U.S. Border Patrol supervisor Dan Garibay scans the Rio Grande for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while overlooking the Laredo, Texas, International Bridge number 3 which crosses into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Aug. 8, 2001. The bridge is the busiest commercial border crossing in the world, with nearly 10,000 trucks crossing every day.
After capture by U.S. Border Patrol agents, illegal Mexican immigrants wait to be transferred to a processing center near Laredo, Texas. Aug. 8, 2001. The Border Patrol generally returns the illegal Mexican immigrants to the international bridge, the beginning of the Pan-American Highway, where they cross back into Mexico, often only waiting a few days before trying again to cross into the United States.
An illegal Mexican immigrant, his shirt torn by thorns while trying to flee U.S. Border Patrol agents, awaits processing at a temporary detention center in Laredo, Texas, July 20, 2001. The Border Patrol generally returns the illegal Mexican immigrants to the international bridge, the beginning of the Pan-American Highway, where they cross back into Mexico, often only waiting a few days before trying again to cross into the United States.
A Pakistani immigrant requests water from a Mexican prison guard at the central immigrant detention center in Mexico City, Nov. 14, 2001. Mexican authorities detain thousands of illegal immigrants yearly, coming from all over the world, in route to the United States.
A visitor to Nuevo Laredo's "tolerance zone," known to locals as Disneyland, negotiates with a prostitute, right, as other visitors cruise the scene of Nuevo Laredo's red light district July 17, 2001. Despite its seedy side, Nuevo Laredo also is a capital of the New Globalization, with the busiest commercial border crossing in the world.
A "maquila" worker, 15, sorts colored markers at a "maquiladora" factory in Nuevo Laredo, Aug. 3, 2001. The foreign-owned maquiladoras offer low-wage jobs to hundreds of thousands of workers across Mexico, but do not pay Mexican taxes.
A family walks through Monterrey's Marco Plaza, one of the largest and most modern public parks in Mexico, on a balmy Sunday, Sept. 30, 2001. Monterrey is considered Mexico's business capital and has one of the highest standards of living in the nation.
A city employee fills the tank of a public bus, advertising for a money-changing house, in Monterrey, May 15, 2001. Monterrey is considered Mexico's business capital and a main economic link with the United States and dollars are plentiful.
A plant vendor pushes his way through traffic in front of a replica of America's beacon of freedom - the Statue of Liberty, in this case the facade of the Manhatten strip club in Mexico City, Sept. 12, 2001. The club was later closed down on charges of permitting prostitution on its premises.
A Mexican army soldier walks through a field of heroin poppies in the mountains surrounding Chilpancingo, the capitol of the Mexican state of Guerrero, Aug. 27, 2002. Although marijuana is Mexico's main illegal drug crop, poppy cultivation, the resin later refined into heroin, has risen in recent years.
A family maid does double-duty while a bride poses for photos following a wedding ceremony in Real de 14 in northern Mexico, May 13, 2000. Most families of any means in Latin America have a team of servants, a luxury reserved for mosty the wealthy in the United States.
Zapoteco Indians mourn their family members during a mass funeral in Santiago Xochiltepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, June 2, 2002. Two evenings before, 26 men of that village were stopped on the highway nearby and gunned down over a land dispute with a neighboring village.
Kachikele Indian children play on the tombs of a cemetery during Day of the Dead in Sumpango, Guatemala, Nov. 2, 2000. On Day of the Dead in much of Latin America family members visit the graves of their deceased loved ones.
A Kachikele Indian grandmother gets a look at her image on a tourist's digital camera at a cemetery during Day of the Dead in Sumpango, Guatemala, Nov. 2, 2000. By tradition, family members bring food and drink preferred by their deceased relatives, and consume it alongside the graves.
A drunken man is watched over by his wife while visiting deceased relatives in a cemetery during Day of the Dead near Sumpango, Guatemala, Nov. 2, 2000. By tradition, family members bring food and drink preferred by their deceased relatives, and consume it alongside the graves.
Workers unload goods at the "Distributor of American Articles" warehouse in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 20, 2001. The United States is Honduras' biggest trading partner, with whom it exchanges its greatest national resource - bananas - for many types of American goods.
Santa Irena Reyes, 50, cooks tortillas over a wood fire in the kitchen of her humble home in Los Altos de Toncontin, Honduras, Oct. 14, 2001. Like most women in Honduras, Reyes works at home, but her small business provides for her extended family.
Sandinista supporters laugh during a campaign rally in Waspam, Nicaragua, Sept. 18, 2001. The Sandinista candidate, Daniel Ortega, pictured at left on T-shirt, went on to lose the election, his third unsuccessful bid since his presidency in the 1980s. He later went on to win on his next try and is currently president of Nicaragua.
Children of displaced workers grasp for food aid at a camp in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Aug. 20, 2001. Thousands of countryside laborers across Central America lost their jobs when international coffee prices plumeted in 2001.
Segundo Segundo, 5, rests on the bare boards of his impoverished family's quarters at a hostel for coffee workers in Los Milagros, Nicaragua, Aug. 21, 2001. His family, making a couple of dollars a day in the fields, was one of the lucky ones, as thousands of countryside laborers across Central America lost their jobs when international coffee prices plumeted in 2001.
Rosa Merced Morales, mother of three, including 5-month-old Wilbur Antonio, sits amidst the garbage of the Managua landfill, Sept. 24, 2001, where she collects salvagable items from what others throw away. Rosa, born into a middle-class family, saw her fortunes slide, as has Nicaragua, through years of civil war and disastrous economic policies.
A fisherman repairs his boat next to the span of Bridge of the Americas where the Pan-American Highway crosses the Panama Canal, Nov. 20, 2000. The Canal, one of the world's great waterways, was handed over to Panama by the United States in 1999.
A boy peers from the back of a cargo truck stopped at a police checkpoint on the Pan-American Highway between Cali and Popayan, one of the most dangerous stretches of the road, Sept. 13, 2000. FARC guerrillas also set up brief roadblocks of their own on the same stretch, kidnapping unlucky motorists and their vehicles.
A Colombian soldier is reunited with his parents at a military base in Medellin, June 18, 2001, after being released from more than a year of captivity by FARC guerrillas. Hundreds of soldiers and guerrillas returned home in 2001 in a prisoner exchange, part of the country's halting peace process.
A man arrives early for a funeral in Bogota, Sept. 2, 2000, for an officer killed in a guerrilla ambush near Pereira. While Colombia is probably best known throughout the world for its production of cocaine, Colombians spend much more time worrying about the civil war that kills at least 3,000 people a year.
Members of the Martinez family arrive in a hearse for a funeral in Tulua, Colombia, Sept. 13, 2000. The hearse was only one of four carrying a husband and three sons who were executed in the family's front yard near Tulua days before. Surviving family members said they believed the men who came to kill them were paramilitary fighters.
Family members and friends await the arrival of the body at a funeral in Bogota, Sept. 2, 2000, for an officer killed in a guerrilla ambush near Pereira. While Colombia is probably best known throughout the world for its production of cocaine, Colombians spend much more time worrying about the civil war that kills at least 3,000 people a year.
Guambiano Indians look over the fertile fields near Silvia, Colombia, Sept. 14, 2000. The government had promised the Guambianos land, money and seed to develop alternative crops to heroin poppies. So they cut down their poppies, but 16 months later neither land nor money had arrived, and malnutrition and crime appeared in their communities.
Otovalo Indians ride on horseback through the streets of San Rafael, Ecuador, celebrating Intiraymi, the Festival of the Sun, June 11, 2001. The small tribe of Otovalenos is perhaps the most successful Indian group in the Americas, both as international merchants and in keeping with their tribal traditions.
A pedestrian walks along Jorge Washington Street in Quito, Ecuador, June 9, 2001. Quito is a capitol of decaying splendor amid economic ruin, as the once-powerful sucre fell from 821 to the dollar in 1990 to 25,000 to the dollar in the summer of 2001.
A visitor passes by stuffed beasts and 18th-century paintings in the museum of a military academy in Quito, Ecuador, June 13, 2001. The lion and tiger had been in the school's zoo before they took ill and died. The zoo then closed and the school opened a museum.
A hotel employee tries to catch goldfish while cleaning a hotel lobby aquarium in Paracas in southern Peru, June 7, 2001. Thousands of tourists visit Paracas each year, mostly to visit the nearby colony of sea lions.
Riot police shield departing Ecuadorean soccer fans after Ecuador defeated Peru 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match in Lima, June 2, 2001. Disgruntled Peruvian fans threw insults and bottles at the Ecuadorians. Peru and Ecuador have a history of occasional border skirmishes and the countries have a fierce soccer rivalry.
Ecuadorian soccer fans celebrate following their national team win again Peru during a World Cup qualification game at Peru's national stadium in Lima, June 2, 2001. Ecuador went on to qualify for the 2002 World Cup and Peru was eliminated.
A skier rides a ski lift at a resort in Portillo, Chile, near the Argentina border. Sept. 8, 2001. The high mountain pass is the highest part of the Pan-American Highway and often closed in winter because of avalanches.
Chilean riot police, known as "carabineros," stand guard in the streets of Santiago after protesters hurled stones at them and then quickly fled, Sept. 9, 2001. The carabineros, for years loyal to former dictator Augusto Pinochet and known for their brutality, have modified their tactics in recent years under civilian rule.
Supporters of former dictator Augusto Pinochet adjust a photo of their leader at a special dinner in his honor, Santiago, Sept. 10, 2001. More than 500 mostly wealthy supporters showed up to toast their former leader and sing the praises of his Sept. 11, 1973 military coup.
Argentine gauchos pass their time at the bar in a 150-year-old general store in San Antonio de Areco, Argentina, Sept. 6, 2001. Jobs are scarce and wages plunging in Argentina, both in rural and urban zones, with the country already years into economic depression.
An egg breaks against the side of the Argentina Central Bank, protected by police, during a protest march in Buenos Aires, April 27, 2002. The protesters were demanding that the government reimburse them in dollars from their frozen investments.
Partners tango down the dance floor as a patron takes a break at the Club Gricel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 7, 2001. Tango was born in Buenos Aires, and the capital has scores of tango clubs, although with an increasingly aging clientele.
A ceremonial Argentine guard crosses an intersection in front of the presidential palace, the Casa Rosada, after their daily tribute at the tomb of independence leader San Martin in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 7, 2001.