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Alberto Isai Baltazar Cruz

Freie Universität Berlin

Latin American Institute

PhD Candidate

Cultural and Social Anthropology

Rüdesheimer Straße 54-56
14197 Berlin


  • (2016-2018) MSc by Research in Social Anthropology, School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh
  • (2012-2014) Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies, The College of the Northern Border (El COLEF)
  • 2003-2008) Bachelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology, Faculty of Anthropology, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEMex)

Academic and professional experience

  • Jesuit Migrant Service (JMS), Mexico

Main Activities: Human Rights and Social Services
Position: Database Analist and Technician

  • Jesuit Migrant Service (JMS), Mexico

Main Activities: Human Rights and Social Services
Position: Consultant Researcher

  •  De La Riva Strategic Research

Main Activities: Marketing Research
Position: Ethnographer and Anthropologist

  • Population Services International (PSI), Mexico

Main Activities: Social Marketing
Position: Cultural Research Consultant

  • Population Services International (PSI), Mexico

Main Activities: Social Marketing
Position: Project Coordinator

  • South Comunity College Highschool

Main Activities: Education
Position: Subject Teacher

Research Project

"Looking for Better Lives. Contested Desires, Hopes, and Futures in the Postglobal Undocumented Migration Borderscapes"

Everyday people from Mexico and Central America decide to migrate to the United States of America (US) and Mexico. However, since the last century, the people in charge of these governments, people like Donald Trump and Andres Manuel López Obrador, have implemented harsh and restrictive migratory policies. These policies dictate whether foreigners can enter, move, and reside within these territories. Although not all people fulfil the asked requirements, some still decide to migrate without authorisation, most of them confronting significant problems throughout their migration process partly because of it. For example, people working as migration agents try to apprehend and deport them, sometimes taking economic and physical advantage of them. Meanwhile, other people too, from these and other countries, acting individually or as part of variously organised groups, also try to profit economically from them, some standing openly against them. For example, people forming part of anti-immigrant groups like the Minuteman or those working as smugglers, who have reportedly attacked, killed, and ‘disappeared’ thousands of them. Nonetheless, such situations begin before people depart and continue when they return, particularly if they are deported. However, importantly, at the same time, in all these places and throughout the migration process, a host of people - relatives, acquaintances, inhabitants of the geographies crossed during their journeys, people working in NGOs and government institutions, those employing them, and others engaged in migration projects- do the opposite, contributing contradictorily to people’s migration projects and the fluid landscapes of undocumented migration.

My research looks forward to comprehending 1) What moves people to migrate without documents and stay committed to their migration projects? 2) What moves the people with whom those engaged in migration project interact to relate with them as they do? What moves some of these people to gather and form groups variously oriented towards the un/documented migration phenomenon? 4) And, how while these people interact and form such groups they reinforce or challenge the dynamics of un/documented migration?

Such concerns will be addressed using the concepts of ‘desire,’ ‘hope,’ and ‘future’ within a novel approach to migration inspired by the New Materialism, Spinozist and Deleuzo-Guattarian arguments, and the existential and phenomenological anthropologies. Relying methodologically on documentary analysis, in-depth interviews, informal conversations, and up to 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in strategic places in Central America, Mexico, and the US, where people directly related to un/documented migration converge.

Book Chapters

  •  Interstices in the age of globalization. Mobility and Reinterpretation of Transit Spa- ces” in Interdisciplinary Colloquium: Memoirs, Knowledge and Networks of Popular Cultures in Latin America, in times of global capitalism, Pontifical Xavierian Univer- sity, 2013 (in process).
  •  "The Other Side violence as a cause of insecurity and breach of human rights” in Eleventh National Competition on Human Rights "Insecurity, violence and human rights” Report, Human Rights Commission of the State of Mexico (CODHEM), 2011.

Journal Articles

  • "You want to migrate, but at the same time, you feel bad for leaving your loved ones behind.” Reflections on the homeland in the Central American migratory transit” in Homeland Diaries. Reflections on Migration and Mobility, Metropolitan Autonomous University, 2015.


  •  Moving-On Towards Better Lives. Contested Hopes and Futures in Undocumented Mexican and Central American Migration (2018). MSc by Research in Social Anthropology. School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh, 76pp.
  • Living on the go and facing north. Mobile and Contingent Identities and Communities in Central American Migratory Transit (2014). Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies. The College of the Northern Border (El COLEF), 276 pp.
  • Living Between Walls. Liminality and Social Drama among the Interns of the “Santiaguito” Preventive and Social Rehabilitation Centre in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico (2008). Bachelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology. Faculty of Anthropology, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEMex), 320 pp.