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The North is a Chimera for Those who Stay to Wait for Relatives and Remittances

The Mayas, who in the classical era of their civilization mysteriously depopulated large stone cities in Mesoamerica, now, a millennium later, abandon their adobe and thatched roof villages in the Yucatán peninsula at a rate that could be comparable. Every year, over a thousand cross the border into the United States. This time their motives are not a mystery: local poverty and the promise of a better life, especially in California, push them to exodus. The traffic is bidirectional, in any case. While the people march north, back to the south come remittances of money, hopes and new cultural patterns. However, life for those who stay at home is not easy, especially for married women, who submit not only to an endless wait, but also to asphyxiating social norms.

12/12/2017 12:00:00 AM

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Mother's intuition had warned her. María del Socorro May insisted many times to Saúl Naal, her immigrant son in the city of San Rafael, in northern California, to return to his home in Peto as soon as possible. Since he left, he had not seen him in six years.

Peto, a municipality of approximately 25,000 inhabitants, located right in the southern cone of the state of Yucatán, Mexico, which occupies the northern part of the homonymous peninsula that projects to the Caribbean, where a third of the population is of Mayan origin. It is known to be one of the towns from which most workers migrate to the USA. Already in 2009, the Migration Survey with a Gender Perspective, the most recent government effort to locate migrants from the entity, revealed that 5,200 people -a fifth of the population of the municipality- had migrated to the American Union.

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