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  • Interview with Alejandro Rico Romero / Una Entrevista con Alejandro Rico Romero
  • Charles H. Rowell and Marcus Jones
  • Interview with Alejandro Rico Romero
  • Charles H. Rowell and Marcus Jones

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Emmanuel Romero Rico
Pierda Gorda, Mexico

Photo by Marcus D. Jones © 2007

[End Page 58]

This interview took place on May 13, 2007, in Piedra Gorda, Veracruz, Mexico.

JONES: Where are you from?

ROMERO: I am from here.

JONES: And you spent your whole life here?


ROWELL: What kind of work do you do?

ROMERO: I work in a fertilizer warehouse. I also work here, in the fields.

ROWELL: What do you do in the factory?

ROMERO: The factory sells fertilizers for lemon crops, sugar cane, papaya, pineapple-everything that's grown in the fields. You need certain products for certain plants. They're mixed depending on the plant. Maybe a plant needs more potassium or more phosphorus. The combinations are created there.

ROWELL: Has your family always lived here?

ROMERO: Yes, as far as I know.

ROWELL: Do you own the land that you farm?

ROMERO: Yes, the land is mine and my dad's. My dad has part of it. I have another part.

JONES: Do the families who own land earn enough to live on or are there many people who go somewhere else? [End Page 59]

ROMERO: Most people who are here have to go elsewhere. The head of the household has to go find work somewhere else. Here they might be able to earn a living, but in the community, there are only twenty of us who are landowners. Among those twenty, the majority are what we call "non-farming dwellers." And those who don't have their own land, they probably have to go in order to survive, whether it's to the city or with others who have a significant amount of land. Nowadays, all of them normally go to the United States. It's what seems the easiest for them.

ROWELL: Why did you stay here and work the land and work in the factory, as opposed to going to the United States?

ROMERO: I think that every mind is a world unto itself, as is commonly said. Maybe I'm conformist. That is to say, I'm happy with the little that I have. Also, I'm very close to my family, and my people are here. I don't think it's fair to go struggle somewhere else. I'm here mostly for my family. I don't want to say that I don't need anything, or that I don't have the desire to have a bit more. But I am all right here.

JONES: How old are you?

ROMERO: I am thirty-six years old.

ROWELL: Does this community have its own school, church, and health clinic?

ROMERO: There's only preschool and elementary school. And there's a chapel. The health clinic is in the community up the road. That's what serves this community. One good thing about living here is that we are insured. For instance, I have insurance through the company I work for. Each person goes to his corresponding health center. To continue studying, one has to go for instance to the town that's up ahead [pointing]. One assesses where to go depending on whether one wants to keep studying.

JONES: How many years have you been working for this company?

ROMERO: I've only been here two years. The company has been around for a while, but it's been two years since this warehouse opened.

JONES: Did you leave here to go study?

ROMERO: Yes. I went to elementary school here and junior high school in the little town over here. Then I went to Cordoba and I studied accounting over there. I was in Mexico City while I was working in the navy. From Mexico City I returned, and I stayed here.

JONES: Did you study accounting at a university in Cordoba? [End Page 60]

ROMERO: No, it was a techical career.

JONES: Do many people leave here to go study?

ROMERO: Not really. It's rare for somebody to leave...


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