Monday, June 11, 2007

What Do Subsidized Corn, A Militarized Border, and Finance Reform Have To Do With It?

...But why are so many people risking their lives to come into our country now? When did this big rush begin?
It began when Mr. Clinton approved NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement, and when he militarized our southern border at the same time. Prior to these combined actions, families crossed the border very commonly and casually, especially during harvest seasons. After harvest, they would go home to Mexico or Central America because that’s where they lived with their families in quite happy communities.
When the border was militarized, it became too risky to go back and forth. So they stayed.
Why did Mr. Clinton militarize the border? He did so because NAFTA was about to pull the rug out from under Mexico’s small family farms. We flooded Mexico with cheap corn–exports that we now subsidize to the tune of some $25 billion dollars a year. Congress gives that money of ours to a handful of agribusiness giants. Of course, I am not here to tell you why Congress does that, and what might be done to stop it, such as with the public financing of campaigns. But they do it, and Mexican family farmers cannot compete. In the years since NAFTA was signed, half of Mexico’s small farms have failed. The only kind of farming that can now compete in Mexico is big agribusiness, which does not employ as many people. Tortillas in Mexico now contain two-thirds imported corn, and they are three times as expensive at retail level than before NAFTA. The people have less money, and the cost of food is rising. We have done that. Our precious Senators and Congressmen and their corporate cronies have enforced that raw and cruel exploitation in our names.
The result of undermining Mexican farms, as Clinton expected, was a rising flood of poor people moving from rural areas into Mexico’s big cities, which have become so poor and overcrowded that all one can do is dream of going north across the border.
Now, if any Democratic candidates for President would like to show a little courage and intelligence, let them address the real cause of our flood of unauthorized immigrants. Will Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama or Mr. Edwards or any of the other candidates face down the agri- gangsters that are behind this problem? Probably they will not, so long as Iowa has a major primary.
Let me say that I am not ranting and raving in the least about these new Americans. When Mexico owned Texas and everything west of Texas, and when Mexico cut off migration across their borders into Texas, our people kept coming anyway –crossing illegally in search of opportunities for their families. When Mexico got upset by this, we trumped-up false reasons for a war, and we illegally took those lands. If that wasn’t enough law and order for you, we also conducted unfettered genocide against the region’s native people. So let’s not stand on any moral high ground regarding that southern border.
The people coming across the border today, with the usual exceptions, are family people with an incredible work ethic. Personally, I welcome them. I congratulate them for their courage and their dedication to their families. I want them to stay and become citizens, or, if some prefer, to return to their homeland at a time when there is international justice and a decent chance for their prosperity at home.
I regret what the political corruption of our system has done to their farms and their communities back home. It is not the peoples’ fault –it is the fault of corrupt leaders of both parties and both nations. We must speak this truth to these powerful people, even to those presidential candidates whom we otherwise admire....

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