In this time of uncertainty Belize is going through, I thought it important to consider certain historical issues that arose with projects that were conceived by the representatives of the corporations and the neoliberal capitalist think-tanks. It is very important for us to bear in mind that the Anglo-Guatemala-Belize issue is not something surprising, since the objective from the birth of the United States of America has been to extend its hegemony throughout the Latin American and Caribbean countries, with the starting point being the 1823 Monroe Doctrine. Thereafter, there was the first American continental war, in which the United States seized more than half of Mexico´s territory.
Meanwhile, 150 years later, Washington gave back to Mexico, “El Chamizal”. After the passing of time, with a well-studied strategy, Washington was able to convince the leaders of Mexico to participate in the philosophy of the neoliberal capitalist free trade system. Those interchanges of diplomatic economic talks have a long history. Since all that cannot fit in a little essay, let me remind you, our dear readers, about what has been widely published about the Plan Puebla Panama Project, which would have included the southern states of Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatán) and the Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama). The idea has always been there, since it has cheap labor from millions of people which would benefit the United States corporations.
Recently, in response to the influx of Central American immigrants into the U.S., Trump has stated that Mexico was not doing anything to solve that problem. After Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected as president of Mexico, he proposed a project to Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, that would involve a tourism train of high speed that would cover the archaeological sites of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Tabasco with an investment of 80 billion pesos which would give work to 400 thousand people.
On the other hand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize stated that, in my own words, the International Court of Justice will only examine the 1859 treaty and the 1931 treaty. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves: why then will the following question be put to the Belizean people for their consent?: “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties?” I will end my views on the current situation with the following:
The North American Free Trade Agreement
by OLEP 10 October, 2017 — KAOSESENLARED
A business among entrepreneurs
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trade agreement signed in December 1992 between the countries of the United States, Canada and Mexico, during the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. This treaty entered into force on January 1, 1994, an emblematic year for Mexico, since on the same day the Zapatista Army of National Liberation took place in the southeast of the country.
Many remember the administration of Salinas de Gortari as one of the worst governments that Mexico has had, because in addition to promoting NAFTA, more than one thousand state-owned companies were privatized (in the areas of metallurgy, rail, telecommunications, banking, among others) and the reform to the constitutional article 27 was impelled, that gave opening to the privatization of lands of the ejidos and communities. Undoubtedly, these were the key steps for the nascent neoliberalism in 1982 to develop in Mexico.
Thus, a process of dismantling the national industry to make way for manufacturing production began, that is, industries with foreign capital settled and invested in our country to use cheap labor and develop products for the foreign market, as happened with the car assemblers. “With NAFTA, Mexico will become a first world country!,” they exclaimed from the federal government. They said that it would bring greater economic growth, that there would be more jobs, because foreign investment would be promoted in our country, and that it would reduce the migration of our people abroad … the same promises that are now made to us with structural reforms. However, the economic conditions that left us 23 years of NAFTA, and the more than 30 years of neoliberalism in Mexico, have seriously affected the working class: the poor peasants, the small and medium producers, as well as the small and medium-sized companies that went bankrupt or were absorbed by monopolies and transnationals.
Now, with the renegotiation of NAFTA, Donald Trump has declared that Mexico has benefited most from this treaty. Let’s see what are the benefits for Mexicans: we have in Mexico large automotive and auto parts companies such as Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, etc. These generate around 800 thousand jobs (according to data from the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry) but in conditions of super-exploitation for workers! No collective contracts or rights for workers and white unions or charros in favor of companies. If we add to this that the salary paid to Mexicans is on average two dollars per hour, compared to the average $35 per hour earned by workers in Canada and the US, we understand why we are the cheap labor of those companies that have made lucrative profits at the cost of our lives.
On the other hand, farmers and peasants were promised in the countryside that markets would be opened to export their products, but with NAFTA only entrepreneurs who had the conditions to export, benefited, while small and medium producers fell into the trap of misery by not competing with the costs and technology for its production.
As a consequence of the above, we have to import 45% of our food as basic grains and oilseeds (yellow corn, beans, rice, wheat, soybeans, sorghum); milk and its derivatives; as well as beef, chicken and pork. These apparently “cheaper” foods enter the country without paying taxes (tariffs), which create competition with the produce of our farmers who seek a fair price in the market. Peña Nieto explained in his 5th government report that one of his achievements was that “for the first time in 20 years we are exporting more food than we import”. And indeed, we are exporting beer, tequila, avocado, tomato, sugar cane, strawberries (berries), fruits and vegetables, among others. However, where are those 20 billion dollars that were generated in the last five years under this concept? What has benefitted us from what they present as a great achievement?
It is demonstrated that the opening of the national market, the investment of foreign capital and trade agreements between countries, did not come to solve our socio-economic problems, because in our town there are still 55.5 million poor people and the minimum wage is still 80 miserable pesos, while the cost of the basic basket is $320.16 pesos per day; 3.3 million households survive with 25 pesos a day and 12 million peasants had to abandon their lands to seek better luck abroad. For this reason, we join the voices that demand an end to NAFTA and that proposes to re-orientate the national economy. However, we are sure that this demand will not be accepted by any government that represents the interests of the bourgeoisie, which deals with businessmen; that is why we continue in the call to fight for a government of the people, which really represents the interests of the workers, not of the entrepreneurs who only seek to boost their businesses.
We return to the examples that the socialist countries have left us, such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Cuba, where under economic planning and the abolition of private property, economic growth and technological development were promoted to cover the needs most pressing of the population. Even in spite of the commercial closure imposed on Cuba, the socialist state planned its economy and sought the solidarity of other countries in order to meet the needs of its population. If they succeeded, why do not we?
(NOTE: This article was published as part of the ANALYSIS section of FRAGUA No. 29, a press organ of the Organization for the Fight for Popular Emancipation (OLEP), September-October 2017.)
September 7, 2018