Wetenschap - 12 januari 1995

Financial Crisis in Mexico Hits MSc Students In Wageningen

Financial Crisis in Mexico Hits MSc Students In Wageningen

The troubles in Mexico are on the minds of Blanca Figueroa and her husband Miguel Olivera, Mexican MSc students both completing theses in the Tropical Forestry department. The couple hope to move straight into proposal writing for Ph.D.s in Wageningen. Beyond being very concerned for their homeland, the recent devaluation of the Peso has serious consequences for the couple.

It may mean that any Ph.D. financing they get from Mexico will be worth considerably less than it was even a few weeks ago. I don't know yet where our money will come from for Ph.D.s. I really want to do the Sandwich programme here, but if I need money from Mexico, it won't be worth much." Two weeks ago the Zapatista National Liberation Army marked the one year anniversary of their struggle against the Mexican Government by occupying government buildings and blocking roads in the Chiapas region. The Peso devalued 80 % over 2 weeks. The PRI Institutional Revolution Party which was reelected to power in August 1994 blames the Zapatistas' continued armed struggle for the money market uncertainty. Blanca cautions that the Zapatistas are not the bad guys". I agree with their demands for better conditions in Chiapas, such as health and education. The Peso problems are not only related to the situation in Chiapas. The Peso is a victim of greater economic prob
lems. It always happens after an election."

Although the Mexican currency crisis complicates funding options for Ph.D.s, Blanca and Miguel feel committed to furthering their academic careers and hope to find adequate financing so that they might eventually return to Mexico.