Mexico in Brief: Maquiladoras to acquire COVID-19 vaccines for workers

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In this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 file photo, workers manufacture car dash mats at a maquiladora belonging to the TECMA group in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. A key draw for foreign assembly plants and investment has been Mexico’s low wages. While average manufacturing wages in China had risen to $3.60 per hour by 2016, Mexico’s had shrunk to $2.10 – a level some economists say is artificially low. (AP Photo/Ivan Pierre Aguirre, File)

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S.-run plants in Mexico plan to spend $15 million on COVID-19 vaccines for their workers, a newspaper reported.

A survey by Index, the Mexican Maquiladora Association, showed that 96 percent of plant managers are willing to pitch in to buy up to 500,000 doses of the vaccine once it’s available, Index-Juarez President Fabiola Luna told El Heraldo de Juarez.

She said the vaccines would be administered to workers at the plants as well as those who are still under contract but remain at home due to pre-existing conditions.

Index has 331 members in Mexico, most of them running manufacturing operations in border cities like Juarez, Tijuana and Reynosa. The plants employ hundreds of thousands of workers including 25,000 who are considered most vulnerable to the virus, the newspaper reported.

Violence rages in Chihuahua countryside

Three separate shootings have left nine people dead in the Western Chihuahua countryside in the past few days.

Five men were shot to death when their vehicle was ambushed in a farm road Monday in Uruachi, Mexican news media reported. The victims were shot at with AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles; three were identified as brothers and one died as he was driven to a hospital in Cuauhtemoc after the shooting, Omnia reported.

Remnants of armed attack in Urique, Chihuahua. (courtesy State of Chihuahua)

A second shooting in the town of Urique, southwest of Cuauhtemoc, left another two men dead and three wounded. And over the weekend, authorities found the abandoned bodies of two brothers on the Cuauhtemoc-La Junta highway, Diario de Chihuahua reported. Both were shot in the head with 7.62mm ammunition typically used in AK-47 rifles.

No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.

Western Chihuahua has been a battleground for rival drug cartels. Kidnappings, murders and mass shootings have taken place in the past three years, with 19 people dead in one clash between La Linea and Gente Nueva criminal organizations reported in April 2019.

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