A failed vision
By RICHARD MAROSI | Veracruz, Mexico NOV. 26, 2017
Sixteen years ago, Mexico embarked on a monumental campaign to elevate living standards for its working-class masses.
The government teamed with private developers to launch the largest residential construction boom in Latin American history. Global investors — the World Bank, big foundations, Wall Street firms — poured billions of dollars into the effort.
Vast housing tracts sprang up across cow pastures, farms and old haciendas. From 2001 to 2012, an estimated 20 million people — one-sixth of Mexico’s population — left cities, shantytowns and rural ranchos for the promise of a better life.
It was a Levittown moment for Mexico — a test of the increasingly prosperous nation’s first-world ambitions. But Mexico fell disastrously short of creating that orderly suburbia.
The program has devolved into a slow-motion social and financial catastrophe, inflicting daily hardships and hazards on millions in troubled developments across the country, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.
Homeowners toting buckets scrounge for water delivered by trucks. Gutters run with raw sewage from burst pipes. Streets sink, sidewalks crumble, and broken-down water treatment plants rust. In some developments, blackouts hit for days at a time.
Inside many homes, roofs leak, walls crack and electrical systems short circuit, blowing out appliances and in some cases sparking fires that send families fleeing. To read more and see photos go to https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-mexico-housing/