Globalization, Maquilas, NAFTA, and the State

Mexican Labor and ‘The New World Order’ Saul Landau* ABSTRACT
This article examines the latest wave of neoliberalism and globalization through its impact on border regions of the US and Mexico, especially the urban sprawl and squalor that has resulted from the manufacturing centers in Mexico known as maquilas. The maquilas, typically non-Mexican owned, take advantage of cheap Mexican labor and proximity to the US markets to find a niche in the new globalization. However, the pollution, corruption, violence, heavy-handed control of labor, and vulnerability to even cheaper labor in Asia has caused a wide array of very serious problems for the peoples who left their homes in other parts of Mexico and who actually work in the maquilas. These workers in the globalized world live lives quite different from the ‘promised land’ that was supposed to be achieved through further globalization and neoliberalism. Keywords: Ciudad Juárez, maquila, Mexico, NAFTA

One of the fundamental demands of ‘globalization’ and ‘the new world order’ is a cheap, disciplined labor force that is too needy or too repressed to unionize and demand better conditions and more rights. In addition, the multinational corporations seeking this labor also look for other advantages such as special deals on taxes (little or no taxes), weak environmental laws, and a state strong enough to assure order and thwart challenges to the right of the investors to do pretty much as they please. Mexico has long afforded such conditions for both national and international companies. The state controls workers with a clenched fist that is always ready to smash them, and the workers know this. Weak environmental laws, or weak enforcement of such laws, is the order of the day. When favors are needed, bribes usually suffice to assure companies a relatively free hand in running their corporations. This situation, along with its proximity to the US, made Mexico an important center for globalizing companies seeking to avoid the high domestic wages and regulations of the developed world.


Cal Poly Pomona University, USA.

Copyright © 2005 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, and New Delhi) Vol 21(3–4): 357–368. DOI: 10.1177/0169796X05058293

and the general economic downturn of the last few years. the maquilas remained an important sector of the Mexican economy that could provide jobs and attract larger-scale foreign investment. Now. plastic products. a Mexican border city across the Río Grande from El Paso. In 1993.1 On both sides of the border. but as a result of living the experience. In the last four decades. with their backyards practically in the US. 9/11 and the corresponding US economic dip revived xenophobic movements whose leaders began to press Congress for increased restrictions on ‘illegal’ Mexican immigration. however. absorbing over a million people from the rural areas who might well have developed into a major ‘problem’ if they had been without jobs. this low wage and relatively productive workforce has attracted significant foreign investment. With the push for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s. and accompanied by a new wave of neoliberal ‘free trade. The large corporate and banking interests and the interests of the newly empowered security elite came into conflict: inspecting the cargos of incoming trucks meant costly delays and reduced profits.’ the maquila industry in Mexico boomed. with the endorsement of NAFTA (the . security concerns began to clash with the ‘rational norms’ of free trade. With the passage of NAFTA in 1993. the impact of 9/11. this article examines the impact of the maquilas on the people who work in them and live near them. Focusing on the maquila industry in Ciudad Juárez. US companies ship raw materials to Mexico and then import finished parts or assembled products tax-free: electronics. electrical goods. more than a decade after NAFTA became law the maquila economy merits an assessment. The maquilas also functioned as tension-relievers.358 JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) Mexican border regions. investment in Mexican maquilas became the United States’ most intimate experience with economic globalization. Hundreds of factories opened and tens of thousands of hungry and hopeful workers were attracted to the maquilas. In addition. as well as the maquilas’ impact on the environment. wood. were especially favored by these companies. As 2004 ended. residents understand globalization not as a theory. however. for either the workers or the companies. Texas. At the same time it gives special consideration to the rise of Chinese industry on Mexico. and textiles. The factories they established are known as maquilas. After 9/11. For the United States as well. where they could find work in or around the mostly foreignowned maquilas – the foreign-owned factories that export parts or finished goods. automobiles. US Customs adjusted its rules to permit the rapid entrance of trucks into the United States carrying goods made by US-owned companies located across the border in Mexico. All was not paradise. tens of millions of Mexicans have moved from the impoverished countryside to the overcrowded cities. the maquilas helped deflect ‘illegal immigration’ by providing a Mexican safety net of jobs. From the building of the first such factory in Ciudad Juárez in 1965 to the present. trucks and trailers or their parts.

The city government has not built parks or athletic fields. but the slaughter continues (El Paso Times. Some of the young men play soccer after work and on Sunday on a pebble-strewn dusty field. the United States has tightened border security (Watson. Alarming numbers of young people turn to drugs. metal and plastic. however. NAFTA. They find jobs in the export factories. prostitution and gang delinquency. parallels earlier rural–urban population transfers in pre-industrial Europe. Tijuana or Juárez today is the equivalent of Manchester or Leeds in the 1840s. the modern equivalent of a Dickensian cultural saga centers around the maquilas of today. They emphasize how well-built are the factories of Juárez and how the local authorities will provide security over potentially rebellious workers who might want genuine unions. shacks in the colonias have unpaved streets where mangy dogs drop their loads . Río Grande River from El Paso. Likewise. and find ways to tap into the power lines (some of them get electrocuted). The contemporary maquilas constitute another industrial revolution. From barren. to bring the needed material for life and cooking. but they also need to send them into the maquilas in their mid-teens in order to contribute to the scarce family income. Rural families leave the land that no longer supports them. play out their human dramas against this ugly. They aspire to raise their children to become academic achievers. They wait for the water and gas trucks. Police have arrested more than a dozen people. forced to move to cities for jobs. blasting ‘La Cucaracha’ on their speakers. but they have catered to every conceivable potential need a maquila investor might have. Almost all of them were under 30 and worked in maquilas. AND THE STATE 359 North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States. now reeks of emissions from factories and the stench of un-muffled auto exhaust. patch together what they hope are only temporary homes from pieces of wood.LANDAU: GLOBALIZATION. MAQUILAS. 2002)3 which means that the vehicles with their inadequate or non-existent exhaust controls sit two to three times longer on the bridges connecting Juárez with neighboring El Paso while local residents are forced to suck in the fumes. investors received an extra incentive: the equivalent of the US Government’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Police authorities in Juárez claim that in the last 10 years they have found the remains of more than 300 women – all raped and mutilated. This historical process. once just dusty during the season of high wind. but now only trickling. The air. In contrast. Since 9/11. Canada and Mexico) by the US Congress. rural folk rapidly acquire urban ways. across the once mighty. Country folk. The families often store the drinking and washing water in old metal chemical barrels. In colonias like Anapra and Lago Poniente. Ciudad Juárez. Texas has grown without control or planning. sandy hills have sprouted unplanned colonias (euphemism for hideous slums). 2004). chaotic industrial landscape.2 When families moved from tradition-bound rural communities into non-community urban life – where each person must suspect his neighbor – they also became actors in this new stage of Mexican and developing world history.

or the cafeteria food was better.’ ‘The maquila model. For all the horrors of life in the slums. Chihuahua sociologist Victor Quintana says that. that’s the way it goes. were contributing factors in bringing recession to the maquila industry. Creeping weeds and blowing plastic and paper litter now cover once crowded parking lots. more than 400. Ironically. ‘has exhausted its potential. ‘It’s difficult. the job losses come from the US recession and the post 9/11 shocks. ‘to see maquilas shutting down.’ he concluded with a sigh. 2002). In 2000 most of the maquilas boasted ‘help wanted’ signs and ran three shifts a day. Scores of workers have recently received pink slips. Chihuahua leads in unemployment.000 jobs. Workplace mobility slowed down with the onset of recession in the United States. At one closed factory the lone security guard shared the space with a scruffy cat and an elusive bird. 2002). Mexico cannot compete with China’. . ‘the model has done its damage. Once buzzing factories have almost overnight been transmogrified into industrial cemeteries.’ Thanks to lay offs from factory shut downs or factories moving or reduction of shifts. some of the very factories that moved from the United States in the 1980s and 1990s to take advantage of ‘cheap labor.’ the guard told me.360 JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) and little kids run barefoot through the summer dust and excrement. The economic downturn. while we in Mexico developed full pneumonia. today. An unhappy worker in one factory could quit and find work in another factory across the street where the wages were a few centavos an hour more. Employment neared 100 percent. in a little over two years more than 500 foreign-owned assembly-line factories in Mexico moved to China. Quintana sees further erosion in the maquila sector as Asian nations offer equivalent productivity for one fourth the wages of Mexican workers. at least prior to 9/11. But efficient as Mexican labor has proven to be in global competition. The company accountants at the home offices concluded that the wage differential between China and Mexico more than outweighed the increased costs of shipping and the inconveniences of distance. where cost of living runs about 75–80 percent of that of El Paso across the river. ‘Chihuahua led Mexico in high employment. According to Quintana. followed by the Al Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington.000 factory workers lost their jobs in Mexico.’ now found compelling reasons to lower wages even further and some began shifting their operations to Asia (Jordan. ‘But. being in Juárez meant certainty of employment. a beginning machine operator earns less than $8 a day. but in reality that’s a smoke screen for deeper causes. or wherever.5 According to a 20 June 2002 Washington Post story (Jordan.’ He blamed the economic downturn in the US for putting Mexicans out of work. moving to China. The US recession was hardly a cold.’ Two years ago. In a Juárez maquila. ‘On the surface. By mid-2003. he says.4 The maquilas still account for about half of Mexico’s $150 billion annual exports. they fall far short of Chinese workers for the title of low wage labor champion. Chihuahua has lost more than 100.’ Quintana predicts.

people and their natural bonding. NAFTA. a sense that was not reciprocated. which leads people to ways of avoiding life. ‘one that mocks traditional values like cooperation and solidarity. MAQUILAS.’7 Leticia Ortíz exemplifies Quintana’s point. When asked if she was bitter. They destroy Nature. Its only values are individualism and competition. however.LANDAU: GLOBALIZATION. Maybe now [in the summer of 2002] I’m starting to regain some of my equilibrium. AND THE STATE 361 whereas his counterpart in China makes only a quarter of that pathetic wage. . without warning. one of Juárez’s leading developers of maquila parks.’ Quintana has little patience with the rich and powerful. I guess you could call it depression. asserts Quintana. By 1964. ‘My self-esteem seemed to drain from my body. maquila developers promoted a bullish sentiment to foreign investors and Mexican officials. ‘No. Before the US recession hit. The maquila. Each day I would tell myself it will get better. ‘who wring their hands about our “losing our traditional values” while they eagerly bring the value-destroying maquilas into the country for economic growth. has its own discourse. but also high crime rates. in 2000. according to the law. Then. these workers found themselves replaced by a newly-designed machine that picked cotton faster and cheaper than people. so I accepted their less than generous offer. for severance. she said. she responded.’ she said. ‘I don’t think I smiled for an entire year.’8 The History of Maquilas in Juárez Juárez opened its first maquilas in 1965.’6 Quintana doesn’t mourn what he believes is the end of the maquila era. Quintana adds. ‘Those who preach that we should respect Nature bring in the maquilas. But it would take too long and it would be too expensive to fight it. predicted that maquilas ‘would be the cornerstone of the Juárez economy for the next 50 years.’ Maquilas offer high economic growth rates. crack and cult religions arising from maquila work. They didn’t even pay me what they owed me. but it didn’t. Quintana insists that the maquila represents a form of terrorism. In 1999.’ After receiving her pink slip. just disappointed. booze. she was unceremoniously dismissed. Mexicans had crossed legally into the United States under the Bracero Program to work in the Texas cotton fields. ‘I basically slept for the next six months. She came to Juárez from the countryside 19 years ago and worked her way up the ladder in a large maquila to become head of personnel. He thinks that NAFTA and the whole free trade model launched the equivalent of a cultural offensive against the majority of the world’s poor. The CEOs located in some First World city – she wasn’t sure which one – had decided to move their Mexico-based plants to China where they would pay significantly lower wages while productivity would remain equally high. like President Vicente Fox himself. Federico de la Vega. Then. For decades. After working my way up for all those years I guess I foolishly developed a sense of loyalty to the company. Leticia said she went home and cried for hours.’ She smiled.

so too did rural Mexicans come to Juárez out of necessity. However. near El Paso the INS reports far fewer attempts to cross the border. features that made Mexico attractive. working hand in glove with government officials in Chihuahua. however. Indeed. Matamoros. US high technology and vigilant patrols act as a pervasive form of deterrence and sectors of the US public have traditionally responded to economic downturn by resorting to xenophobic actions. an Italian plant manager. low taxes and no environmental regulations or costs such as is the case with OSHA-like agencies in the US.’ he explained. said it made strategic sense to open a plant in Juárez. almost 4000 of these mostly foreignowned export production plants dotted the landscapes of border cities like Juárez.’ in Galizzi’s words. some maquila owners did feel the social pressure to raise their wages and to improve working conditions. anticipating labor problems. albeit low-level. Although the maquilas offered no drastic pay raises. a few independent labor organizations. others try to traverse the difficult obstacles of the US border. NAFTA had provided formal US government backing for wary investors. Tijuana.9 Just as the multinational corporation found it necessary ‘to globalize or die.362 JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) Faced with this ‘displaced’ labor force of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. built automated. According to Quintana. until 2002. Nogales. began to organize in the Mexican border cities. The plant uses comparatively few workers. a non-unionized productive workforce. backed by some AFL-CIO unions. US investors quickly learned of the lucrative possibilities for investment on Mexico’s northern border. In 1994. given its proximity to the US border and ‘the wages we pay here are about one fourth of what we would have to pay in Milan. Piedras Negras and other border towns. . Juárez attracted only a handful of factories. even robotized factories. When the maquila experiment began in 1965. But. some unemployed workers return to the villages they were forced to leave to find gainful employment. Pasquale Galizzi. gradually. The rate of maquila growth had reached double digits. even this proved to be illusive. No longer able to eke out a subsistence livelihood on the land. Mexicali. NAFTA offered tax-free incentives for maquila owners and facilitated plans for efficient corporate integration. An Italian-owned factory manufactures TV and computer chassis made in a mold and extracted by a robot. Some Juárez plant owners. Since 9/11. Nearly 40 years later. investment in Mexican maquilas continued to rise. Mexican leaders adjusted their laws to allow foreign capital to enter in hopes of providing work and maintaining social stability. offered low wages. they came to the place where the maquilas promised permanent. many maquilas have moved further into the interior of Mexico as well. Mexican developers. job security. Despite these minor concessions to workers. Add to the unions’ organizing efforts a steadily rising cost of living and the employers felt an impact on wages.

The ‘coyotes’ assure their clients of plentiful water. As a result of this crackdown on braceros or mojados. but it’s impossible in the countryside where I came from. In the official discourse of President Bush or President Fox no reference is even made to the labor.’ Some of the newly arrived women and men send part of their wages back to their families in the rural areas. maybe thousands arrive at the bus station. and. ‘coyotes’ offer their ‘crossing the border services’ for a price to those desperately wanting to reach US territory. No one has counted. He or she knows that the family’s survival depends on those remittances. so the perilous desert has become the choice of the truly desperate and adventurous.’ said Ana Maria. ‘The population here may have reached 3 million. of course. Likewise. the traditional flow of Mexicans into the United States has noticeably decreased. more than 20 Mexicans. Maquila promoters use this example when they preach to potential investors about the reliability of Mexico’s workforce. This is the seamy side of the free market. can promise these industries – with all the pollution they create – the least environmental regulation. looking for work in the maquilas. ‘US immigration laws are death laws. ‘It’s rough here. Indeed. ‘I’m staying in Juárez. Each day hundreds. Thanks to the newly militarized border patrol vigilance. where summer temperatures top 115 degrees. died trying this route. including an 11-year old girl.10 Since October 2003 more than 50 Mexicans have fallen trying to make it to the Tucson area. the lowest taxes and the least prospect for unionization. The usual zones have too many patrols. a worker who had come from a rural area of Mexico. AND THE STATE 363 In the hottest and remotest sections of the Arizona desert. NAFTA. This pressure acts as a disciplinary factor on the maquila worker.LANDAU: GLOBALIZATION. environmental and social horrors that have developed alongside what has become known euphemistically as ‘free trade. most of the newly unemployed remain in Juárez.’ said one Mexican border resident. MAQUILAS. Through mid-June 2003. the so-called Fast Track . they argue. 2003). Mexico can still compete for low wages and high productivity with other developing world countries. It boils down to which country can offer its people as laborers in primarily foreign-owned factories for the lowest wages. the least monitoring for health and safety in the workplace. but often abandon their charges just at the point when the water runs out and the temperature becomes inhospitable for human life. Thanks to such cultural force.’ speculates Juárez environmentalist Felix Perez. To them this is the essence of global competition in a ‘free market’. many families that cling to their inadequate land holdings that still serves as a source of identity and some income depend on Juárez or Tijuana factory workers to provide the meager monthly subsidy that keeps the bank or the money-lender from seizing the traditional family plot. stories regularly appear in the media about speeding vans carrying undocumented workers crashing and killing the occupants in attempts to elude border patrol chasers (Washington Post.’ Indeed.

In short. ‘has this stinky water always run through here?’ Osvaldo replied. there is Texas. those factories make most of this crap. But I wondered how much enforcement exists in rural Chihuahua). some 25 miles southeast of Juárez. standing on a ladder. the aguas negras drain into the fields. The animals have to eat. One interviewee told me regretfully that.11 The Environment and the Maquilas The promoters of the maquila system make claims of rationality and efficiency.’ he said. a red shirt and a baseball hat joined the one in white. alfalfa. ‘So. A few miles further south a plant converts the solid waste into sludge bars that farmers then use as fertilizer.’ Another elderly farmer in blue jeans. but maquila production suffers from the inability of their managers to make reasonable.’ Ciudad Juárez in the state of Chihuahua provides an immediate illustration. a 20-foot wide canal with sewer water (aguas negras) runs through the city.’ Osvaldo. it systematically depletes and pollutes the earth’s water. dressed in white work clothes.364 JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) means that the US Congress will not have a chance to debate the details or implications of economic proposals. sorghum and other types of cattle feed grow alongside cotton. ‘They don’t let us use the water to irrigate the fruit trees anymore’ (‘Thank God.’ I shouted across the fetid tributary. but it used to pure sewage. From the farmers’ side of the canal. It’s ruining the countryside. air and land to continue to make products for its prospective buyers. Osvaldo said that he still grew some wheat. In Ciudad Juárez. ‘Yes. Yes.’ I muttered to myself. We have to grow our crops and sell them with whatever water we can find.’ says Federico de la Vega. humane judgments about the impact of such ‘rationality’ on real people. I talked to Osvaldo Aguinaba. ‘Yes. ‘But now it’s mixed with the chemical wastes from the factories. ‘The government is allowing agriculture to die. it defies the wisdom of the old Arab saying: ‘don’t foul the plate you eat from. pointing at the aguas negras. in order to make these commodities competitively. We have to eat. I shuddered. who studied chemical engineering at MIT and went home to Juárez to run a beer and soda pop distribution business and . What can we do? There’s been a long drought here. good water. the current mode of global production needs adequate resources. an elderly farmer. you know from human beings. nodded his head and pointed at the putrid watercourse. For example. I tried not to let the stench rising from the rapidly moving stream interfere with my own stream of thought. Yet. air and soil and destroys prematurely the very people who must work in its factories. about half a mile away. On the Mexican side of the border. He shook his head sadly. on the other side of the canal. ‘The worst contaminators are the dangerous metals used in metal processing.’ People presumably eat the wheat and the meat and milk from the cows after they eat grains irrigated from this toxic river. He continued.

‘The fact is.’ Perez points to the old US school busses which are loaded with workers going to and from the colonias where they live and to the factories where they work. The untenable choice was what was more important. The supply of cheap labor in places like Mexico will be abundant for decades to come. we have the ancient busses.’ says Felix Perez. Not only are they extremely uncomfortable. there is the scarce water issue. ears.LANDAU: GLOBALIZATION. ‘that we have no environmentally good transportation system. ‘The maquilas bring jobs and without jobs we have nothing. but it’s located in a nuclear graveyard. MAQUILAS. nose. NAFTA. which may well have leaked into the water. among other things. . ‘First. Indeed. the father and foremost promoter of Juárez industrial parks. they emit immense amounts of noxious exhaust. a local environmental activist. Add to that the contamination produced by the post 9/11 security measures taken by the US border agencies and you have truly non-breathable air. Juárez has five years of water remaining according to Perez. lung diseases and the syndromes associated with repetitive motion will emerge only years later in the bodies of these once youthful and vigorous workers. The cancers. ‘These worn out vehicles are the city’s basic means of transportation. I worry especially about the health of pregnant women who come into contact with these dangerous compounds. the extreme levels of pollution affect the eyes. City officials have found a new water source in the desert some miles from here. and lungs. parts for fancy trailers and new auto and computer accessories. ‘Cleaning metals for locks and other industrial products involves the use of chlorine.’ Then.’12 Even Jaime Bermudez. buy bottled water.’13 This way of thinking is reminiscent of the mantra of some US labor unions a couple of decades ago when their members demanded the right to work at jobs that forced them to have to deal with chemical. a little poison in the air and water.’ Perez says. where they buried radioactive cobalt. unpaved streets. Those rich enough to afford it will. companies shun older workers in favor of teenagers. AND THE STATE 365 lease industrial parks to foreign maquilas. of course. No one knows for sure whether the water would be safe to drink. The once mighty Río Grande has been reduced to a trickle in parts of Juárez. or a chance to earn a good living for your family? In border cities like Juárez.’ he insists. lined with ramshackle huts – the housing for some of those who produce home furnishings. Some busses have little or no shock absorbers or springs as they bounce along with rutted. The average ride from the colonia to the factory takes an hour and a half. nuclear and other workplace hazards. bromine and other truly toxic elements and I know that some of the maquila managers don’t dispose of these poisonous residues properly. ‘But these are problems we can solve. but industrial planning in developing world countries doesn’t take into account human health factors. throat. most of whose health and energy will prove sufficient for production needs over the next five years. admitted that environmental problems are serious.

warned that more job cuts lie ahead. A few Mexican ‘developers’ who lease land for industrial parks and those who feed off contracts to the export factories have also fared well. The two now earn around $17 an hour and they have created a third job: someone to care for their small children – at less than minimum wage. For . ended up facing unemployment without any safety net and a physical environment that appears unsustainable. Scientific-Atlanta had moved its manufacturing operations from Atlanta to Juárez in July 2001 and after one year it had to downsize. and so would his wife. announced that it had eliminated 1300 jobs in Mexico because of declining demand. By the time he left office in January 2001.366 JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) The border area has become an environmental nightmare: raw sewage without treatment plants and toxic materials unleashed into soil. In Mexico. thousands of skilled Michigan auto workers. However. Bush echoes this line as true. Scientific-Atlanta’s problems come from reduced demand after peaking in 2000. Paul Sims. lured by announcements of job certainty. electricians. In July 2002. water and air. For example. The new residents of Juárez. Seemingly NAFTA works fabulously. lost their $25–30 and hour jobs to Mexican workers who earned $8 a day. NAFTA has also created jobs related both to the immediate manufacturing process and the work that naturally derives from setting up factories. Scientific-Atlanta. Why couldn’t the brilliant people who developed the idea of maquilas as an economic base have not thought about some of the worst case scenarios? Their insight into business efficiency propelled into place a production system that has caused. and will continue to cause. Most likely they did think about the negative aspects of their ‘investment’ on the workers and residents. The maquilas also offered work for architects. but they rationalized that the demands of the ‘free market’ – low wages and low costs – could not allow such humanistic concerns to jeopardize the bottom line. food caterers and a variety of other ‘services’ required to maintain the plant and the workforce. catastrophic results for people and the environment. The lure of employment that attracted millions of people to frontier industrial cities has lost its sheen and many factories are closing. a former welder may get another job checking groceries at $8–9 an hour. President Clinton had allocated $20 billion for border environmental clean-up. who previously had stayed home and cared for the children. President Clinton said that NAFTA had created hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States. A company spokesman. construction crews. less than $100 million had been spent – and most of this on administrative costs. NOTES 1. plumbers. if for speculators – investors – or for multinational corporate CEOs assuming that the local branch plant was able to survive the US recession and the 9/11 aftershocks and still remained open. for example. the second-largest US maker of television set-top boxes. landscapers.

2002). Chihuahua. formed in response to the escalating deaths of migrants attempting to cross the border. neither candidate evinced concern for civil liberties. ‘will add 150 Border Patrol agents along the southern Arizona border. 2004). Congress narrowly passed the Trade Promotion Authority Bill. NAFTA. Personal interview. 11. 8. AND THE STATE 367 the vast army of ‘contractors and sub-contractors’ and the more than 2 million Mexicans working inside the maquilas. also known as Fast Track. June 2002. Personal interviews.’ In March 2002. Personal interview. 10. the state of Sonora to the west. on the Northwest Central Plain. in their ‘control the border’ rhetoric.LANDAU: GLOBALIZATION. 2000. 1998–2000. the special federal prosecutor appointed by Mexico President Vicente Fox. ‘Maria Lopez Urbina. including 17 detectives. It borders the US to the north. 5. On 6 December 2001. 2. 9. both candidates called for military participation in an effort to exert greater control of the border. 3. to stop potential terrorists entering the US along its long border with Mexico. Twenty search-and-rescue beacons also are being placed across the desert. . According to the 4 June 2003 Washington Post. who might have committed criminal or administrative violations.’ In the 2004 election. Mexico’s largest state is located at the northern end of Mexico. 4. those who have not lost their jobs recently. allowing migrants in distress to press a button that will summon Border Patrol agents. Personal interview. Sinaloa to the southwest and Coahuila to the east. . President Bush announced new hi-tech security measures including the use of ‘X-ray machines to examine the contents of lorries crossing the border . 6. . MAQUILAS. listed 81 Juárez police officers. According to the 4 June 2004 El Paso Times (Gilot. Personal interview. one could say that they survived which they could not have done had they remained on the unproductive land of their origin. west of Nogales. 7.’ according to the 22 March 2002 BBC News (Watson. in a June 2004 report investigating the deaths of the murdered women in Juárez. Two additional surveillance aircraft have also been assigned to look for migrants. a joint effort by US federal officials and the Mexican government called Operation Desert Safeguard. 1999.

1902 Morgan Avenue. (2002) ‘US Tightens Mexico Border’. Digital Media. USA. JOURNAL OF DEVELOPING SOCIETIES 21(3–4) Personal interview. Washington Post. Email: [slandau@csupomona. Jordan. Mexico Discuss Trying to Cut Migrant Deaths’. Personal interview. Cal Poly Pomona University. 4 June. Claremont. BBC News. CA 91711. 22 March. 2004). Address: Director. El Paso Times. Routledge.. 13. 2004). REFERENCES Gilot. June 2002. 20 June. 1999. (2002) ‘Mexican Workers Pay for Success: With Labor Costs Rising. L.368 12. Watson.S. Arts and Social Sciences. Washington Post (2003) ‘U. Saul Landau directs Digital Media at Cal Poly Pomona University’s College of Letters. He has written 14 books (The Business of America: How Consumers Have Replaced Citizens and How We Can Reverse the Trend. M. and has made 50 films (Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place. (2000) ‘Juárez Slayings Report Finds Police Abuses’. R. Factories Depart for Asia’.edu] . 4 June.

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