Nevertheless, Fox is under enormous pressure to fulfill the expectations for greater democracy that led to his own election. “Millions of people voted for change,” Hernandez Juarez declares. “They voted for democracy, not for protection contracts. They voted for union freedom. What sense does it make that, for the first time in our history, workers can elect a president who’s not from the PRI, and yet they can’t choose the general secretary of their own union?”
In Rio Bravo, however, workers have yet to negotiate a new contract to replace the old protection agreement, and 100 remain fired, including Almaguer. For almost five months, grim-faced and determined women, often with their children beside them, have confronted police outside the plant, and camped out in Rio Bravo’s main plaza.
Their banners, which fly outside the plant every day, demand “libertad sindical,” or the right to belong to a union of their choice.