Mexico | Wilson Center


Initial Findings & Key Recommendations: Farm Labor & Mexico’s Export Produce Industry

Three Key Findings from Worker Surveys and Focus Groups

More Than Neighbors: U.S.-Mexico Trade



Meet the Farmers: Case Studies from Mexico's Export Ag Industry


Combating Corruption

Latin America has endured the scourge of corruption for decades, which has been detrimental to economic development, governance, and human rights. However, in the last five years, a great deal has changed. According to the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA), the investigations into the Lava Jato case (Operation Car Wash) in Brazil and the La Línea corruption case in Guatemala have sparked the “systemic change” that is confronting political and economic impunity at the highest levels.

Case Study: Martín

Martín is around 50 years of age: “Maybe I’m 49 or something like that.” He is from Tala, and lives with his second wife and his father, who is over 80. Martín is a supervisor in the Las Hormigas field of the company Berries Paradise. His father and mother are from San Pedro Apulco, close to Nochistlán, Zacatecas, and came to Tala to work. “Hunger brought them here,” he says.  When they arrived, his mother was pregnant with his older brother. “They got here and had to rent a place and live wherever they could, because when they got here, there were no houses in Tala.”

Case Study: Esmeralda

Esmeralda is a young woman, 21 years of age, from Chilapa de Álvarez, Guerrero. Her father’s and mother’s families have land on which they plant corn, beans, limes, tomatillos, and cilantro. When Esmeralda was four years old, her parents migrated to the United States, and she and her younger brother stayed behind with their paternal grandparents. After a year, the children joined their parents. Her father worked in kitchens and her mother did domestic work.

Case Study: Sandy

Sandy is 26, and grew up with her grandparents and four paternal aunts in El Platanar, Tuxpan. Her parents worked in the fields, but it was her aunts who supported and raised her. Only three of her aunts work; the other does the housework and takes care of Sandy’s grandparents. The main source of income comes from one of the aunts, who is an elementary school teacher. Two other aunts are farm workers, one in the cherry tomato fields and the other in the same berry greenhouse where Sandy works. When she was little, Sandy went to school; she never worked outside the home.

Case Study: Felicitas

Felicitas Xoquet González is 47 years old. According to her grandparents, the name Xoquet is Náhuatl, but she does not speak that language. She is originally from Cuichapa, Veracruz, but she has lived for the last four years in Sayula, Jalisco. In Cuichapa, she and her family worked on the San Nicolás sugar plantation, but, she says, “there is no life there. Yes, there’s work, but they pay very little.

Case Study: Edith

Edith is 37 years old and lives in the Nuevo Poblado part of Tuxpan. She is the third of six children of a two-parent, male-headed household. Her parents were farmers: they had land on which they planted corn, peanuts, beans, jamaica, and squash. The whole family helped with the agricultural tasks. At the age of 12, Edith had her first paying job: seasonal work harvesting tomatoes and jícama. Since then, her income has become a fundamental part of the household economy. Her earnings went to planting corn and buying shoes and clothes for her siblings.

Case Study: Ernestina

Ernestina is 30 years old and was born in Agua Zarca, in Ahuacuotzingo, Guerrero. She is the third child in a family of four children. Her parents worked in the tomato fields of Sinaloa and had land on which they planted corn, beans, squash, and peanuts for the family’s own consumption. Ernestina began helping to plant the corn when she was a girl. She left school after the sixth grade, and shortly thereafter, she went with an aunt to work in the vineyards of Sonora. She was in the north for two years, earning 80 pesos a day in the off-season.