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Speaker talks with students about Plan Mexico

November 10, 2009

This morning students at Grand Valley State University had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Carlos Euceda. Carlos works with the Mexico Solidarity Network (MSN) based in Chicago and is on tour in the Midwest to share information on the work of his organization and provide an analysis of what is called Plan Mexico.

Carlos began with an overview of the work that MSN does and how it began. MSN was founded as a response to a massacre in Acteal, Chiapas in 1997. Tom Hansen, the founder of MSN, was investigating these actions and because of that he was deported from Mexico. In response to this people organized in the US to support human rights in Mexico and MSN was born.

MEXICO-OAXACA/

Out of this effort an education program began with students from the US going to Mexico to learn first hand about the situation. MSN has projects in partnership with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, with displaced people in Mexico City, in Oaxaca, and in Juarez where there has been a femicidal campaign against women.

Plan Merida/Plan Mexico

The main focus of Carlos’ presentation was on Plan Merida, or what is called in the US Plan Mexico. He said that this plan is really an extension of NAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama and Plan Colombia, in that Plan Mexico is the most recent policy designed to gain greater access to the natural resources of the country.

Carlos said that Plan Mexico is framed as a response to the growing drug problem in Mexico, but that is just a pretext for the militarization of the country. The US has increased the amount of weapons it has sent to Mexico under this plan in recent years, but Carlos also made the point that the narco-traffickers are also getting most of their weapons from the US.

However, according to the MSN speaker the real reason for the increased militarization of Mexico has been to criminalize any public opposition to the exploitation of resources. This policy has primarily targeted indigenous communities, which also happen to be people who live in very resource and bi0-diverse parts of what is called MesoAmerica – Southern, Guatemala and Belize.

So, the problem for governments and corporations is that this territory is populated by millions of indigenous people, which makes it difficult for these economic forces to easily extract resources. Since the indigenous people will not leave, the only way to gain access to the natural resources is to engage in low-intensity warfare, according to Carlos.

Carlos said that the Obama administration has continued the Bush policies of focusing on the narco-traffickers publicly, when in reality it is about the militarization of Mexican society. The MSN speaker said that the jails in Mexico are filled with human rights activists who have been resisting these policies. He also said that the para-military forces are growing in southern Mexico and that there are 9,000 Mexican soldiers along the US border in Juarez. However, Carlos emphasized that this militarization provides a cover for the exploitation of Mexico’s resources.

There has been tremendous resistance to these policies, according to Carlos. One example he gave took place in Atenco, Mexico where the government wanted to build an international airport. However the resistance is more effect if there is international solidarity. Carlos encouraged people to get involved with the work of the Mexico Solidarity Network, by hosting speakers, providing financial support or going on a delegation and being an observer in the areas of conflict. “Solidarity is key,” he said, “and it is our obligation as US citizens to counter-act the policies of the US government which has escalated the repression.”

For additional information on Plan Mexico, check out this segment on Democracy Now from last year.

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