Wendy Call visited the Isthmus of Tehuantepec—the lush sliver of land connecting the Yucatan Peninsula to the rest of Mexico—for the first time in 1997. She found herself in the midst of a storied land, a place Mexicans call their country's “little waist,” a place long known for its strong women, spirited marketplaces, and deep sense of independence. She also landed in the middle of a ferocious battle over plans to industrialize the region, where most people still fish, farm, and work in the forests. In the decade that followed her first visit, Call witnessed farmland being paved for new highways, oil spilling into rivers, and forests burning down. Through it all, local people fought to protect their lands and their livelihoods—and their very lives.
Call’s story, No Word for Welcome, invites readers into the homes, classrooms, storefronts, and fishing boats of the isthmus, as well as the mahogany-paneled high-rise offices of those striving to control the region. With timely and invaluable insights into the development battle, Call shows that the people who have suffered most from economic globalization have some of the clearest ideas about how we can all survive it.