Zapatista’s On NAFTA And The TPP


“How NAFTA ruined my life”

(and here comes another horror: the TPP agreement)

“To get me here, my family had to sell the only cow they had, so that I could pay all the expenses required and come to NYC to work and look for my father. I never found my father. I don’t know what happened to him. I live in a room here in El Barrio with another 5 workers. My life is increasingly harder, from work to home to work again every day. Our only consolation is to drink here in the room so that the police does not catch us. I have not been able to go back to my country in ten years. I could not even go to my mother funeral, because the “migra” (ICE) restrictions are worse, and now the wall . . . I feel trapped in this country, like I cannot move anymore. These “polleros” (smugglers of cheap labor to the US) charge you much more now to get you back if you go to Mexico. And how would I get that money? Our family used to make our living growing corn, but now it is very expensive to grow corn – we cannot compete with the imported corn prices that are coming to Mexico . . . that’s over. My family has never gotten a credit from the bank to grow corn, you need to be rich so that the bank lends you money”.

—Carlos, Coyuca de Catalán (Tierra Caliente), from Guerrero, México, New York, NY


  • Before 1994 (when NAFTA got into effect), Mexico was a country that produced and exported corn. It did not buy it. Corn was the basic grain for all the Indigenous food in all Mesoamerica (before the Spanish Conquest). After NAFTA, Mexico is a country that depends on foreign corn and foreign food. Since growing corn was the basis of the economy, almost all Mexican peasants (except the autonomous communities like the Zapatista communities) are now completely dependent of the foreign food. They cannot produce their own – it is too expensive. Why? Because this agreement was signed in spite de opposition of the people. And when this opposition grew too large to be stopped, the US and Mexican governments invented a scheme named “Fast Track”.
  • According to the Mexican experience, “Fast Track” means “in secret”, “behind the backs of the people, without protections to the workers of any of the signing countries and the environment in any of the signing countries”.
  • Just for the last decade, Mexico quadrupled its maize imports and doubled its imports of many other agricultural products. To understand how serious this problem is, you should consider that one out of each five Mexican people lives in the countryside. Importing agricultural products for people who live in the countryside is a very desperate situation.
  • This desperate situation only increased the immigration to the US, making the US economy stronger by increasing cheap, almost slave labor (you’ve got to work as many hours as your boss tells you with no overtime and if you try to organize your workplace your supervisor knows your numbers and has you deported.
  • If you get deported and go back to your country your prices as a small producer cannot possibly compete with the imported prices and the big corporation prices – courtesy of NAFTA.

“When I left my house, my mother and my grandmother gave me their blessing at the patio. We cried all the three together. I still remember it and get a lump in my stomach. I was determined to cross to the other side. My son stayed there with my mom and granma, because my husband crossed (the border) and went to work to the other side. [After NAFTA] things started to get ugly. All my brothers and cousins had to leave the rancho. I tried to get a job and work at a garment factory in Puebla [Golden and Silver in San Salvador el Seco, Puebla], but I had to pay transportation and food because it was not too close from home. I had to leave home every day at 4 am to get to work in time. I persuaded my mother and my grandmother that they should allow me to try some luck. I promised them I would send them money so that they could live and take care of my son Julian who was two years old at that time . . . (she cries).

“When I got to Tijuana I was terribly scared. I did not know anyone. It took me several days to find the smuggler I was referred to. We spend several days trying to cross. When I finally crossed, the helicopters dropped their lights and everybody ran everywhere they could . . . I was caught by one agent who got me in one van with others. Then he sent all the others to another van except me . . . He was very nice with me in the beginning. He brought me ot a Motel in Chula Vista and made me stay there. He said he was going to help me, but one night he got drunk and raped me. When he left, he locked the door. I felt dirty and ashamed. I wanted to kill myself and did not find why.”

—Esperanza, Las Palomas, near Piaxtla, Puebla.*


That’s why the Zapatista indigenous uprising started on January 1st, 1994, the day that NAFTA got into effect.


This Sunday S15 at noon you are welcome to our Zapatista Teach-In at WASHINGTON SQUARE. Dress with black pants and t-shirts to take a picture with the Anti-TPP Puppets!

This Tuesday S17 come to have fun with out Anti-TPP protest at lunch time in Times Square or at any other of the fun Anti-TPP marchs/protests all day long! Check below and let us know your availability!

STOP THE FACE OF NAFTA. Please read carefully all the information below – it is worth it! And let us know your availability * MEXICAN ACTIVISTS WILL BE PROTESTING IN MEXICO AT THE SAME TIME!! *

If you can’t attend, please invite others!

After our morning march through the Financial District against TPP, we’ll take to the streets like Paul Revere to let the people know we’re under attack – by a 1% attack on democracy and our rights!

The 1% already has a stranglehold on our political system through the system of legalized bribery we call campaign finance in the United States. But now they want to eliminate the last shred of democracy our system allows us – with TPP and Fast Track!

Negotiated in secret by the US, Japan, Vietnam and 12 other countries, TPP will subvert democracy by creating a system of international tribunals outside the jurisdiction of our court system where corporations can challenge current and future banking regulations (among other things making a Robin hood Tax illegal) and attack our environmental (including fracking bans), health, and food safety rules. They can also use these tribunals to undermine access to essential services and lifesaving medicines by claiming that our laws violate their “investor rights.” TPP will lower food safety standards, replace family farms with factory farms and force countries to enforce genetically modified foods. Described as the “Son of SOPA”, TPP will attack our internet freedom and privacy.

Knowing that the 99% would never stand for it, TPP has been negotiated with an unprecedented level of secrecy. Close to 600 official corporate advisers – including Wal-Mart, Halliburton, Chevron, Cargill, and the US Chamber of Commerce – have full access to the negotiating texts of the agreement, but the 99% locked out. These corporations have bought their way into our political system and are now shaping public policy.

Once the secret negotiations conclude, President Obama wants to ramrod TPP through Congress using a procedure called Fast Track -which allows him to negotiate and sign TPP before Congress votes on it – and allows the President to force Congress to vote on it within 90 days, with limited debate, and with no power to amend a single word of the already negotiated agreement. This procedure undermines Constitutional separation of powers, which puts Congress, not the President in charge of international agreements.

But President Obama knows that if the public is given time to read the agreement and then demands changes to its most egregious public interest provisions, he’ll never get it through Congress!

President Obama can only send TPP to Congress under Fast Track if Congress VOTES to give him this authority – and a vote on Fast Track is expected to take place in the next few weeks!

The 99% throughout the TPP nations are rising up to resist this corporate power grab. In New Zealand, people are resisting TPP’s attack on their GMO food ban. In Japan, people are fighting TPP’s attack on local agriculture. In Peru and Malaysia, activists are mobilizing against TPP’s attack on access to lifesaving medicines. In Canada, people are protesting TPP’s attack on essential services.

The US 99% must rise up in solidarity!

NO to TPP! No to Fast Track!
NO to Corporate Money in Politics!