On Sunday, May 1, 2005 artists from Mexico and the United States dedicated a mural in Nogales, Sonora that was created on the wall that separates their two countries.  Seeking to build a bridge of culture and recognizing their common humanity, these people of all ages are seeking to transform the climate of tension that grows between the U.S. and Mexico governments.

More below the fold…

Alberto Morackis, a Nogales, Sonora, artist who on Friday brushed light blue paint on the mural’s river, said that even though the purpose of the border wall is to separate, the making of the mural has served to bring together people from both sides.

“People are turning the border into something positive through art,” said Morackis, 43.

He was one of three artists from Tucson and Nogales who collaborated on the artwork.

Rafaela Fontanot, a project coordinator, said the plan was for people from Sonora and Arizona to jointly create the mural. Several youths from Tucson planned to participate.

“The idea was for people in the community to come together and create a mural that reinforces our cultural identity and our values,” she said. “The mural also is a show of solidarity with the indigenous people of Chiapas who continue to struggle for autonomy.”

Fontanot said the mural was painted on a portion of the wall, used daily by scores of young Mexicans who cross illegally, to send a message.

The absence of so many young Mexicans who leave for the wealthier United States means a shrinking labor force in their own country that particularly affects rural areas, she said.

“Maybe the mural can persuade a young man to reflect on what he’s leaving behind – or even keep him from crossing,” Fontanot said.

Arizona Daily StarEmphasis mine

Living here in the U.S. we tend to see the immigration issue as one-sided.  We don’t realize the impact that it has on the economies of Mexico and other South American countries.  According to a Pew Hispanic Center report in 2004 “the amount of money sent to Mexico increased dramatically from $9.2 billion in 2001 to $13.2 billion in 2003, a growth of 43 percent.”  The immigration issue is complex because it’s more than just the U.S. economy at stake.  

Projects such as this mural help to ease the hostility that exists between the two countries.  My hope is that once our elected leaders decide to enter negotiations on Immigration Reform, they will consider the consequences both north and south of the border.

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