Despite common antecedents among Mexican border communities, social disparities there, as in the rest of the republic, go from one extreme to the other. In the Forbes 500 list of multibillionaires, there are twenty-four Mexican families that together are worth over $44 billion, or the equivalent of Mexico’s national budget for 1990. In a country where over 20 million people face hunger daily and, even by official statistics, another 40 million are poor, this lopsided distribution of wealth is a moral scandal—but neither is it terribly novel. From the Spanish conquest on, when the cross and the sword of the Europeans bent ancient Anáhuac to their will, the poor, usually bronze of skin and racially more Indian than Spanish, carry the burdens of Mexico, the victims of man’s inhumanity to man.