Mexico's Internal Walls

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on October 8, 2009

Mexican government officials complain bitterly about the wall that the U.S. has constructed along sections of the southern border to discourage illegal immigration. Today, writing in the Mexican newspaper El Universal about the brutal social and economic inequalities that propel much illegal immigration, columnist Ricardo Rocha notes the construction of "stately versions of Chinese walls so the poor don't bother the rich" in the city of Monterrey.

Here are some of Rocha's other metrics of inequality in his country:

*The wealthiest 10 percent of Mexicans who hold more than 40 percent of the national wealth.

*The 11 million people who live in houses with dirt floors, surviving on the peso equivalent of about $150 a month.

*The racism that means that people "with indigenous features" are absent from administrative positions and can't even be found in such jobs as that of bank manager.

*The dramatic disparity in most of the country between what men and women earn for the same work.

*The laws in several states that make stealing a cow a serious crime, but not beating a woman.

*The millions of young people who can't finish high school because of economic deprivation.

*The neighborhoods on the outskirts of Cancun where the suicide rate is three times the national average and "there are families that survive with 50,000 pesos per year" (about $3,750).