Stories from the history vault (January 29, 2016)

We have to remember that the labor movement in Mexico is bigger than any one politician, whether U.S. or Mexican. The Lexmark workers plight has ignited a labor struggle that is 50 years old, ever since NAFTA was signed into law. The Mexican workers are sick and tired of being exploited and paid starvation wages to support their families. This past December, we approached KVIA’s Maria Garcia to have the issue aired on News 7 Xtra, but she told us she pitched it to her editors and they told her it was not a story for their audience.

We need to give Congressman O’Rourke credit for visiting the plantón, even though it is not a story for KVIA. He has gone there to see for himself what the issue is about. Now, we wonder if others in O’Rourke’s social circle will now visit the plantón? Individuals like Judge Veronica Escobar, who used to be a member of the Border Rights Coalition, Suzie Bryd, Steve Ortega. Maybe also Steve’s aunt, Lina Ortega who is running for Marisa Marquez’s old position—will they visit and learn what Beto has learned, that at the end of the day, we are all the same.

There are a lot of people in El Paso who talk the talk about being good neighbors with Cd. Juárez, but they don’t practice what they preach. O’Rourke to his credit has gone over there, in spite of conflicts he may have, in spite of the limited support he can offer. But it is also important to know that he went to the plantón after his staff members attended our January 23rd event at the El Paso Public Library where maquila workers shared their stories, after we encouraged them to attend.

We cannot deny the importance of telling the story on the U.S. side because the government-controlled Cd. Juárez press continues a news blackout so not to inform workers on what is really going on. It is going to take widespread support to improve the situation for Mexican workers and it is the right thing to do—to support them in their time of need.

Now, more than ever, Mexican workers need support from people like O’Rourke, as American multi-national companies demand laborers continue working amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.