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'Chicanos Hit a Nerve in Mexico'

June 14, 1988

Del Olmo's column shows but the visible part of an iceberg: the nervous breakdown of Mexico's political regime. At last, the dramatic situation in Mexico pushes the Chicano to recognize his role in Mexican matters.

Unlike Mexicans, who have no actual means to manifest their will for change, Chicanos may express their concern about their parents' country within their own country without risks of intimidation.

Living in a democracy, working within a private enterprise economic system, and enjoying the benefits of social solidarity in the U.S., Mexican-Americans have learned the lesson (that needs) to be taught in Mexico.

All through its six decades in power, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has monopolized national economical, political and social life in Mexico, setting up a regime of fear and irresponsibility that makes the nation of 85 million a passive mass in front of a little bunch of licenciados (lawyers) who tyrannize the country.

Fifty-two percent of my countrymen are younger than 15.

If there are not immediate changes those children will be condemned to a hopeless future in a country with no opportunities. The youngsters will flee by millions to the U.S. in an attempt to survive.

From an economic point of view, Mexican youth are already facing impressive challenges: lack of employment (40% unemployment on economically active population in 1987), inflation around 150%, miserable wages (48 cents per hour in urban areas), increasing industrial lock-outs, etc.

Unemployment comes from huge fiscal budget deficits and lack of private investment.

We have no free press to denounce abuses; 38 journalists have been murdered during the last five years because they dared to tell the truth on political issues.

The obvious reluctance of Mexican leaders to take into account Chicano opinions is because Chicanos are the only feasible force to start changes in Mexico.

There is no "interventionism" by Chicano democrats; their voices are supported by millions of Mexicans shouted down by fear and hunger. Their actual brothers and sisters are not naive or arrogant; they are simply silent, waiting for a signal.


Mexico City

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