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Recently the Ixil Mayas of Guatemala have experienced two new strategies for climbing out of poverty. The first, conceived by aid consultants, is to lend them money so that they can become entrepreneurs. The second, conceived by the Ixils, is to borrow $5,000 each to smuggle themselves into the United States. For Ixils intent on working in the U.S., microcredits and other lending institutions have been an obvious place to borrow the money. For other Ixils who have borrowed money from institutions, the highest possible rate of return is to turn around and loan the money to Ixil migrants at 10% per month. Since Ixils in the U.S. have few defenses against unscrupulous employers, many are unable to make enough money to pay the debts and Nebaj lending institutions face many defaults.

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Stoll, David, 1952-

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