Mexico

The reason why a lot of the photographs I take in Mexico kind of mix up the politics and the communities and families all together is because this is the way that I was encountering them. And this is also the way that I was getting my education about Mexico. I think that, in some ways, what I was able to do in the photographs and in the words is to present back here to the United States a picture of what was going on in Mexico that I think was truer and more accurate than what we were seeing in the media here.

David Bacon

Mexico has faced multiple economic challenges, and remains a country of striking economic disparity. During the revolutionary era, from approximately 1911 through 1928, agrarian reforms were intended to uplift and modernize a vast rural and illiterate country. Over the subsequent decades, peso devaluations and international agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994 made it easier for capital to cross international borders and harder for small businesses and family farms to prosper.

The outgrowth of globalization has been a wide-ranging and long process. The Zócalo or main square in Mexico City—the cosmopolitan center of the country, home to multiple industries and a fast-paced urban landscape—has long provided a location for civic and political organizing. During the 1990s and 2000s Mexico witnessed multiple presidential campaigns that were highly contested. The privatization of the municipal bus system resulted in hundreds of drivers rallying in the Zócalo in a bid to save their union benefits and jobs. Since the 1990s, David Bacon has been photographing the impact of globalization in Mexico, including the mass migration from Mexico to the United States, largely comprising indigenous people from Mexico’s poorest regions, as well as tumultuous presidential campaigns, privatization of government businesses and services, and labor disputes between small farmers and corporate agribusiness.


Members of Mexico City's bus drivers' union, SUTAUR-100, hold a giant union meeting and rally in the zocalo
Members of Mexico City's bus drivers' union, SUTAUR-100, hold a giant union meeting and rally in the zocalo
Granaderos, or security police, in face and body shields watch a rally of Mexico City's bus drivers' union, SUTAUR-100, before breaking it up and driving the workers out of the zocalo, the main square in the center of the city
Granaderos, or security police, in face and body shields watch a rally of Mexico City's bus drivers' union, SUTAUR-100, before breaking it up and driving the workers out of the zocalo, the main square in the center of the city
A musician plays and walks with the crowd to the Zocalo, Mexico City's central plaza, to celebrate the inauguration of Mexico's new President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
A musician plays and walks with the crowd to the Zocalo, Mexico City's central plaza, to celebrate the inauguration of Mexico's new President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Among the Mexicans in the Zocalo, celebrating the inauguration of Mexico's new President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, are workers fired in the privatization of the city's Ruta 100 busline over twenty years earlier
Among the Mexicans in the Zocalo, celebrating the inauguration of Mexico's new President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, are workers fired in the privatization of the city's Ruta 100 busline over twenty years earlier
The dry hilly countryside of the Mixteca region of Oaxaca
The dry hilly countryside of the Mixteca region of Oaxaca
Zacarias Salazar plows his cornfield behind a wooden plough
Zacarias Salazar plows his cornfield behind a wooden plough
Sra. Maldonado, a Mixteca woman living in a Triqui community where most people have left for the U.S., cooks in the traditional way, over charcoal and wood
Sra. Maldonado, a Mixteca woman living in a Triqui community where most people have left for the U.S., cooks in the traditional way, over charcoal and wood
Fausto Limon is a farmer in Perote Valley, and a leader of Pueblos Unidos
Fausto Limon is a farmer in Perote Valley, and a leader of Pueblos Unidos
Indigenous Nahuatl campesinos, or small farmers, erect a planton, or encampment, and demonstrate every day on the Reforma in downtown Mexico City
Indigenous Nahuatl campesinos, or small farmers, erect a planton, or encampment, and demonstrate every day on the Reforma in downtown Mexico City
People sell produce and other products on Juxtlahuaca's market day
People sell produce and other products on Juxtlahuaca's market day
Indigenous Triqui women, men and their children march through the streets of Oaxaca city to protest a wave of killing in their home community of San Juan Copala
Indigenous Triqui women, men and their children march through the streets of Oaxaca city to protest a wave of killing in their home community of San Juan Copala
Two indigenous children beg on the street in Oaxaca just before Christmas - a girl playing accordion and a boy with a begging bowl - as well-dressed people pass by
Two indigenous children beg on the street in Oaxaca just before Christmas - a girl playing accordion and a boy with a begging bowl - as well-dressed people pass by
A former bracero honored by the Oaxacan Institute for Attention to Migrants, and its director Rufino Dominguez, during a celebration of the International Day of the Migrant
A former bracero honored by the Oaxacan Institute for Attention to Migrants, and its director Rufino Dominguez, during a celebration of the International Day of the Migrant