Mexican Officials Come North Asking For Drought Aid
February 27, 2012

The drought plaguing Northern and Central Mexico is considered to be the worst in 70 years. Its severity is prompting some Mexican officials to come to this side of the border to ask for grassroots support.

Officials from the northern state of Durango are touring U.S. cities to encourage Mexican immigrant associations to raise money, send food donations, and reaching out to local companies for corporate charity.

Durango's Economic Development Minister Juan Francisco Guttiérez addressed a group of Mexican immigrants in Las Vegas last week.

"This drought has impacted everyone in Durango, and today, we are seeing that we need help, humanitarian aid," Guttiérez said in Spanish.

Photo by Jude Joffe-Block
Durango's Economic Development Minister Juan Francisco Guttiérez speaks to a group of Mexicans living in Las Vegas about the drought in his home state.

He spoke to a room of about 30 people after airing a video about the worsening conditions in Durango. The lack of water means farmers haven't been able to grow crops and cattle are dying.

"We need to help," said Margarita Chaidez, a casino worker from Durango who is leading the fundraising effort in Las Vegas. "I know we are going to receive some money, little by little we are going to do something."

So far she and other volunteers have established places around town for people to leave food donations that will ultimately be transported to Durango. They are also planning two dinners and live music events as fundraisers.

The delegation from Durango has also visited Illinois and Los Angeles. Trips to Dallas and other U.S. cities are in the works.