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abc Burkina n° 188 | Ouagadougou |June 2006
Translated by Anoosha Boralessa (December 2015). This translation has not been reviewed or revised by bilaterals.org or any other organization or person.
Bush sends 6, 000 soldiers to the Mexican Border.
Where will Europe send its soldiers when the EPAs are signed?
Author: Maurice Oudet
You may be asking yourself: " what is an EPA? " Well, you are not alone. In fact I have just met with a European Member of Parliament who is no more au courant than you. And that’s worrying!
In fact, an EPA is one of the agreements that Europe is getting ready to sign with different African regions (as well as the Pacific and the Caribbean). At the beginning, we spoke of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement). But that induced fear in some people (and rightly so, as we will see below). So Europe has now changed its jargon and speaks of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). But the bottom line has not changed!
Some days ago (16 May 2006), I heard Mr Bush announce that he was going to station 6,000 soldiers on the Mexican border to stop clandestine immigration. These will come to reinforce the patrols of border guards that are already in action.
With this move, President Bush resonates with a deep concern of Americans, especially the US Congress. On 16 December 2005, the latter voted in a very repressive anti – immigration draft law, by a crushing majority. This draft provides for the construction of 5 sections of wall along the US-Mexican border. Totalling 1,000 km (a third of the border), this wall will be 4.5 m tall.
His announcement dropped a bombshell on Mexico. While normally moderate with its big Northern neighbour, President Vincent Fox denounced this «hypocrisy» arguing that it was not possible in the «21st century, that one can build a wall between two neighbouring nations, between two sister nations, between two partner nations.»
Why does the Mexican President speak of "sister nations", of “partner nations"? This is because in January 1994, Canada, the United States and Mexico launched the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and this formed the biggest free trade area in the world. So President Fox speaks of sister nations and partner nations while Europe speaks of a partnership.
Today it is time to ask ourselves who profits from NAFTA. One thing’s for sure: “it’s not the Mexican peasants”.
Even in 2003, André Maltais wrote:
"In 2000, a study by Professor Alejandro Nadal, of the College of Mexico, found that since 1994 (the year NAFTA entered into force), out of 20 million Mexican peasants, 15 million had lost a source of revenue that was enough for them to abandon their land.
Today, a million of the small corn producers have taken action and, everyday, 600 others are doing the same. Another million of them have to leave their farm for at least part of the year to look for revenues for subsistence they were once obtaining from selling their harvest.
That is going to get worse in the coming years because since 2008, the country’s two principal cultivated lands - beans and corn - have passed into the wringer of NAFTA.
In Mexico, corn alone constitutes 60% of cultivated land and is equal to 60% of the value produced by all agriculture. It allows families of three million peasants to live and 40% of workers in the entire agricultural sector (8 % of the country’s population)."
"Mexican peasants have been living off corn for more than 5,000 years until NAFTA. Then, in just nine years, NAFTA has increased US corn imports by 40%" (because this corn profits from US subsidies!).
(Source : http://www.lautjournal.info/autjour...)
NAFTA has not created Mexican immigration to the US but, by destroying the countryside, it has considerably reinforced it.
Now the EPAs are, in all respects, comparable to NAFTA.
There is one difference and that is of size: in 1994 in Mexico, peasants represented 25% of the population. In a number of African states, more than 70% of the population is composed of famers and breeders. Where will they go when the EPAs will be signed? I mean, when African agriculture will be in direct competition (without custom protection) with European agriculture that is technically very developed and what is more, is subsidized! Where will they go when the devastating effect of these free trade agreements will have sunk these peasants into poverty? These African towns will not be able to welcome them. Where will they try to go, if not, for the most part, to Europe?
What will Europe do then?
Where will she place her soldiers?
Where will she construct her wall?