Industrialization in Mexico

Kiana Summers

Reason for Picture

Rosa, in the picture to the right, lost both of her hands in an accident at her factory in the border city of Reynosa, Mexico. She was a single mother whose husband was in prison so she was alone supporting 6 kids. Rosa worked six days a week and collected 5,200 pesos each month (approximately $400). She was working her usual night shift was pulled to replace a co-worker at a machine she didn't usually manage. This particular hydraulic press required feeding metal sheets into an opening. Her supervisor had just told her to speed it up, which she obeyed when the machine fell on her and caused her to lose both of her hands. Rosa said she had a bad feeling going into work that night, but she went anyways because she needed the money. Workers are forced to doing complex and draining jobs for little pay. Not only was work dangerous, but city living was too in response to the military campaign against gangs and cartels. This picture emphasizes the harsh and strenuous working conditions laborers are put under and how desperate for money lower class people living in the cities are. One maintenance man even discovered the truth about the defects in the machine but was too petrified of losing his job to testify.
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Reason for Picture

This image shows the poor living conditions of people in labor camps. This particular image is of a men's bathroom on the site. It has no toilets, just a simple hole in the floor. They are provided with buckets of water to "flush" and toilet paper isn't given. There are no lights, just an open roof for sunlight during the day. This visual is representative of the poor sanitation for laborers who work in extreme heat hours on end. It gives us a realization of how good our living is compared to these workers in the country that neighbors ours.
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Reason for Picture

I chose this picture of the dormitory portion of a labor camp because it shows the living conditions of workers who live in their work site. These dorms are very similar to those featured in China Blue where Jasmine lived. Mexican labor dorms are very compact, cramped, and crowded with up to eight people. The space is 12 feet wide, made of bare concrete floors, walls made from sheet metal that is usually bent and rusted from age, and has no windows. The lighting is dim; there is no running water and no real furniture. This image allows us to compare the living conditions of our lives to those in labor camps in Mexico and as well to those in factory apartments like in China Blue.
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Words Describing Labor

Of all the words in this collage, I specifically chose the words: exhausting, minimal, cheap, intensive and unfair. Exhausting and intensive represents the long and tiring work days. Most Mexican laborers, whether it is in a factory or on a farm, work from 3am until curfew at 9pm or until their quota is met. One man stated, "they treated [them] like slaves." The words unfair and cheap are representative of the grueling work they are forced into doing in order to get money for their families. It is unfair that children under the legal working age of 15 must work so that their families can just barely make it. Children want to get a real education at school but instead they obtain feigned work permits in order to work. Many employers are cheap and controlling so they "illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving" their work sites. Minimal is for the little amount the workers actually receive. Whether it is food, electricity, space or pay - it is all minimal. On average, the workers keep an approximate $2.03 per week after all deductions. One man says that they "...arrive [there] fat, and leave skinny". This implies that they are fed a nominal amount that barely satisfies.

Future Predictions

The British Industrial Revolution was successful because they had land near energy sources, people willing to work in factories, and people willing to invest in industry. Considering this, I think Mexico has the potential to also industrialize and modernize more. Mexico has people willing to work since they have a large pool of lower class people in need of money and they have companies willing to have their products manufactured there. The only possible issue is that there are some dry regions that aren't near water sources or good farmland. Since China’s manufacturing industry is starting to fall, due to increasing labor costs, an older workforce and other factors, Mexico can benefit and industrialize.

Works Cited

Brown, Alan S. "By the Numbers: The Making of Mexico." Academic OneFile. Gale,

Sept. 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Del Bosque, Melissa. "Thanks to NAFTA, Conditions for Mexican Factory Workers

Like Rosa Moreno Are Getting Worse." AlterNet (2013): n. pag. 11 Dec. 2013. Web. 18

Dec. 2014.

Marosi, Richard. "Desperate Workers on a Mexican Mega-farm: 'They Treated Us

like Slaves'" Los Angeles Times 14 Dec. 2014: n. pag. Print.

Marosi, Richard. "Hardship on Mexico's Farms, a Bounty for U.S. Tables." Los

Angeles Times 7 Dec. 2014: n. pag. Print.

Marosi, Richard. "In Mexico's Fields, Children Toil to Harvest Crops That Make It to

American Tables." Los Angeles Times 14 Dec. 2014: n. pag. Print.