By: Dr. H. Salari
Along the lengthy Mexico-U.S. border, about twenty miles inside Mexico,
there are thousands of mainly foreign-owned factories, which assemble
products to be shipped out of this country throughout the U.S. and
other parts of the world.
These colonies, which are called maquiladora, were made legal under
a U.S.-Mexico agreement in 1965. The rationale behind legalizing maquiladoras
was to set up shop along the six Mexican Border States, to produce
goods for export, as a way of absorbing labor before it came illegally
to the U.S.
But as events later displayed, this program not only did not reduce
illegal immigration to the United States, but also increased health
and environmental problems in both sides of the border.
Hundreds of colonies had emerged and are emerging, with millions of
cheap laborers crammed into areas notorious for their human misery
and environmental destruction.
The inhabitants of these shantytowns are the poorest of Mexico and
other Latin American countries. They are products of imperialismís
plunderage who are swarming continuously to fill the empty places
of those who already disabled or died in the maquiladoras.
They are cheap laborers of exported American jobs, who work 48-60
hours a week, and receive nothing more than a worn out body and a
cardboard to extend their night moans into the hell of the next dayís
There are miles of narrow paths and streets infested with garbage,
animal & human wastes and even dead corpses; sewage and factory
leftovers flooding along exposed canals throughout the streets, make
it impossible for a visitor to stay there for more than a few minutes
without suffocating of the musty smells. Air, water, food and the
whole environment are so polluted that even before NAFTAís implementation
in 1994, the American Medical Association termed these areas ďa virtual
cesspool and breeding ground for infectious diseasesĒ.
These awful conditions have increased the rates of certain diseases
and birth defects such as brain and spinal cord abnormalities.
These cheap laborers of the maquiladora have to pay nearly half of
their salaries for their bus services to attend their workplaces,
while the same corporation that owns the factory usually provides
the transportation. The rest of their salaries go to food, medication
and if still there is any money left they can rent a place to sleep
Brothels are everywhere and so are narcotics. Those who spend money
here have to sleep under cardboards and run to their workplaces in
In these lawless communities, there are no protective measures for
the benefits of workers and their families. AIDS is rampant and so
is violence against women and children; life is sad, short and disposable.
Obviously the reason behind the creation of maquiladoras was cheap
labor, and as capitalism advances and the hunt for growing benefits
breaks out throughout the world, we will witness the globalization
of maquiladoras. But this will not be the final word. The final word
is glorious global socialism, which will be written inevitably by
the people in the next page of history.