Frontline World

Mexico - The Ballad of Juan Quezada, May 2005

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Synopsis of "The Ballad of Juan Quezada"

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Background, Pottery, NAFTA


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Links and Resources

• General Background
• Pottery in Northern Chihuahua
• The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
and the Mexican Economy

General Background

CIA World Factbook: Mexico
The CIA World Factbook provides comprehensive, up-to-date information about Mexico, from a summary of its origins to a survey of its economic, political and demographic landscape.

BBC Country Profile: Mexico
The BBC's country profile of Mexico includes key facts about Mexico's history, its socioeconomic landscape, its political leadership and its major media.

The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies
The Web site of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, based at the University of California at San Diego, is a clearinghouse for news, publications and research about relations between the United States and Mexico.

Chihuahuan Desert
Learn more about the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert at this site, which is maintained by the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas in El Paso.

"One Family, Two Homelands"
In December 2004, The San Antonio Express-News published this series by Macarena Hernández, about her family's migration from a small ranch in northern Mexico to Texas. The five-part series, narrated in the first person, tells the story of three generations of one family in the great Mexican migration northward. (Registration required.)

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Pottery in Northern Chihuahua

Celebrating Excellence in Ceramics
Mata Ortiz potters use the "tortilla method" to shape clay into pots. At this Arizona State University site, you can see how the pots are made, step by step.

Transforming a Tradition: The Potters of Mata Ortiz
The Lakeview Museum in Peoria, Illinois, exhibited the work of Mata Ortiz potters in 2000. This site explains how potter Juan Quezada resurrected the lost art of the Mimbres people, who lived in the Chihuahua region from about 750 to 1150 A.D.

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
and the Mexican Economy

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, with the promise of thousands of new jobs and new industries in Mexico. But the results have been mixed, experts say. NAFTA has facilitated the free movement of capital and goods, tripling trade among Mexico, the United States and Canada. However, it has also had a devastating effect on employment in Mexico, particularly in the agricultural sector, because the flood of subsidized food from the United States has resulted in plummeting prices for food produced in Mexico. As a result, millions of Mexican farmworkers are now unemployed, and many have migrated to the United States.

Read more about the pros and cons of NAFTA:

North American Free Trade Agreement
This Web site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides a broad overview of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade agreement among Mexico, the United States and Canada that was signed in 1994. Included are fact sheets about the agreement and an overview of its history.

"The Broken Promise of NAFTA"
This critical assessment of NAFTA, published in The New York Times in January 2004, was written by Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate and professor of economics at Columbia University. Stiglitz offers a broad overview of NAFTA's past and present, concluding that the treaty has served U.S. interests at the expense of Mexico.

"Mexico: Was NAFTA Worth It?"
Business Week assesses the social, economic and political impact of NAFTA a decade after its inception. The article includes links to other NAFTA-related features, such as statistical information about NAFTA's effect on migration to the United States.

Public Citizen: NAFTA
Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, maintains an online archive of reports documenting NAFTA's negative impact on the environment, jobs and workers' rights. Its Web site also features a special series, "NAFTA at Ten," a critical appraisal of the trade agreement on its 10-year anniversary.

NAFTA and Illegal Migration to the United States
This online report, published by the Center for Western Hemispheric Trade at the University of Texas at Austin, explores the relationship between NAFTA and migration flows to the United States.

Mexico: NAFTA and Migration
This article, published by the Migration Dialogue project of the University of California at Davis, suggests that NAFTA has helped to increase trade revenue for Mexico, the United States and Canada, but has exacerbated poverty in Mexico and increased migration to the United States.

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