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.

Radical Teacher’s Union Leaders In Mexico Released

A striking teacher from Michoacán demonstrates in Mexico City in front of a line of police. Canadian and US teachers have organized the TriNational Coalition to Defend Public Education to support Mexican teachers’ efforts to defeat proposals to introduce standardized testing and remove job protections, which have come from USAID and private foundations promoting corporate education reform. (David Bacon)

By Staff of AP – MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican court allowed two leaders of a radical teachers union to leave prison Friday on a form of bail following weeks of protests by supporters over their arrests and recent education reforms that include mandatory teacher evaluations. Attorney General Arely Gomez said the court did not absolve the men but rather freed them while legal proceedings continue. She denied on Friday that their release was politically motivated. Protest blockades by teachers and their supporters have blocked roads and rail lines for weeks, mainly in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacan, causing millions of dollars in losses for business and commerce.

Mexico In Revolt: What The ‘Gasolinazo’ Can Teach Us About Protest

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By Derek Royden for Nation of Change – At the best of times, Mexico is barely on the radar of its wealthier NAFTA partners, a trend that has continued even as the new American President denigrated the country and its people over the past year. While millions marched in the United States and throughout the world to show their outrage at the election of a wannabe strongman and chauvinist who reportedly called a breast-feeding woman “disgusting”, Mexico was seeing its largest protests since 43 students from a rural teaching college went missing in 2014. These protests are receiving almost no coverage in the mainstream media in either the United States or Canada.

Mexican Government Faces Crisis Of Legitimacy

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By Kim Brown for The Real News Network. During the past week, protests took place throughout Mexico in reaction to a 20% price increase for gasoline. The protests have so far resulted in four deaths and the arrests of over 700 people. Also, over 300 stores are said to have been looted throughout the country. The gasoline price increase is part of a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to eliminate subsidies in the wake of the partial privatization of the country’s oil industry. On Wednesday, President Peña Nieto vowed to continue with the price increases despite the protests. Well, joining us today from Mexico City to analyze the situation in Mexico, we’re joined by John Ackerman. John is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

Lawyer For Yaqui Tribe Fighting Mexico’s DAPL Kidnapped

Human Rights lawyer and legal representative for the Yaqui Tribe, Anabela Carlon Flores | Photo: Radio Popular Enrique Torres

By Staff of Tele Sur – Yaqui tribe lawyer was kidnapped on her way to a community meeting to plan the next steps in their fight against the U.S.-Mexico Agua Prieta pipeline. On Tuesday a group of masked men kidnapped at gunpoint Anabela Carlon Flores, a lawyer for the Yaqui tribe, who are facing increasingly violent repression in their fight against the cross-border Agua Prieta pipeline in Northern Mexico. Anabela Carlon Flores told reporters she was driving with her husband to a community meeting in the Yaqui community of Bacum on Tuesday at approximately 7 p.m. when their car was stopped by a group of armed masked men.

Tear Down The Walls Mexico Delegation

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By the Alliance for Global Justice. The United States is building walls and militarizing both the US-Mexico border and Mexico’s southern border. The US is also building prison walls throughout Mexico and militarizing police as living walls to repress and reign in popular movements. When Mexican police fire on striking teachers and normal school students, they’re using weapons made in the USA. When indigenous and labor activists are locked away as political prisoners, they’re locked away in US funded jail cells. The Alliance for Global Justice Tear Down the Walls Mexico delegation will visit with indigenous and labor leaders, family and supporters of political prisoners, ex-political prisoners, anti-torture activists and experts on police, border and prison militarization. We will investigate US prison imperialism in Mexico and relate that to similar programs in other parts of the world.

Zapatistas And Indigenous Congress Seek To Revolutionize Mexico’s 2018 Election

Zapatistas march during an election day protest in Mexico City on Sunday, July 2, 2006. The Zapatistas and Indigenous Congress will use the 2018 presidential elections to galvanize popular organizing from below. (Photo: Janet Jarman / The New York Times)

By Dylan Eldredge Fitzwater for Truthout – After two decades of declining to engage with electoral politics in Mexico, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress of Mexico (CNI) have announced their plans to form a national Indigenous governing council and choose and support an Indigenous woman candidate in the 2018 Mexican presidential elections. For many longtime supporters of the EZLN and CNI, the October 14 announcement came as a surprise, given these organizations’ consistent and staunch critique of electoral politics.

Zapatistas Enter Mexico’s Presidential Race

Subcomandante Marcos addresses a crowd in Mexico City’s Zócalo

By Andrew S. Vargas for Remezcla – The Zapatistas are dipping their toes into Mexican electoral politics. Last week, the near-mythical army of indigenous resistance released a communiqué summarizing the basic points of discussion that characterized the 5th National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in Chiapas, and it included a bombshell announcement. After ticking off an infuriatingly long list of violations of indigenous rights and sovereignty across Mexico (with a shoutout to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests,)

Activists On Both Sides Of Border Converge Against US State Violence

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By Steve Pavey for TruthOut. U.S.-Mexico Border – After holding an annual vigil for 25 years at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, the human rights group SOA Watch is moving its convergence to the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. Activists throughout the US and Mexico have gathered on both sides of the US-Mexico border for an October 7-10 Border Convergence to highlight and protest US state policies linked to the root causes of migration, as well as to multiple levels of violence against migrants and more broadly, against Black and Latinx people. People from Latin America continue to be forced to flee from US-trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist immigration laws and the xenophobic rhetoric we see escalating during this election cycle.