Chapter 2 Summary

In Veracruz

Veracruz, which means “The True Cross,” is located between the mountains and the sea in southern Mexico. The people are poor no matter how hard they work. Before the wave of northern illegal immigration, workers stayed and tourism flourished. The people can afford less as prices continue to rise, and families continue to grow. People are hungry, and in “the economy of hunger,” more babies means a better chance of survival; even if one in five dies, four will survive and becomes workers. There are not even enough beans to eat, for they are all shipped to the United States; only the recycled bean sacks make their way to Veracruz to be used for curtains.

All of Mexico is suffering, spending eighty cents on every earned dollar on foreign debt; all the illegal narcotics money stays in the “clandestine mansions.” As men migrate north to work, some money begins to arrive from the United States, and men come home in big American cars and trucks. They fill their vehicles at a Goodwill in Texas and sell everything for twice as much in Mexico. Once their wares are sold, they sell the vehicles, too. Rural black markets are common, and some people are beginning to have contact with the rest of the world through satellite television and the Internet. Some women come home with “babies who were supposedly American citizens.”

Meanwhile, the neighbors of these entrepreneurs are dying. Rampant disease and spreading violence cause people to look north, and they turn to Don Moi Garcia, a recruiter for the northern Coyotes. He is a grandfatherly “walking ad for the good life.” He is a kind of Robin Hood for the people of Veracruz. Four thousand men have already left and more are preparing to go. It costs twenty thousand pesos to cross safely; however, “if they’re man enough to walk in the desert” they can save seven thousand pesos. The men take out loans with an unscrupulous man, Chespiro,...

(The entire section is 501 words.)