It took decades to build Mexico’s middle class. The coronavirus could demolish it

Monica Cardenas Leal was living the Mexican dream.

As her once-sleepy hometown of Querétaro transformed into an international hub of the aerospace industry, Cardenas grew with it. The daughter of a carpenter who worked multiple jobs to put food on the table, she graduated from a state aeronautics university and went to work for a Spanish firm assembling parts for Cessna jets and Sikorsky helicopters.

Her $500-a-month salary lifted her family into Mexico’s middle class.

She and her truck-driver husband took beach vacations and bought a house in the suburbs. Their children, outfitted in name-brand sneakers and braces, aspired to careers in architecture and psychology.

The coronavirus threatens to undo all of that.

Monica Cardenas now spends her days looking for a new job. “It’s overwhelming,” she says.  (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The pandemic has driven Mexico into its deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, with

Read More