Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mexican farmers protest NAFTA

Mexico, Feb 1 (Prensa Latina) As columns of farmers march with their tractors to downtown Mexico City, protests were reported against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in several Mexican states.
More than 1,000 farmers from 20 municipalities seized the offices of the Secretariat of Agriculture in Nuevo Leon and blocked roads, while corn producers took the main square in Toluca, the capital of the state of Mexico.
In Zacatecas, farmers' organizations and bean traders also took the branch of the Secretariat of Agriculture and burned tires in front of the offices, blocking the traffic.
In this capital, groups of rural workers assaulted the main office of the Secretariat of Agriculture to demand a renegotiation of the NAFTA, and blocked the traffic as well.
A contingent of farmers from the states of Chihuahua and Guanajuato burned a tractor by the Monument to the Revolution, and hundreds of tractors marched to the Zocalo square.
Meanwhile, a dairy corral with cows was built on the busy Reforma Avenue as an expression of dairy workers' discontent with the NAFTA.
Nerdified link. Hat tip to InteligentaIndigena Novajoservo.

The protest makes sense, given what NAFTA has meant to Mexico's farmers and workers. Folks tend to not appreciate the miraculous profits awaiting Monsanto, etc., as a result of "free" trade when their livelihoods are essentially annihilated. NAFTA has been displacing and killing people since it started taking effect in 1994, as this blog has attempted to make clear over the last few months. Whether it's flooding Mexico's markets with imported produce (thus forcing at least 1.5 million family farmers to abandon their farms), to the outsourcing of factory work from Mexico to China, to the on-going efforts to force those remaining farmers to rely on some conglomerate's hybrid corn seeds, the human cost has been enormous. Of course the resulting border walls and militarized patrols (along with the periodic vigilantes) have had the effect only of making the trek to El Norte in order to find work more deadly.

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