On the Zocalo

On the Zocalo

Sat 21 Sep

People were protesting about land grabs by the government. The land is parched and the people have nothing to eat. They were also protesting about kidnappings and femicide. I met two homeless people who were living in a tent erected by the entrance to the government building.

Jorge was a man with a hunted look and hungry eyes. He told me the conspiracy theories that surround the murders of young women in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. These girls and young women are factory workers. They go north to Juarez from the poorer states of Oaxaca or Chiapas in order to find work in factories owned by multinational companies. They live in shanty towns rather like the one I was visiting in the Zocalo that day. Tents, corrugated iron, and grim determination. They disappear into thin air. Their mutilated bodies are dumped in the desert. They have been raped and tortured and then killed.

NAFTA  has forced agricultural workers into factories, maquiladoras, where they are paid slave rates. They work twelve-hour shifts. They assemble goods sold in first-world economies. Women are employed because they are perceived to be a more pliable workforce.

According to Jorge, they are taken for their organs, or for snuff films or elite abuse. These theories abound because the police have come up with no satisfactory explanations for these crimes. But then it is probably the police who have committed these crimes. That's the true horror of poverty and corruption in Mexico. The good guys are worse than the bad guys because they have the law on their side.



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