Mexico has a thriving economy—if you are among the wealthy inhabitants of the country. Due to political and social inequalities, plus the drug trading and other criminal activity, the majority of people in Mexico live in grueling poverty, with no hope of bettering themselves until the infrastructure that bars them from opportunities changes. This is a slow process as corruption is deeply imbedded in their system, and the laws protect the wealthy, leaving the poor citizens of Mexico virtually disenfranchised from society.
In the meantime, CRS, Catholic Relief Services, is working to make a difference in the everyday lives of the poor. CRS gives them aid for today and hope for tomorrow by aiding the citizens in many ways. One of their greatest achievements is working to increase solidarity between the United States and Mexico, in order to help migrant worker programs.
CRS also works within Mexico to fight for worker’s rights, particularly those of migrant farm workers in the USA and Mexico. Catholic Relief Services is not just advising workers to go to the USA, they are helping Mexicans cultivate opportunities in their own land. A quote from the Catholic Relief Services’ website, //www.crs.org/our-work-overseas/where-we-work/mexico, states that, “In order to diminish the rural population need to migrate, CRS is developing innovative agriculture projects, specifically i) rebuilding weak extension services and institutionalizing effective models, ii) promoting conservation agriculture, focusing on restoring soil health, and iii) prioritizing rainfed agriculture.” These actions help Mexicans become self sufficient in their own country, and provide alternatives to crossing the border in order to survive.
They also offer legal assistance to assist in protecting the rights of the unjustly imprisoned through corrupt criminal courts and police officers. Many of the citizens of Mexico have witnessed or have been victims of violent crime and are left traumatized. Catholic Relief Services’ provides victim support and counseling. Some of the at risk youths, many who have been victims of crime, become involved in criminal activity such as the drug trade out of hopelessness and desperation. Catholic Relief Services’ assists with programs designed for Mexico’s vulnerable youth with programs that include psychological counseling and educational programs designed to assist students to stay in school and find higher educational opportunities through loans and scholarships.
Catholic Relief Services has been involved in aid to Mexico since the times of refugee resettlement that occurred after World War II. Dividing their limited, yet dedicated volunteers among many countries in need.
They also keep the focus on helping parents keep their families strong and united following natural disasters such as earthquakes and mudslides, that destroy homes and take human lives. In 1985 after Mexico was hit by an earthquake that took over 9,000 lives, CRS returned to Mexico to provide disaster recovery services.
In 1994, the Zapatista uprising left many citizens homeless and the country in turmoil in the aftermath. This crisis brought to light the corruption and inequality experienced by Mexicans, who are not protected by a Bill of Rights or other legislative protections. The United States and other democratic nations take for granted our protection in the workplace, courtroom, and in our homes.
The above is only a summary of Catholic Relief Services’ work in Mexico. Through donations and liaisons with other relief groups, CRS is actively involved in making Mexico a healthier, more just society for its inhabitants.