By John Gibler
May 29, 2008
Cerrito del Agua, population 3,000, has no paved roads — either leading to it or within it. No restaurants, no movie theaters, no shopping malls. In fact, the small town located in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas has no middle schools, high schools or colleges; no cell phone service, no hospital. Its surrounding fields are dry and untended. The streets are empty.
The explosion of emigration to the United States over the past 15 years has emptied much of central Mexico, even reaching into southernmost states like Chiapas and Yucatan. But it has simply devastated Zacatecas, a dry, rolling agricultural region located about 400 miles northwest of Mexico City.
“Theories of migration always show the interests of the North,” says Raul Delgado Wise, director of the Graduate School of Development Studies at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and an expert on migration. He says migrants born in Mexico contribute 8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) — about $900 billion — which is more than Mexico’s entire GDP.
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