US-Mexico Binational Indigenous Migration

January 30, 2006 at

By Rufino Domínguez Santos*
rdominguez@sbcglobal.net
www.frente.apiana.net

Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB)
Mission

To contribute to the development and self-determination of indigenous migrant and non-migrant communities, as well as to fight for the defense of human rights with justice and gender equity on a Binational level.

Vision
To be a strong, constructive, and self-sufficient binational indigenous organization.

Binational Migration of Indigenous Communities

The early 1980’s saw a huge migration of Oaxacan indigenous communities to the United States (US), where entire families would cross the border to enter a foreign land that was far different from their own, but that at last offered a better economic situation. Once they arrived, they saw that you can survive for a week on a day’s work, while in Mexico you would have to work an entire week to be able to survive one day. Also, you have access to a bed, refrigerator, stove, car and even the famous television, luxuries we can not afford in our communities.

However, all is not roses in the United States; we have similar problems to the ones we experienced in our own country. To begin with, housing is needed and migrants have to live wherever they can. This is the case of migrants living in San Diego North County, Santa Rosa and Salinas, all in the state of California, who have been living underground, digging like moles, in cardboard or plastic boxes, and faced with the constant threat of being vacated by the authorities arguing that they are contaminating the environment. In northern California, Oregon, and Washington, since rent is too high, some crop seasons are spent living in parks, under trees, or in cars.

In 1991, a study1 was carried out to determine the number of indigenous people originating from the state of Oaxaca. That year, the estimated figure was 50,000. However, now, after 13 years, this figure has tripled for the state and approximates half a million for the entire country. The most recent initiative undertaken by the FIOB with California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) was to include the word “others” in the US general population census, in order to register the migrant indigenous population as Mixtec, Zapotec, or Chatino American Indians, among others. We are sure that many have been included, but to date we do not have exact figures.

Cultural shock is very strong. An example is that for us it is common and natural for a man and woman to become married or live together regardless of whether one or both are minors as long as there is mutual consent. Yet, under US laws, this act is persecuted as a crime. The man is punished by imprisonment or fines, and the woman is taken under the care of abused and battered women until she turns 18.

Women often become agricultural laborers or work in jobs that require longer hours than the work done by the men. To support the family and many times to save money, parents leave their children alone at home; but, if the authorities become aware of this, the children are taken away from them, and the parents are accused of child abandonment, mistreatment and abuse. Further, parents can not yell at their children because if a child complains of abuse by his/her parents to a teacher, nurse, doctor, or directly to the police, even if he/she has no bruises, the parents are sent to jail without prior investigation. Similarly, if a woman makes the same complaint against her husband or another man, he is arrested and receives maximum punishment.

Definitely, there is no denying that child and domestic abuse exists in the United States and everywhere, and it ought to be punished. However, before arresting the accused, this should be done based on visible evidence and testimonies for and against the case. This is because in recent years, this situation has become an instrument for children to threaten their parents and for women to go against men, in order to control and condone licentiousness, which is counter to indigenous principles of respect to elders and those in authority, obedience, and discipline. This is one of the reasons why many indigenous youth become involved in gangs or hooked on drugs because parents have no power or authority over their own children.

Furthermore, there can be no parties or noise late at night, except in a specially designated area. Whoever violates this rule gets in trouble with the police. Nor can there be any fires with smoke from barbeques or steam baths, because then firefighters come to take out the fire, and those responsible are charged with fines. It is important to clarify that this only happens in the cities, because in the small towns on the outskirts, it either goes by unnoticed or, simply unreported.

The Social Impact of Migration on Indigenous Communities

The first impact is felt within the indigenous family due to the separation of family members. Those that stay behind have many concerns, the main one being that they will never see their relative alive again given the difficulty of crossing the border, facing assault, United States government operations called “Guardian in California,” and lifeguard operations in Arizona, and Rio Grande in Texas. It must be noted that most indigenous migrants are young, between 13 and 50 years of age, many of which have not even completed their primary education, but move away from their parents because of economic necessity.

Migration has brought gangs to the communities, who fight among themselves to control their “territories”, paint graffiti on the walls of houses and wear baggy pants (a strange phenomenon in the Mixtec region), introducing problems such as drug addiction, stealing and lack of respect, which did not exist in those places. Another consequence is the abandonment of cultivated lands. In the 1970’s, fields of corn, bean, pumpkin, and chilacayote could be seen in the mountains of San Miguel Cuevas, Juxtlahuaca and Oaxaca. Today, they have been erased with trees, grass and weeds, and fields are only sown on the edge of the town. Perhaps the only benefit in this is the recovery of tree cover, since they are no longer cut as frequently, as well as the multiplication of almost extinct animals, such as deer.

A significant number of indigenous migrants are changing their religion, from Catholic to Protestant. I am not in a position to say that Catholicism is the better of the two, but most religions in the United States are means to control people, making them passive, so that they do not worry about their reality and injustice, but rather they pray for a better life after death. The worst part is that loyal followers are encouraged to forget their customs and traditions such as the tequio; and to replace collective values for individualism, and dances for “famous Halloween” costumes. As such, they no longer wish to give to their communities, and they speak of a brotherhood that is inexistent in practice.

The positive side of this migration has been the organization by some sectors of the indigenous community since the mid-1980’s to defend labor and human rights and to support hometown communities with economic resources. This has led to the emergence, and dissolution, of independent and pro-government organizations.

As an organization, FIOB is at the forefront of a binational movement, and an example of all other similar organizations that are now emerging since they too are using this attractive term “binational” despite their lack of basic membership in Mexico and the United States. This is the new wave among Mexican migrant organizations. However, FIOB is the pioneer of this trend, and despite various internal crises continues to maintain this binational activity with migrants for already over 15 years, both in theory and practice.

The Economic Impact Migrant and Non-Migrant Indigenous Life

The economic aspect is one of the positive impacts on the life of migrants, be they indigenous or not, because despite the problems, life is a little better in the United States than in Mexico. We have better nutrition and clothing, and enjoy going out on weekends. Most have a car and telephone, which are indispensable necessities of daily life. Better yet, a small percentage of families have purchased homes and land, and dedicate themselves to their own businesses. Yet, the best economy is seen in Oaxacan communities, where straw, board, tile, or adobe houses have been replaced by homes made of cement, brick and huge wire fences, largely unseen for 20 years. In general, we may find that most of these houses are abandoned, as the owners now live in the United States. Migrant donations in the form of tequios and economic contributions are used for community improvement such as roads, municipal agencies and churches, as well as the construction of bridges and sports grounds, in addition to opening stores and purchasing vehicles for personal use. However, as a result a situation of dependency on American dollars has been created, without making investments in the implementation of economic development projects or in job creation. Many look forward to receiving money from abroad to live and build homes, but they do not initiate projects that would help them to multiply these funds since they do not have the technical assistance to do so. Furthermore, sending money back to these communities has improved the local, state and national economy, and in the lives of thousands of people in indirect ways.

However, there are also negative elements. Firstly, healthy food has been replaced with junk food from the United States, such as instant soups and non-nutritious breads, while carbonated beverages have become the main drink for the indigenous people. Many have forgotten about quelite, chapulines (locusts) and even tortillas since they have been in the United States. It is more and more difficult to take care of the environment because garbage (plastic, oil, car tires) is thrown about, causing damage to the earth. When traveling from Mexico City to the Oaxaca-Mixtec region, it is very common to see mountains of garbage thrown around, without any concern for respecting the land. The worst is that not even the authorities do anything effective to counteract this bad habit.

The Political Impact for and by Indigenous Migrants

In the 1970’s, farm worker emigrant communities continued maintaining a close relationship with indigenous migrants living in Mexico City. They continued practicing civic rights and duties, since they were called upon by general and public assemblies to serve as their authorities, from topiles to municipal agents, only when it contributed economically to the improvement of the community. This is already an inflexible community mandate in many Oaxacan indigenous communities with migrants, and if anyone does not wish to comply with the community requests, he/she runs the risk of losing citizenship rights and whatever material possessions he/she owns. Nevertheless, he/she can always recognize this mistake and rejoin the community in the future after paying a fine. Many authorities appoint representatives in the United States, who are in charge of holding meetings and collecting donations which are then sent to the hometown communities. They also keep a census and manage to maintain fluid communication between migrants and their respective municipal authority. This is an important point for maintaining administrative power because in some communities there are only the elderly, women and children, since the men have migrated. Were it not for this practice, perhaps those performing these functions would still be there, or the women do so.

On the other hand, it is important to point out how much Oaxacan governors enjoy their “visits” to these migrants in the United States. Heladio Ramírez López initiated this migrant tourism in 1988, followed by Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano in 1993, and finally José Murat Casab from 2000 until the great electoral fraud of 2004. All are faithful members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Although usual politics have continued in this party, there are marked differences. For this reason, I believe it is important to give an outline of their relationship with migrants. Heladio Ramírez López made two “visits” to California, United States, stopping in Watsonville, Madera, Santa Rosa and San Diego, where he met with very strong Mixtec organizations who had purposive protests. They reproached him, shouted at him, and addressed him in the “tu” form, without him being able to do anything about it. The most important thing is that he listened carefully, did not disrespect them, and was tolerant as he should be. He did not even return to Oaxaca to initiate a repression against his opponents. The only place where he found PRI support was Santa Rosa, where contractors and exploiters of cheap manual indigenous agricultural labor offered him wine and received him as is customary in Oaxaca.

Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano also made two “visits,” but unlike his predecessor, he did face up to the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB) in Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Diego, because they made legitimate complaints to him from the communities. However, these were also purposive meetings and he showed tolerance and listened carefully to all the complaints. Although in Oaxaca he governed with an iron hand against indigenous farm worker, popular, and union organizations, he never made up lies against migrant organizations, and particularly FIOB.

José Murat Casab is the governor that has traveled most to the United States. He visited Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles on innumerable occasions, but Fresno only once. This governor had showed a lack in upbringing because he was arrogant, authoritarian, rude, and demonstrated poor professional ethics. Every legitimate complaint was a huge problem for him, and he would go on talking about his reasons, and about a Oaxaca that had made much progress. I wish to reiterate that all three men are corrupt; but, even more corrupt is this unrefined man that came before the FIOB in 2002, and incarcerated our leader in Oaxaca, Romualdo Juan Gutiérrez Cortés based on lies. Nonetheless, the strong binational presence of the organization was felt like a political weapon, which was clearly shown by the freedom of our colleague, who spent 7 days in jail after we lead an international campaign against his denouncement, and received support from the human rights organizations in Europe, Canada, South America, Mexico and many organizations in the United States.

This migrant tourism practiced by Oaxacan politicians and the federal government has not had any positive effect toward the excluding, ignorant, racist, anti-immigrant and arrogant policy of the California and United States government. Oaxacan governors only come to spend money that is so needed in our hometown communities. Why do they not travel to the rural parts of Oaxaca instead of coming to the United States? Why do they not invest the money spent on these trips in productive and development projects? How do these “visits” benefit migrants? We hope to have answers to these questions. It is worthy of mention that they do not have the moral authority to question the California governor or the US President on anti-immigrant policies. This makes them (Oaxacan governors) the main violators of the human rights of their own compatriots. Jose Murat and his predecessors have no authority to criticize racist Americans and their government because in their communities, where they have governed, there have been deaths, human rights violations, lack of transparency in handling public resources, enrichment of officials and even of the same governors. Before criticizing, reproaching and making proposals to foreign governments and politicians, they must first demonstrate how to govern and have credibility in dealing with constructive criticism at home.

Indigenous Migrants Acting in Their Own Defense

The formation of various indigenous migrant organizations, from the early 1980’s in the United States and Mexico, is due to constant labor and human rights violations. In the United States, after having crossed the border, we find ourselves in a country with different laws and a different language. This is why we must know our rights and obligations so as to avoid being discriminated against, hence the importance of indigenous migrant organizations.

In October 1993, faced with innumerable cases of labor law violations in the state of California, the California Rural Legal Assistance Indigenous Farm Worker Project was launched, on the FIOB’s initiative. This was implemented in order to hire two persons who spoke the Tu’un Savi language2 and to then organize workshops in that language in areas of high Mixtec indigenous concentration in California to educate them on labor laws. This project remained permanently, with almost 10 indigenous workers currently, but it was then extended to the states of Oregon and Michigan at the beginning of 2003.

In early 1996, the Indigenous Interpreters Project was initiated on a national level, in the Zapotec, Mixtec, Triqui and Chatino languages, so that persons in trouble with the law and who would be judged in US courts could defend themselves in their native tongue. From this initiative, 20 interpreters received intensive training in professional interpreting ethics, and they are now paid court interpreters.

In 1994, the community began playing basketball games in the city of Madera, called the “Juarez Cup,” in honor of Benito Juarez Garcia, who as we all know was the only indigenous President of Mexico. Since then, the “Juarez Cup” has continued for 12 consecutive years. Not only do we enjoy ourselves in this activity, but we also sell Oaxacan food and arts and crafts, and distribute information on labor rights, health and immigration laws, among other information.

The other important event is the Guelaguetza, which was first held by the Oaxacan Regional Organization (ORO) in Los Angeles, California, on the first Sunday of August in 1987. This event has taken place uninterrupted for already 17 years, in order to promote indigenous customs and traditions, including dances accompanied by wind instrument bands, which are very typical of our communities, as well as fruit, flowers and the native dress of the 7 Oaxacan regions. Different organizations from all over the state have since followed this example, namely, the Coalition of Indigenous Communities of Oaxaca (COCIO) in Vista, California, in 1994. In 1999, FIOB began organizing the event in Fresno, which has been ongoing for 8 years, giving people from various parts the opportunity to come together to have clean fun as we do in Oaxaca. On this occasion, we would like to take the opportunity to provide information and request support for the SB1160 law, which relates to equal access to driver licenses, regardless of migratory status. In the last three years, from 2001, the Oaxacan Federation of Indigenous Communities and Organizations in California (FOCOICA) has organized the spring Guelagetza in Los Angeles, with the economic support of the Oaxacan state government.

Indigenous political participation in the United States has already been experienced by the few that have become citizens of this country, be it as a result of amnesty in 1986 or of being born in the United States with voting rights. This was already evident in the indigenous candidacy for Concejales, or in the case of Fausto Sanchez – a Mixtec of San Juan Mixtepec and resident of Arvin, California – for the School District. But above all, the entire Oaxacan indigenous community has gained the respect and admiration of the people who would previously discriminate against them.

We have also worked on the other side of the border. In 1993, FIOB began to organize Oaxacan communities to demand state government attention on different problems related to infrastructure and land tenure, in regions with high rates of emigration. Since then we have implemented different projects. For example, the Cargo and Passenger Transport Union Nuu Davi3 and the Taxi Driver Union Ituvi Shaa4 were founded to provide rural communities with transportation to municipal headquarters and at the same time to generate modest economic resources to sustain their families. In addition, work has also been done to develop productive projects such as planting nopales, Chinese pommegranate, huaje, strawberries, and recently, mushrooms in different Mixtec communities. These are alternatives for work in and for the communities. The Savings, Loans and Artisan Banks of the Triquis women have been strengthened, and this is possibly one of the more novel projects, since it is working with women in over 30 communities. They work in an economic loan fund with low interest rates, which has helped them to support themselves and the community.

The Human Rights, Organized Labor and Advocacy Education and Training Project, was implemented in mid 2001 in Oaxaca and Baja California with the objective of educating indigenous migrants to know their rights, identify and document problems, and demand that they be fulfilled. Another project is the Training on Rights for Indigenous Migrant Communities and Civil Registry.

The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) is financing a project to raise horticulture and the production of poultry, promote sales in art and prepared meals, support savings from loans, and consolidate organizational capacity and leadership among indigenous women in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. This includes training, technical assistance, new loans, apprenticeships, and collaboration with migrant organizations in Mexico and California.

The Project enables consolidation of low scale production, micro-financing, and alliance-building programs with migrant organizations in Mexico and the United States. By consolidating the capacity of the organization and its members, the person receiving the funds increases profits for the family, and to support new and expanded opportunities for local economic development.

The project is directly benefiting approximately 250 indigenous women and men. Indirect beneficiaries include approximately 700 family members of the participants. The apprenticeships and related activities benefit indigenous migrant organization members in Baja California and California. The project is based in the municipalities of Juxtlahuaca and Huajuapan, in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, and the activities are concentrated in approximately 12 communities within these two municipalities.

The Credit Program supports this consolidation and strengthens existing savings and loans groups, training in business administration, organizational development, computer and leadership skills, self esteem, as well as the project development offered to the members of approximately 10 savings and loans groups, and to those of the regional council. Additional activities include preliminary research and scope for an experimental pilot remittances program. A new regional fund offers loans to support activities that generate income. The artisan program will support production and marketing of Triqui fabrics and regional palm products. The program includes activities such as participative diagnostic sessions and evaluations of the existing capacity, artisan exchanges, design training, diversification and production, and scope for sales promotion in new and existing markets. Distribution strategies stress on nostalgic markets and build existing alliances with migrants in northern Mexico and California. A culinary program supports production and sale of traditional Oaxacan food, and incorporates national and international market research, thereby providing training in food preparation and sales promotion. One horticultural and yard poultry program is focused on the production of vegetables, mushrooms, eggs and the use of organic fertilizers. The program activities include technical assistance and continuous training, as well as a participative diagnostic and evaluation session.

Most of the economic support for these projects is obtained from private foundations in the United States, where the organization presents and defends them in writing, managing it transparently through the Binational Center for Oaxacan Indigenous Development, Inc. This is considered a non profit organization by the US government, has no memberships, has its own Board of Directors and is a strong sister organization of FIOB in order to implement projects on both sides on the border. It also organizes special fund raising events through dances, raffles, sales of arts and crafts, and dinners, among other events.

The Cultural Impact of Indigenous Migrants

As a result of the migration phenomenon, almost half a million of indigenous people are forced to leave their land, who take their identity with them represented by a language much different to Spanish or any other in the world, and also by the state of Oaxaca or communities. After being established in a particular place for a period of time, we bring food products like beef jerky, tlayudas, mole, dried fish, condiments like hierba santa, epazote, sweet potato that gives a red color to rice, chapulines (locusts) that many people scorn, huaje from which the word Oaxaca originates, all of which are still unknown by many people and in many parts of the United States, especially California. We have renamed this state Oaxacalifornia not only for the number of Oaxacans living here but also because there are already huajes trees and other products planted in our kitchen gardens. These products are even available in the markets, which would have not even been seen in the 1980’s, because at that time neither tortillas nor any other Mexican products were available. However, now there are many products originating from south of the border.

In addition, customs and traditions are celebrated, such as traditional parties according to the saints that are revered in the hometown communities. Examples of these are San Miguel Cuevas or Tlacotepec, Santiago, San Juan Mixtepec and others, through caretakers revolted against by the Spanish, in which different ceremonial dances are presented based on time and space of the sun, moon, stars, rain, water and earth. These are also celebrated with dances such as the devil, the blond, and moors5, with typical dances, with wind instrument bands played by popular chilenas which are found in various parts of California. Only the famous fireworks that make thunderous noises in the parties of Oaxacan communities are not done because they are prohibited in the United States.

All saints day, expressed by altars with yellow flowers, food, drinks, and fruit in honor of those who have passed, is a thousand year old annual celebration held every year around late October and early November at homes and in public places. This celebration has taken place in Oceanside California for the past 6 years with a public display of altars in the streets, and a parade of thousands of participants of English, Mestizo, and indigenous migrants backgrounds.

The ancestral Mixtec ball game belonging to the indigenous culture has inevitably transformed. But most importantly, it continues to be practiced and institutionalized in various parts of the United States. Championship competitions are organized with many participating teams, although the most popular sport practiced in Oaxacan indigenous neighborhoods is basketball. Competitions are scheduled on special dates according to the calendar, and are held as fund raising events to support these communities.

Thus, these activities have been very important for the development of these organizations. Without them, there would be no collective meeting place for families to become acquainted, get together, chat, get to know the organizations and vice versa. This is also a strategic way to organize other human rights issues. Many people become integrated in organizations for these reasons so that they can contribute to its growth, discover their identity, food and community environment. Later on, they slowly become more involved in civic duties in different aspects of daily life. At the same time, they maintain community customs, socialize with each other, and educate children born in this country, as well as people from other countries or cultures, that Oaxaca is as multicultural and plurilingual as Mexico, as opposed to the common idea that only Spanish is spoken. This fact is ignored by many people, including many Mexicans living in both countries.

Many communities have been organized around cultural activities. Fortunately, many older people speak our languages such as Zapotec, Mixtec, Triqui, and others, since it is the foundation of our identity at this point in time. However, it is sad to see our children only speak Spanish or English, and in some cases indigenous children mix Spanish and English while speaking their native languages. This is not a general tendency, but at this rate most of the second generation will forever lose their true indigenous languages, their roots and identities.

On the other hand, many migrants no longer speak their pure language because Spanish and English words are melded into the Mixtec language. For example, we no longer say “nuu yavi”6 but “marketa,” we no longer say “yuku”7 but we say “field,” even though we mispronounce the word. Nor do we say “ntai sata carro o kuin xiin carro”8 but we say “rait.” We are already forgetting our numbers in Mixtec: “in, uvi, uni, kumi, uvi xico, uvi xico uxi, kumi xico, etc…” but we say “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, 40, 50, 80…” The worst is that we say “lonche” to mean food instead of saying “na kaxao o a kaxao9.” Given this reality, many efforts are being made to recuperate what is being lost.

The study, reading and writing of the Tu’un savi language is progressing so as to demonstrate to the world that it can be written, because it is a language like any other, not “dialect” as we have been led to believe. This is taking place on the binational level between Mexico and the United States, and the first workshop was held in June 2003 in Fresno, California. The Tequio bulletin, the binational voice for the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations, has started publishing articles in this language written by indigenous authors that speak it. These workshops have multiplied on both sides of the border in coordination and collaboration with Ve’e Tu’un Savi10.

Special efforts are being made to promote the Mixtec language in radio and television media when the opportunities arise. For example, in 1999 FIOB started a live program on KNXT channel 49 in Fresno, called “El Despertar Indigena,” where everything was discussed, including human and labor rights, health, housing, immigration laws, culture, and other issues. People would participate by calling in to comment or ask a question on the particular issue. Most recently, there was a 5-week series video-taping on the same channel, in the Mixtec language, called “Safety for Farm Workers Using Pesticides.” The aim of the show was to educate the community on the dangers of working near pesticides, giving these people a chance to call to ask questions and make comments in the Mixtec language. This effort is being made by the office of the Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner and the Bureau of Farm Workers.

The indigenous language is easily lost in Mexico due to discrimination and racism on the part of Mexicans, but it is more easily lost in the United States. As we all know, English dominates, and there are children that go from speaking an indigenous language to speaking English, without even having learnt Spanish. In a few years we will easily lose our indigenous identity as a result of our children being born in this country, who as we know make fun of their parents and tell them off for speaking in their indigenous language. It is already quite common to hear English being spoken in hometown communities, rather than Spanish or the indigenous language, among children who were either born or raised from a young age in the United States.

International Philanthropy in Oaxaca within the framework of the Bilateral Relationship between Mexico and the United States

Based on the almost 15 years of binational work done by FIOB in Mexico and the United States, I can say that there has been very little presence of philanthropy that deals directly with migrant community organizations, but there has been more with the state government. There is still no specific project model to follow at this point because most of the support we have received is on a short term basis, and therefore cannot consolidate influential projects. Nor is the support binational because economic resources are only provided for one country. One of the few programs that we can use as an example is the Binational Capacity Development Program (PDCB) financed by the Rockefeller Foundation for FIOB membership, and the economic development program in the Oaxacan Mixtec region funded by the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). Other foundations have also supported our organization, but only on a small scale, with a modest budget, and limited to one country. For example, we have only received resources from the MacArthur Foundation, on a smaller scale from the Ford Foundation, and finally, from the Public Welfare Foundation.

Philanthropy Needs to Have an Impact on Bilateral Relations in Oaxaca, Mexico

Foundations working in pro-migrant (Latin) philanthropy, in general including indigenous groups in the United States, must provide support in the form of grants on a binational or transnational level; in other words, on both sides of the border. This is in response to globalization, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as cultural remittances and languages brought by migrants to the United States. But foundation agendas have been limited to only providing grants in the United States or in Mexico. This support should take place on a global level, and foundations have to be culturally aware of the organizations’ limited capacity, as well as of the fact that reports need to be adapted to the language spoken in any country, and of the changes in currency exchange rate values from US dollars to pesos or vice versa or for any other country’s currency.

Financing sustainable productive projects in the long term and in keeping with geographic features within the main emigration zones so as to generate employment and to start to cut back migration patterns would improve the situation in hometown communities and in the United States because there would be less anti immigrant policies. Clearly, this means working with migrant organizations with high credibility in the community, in collaboration with all levels of Mexican government, as in the 3 X 1 project, for example.

Paper Presented at the Meeting of the Executive Board of Hispanics in Philanthropy
Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico on January 30, 2006

*General Coordinator of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB)


1. Carried out by the California Institute of Rural Studies (CIRS)
2. The Mixtec word for “rain”
3. poor town
4. to rise up
5. Known as the Moors brought by the Spaniards.
6. Market
7. Field
8. To move from place to place by car
9. Food, to eat
10. Academy of the Mixtec Language, A.C. Tijuana Regional Coordination

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