Mexico’s Bicentennial: The Drug War, NAFTA, the Economy, and the US Role

[Source – Uprising Radio]

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mexicoToday is the 200th anniversary of the day Mexico began its war against Spain for Independence. This year is also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution and today we spend the hour on Mexico’s politics, history, and art.

The traditional El Grito celebration on the eve of Mexican independence day was severely toned down last night in the city of Juarez as well as other cities where increased violence has cast a pall on the festivities. In the first part of our hour-long special on Mexico’s bi-centennial, we’ll focus on the politics behind the drug violence and how it relates to NAFTA, the North-America Free Trade Agreement, and the US-backed drug war in Mexico. More than 15 years ago, a crucial article in Mexico’s constitution was removed, which guaranteed land redistribution particularly to Mexico’s indigenous and poor people. The move came as a condition of the North America Free Trade Agreement – an agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada, that promised to boost the economies of all three countries. However, Mexico’s economy paid the biggest price, resulting in widespread impoverishment, a great migration of workers north of the border to the US, the rise of the drug trade and mafia, and ultimately a militarization of the border with enthusiastic support from the US government. Under Mexico’s current President, Feliipe Calderon, nearly 30,000 people have been killed in the war between government forces and drug traffickers. It has been well documented that US weapons are used on both sides of the war. Just days ago, 25 people were killed in drug-related violence in Juarez – the deadliest such day in 3 years. In late August the bodies of 72 migrants were found shot dead likely while on their way to the US – one of Mexico’s major drug cartels is suspected of carrying out the massacre. Weeks later, the bodies of two missing law enforcement officials investigating the murdered were found. In light of such violence, Manuel Perez-Rocha a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, writes “millions of Mexicans like me feel skeptical and unenthusiastic about cheering for either our independence or our revolution.”

GUEST: Manuel Perez-Rocha, contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus and an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies

Read Manuel Perez-Rocha’s article on Mexico’s Bicentennial here: