Oaxaca, Mexico and the global economy – there is no word for a book review

Istambul Tehuantepec is a 120-mile stretch between the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, almost entirely in the southern state of Mexico Oaxaca. Owned by autochthonous groups with different languages ​​and customs during millennia. From colonial times it connects both national and international attention due to its important geographical position and wealth of resources.

The Mexican village faces the global economy (University of Nebraska Press, 2011), author Wendy Call, a self-proclaimed basic organizer and researcher, a real passionate petition; if not to stop the global economy's invasion of Oaxaca from Tehuantepec, then to continue only after a critical assessment of environmental and cultural impacts. Ms. Call sent two consecutive years living and working on Isthmus, from 2000 to 2002, with visits by the sender for a total duration of another year.

The federal government has continued with its Trans-Isthmus Megaproject, concluding the construction of a four-lane highway through the region, in some cases as a tarmac around small Oaxacaan towns and villages that are otherwise connected with two-lane roads. It became part of the plans of former President Vicente Fox Puebla Panama, an initiative to expand the major Mexican, relatively new highway system from the American border to Central America.

The scope of the Megaproject initially included 150 proposed projects, including oil refineries, plantations, industrial parks, commercial shrimp farms and a highway network – railways for transporting products to national and international markets. The project would inevitably change both the environmental and cultural landscape. Citizens opposed the development of the region mainly because of the fear of the unknown due to lack of information and consultations. Government and commercial interests were intended to move forward.

It is indisputable that development will result in irreversible negative impact on the environment and resettlement by changing the means of economic existence while at the same time destroying other cultural labels such as tradition and language. . The book focuses on the objection to the construction of the highway system and the proposed replacement of small-scale fishing operations by large industrial shrimp farms.

In addition to her own personal experiences, in No Word, she welcomes the call of chronicles of family history and livelihoods as well as opposing individual points of view. This is achieved through a thorough examination of the lives of individuals whom she met during her life in East for three years, and to a lesser extent through the interviewing of civil servants and other project promoters.

The use of a colorful, detailed call description attracts you. She is interested in you by collecting stories about her subjects (ie activists, fishermen, uneducated teacher); other often archive evidence of historical significance to the Istam (for example, the reign of dictator Porphyrius Diaz, the US attempt to buy a coat of arms in the 19th century, and foreign consulates at the beginning of the 20th century in the port city of Salina Cruz); sometimes violent and destructive manifestations of opposing positions (fishing incineration of government trucks and dredging machinery and guiding workers outside the city, gesturing with a machete while threatening "if the government does not respect people …"); and your own perspective.

You can not help but become very tough either by jumping into Call's bandwagon or by criticizing how its political perspective influences the presentation of its thesis. It is approaching its chapter in the middle of Huatulco, a Pacific city created by FONATUR (Mexico's National Tourism Development Agency), with contempt, although it has positive impressions of Mexican residents. It seemed that it was rude to rule when it was said that the FONATUR office "felt more like a travel agency than a government agency, overloaded furniture, brochures filled with beaches and bikinis, and a hollow air of places with more infrastructure than activities." How else can you try to sell tourism, sun, sand and surf?

But this is the style of writing Call, inevitable as a result of its reason to be on the covers, which contributes to keeping the reader at the edge of his seat, or cares for the cause, and hoping that the "people" prevails, or leans naivety – the arrival of the global economy in Istam is inevitable and could have been hinted since the 1500s, perhaps earlier.

A description of the life and difficulties of fishermen and their environment is rich and tempting. Yes, sometimes shrimp farms will destroy mangroves and may have a short lifespan, leaving a trace of destruction. But we are a bit on the way alternative to the field and its industry.

Both industrialization and their inhabitants played a role in the marginalization of existence and require government intervention. However, it seems that residents have no understanding of the complexity of the problem and the part they played in creating the current puzzle; The call job is not to be educated in this regard. The fisherman assumes that his people have been collecting cats, fish and crabs for over a thousand years, and he is looking for it because he should pay attention to some local government regulation that prohibits the use of large rectangular networks. He believes that any direct role that contributes to the problem is denied and states that you can not trust a government whose solution would create a bigger problem (industrial shrimp farms).

The area is overcrowded. Fishermen were not forced to start using motor boats. They discarded their smaller networks, each of which took one year's free time, in favor of buying large Japanese machines produced from $ 100, and continued to capture their catches by extending these new networks across the river. from the mouth. As a result, small shrimp and other marine species could not pass through nets and mangroves to reproduce. The government had to ban the use of these networks to protect the industry. The fisherman is unwavering that he needs to harvest so much fish to survive.

Many fishermen decide to go to the United States. Occasionally, keep in mind immigration, but this is not fully processed in her book because it is not in accordance with the thesis of the call. There is rarely an anthropological writing of this nature that does not deal with immigration. But Call is not an anthropologist, and is actually critical of social scientists, for some reason connecting them to others working in East: "I tried not to behave like many journalists, anthropologists, folklorists and sociologists I & They had a tendency to come only a few hours, days or weeks, asking questions before their bodies were warmed up. "Perhaps anthropological fieldwork has changed dramatically since the day I graduated.

Super-highways and networks of smaller roads and railways lead to a physical division of the population and can negatively affect the autochthonous culture. Moving the population into neighborhoods with street names such as Poblado One, Two, etc., Instead of retaining the names of the hero of the Revolution or the pre-Hispanic gods and nobles affect the pride of society and heritage. But globalization is inevitable, for the benefit of not only a few wealthy Mexicans and foreigners who want to take advantage of NAFTA, as stated in the book, but also for residents of Tehuantepec.

Of course, as Call calls, studies on cultural and environmental impact are crucial to minimizing the destruction of people and their countries. And yes, they sometimes do not work or ignore themselves, and politics and power often rule. What I found lacking were suggestions regarding the least harmful alternative, which would suggest in these circumstances, the best that one could hope to achieve, instead of severing everything. When is subcomandante Marcos & # 39; The caravan was on its way to Mexico City in 2001, and he convinced Foxx to receive a message that "Isthmus is not for sale," perhaps someone should propose a lease agreement with the conditions that maximize the benefits for the lease.

No welcome word is a well-written book, which the reader is interested in from the beginning to the end. I recommend it to potential visitors to southern Mexico because his descriptions of life in that part of Mexico are extremely accurate, from the work of local politics, antiquity, strategies and sometimes destructive forces that are used to indicate the richness of detail, a lesson from history. The expats that live in Mexico will find experiences known and confirmed at many levels (employees at the department store are really stunned when you ask how much money a refrigerator costs, and not credit).

For those who are interested in global economics and industrialization or want to understand how competitiveness issues are solved and addressed in particular in southern Mexico, no welcoming words are required. It is written with strong prejudice and as such causes emotions. The reader is eager to find out how it all turned out, and to some extent it was said. The last chapter of Miss Call includes her impressions from the 2008 visit.