Transnational: Send Money Worldwide

Western Union Sign in Antigua Guatemala

The money movers of the world are everywhere and yet they are invisible, very much like the undocumented worker who feeds it. Western Union moves money, lots of it, and I mean LOTS OF IT. Money transfers are known as Remesas in Spanish and it is a word that was not very popular or widely known until recently.

Remesas represent a large source of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico just to mention a few countries. Remesas are also a good measurement to see how a country has failed to its citizens. More remesas mean more people forced to leave the native country in search of a better life.

Warning, extremely politicized side note (you may skip the reading):
Last week, Mr. Bush promulgated the law that supports the construction of 700-mile wall along the US-Mexico border. The so-called “fence” by the bill is being touted as a way to keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the border. I believe this is stupid and a waste of money. It is also a shame for any country to build walls nowadays; it is especially shameful for the United States. They should also send back the Statue of Liberty or at least turn it 180° so it gives its back to immigration. I still remember the Berlin Wall and all the money that the US spent in propaganda to bring it down. Will the new “fence” include barbed wire and mines?

Can a wall stop undocumented immigration? The short answer is no. The long answer is that the empire will have to build two BIG walls: one in the US-Mexico border and another in the US-Canada border. They will have to build a WWII-like fleet of ships to patrol the East and West Coasts. All airports will have to deny the entry to airplanes coming from abroad. Even then, immigrants will find a way into the low-wage jobs awaiting for them in the United States. The problem with immigration is the same as with drug trafficking: As long as there is a huge demand for them, they will find a way.

The best way to turn undocumented immigration into documented immigration is through laws and regulations. Give the immigrant a legal way to come to work and go home afterwards. You can not scream and yell about the American Dream throughout the world and expect people to be deft about it. Why stop the immigrant who wants to fulfill her American Dream?

Why should the United States be responsible for all those worker from the “Third World”? Well, the empire is young, a little over two-hundred years, but old enough to have caused havoc in many parts of the world through wars, invasions, coup d’etats, guerilla-warfare, assassinations, terrorist acts, massacres, embargoes, and a very long et-cetera. It is harvest time. The same goes for Europe.

Do not be surprise! There will always be immigration in this planet and in others as soon as we humans can find the way. At present time, immigration, like justice, is blind and is concerned only with distribution and retribution. If most of the wealth is, right now, in the northern hemisphere, the workers will migrate to the north. This flow will continue until the wealth is better distributed among the North and South, West and East.

The concept above brings us back to today’s post. Immigration takes the workers to the North and the West; Western Union brings back the wealth to the South and the East.

The soundtracks for this post will be Welcome to Tijuana and Clandestino by Manu Chao.

This is the last of the transnational series. Tomorrow will move to another aspect of the daily life in La Antigua Guatemala.

© 2006 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Dear Rudy, Thanks for this strong commentary that I fully support. South America has suffered so much from the US’s wrongdoings that it’s only natural that there’s a backlash. My post today is about Coke in Sydney : talking transnational there too !!!

  • Well you finally said something that wasn’t all sweatness and light. we have illigal aleins in out small town working in the tyson foods. i worked there many years and i had one problem with the illigals being in the plant. since they were illigal thay were scared all the time and the bosses loved them because they could kick them around and make the illigals do any type of work no matter had hard or dangrouse. we the anglo saxion talked about this often and many of us wanted to kick the aliens off our jobs.i maintained all you had to do was make them legal and all our problems would go away.the fence thing is because people across this country have been yelling for 14 years about the illigal aliens working in our factories.the truth is the fence probably will not be built because the cost is too is a ploy used by our leaders trying to get the people’s mind off the aliens .if the goverment wanted to get rid of illigal aliens all they would have to do is send the CEO’s of our rich companies to jail if they hired them and it would stop.
    this i know some really bad things are taking place in our work places. i could tell you stories you would not believe and i don’t want to get all stired up about this again.

  • My English language is too weak to write exactly what I would want, but i can say we have the same feeling and culpability in West Europe towards Africans who want to come by Ceuta and Melilla (small parts of Spain in Morocco)and inhabitants of East Europe who are treated like slaves in vineyards and fruits farms. Walls and fences are everywhere, first in our head…

  • Both political parties and their candidates pay lip service to controlling the borders. But neither President Bush nor Senator Kerry supports a system that would end the incentives for border crossers by cracking down on the employers of illegals. T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor organization that represents 10,000 border-patrol employees, believes the solution is obvious. The U.S. government, he says, should “issue a single document that’s counterfeit proof, that has an embedded photograph, that says this person has a right to work in the U.S. And that document is the Social Security card. It’s not a national ID card. It’s a card that you have to carry when you apply for a job and only then. The employers run it through a scanner, and they get an answer in short order that says, Yes, you may hire, or No, you may not. That would cut off 98% of all the traffic across the border. With your work force of 10,000 border-patrol agents, you actually could control the borders.”

    But Bonner doesn’t see that happening anytime soon because of pressure from corporate America. And all the available legislative evidence of the past quarter-century supports that view. “All the politicians–it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on–rely heavily on the donations from Big Business,” he says, “and Big Business likes this system [of cheap illegal labor]. here somethng for you to think about Rudy.

  • nap

    I’m with you 100%. There are a lot of things to say regarding this topic

  • sompopo


    Are you believing this nonsense?

    It’s as if we’re not even a sovereign country any more. The United States doesn’t exist. There are no borders. The U.S. is nothing but a grandiose economic system providing jobs to Mexicans and shoring up the corrupt Mexican government in the process.

    Why the outrage? Well, as you should know, Bush is saying he is going to sign a bill that calls for the construction of a fence along about 700 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico. That fence will be built on our side of the border. On U.S. territory — if there is any such thing any more.

    Well …. actually the Mexicans don’t seem to think that there is any such thing as “U.S. territory.” They’re raising hell about the fence and — now get this — they want the United Nations to stop it. The message here is that we have no right to protect our border. We have no right to keep people from entering into this country illegally.

    Vicente Fox only has about seven weeks left in his presidency, but he has dispatched his foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, to Europe on a mission. Part of that mission is to complain about the border fence. So far Sr. Derbez has talked to the French foreign minister about the fence, and now he’s on his way to complain to the governments of Spain and Italy. Derbez says he will continue his campaign against the border fence until Fox’s last day in office.

    What the hell? This payaso is traveling around Europe complaining that the United States is building a fence to keep his countrymen from crossing into our country illegally? This is absurd?

    Well .. .maybe not so absurd if you look at it through the eyes of Derbez and his cronies in the Mexican government. First — they truly feel that the border is illegitimate in the first place. That border runs along the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Those states, and the southern half of Colorado, are what many Mexicans refer to as the “Republica del Norte.” The area used to be part of Mexico — or whatever preceded Mexico — and is now being “re-conquered.” Go ahead. Google “Republica del Norte” and take a trip through the 12,000+ hits you’ll get.

    This stream of Mexicans across our border is an invasion, not a migration. They’re invaders, not immigrants.

    I don’t give a flying leap how many bales of pine straw they spread, how many square miles of sheetrock they hang, how many homes they build, how many cars they buff up as they emerge from the car wash …. I don’t care. It’s an invasion just the same. No real attempt is being made to assimilate into American culture. No interest is shown in learning to speak anything past basic English. Why should they? The ultimate goal is their own country, or a brand new northern state to be part of Mexico. Instead of trying to become part of our society, they write magazine articles informing us that “Los Angeles is Ours.”

    So .. .along comes this idea for a border fence, and they react is if they are being fenced off from something that belongs to them! They react that way because they feel that way.

    In case you are one of the few out there who are wondering how it is that the Republicans came to be in such trouble in this upcoming election …. look at the stream of Mexican invaders coming across our borders. What have the Republicans done to stop it? The border fence? Hey, it’s about 1400 miles too short. Besides … and here’s the key … it hasn’t been funded yet, and there are some serious doubts as to whether or not the congress will fund that fence at all.

  • Thanks for the commentary about the wall – I agree with you and Patsy Poor that until 1) the Republicans crack down on employers like Tyson, and 2) educate the American people about rising prices due to a lack of immigrant labor, the wall won’t be built and the situation won’t change. There was an interesting article in the NY Times recently about how the price of produce is going up this fall and winter because of a lack of migrant farmers this season in the USA. Mexicans aren’t invaders – they’re just hard-workers who don’t want a silly, hypocritical wall on their border.

  • LaurenceB

    The easiest solution would be to simply increase the quotas for legal immigrants. If plenty of people were allowed to come to the U.S. legally, they wouldn’t need to cross illegally. No need for a wall.

    Or is that too obvious? 🙂

  • Meg

    Loved this series. I hope you come back to it again in the future.

  • One thing you didn’t mention is the onerous fees that Western Union charges for the transfer of money, keeping up to 40% of the amount for their fee. Quite a large sum when you think that 30% of the gross national product of Honduras alone comes from remesas and a very large percentage of that comes through Western Union.

    And then to top that off, Western Union and even the banks here in Honduras, often ‘misplace’ money transfers for a day, a few days, a week, before finally turning the money over to the recipient, without interest, of course. And the people have no recourse for these kind of shady dealings as they do in the U.S.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Rudy, and making such an interesting comment. I had so much to say that I had to write an entire article about it here.

  • at least sompopo has common sense many of the rest of you lack…doesn’t mexico have any responsibility to creat opportunities for its own citizens?

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  • Love this quote:
    It is also a shame for any country to build walls nowadays; it is especially shameful for the United States. They should also send back the Statue of Liberty or at least turn it 180° so it gives its back to immigration.

  • Like this one too from Alice:

    Walls and fences are everywhere, first in our head…

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