In 2015, when a number of maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico took a stand for better working conditions, one of the companies impacted was CommScope, a manufacturer of telecommunications infrastructure. Based in North Carolina, the company employed 3,000 workers in its Ciudad Juárez factory.
Just across the US-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas in the Mexican state of Chihuahua lies Ciudad Juárez, where the wages of workers in the maquiladoras, export-oriented factories run by foreign businesses, are significantly lower than in other parts of the country. Among the many maquiladoras in the city is a 2,800-worker printer-cartridge plant owned by Lexmark, a multinational company based in Lexington, Kentucky.
In 2011, Mexico faced huge costs from the drug trade and efforts to
counteract it. Mexico constituted a key part of the global drug trade,
as cartels trafficked illegal drugs through Mexico to their main buyer,
the United States. Cartels committed extensive violence as they tried
to ensure compliance from citizens and maximize profit. The most
frequent victims of drug violence were poor Mexicans, and some cities,
such as the border town of Ciudad Juarez, were particularly dangerous.
Las Abejas is a Christian pacifist group of about 6,000 Tzotzil Maya indigenous people who live in Chiapas. Las Abejas means "The Bees" in Spanish, reportedly indicating the value of collective work and life that shares the honey with those who need it. Forty-five members of the group were killed on 22 December 1997 when caught in a cross-fire between the Mexican army and the rebel Zapatistas, the Acteal Massacre.
Mexico’s political atmosphere has long dealt with corruption. For over 70 years, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) retained strict control over the government, manipulating elections in its favor. In 2000, Vincente Fox, of the National Action Party (PAN), gained presidential office. This election shocked the nation, as it broke the PRI’s uninterrupted rule. To Mexico, the 2000 elections marked a change in the government; Fox’s victory represented free and fair democratic elections.
On 1 January 2008, Mexico repealed all tariffs on corn, beans, milk, and sugar imported from north of the border as part of a 14-year phase out provision agreed to under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexican farmers quickly mobilized to voice their opposition, and tried to pressure the government to renegotiate the agricultural provisions of NAFTA, a free trade agreement passed in 1994 that removed most trade barriers between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had controlled Mexico and won almost every presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial election since its founding in 1929. The PRI also dominated politics in most municipalities and on local levels. In the 1983 and 1985 elections however, the National Action Party (PAN) won many municipal seats and posed a significant challenge to state offices held by the PRI.
In 2004, Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz became Governor of Oaxaca in a contentious election, rumored to involve fraud. Many civilians and activists were angered over his win and led protest campaigns against him, resulting in the detention, incarceration, and disappearance of hundreds of social leaders throughout Oaxaca. State forces silenced those who attempted to demonstrate even though the Oaxacan constitution permits protest.
In July of 1968, as the student-led uprising of May and June in France was fading away, a new one was just beginning in Mexico City. Students inspired by the success of the movement in France saw their own opportunity to bring more open democracy to Mexico. They saw the summer Olympics that were to take place in Mexico City in October as an opportunity to put pressure on the government, led by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
On June 26th, 1958, workers from the Sindicato de Trabajadores Ferrocarrileros de la República Mexicana (STFRM, Union of Railroad Workers of the Mexican Republic) initiated a series of escalating strikes led by Demetrio Vallejo. Vallejo had formed a General Action Committee after participating in a Union wage-price study committee that had determined a proper increase in wages of 350 pesos ($28) per month based on the decrease in real wages due to inflation.