Partners for Responsible Trade's visit to Matamoros, Reynosa, and Rio Bravo Mexico June 2014
We spent some time along the border from Laredo, TX to Brownsville, TX learning more about the various industrial parks and small cities on both sides of the border. We also visited Matamoros on this trip. We spent some time with the promotoras and Rosa Moreno. We delivered 3 more tablet PCs to promotoras to assist them in their work.
We also had a meeting where several injured workers were present and told their stories about how they were injured in a maquiladora factory. We spoke with a woman that talked of being burned by metals and welding equipment in the Andrew factory. She indicated the safety equipment was inadequate and the fumes within the factory cause workers to have trouble breathing. The woman showed us scars on her arms from being burned.
We also met with a woman whose son was working in the LG Reynosa factory when he became ill with kidney cancer. He is only 20 years old and was working as the factory's chemical and material distributor. His job required him to work with and transport chemicals and other materials by hand all day. He was not told what types of chemicals he worked with and was not provided with appropriate safety equipment. The labels on the chemical containers had been removed. Until more information can be obtained about the chemicals used, we cannot prove that the illness occured as a result of his job. He is currently being treated with chemotherapy, however he continues to get sicker. His entire body is swollen and he can no longer walk. His mother would very much like a second opinion on his medical diagnosis, but she can't afford one. In addition, her daughter who is 15 has also become ill with the same symptoms. She used to handle her brother's gloves that he wore when he was working in the factory.
We also had interviews with several of the promotoras for inclusion in a documentary book that we are working on about the border.