From Academic Kids

A maquiladora (or maquila) is a factory, the majority of which are located in Mexican border towns, that imports materials and equipment on a duty- and tariff-free basis for assembly or manufacturing. The main use of these assembly plants were to put together imported parts. These companies must work under the Maquila Decree, requiring all products to be exported from Mexico. Maquiladoras can be 100% foreign-owned (usually by U.S. companies). Using maquiladoras is an example of transnational operations.

The establishment of Maquila Decree was largely due to the end of the U.S. Bracero Program, which allowed Mexican immigrants to find temporary agricultural work in the United States. The end of the Bracero Program increased the unemployment rate in the border region. Mexican officials created the Maquila Decree in order to alleviate this problem.

There are thousands of maquiladoras located along the U.S./Mexico border in towns and cities like Ciudad Juárez, which has recently become notorious for the serial murders of young female maquiladora workers. Other health and environmental problems have arisen from their presence. Several organizations are concerned with the working conditions in the maquiladoras, one of which is the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN). This organization is a Canadian network that promotes solidarity with groups around the world that organize in maquiladora factories and export processing zones. Their goals are to improve working conditions and win a living wage for the workers.


Possible Causes

NAFTA has been controversial since it was first proposed. Transnational corporations have tended to support NAFTA in the belief that lower tariffs would increase their profits. Labor unions in Canada and the United States have opposed NAFTA for fear that jobs would move out of the country due to lower wage costs in Mexico. Some politicians, economists, and policy experts have opposed free trade for fear that it will turn countries, such as Canada, into permanent branch plant economies. Farmers in Mexico have opposed NAFTA because the heavy agriculture subsidies for farmers in the United States have put a great deal of downward pressure on Mexican agricultural prices, forcing many out of business. Opposition to NAFTA also comes from environmental, social justice, and other advocacy organizations that believe NAFTA has detrimental non-economic impacts to health, environment, etc. In Mexico, NAFTA's approval was quickly followed by an uprising amongst indigenous people led by the Zapatistas, and tension between them and the Mexican government remains a major issue. Furthermore, NAFTA was accompanied by dramatic reduction of the influence of trade unions in Mexico's urban areas. NAFTA has been accompanied by a dramatic increase of illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States.

See also

For further information: Chasteen; Born in Blood and Fire.

A Maquiladora is a foreign owned company. A typical maquiladora hires hundreds of women at a time to "assemble" products which 90% are exported to the United States.

A town known for its Maquilas, short for Maquiladoras, is Ciudad Juarez.

Ciudad Juárez has gained world-wide notoriety for more than a decade of serial murder of young women that mostly work in maquilas.
Authorities do not know for sure when the women of Juárez began to die in such large numbers, however, it was during the 1990s that the situation first came to knowledge of the public domain. According to Amnesty International, as of February 2005, more than 370 bodies have been found so far and over 400 are still missing. 76 of these murders were found to fit a pattern of described as:

"The victims of these crimes have preponderantly been young women, between 15 and 25 years of age. Many were students, and most were maquiladora (foreign owned factories). "As an example, Julia Caldera and Daniel Chavez the parents of one of the victims had a 15 year old daughter. Her name was Maria Elena and worked as a maid for the former director of El Cerezo, a prison in Cd. Juarez."

  • Lilia Alejandra Andrade did work at a Maquiladora and was kidnapped across the street on Avenida Technologico and Paseo del Triunfo what is the very center of Cd. Juarez. The maquila still stands, and NAFTA has encouraged an american corporation called Home Depot to build above where the remains of Alejandra's body was found.

If you stand at the first lamp post of that home depot near the entrance, approximately there is where the body Lilia Alejandra Andrade was found.

So not all of the women had a specific job that you can typify. A number were relative newcomers to Ciudad Juárez who had migrated from other areas of Mexico. The victims were generally reported missing by their families, with their bodies found days or months later abandoned in vacant lots or outlying areas. In most of these cases there were signs of sexual violence, abuse, torture or in some cases mutilation of the breasts by biting the nipples off.


In 2004, Sally Field and other famous Hollywood actresses went to Ciudad Juárez to speak about women's rights and demand justice for the dead women. It was a spectacle called V-Day, organized by Eve Ensler, the playwright of The Vagina Monologues.

Many mothers of victims resented that fact that the femicide cases are becoming a spectacle and artists, video makers, politicians, activists come and go and many help but most just treat the femicide cases as news for businessmen interested in the social effects of their business to be written and then quickly forgotten.

See also

External links

es:Maquiladora fr:Maquiladora


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