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