President López Obrador’s plan to reactivate the economy despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis leaves maquiladora workers facing an awful dilemma: isolate at home without a peso in their pockets or show up at work and risk losing their lives. The vast majority are forced to risk death, writes María Encarnación López (London Metropolitan University).
The plan allows for the resumption of certain non-essential business activities, including within the special assembly plants along the US-Mexico border that are known as maquiladoras. Ultimately, President López Obrador has left it up to each administration, state, or municipality to implement his plan or to ignore it. And more broadly, he continues to rely on a sense of social responsibility to ensure compliance with the government’s “healthy distance” programme, which aims to promote social distancing, hygiene standards, and voluntary isolation.
Maquiladoras in Ciudad Juárez and beyond
The maquiladoras represent a legal paradise for the American and European assembly factories that settled at the US–Mexican border following the signing of the North American Free