Alfredo Corchado has covered U.S.-Mexico issues for The News since 1993. A graduate of UTEP, he’s also reported from Washington and Cuba. Before the News, Corchado reported at El Paso Herald-Post & The Wall Street Journal in Dallas and Philadelphia. He’s author of Midnight in Mexico and Homelands, to be published in 2018.
He came up with an editorial on the Dallas Morning News in which the concern of Mexico’s working class sector of society manifests in relation with Andres Manuel López Obrador’s performance so far.
JUAN ALDAMA, Mexico – The human exodus here reached new heights over the summer as entire families hightailed it out of this once booming agricultural valley. They headed north in search of safety, away from violence, and far away from a nation grappling with the latest broken promises.
“There are some communities — rancherias — that simply cleared out,” and headed for the U.S., says Adan Flores, 22, a university student who traveled this region in the central state of Zacatecas as part of his field work as a psychology major. “We thought political change would automatically usher in a new country, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Many people are leaving.”
Flores was referring to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s promise to turn back the tide of poverty, corruption and violence in Mexico. But AMLO’s promise of a grand Fourth Transformation — fourth after the 1810 independence uprising, political reforms of the Benito Juarez era in the mid-1800s and the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917 — is facing deep obstacles as the violence instead grows and the economy gradually slows.
In nearby Cuencame, Durango, Jose Guadalupe Sanchez, 62, in a straw hat and leather sandals, sells beef-filled gorditas with potato and green chili to hungry passengers riding on a myriad of buses heading north and south on Mexican Highway 45, known as La Panamericana.
“I still believe AMLO will rescue us from poverty,” Sanchez said of the president. “We just need to be patient and don’t give up. He has good intentions.”
The bustling highway offers a picturesque journey that underscores Mexico’s beauty — lush valleys and low-hanging clouds that seem to touch rain-soaked green hills. But it’s also a sobering reminder of the ills that still haunt the country: The Cartel Jalisco New Generation is fighting for control of the coveted freeway to transport illicit drugs and control the flow of migrants. It’s just another battleground for the endless bloodshed being carried out by rival cartels.
Sanchez makes the sign of the cross with a few pesos he’s collected so far on this day and explains: “I did think we would be better off by now, but the price of food is going up, the number of people killed is increasing. That’s worrisome.”