Thousands Of Mexicans March To Scrap NAFTA, As Government Fights To Save It

Union workers and farmers protest as NAFTA renegotiation begins in Washington, D.C., in Mexico City, Mexico August 16, 2017. The placards read " FTA hurts, Mexico better without FTA". Carlos Jasso

By Daina Beth Solomon for Reuters – MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – While Mexican government negotiators fought tooth and nail to save the North American Free Trade Agreement during talks in Washington, thousands of Mexican farmers and workers took to the streets on Wednesday demanding the deal be scrapped. Carrying banners that read “No to the FTA,” and decorated with images of the distinctive hairstyles of U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto, the protesters said the 1994 deal had devastated Mexican farms. “We are against the treaty and the renegotiation because it has not benefited the country,” said university union spokesman Carlos Galindo, reflecting views widely held in the early years of the trade pact. In a sign of that mistrust, on Jan. 1 1994 the Zapatista guerrilla army launched an armed uprising opposing free trade to mark the first day of NAFTA. The fervor has faded and most Mexicans, including leading leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who will run for president next year, now broadly support a deal which has led to job growth, especially in the auto manufacturing sector.

Thousands Of Mexicans Hold Protest Against NAFTA

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By Staff of Bilaterals – Mexican farmers and workers have staged a mass rally in the capital to voice their opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as NAFTA, with the United States and Canada. The protesters, who numbered up to 10,000 people, took to the streets in Mexico City on Monday, saying the trilateral trade deal was ruining Mexican farmers’ and workers’ livelihoods. The protesters said that they wanted the government to leave the agriculture sector out of the new NAFTA free trade agreement, accusing Mexico City of failing to support the peasant farmers. President Enrique Peña Nieto, the protesters said, has broken the promises he had made to the farmers and workers in regard to land and labor reforms The protest comes as NAFTA re-negotiations are scheduled to take place from August 16 to 20 in Washington. Reports suggest around two million Mexican farmers have lost their land under the current NAFTA conditions. US-imported products make up nearly half of all of the food consumed in Mexico. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump vowed to either renegotiate or scrap the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump described NAFTA as the worst trade deal the US had ever signed. He blamed the three-nation deal for the outsourcing of thousands of American jobs to Mexico and China.

CIA Says They Are Working With Mexico & Colombia To Overthrow Venezuela

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has demanded the governments of Colombia and Mexico respond to allegations that they are working with the CIA to overthrow the Venezuelan government. In a televised interview, Maduro said, “The director of the CIA has said, ‘The CIA and the U.S. government work in direct collaboration with the Mexican government and the Colombian government to overthrow the constitutional government in Venezuela and to intervene in our beloved Venezuela.’” “I demand the government of Mexico and the government of Colombia to properly clarify the declarations from the CIA and I will make political and diplomatic decisions accordingly before this audacity,” he added. The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela.

Letter to the Editor Campaign: NAFTA IS NOT FOR US

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The Trump administration’s NAFTA negotiation objectives show more clearly than ever that this agreement will not be made for us or by us. The thousands of comments submitted by the trade justice movement have been ignored as the objectives resemble the language and sentiment of the original NAFTA and defeated TPP goals. We cannot let corporations and their political representatives decide our fate. Our communities need to know that this NAFTA IS NOT FOR US. Join our letter to the editor campaign, our resistance to NAFTA must go viral!

One Mexican Town Revolts Against Violence And Corruption

Josefina Estrada, a petite grandmother who helped lead the revolt in Cheran. (Cecilia Sanchez / For The Times)

By Patrick J. McDonnell for Los Angeles TImes – Checkpoints staffed by men with assault rifles, camouflage and body armor greet visitors at the three major entrances to this town. The guards are not soldiers, police officers, drug enforcers or vigilantes. They are members of homegrown patrols that have helped keep Cheran a bastion of tranquillity within one of Mexico’s most violent regions. The town of 20,000 sits in the northwest corner of Michoacan, a state where authorities say at least 599 people were killed between January and May, an increase of almost 40% compared with the same period last year. Cheran hasn’t had a slaying or other serious crime since early 2011. That was the year that residents, most of them indigenous and poor, waged an insurrection and declared self-rule in hopes of ridding themselves of the ills that plague so much of Mexico: raging violence, corrupt politicians, a toothless justice system and gangs that have expanded from drug smuggling to extortion, kidnapping and illegal logging. Six years in, against all odds, Cheran’s experiment appears to be working. “We couldn’t trust the authorities or police any more,” said Josefina Estrada, a petite grandmother who is among the women who spearheaded the revolt.

The Zapatista Indigenous Presidential Candidate’s Vision To Transform Mexico From Below

Spokesperson and presidential candidate María de Jesús Patricio, left, surrounded by members of the Zapatistas. Photo by Violeta Schmidt/Reuters

By Benjamin Dangl for Toward Freedom – The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) held an assembly in May in which they chose María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua indigenous healer, as their spokesperson and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections in Mexico. Patricio’s candidacy and radical vision for Mexico challenges conventional politics and marks a new phase for the Zapatista and indigenous struggle in the country. The 57-year-old traditional Nahua indigenous doctor and mother of three from western Mexico is the first indigenous woman to run for the presidency in Mexico. Patricio joined the struggles related to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1996, when she was involved in the formation of the CNI, a network of indigenous communities in the country. She began helping out sick members of her community with herbal remedies when she was 20-years-old. Her skills as a healer were passed down to her from elders in the community, and are based on a close relationship with the local ecosystem. “Back then, there was a shortage of doctors and medicine and the health department had no answers,” Patricio told the Guardian. “But we have so many plants and so much knowledge from our elders. My grandmother would give us special teas to cure stress, coughs or diarrhea, and they worked. So I thought: why not give herbal remedies to those who can’t afford medicine?”

Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

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By Lisa Rough for Leafly – A decree issued by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today confirmed that Mexico has legalized cannabis for medicinal use after overwhelming support from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress. Peña Nieto was once a vehement opponent of cannabis legalization, but has since called for a re-examination of global drug policy after a nationwide public debate on legalization in early 2016. “So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient,” Peña Nieto told the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions in April 2016. “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.” Last year, Peña Nieto even went so far as to introduce a measure that would allow Mexican citizens to possess up to an ounce of cannabis without repercussions, but the bill stalled in Congress. The medical marijuana bill sailed through the Senate with ease in December 2016, and Mexico’s lower house in parliament passed the bill in April with a vote of 347-7 in favor of approval. Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Narro Robles, voiced his support for the measure, saying, “I welcome the approval of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.”

The Most Important Day In The Last 10,000 Years

A portrait of Galeano. Photo by Quincy Saul.

By Quincy Saul for Counter Punch – And so there we were, at the University of the Earth, outside San Cristobal de las Casas, in a valley between the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, to watch the birth of a new government. We were there as participant-observers – a position which may appear paradoxical for those who missed the presentations on quantum physics at the Zapatista science conference last year – with the responsibility to bear witness and carry it home. For three days at the end of May, delegates and representatives from the Yucatan to Baja California gathered and formed an Indigenous Governing Council. Over 50 languages were registered. The council includes 71 members, the majority of whom are women. In the closing ceremony, on behalf of their ancestors and future generations, they swore an oath to give their lives to dignified rebellion and the defense of Mother Earth. Resurgent Mexico has made world history yet again. On the first day of the Congress, we watched as representatives and delegates from dozens of indigenous nations waited patiently in the sun for hours to enter the building where the opening ceremony was held.

Corporate Siege and Trade in the 2018 Elections

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Trade policy is amounting to be an increasinly contentious topic as the Trump administration has clearly showed its intentions to keep major TPP provisions in NAFTA. Corporations are working with the Department of Commerce to eliminate the few but significant labor and environmental protections the government enforces while members of Congress begin to campaign around trade. 2018 promises to put trade policy at the forefront as presidential elections in Mexico and mid-terms in the United States could determine the fate of North American trade agreements to come.

The NAFTA Machine is in Motion

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By Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Popular Resistance. This month, the Trump adminsitration sent out an eight-page draft letter to the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees outlining the administration’s objectives for NAFTA renegotiations. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has expressed wanting to send out the official letter to Congress, which upon approval would initiate the 90-day consultation period required before beginning negotations. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto already began Mexico’s own 90-day consultation period in early February. That means the NAFTA negotiations could start in early July.

Oil Drillers Face An Angry Mob In Mexico’s Guerrilla Country

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By Adam Williams for Bloomberg – When an angry mob torched City Hall in the southern Mexican town of Tecpatan last month, it sent a warning flare across a country already thrown into turmoil by Donald Trump. The outrage was over oil, specifically the government’s plan to auction off a swath of land around their farming community to private drillers. The locals say they weren’t informed that a date—July 12—had been set. When they found out, they set fire to the two-story town hall, which now sits charred and abandoned, its windows smashed and the iron gate chained shut. The clock on its tower stopped at 10:55. In some ways, the unrest set clocks all the way back to the 1990s, when Zapatista rebels were roaming the region and declaring war on Nafta. But the fact that today’s target is the government’s energy policy could spell trouble ahead. President Enrique Pena Nieto is trying to revive Mexico’s struggling oil industry by bringing in foreign capital—that’s why the land around Tecpatan is up for grabs. The frontrunner in next year’s presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is vowing to roll back the changes.

A Constitution Corrupted

A military band in Puebla commemorates Constitution Day on February 6 of this year. (Timothy Neesam/ Flickr)

By Gavin O’Toole for NACLA – It is easy to understand scholarly and progressive interest in this year’s centennial of the Russian revolution, but harder to explain why there is little apparent enthusiasm for an anniversary that is arguably more important – that of Mexico’s 1917 constitution, signed on February 5, 1917. In fact, Mexico’s constitution provided the model for the first Soviet constitution. Its failure to inspire global interest may reside in an uncomfortable question facing the country: whether it should be celebrating or mourning. The Constitution has been revered by constitutional scholars for being the first to enshrine social rights.

It’s Time to Scrap NAFTA, Not ‘Tweak’ It

NAFTA opened the doors for a flood of subsidized agricultural products and large-scale consolidation, eviscerating small farmers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo: Bread for the World / Flickr)

By Victor Suarez and Alejandro Villamar for Foreign Policy in Focus. Some politicians and “experts” still don’t understand — or don’t want to understand — that a great deal of popular discontent in the United States, Mexico, and Canada alike is rooted in undemocratic policies that have produced inequality, unemployment, migration, food dependency, and pollution. NAFTA isn’t the only factor — but it’s one of the most powerful. The reason is that NAFTA was never designed for the development of our peoples through trade, but instead to advance the narrow corporate interests of multi-national firms and the governments that serve them. In the case of Mexico, it was negotiated and signed by an authoritarian government that only served the interests of large Mexican and global corporations, and which turned its back on productive sectors linked to the domestic market.

Mexico: Massive Anti-Trump Rallies Staged Across Nation

Mexico City March against Donald Trump, February 12, 2017

By Staff of Common Dreams -Tens of thousands of Mexicans protested Sunday against US President Donald Trump, hitting back at his anti-Mexican rhetoric and his depictions of them as “rapists” and “criminals” and to demand “the respecting of Mexico. “Mexico must be respected, Mr Trump,” said a giant banner carried by protesters in Mexico City, who waved a sea of red, white and green Mexican flags as they marched down the capital’s main avenue. In what is shaping up to be Mexico’s biggest anti-Trump protest yet, over 20 cities joined the call to march. Dozens of universities, business associations and civic organisations are backing the protest. “It is time we citizens combine forces and unite our voices to show our indignation and rejection of President Trump, while contributing to the search for concrete solutions,” said the coalition behind the marches.

Mexico Continues To Prohibit And Interdict Monsanto's GMO Corn

Credit: Mercola.com  Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/russia-completely-bans-gmos-in-food-production/

By Stephen Fox for Op Ed News – “It’s going to take a long while for all the evidence to be presented. I think we’re talking years.” Monsanto’s yellow corn imports will increase by 20+ percent the next season, because of increasing production costs and the weakening peso. Mexico is self-sufficient when it comes to the country’s white corn, they rely on GMO corn that comes from the United States to feed livestock. As reported by Reuters’ David Alire Garcia in Mexico City: Mexico is the birthplace of modern corn, domesticated about 8,000 years ago and today the planet’s most-produced grain.