Migrants using online communities to stay in touch with their Mexican villages


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Mexicans who have migrated to the United States from rural villages have been forming online communities to stay in touch with their families and friends back home. They log onto specific websites (such as that of Tlaltenango.com, above) to share photos, memories and send Yearbook-style greetings. In the process, they are reinforcing cultural, historic and emotional ties.

In some cases, the online communication is also providing a way of reinforcing democratic practices and political debate in Mexico. According to one study about the village of San Martin de Blonan~os, 13.26 percent of messages on that village’s independently-run web site included discussions about politics and accountability (A few examples: The alleged corruption of one of the mayoral candidate members and mine contamination in a local river). The study, by Mexican researcher Miriam Cardenas Torres, provides a fascinating look at the online dynamics of this particular Jalisco community and the technological barriers and benefits to such interaction.

I am not finding a recent link to the paper about San Martin de Bloan~os that I found earlier this year by Miriam Cardenas Torres. But here is a link to another study of hers that mentions San Martin de Bolan~os: “Transnational Migration and Communication” (in Spanish). An additional study by Victor Gonzalez an Luis Castro  – “Maintaining links through the Web: The case of the Mexican communities of immigrants in the United States” (in Spanish) – was published in the Journal of Community Informatices (2007).

Special thanks to Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of “Mexican Enough.” Elizondo Griest mentioned Miriam Cardenas’ studies in her own book “Mexican Enough,” which I read earlier this year.

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3 responses to “Migrants using online communities to stay in touch with their Mexican villages

  1. This is great! Thank you for posting this Anna. I had no idea that immigrants were forming online communities to stay in touch. That is a huge step in what I think is the right direction. Someday I hope to join these online communities in order to communicate with people I have met through my travels in Mexico and other parts of the world.

  2. Hi, Hansen. It is very interesting! I read these papers as part of a proposal to obtain funding for a research project on this topic. I didn’t end up getting the green light, but that’s ok – I am so swamped with things I probably wouldn’t have been able to give it the proper attention. Perhaps someone else can. I would love to see a news or magazine story on the topic.

  3. Donald Amin Bravo

    Hi,

    I have never read this page before but now that I have I feel obligated to say a bit of what happens here in Tijuana, On a day to day basis. The mayor here has no clue of how to run things. his political party and him spend with no concern or consideration the hard earned tax-payers money which comes with much sacrifice. For the most part he does not not reside here. The “criminals” they capture are nothing more than common citizens who work until late and walk home after sunset, once apprehended under the charge of loitering, they are with a fine, and night in jail and not to mention the moral blow delivered, reminded of, and conditioned to there class, “the working class”. Furthermore he and his party blame the previous administration for the high infiltration of organized crime in the city, and it’s police force. what they don’t mention is that when mayor Jorge Hank Rhone entered as mayor, the federal government Operated by Partido Accion Nacional Or “PAN” striped police of their arm’s leaving them exposed. later they where investigated for ties to organized crime and tested under lie detector. As a result of those tests conducted by the state government also of the same party, 98% of the officers returned to their duties. His administration was the only one to govern Tijuana for the “PRI” since Mayor Federico Valdez left office in 1989.

    So I leave you and your readers with this news to investigate and open your minds to truth and see past the smoke and mirrors.

    until next time,
    your illuminator

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