Friday, April 28, 2006

Protests against neoliberal globalisation in Mexico

Thousands of Mexicans walked in protest in the streets of Mexico City on Friday April 28th. The nation-wide protests in which about 4 million Mexicans were expected to lay down work and go on the street have been provoked by the killing of two striking steel workers who were occupying the Sicartsa steel plant in the port of Lazaro Cardenas. The workers demand the right to form independent unions and elect their own union leaders.

Protesters waved banners against "neoliberal" free market economic policies they blame for unchecked corporate-sponsored globalisation, and also carried signs urging the US Congress to come up with "a fair deal for the undocumented workers in the United States". There is a growing awareness among common people in Mexico that the plight of immigrant Mexican workers in the US and the growing economic problems in the country are connected. The bad economy drives people out to look for work north of the border.

This is not the way the US and the financial institutions in Washington see problems. The neo-con Paul Wolfowitz, who was one of the architects behind the Iraq war, and who is now president of the World Bank, visited Mexico from April 24 to 27. To Mexican papers and in speeches in the country he said that the problems of migration, violence and lack of employment in Mexico was due to a lack of investment and competitivity. The so-called Washington concensus, a recipe for neoliberal economic policies in poor countries, should not be blamed. In stead Wolfowitz stressed the problem of starting a new business. This takes much too long, he said, there's too much red tape.

Mexico has actually received lots of investments from its giant neighbour to the north. It is, however, money invested in branches of American companies that often compete the locals out of business. Mexico is being turned into a poor industrial suburb of America, a place for low-technology, low-wage production. For instance Wal-Mart is making a grand entrance into the country, and with it come massive lay-offs in small Mexican businesses that cannot compete with the retailing giant. The free-market NAFTA agreement has led to imports of cheap American corn and other farm products that price Mexican peasants out of the market. After 12 years of NAFTA real wages of Mexican workers have fallen.

There's an increasing awareness among Mexicans of the interconnectedness of the problems, and it's high time they protest against it.


Blogger Sophia said...

The american national anthem has now its spanish version (nuestro himno) made in support of mexican immigrants in the states, in an album arranged by Adam Kidron with 11 latino artists, Somos americanos.
Bush said in reaction that the american national anthem shold be chanted in english !
Le Monde

2:26 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Viva Mexico ! I am anxious to see what will come for mexicans and angry about Canada. We, in Canada, are commiting ourselves again to NORAD, not really us but our conservative government who is becoming a carpet for Bush.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

I don't see why the anthem should be chanted in English if it can be chanted in Spanish. After all, one third of Mexico was taken in the war in 1847. This is Bush the nationalist, rather than Bush the "Latino lover".

9:13 PM  

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