El PASO, TX. Activists will gather on January 1 at the international bridge that unites El Paso and Juarez to note the 19th Anniversary of NAFTA. The North American Free Trade Agreement has brought, in their words, "19 years of corporate domination over the people of the United States and Mexico." In that spirit they plan a demonstration and teach-in at the foot of the Santa Fe Bridge.
Sponsored by Occupy El Paso and members of Occupy Las Cruces, the event is planned for Jan. 1, 2012 from 3-5 PM. Various local leaders will address the group, including Alan Dicker from Occupy Las Cruces, Lorena Andrade of Mujer Obrera, local organizer Eric Murillo as well as a spokesperson from the Brown Berets. UTEP Professor Joe Heyman will address the press at 3 PM. The public is invited to participate in the gathering and teach-in.
NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994. However now, after 18 years of "free trade" between the United States and Mexico, the economic situation is characterized by massive unemployment and underemployment, and poverty and human suffering in both countries.
Corporations benefit from NAFTA while the 99% suffer, say the groups. NAFTA has boosted the so-called corporate elite, or 1%, of both Mexico and the United States. Meanwhile the workers, middle class, peasants (campesinos) and family farmers of both Mexico and the US have lost ground.
NAFTA provides for "freedom" of capital investment, ownership of property, and trade in commodities. However, says the group, that freedom has been the prerogative of the rich! It does not provide for human freedom to move. It fails to promote autonomous, beneficial local development. It has given the 1% domination over the 99%!
Cross-border trade can be fair and just, but not under the NAFTA system. Group members say the continent needs a new North American treaty focused on human development.
For more information visit the Occupy El Paso and Occupy Las Cruces websites.