ciudad Juarez who were mostly young girls that worked in maquiladoras had been brutally tortured and murdered. How can they, the politicians, the police let such outrageous crime last for so long? Don’t they have any feelings at all? They were simply indifferent. They were simply too busy protecting the rich, too busy securing their own interest. For the people who are behind these multinational corporations operating maquiladoras in Mexico, for those who have enjoyed their prosperity solely upon the hard work of maquiladora worker, for those government officials who have seen their gain in the economic grow, please have some conscience!

Despite all the hypes and hopes that many Mexicans had for NAFTA, the promises of NAFTA to create better jobs, to raise wages, to end poverty for Mexico is far from fulfilled. Instead, NAFTA with its creation, the maquiladora industry, the export-oriented economy had brought Mexico and the people of Mexico political injustice, economic inequality, and a further divided society.