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By the Lake of Sleeping Children

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As I read By the Lake of Sleeping Children, I find it monotonous playing in the same tune as Across the Wire. Both books have dealt with what life is like for those living on the Mexican side of the border living in poverty, unsanitary conditions and economic hardships. These crises have illustrated why so many are faced to make the dangerous and illegal journey across the United States. In By the Lake of Sleeping Children Urrea takes these dramatic scenes and shows a flawed NAFTA.

The key to sociologist Karl Marx, is the idea of social conflict which means struggle among segments of society over valued resources (Sociology 99). NAFTA North American Free Trade Association was established to bring economic growth however the large corporations are there for a profit and Tijuana residents will continue to suffer under terrible environmental devastation. Urrea tells about the dompe, an area in Tijuana known for its deplorable living conditions by mass squatters settlements having poor drinking water and inadequate sewage treatment. These people are living in these terrible conditions and I am sure they want a better life for themselves but how can this be achieved when large Multi-national Corporations move is to focus exclusively on profit over environmental well-being. In my opinion the implementation of NAFTA will cause more harm to these grief stricken people.

The increasing industrialization in Mexico as a result of NAFTA can have an environmental impact on health. Hazardous wastes from their factories and oil operation spills in the water can cause massive heath problems to the residents. In an effort to gain more profit and to have their cops flourished pesticides use on the land could also be life threatening. It seems that nothing can be done about these big time capitalists that are only out for self gain. Because of Tijuanas economic situation the government probably do not have the finance to monitor what is being done. Spending money on environmental law enforcements seems far fetched. This powerful multi-national corporation know Tijuanas economic situation and take advantage of the situation.

The children are placed in orphanages and the teenagers seem to get in a lot of trouble because there is nothing to do. Another instance of how the corporations are reaping the benefits of NAFTA is through the workers. Many U.S. assembly plants have relocated in Tijuana exploiting the cheap labor. Capitalist obtain higher profits when taking advantage of the workers by paying them lower wages. I believe that to help, the public should put their input in environmental decision making. To make sure policy makers are made aware of their environmental concerns. A group of people should make their concerns heard in cases where local and national government may have been initially unresponsive. As for the conditions for the workers; yes it is not right but it is not our country, their government should try to make laws to improve their working conditions. The whole ordeal will turn into an ugly, never-ending cycle which is a sad but true fact. Multinational cooperation will almost exclusively always focus on profit over environmental well being.

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