Come to Gambrelll Hall Room 151, University of South Carolina, at 7pm on Monday, November 15th to participate in a discussion with Macrina Cardenas and Miguel Torrez Montejo.
Macrina and Miguel are human rights leaders from Southern Mexico. Learn about neoliberalism, militarization, and human rights in Chiapas, Mexico. And much more!
Macrina and Miguel will:
* Discuss neoliberalism, militarization, and human rights in Chiapas, Mexico.
* Discuss the role of the School of the Americas in human rights abuses in Mexico.
* Discuss economic threats such as NAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama, and the agricultural crisis.
* Discuss how Mexican communities are working to end the abuses and impunity.
* Build support for the SOA Watch mobilization to CLOSE THE SOA in November!
* Build support to stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the Central American Free Trade Area (CAFTA)!
* Build support for alternatives to the neoliberal model.
Miguel Torrez Montejo is a Chol indigenous man from the community of Tentiul Grande in the Municipality of Salto de Agua, in the northern region of Chiapas. Miguel has worked with the Red de Defensores Comunitarios for four years. Miguel will speak about the struggle for human rights in southern Mexico and how communities are taking steps to defend themselves through cooperative legal training and defense strategies.
Macrina Cardenas is the Legislative Coordinator of the Mexico Solidarity Network. Macrina has 30 years of political organizing experience in the US and Mexico. For the past 12 years, she has been working for immigrant rights in the United States
On January 1, 1994 the Zapatistas launched their historic uprising in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, not coincidentally the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. The Zapatistas called NAFTA a death sentence for the indigenous people of Mexico.
NAFTA devastated communities in all three NAFTA countries, but Mexico’s rural areas, where the majority of the indigenous population lives, suffered the most destructive effects. During the past decade, over a million Mexican campesinos lost their lands when US corporations dumped corn in Mexico at below market prices. US subsidies for corporate agriculture, free trade agreements, and monopoly control of international markets allowed Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland to profit handsomely, while millions of campesinos suffered declining standards of living. Nearly 20 million Mexican campesinos, many of them indigenous, depend on small plots of corn and/or coffee for survival. With rapidly declining family incomes, many have no alternative but to migrate to large cities, the northern border or the US in search of work.
Since the Zapatista uprising began the Mexican military and paramilitaries have waged a counter insurgency war against Zapatista and sympathizer communities. Ten years after the uprising, human rights abuses are rampant. The School of the Americas (SOA) played a significant role in these human rights abuses. The SOA is a US Army training school, funded by US taxpayers, that trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in subjects like counter-insurgency, infantry tactics, and military intelligence.
Consistently, the countries with the worst human rights records sent the most students to the SOA, and Mexico is no exception as enrollment escalated sharply in the wake of the Zapatista uprising. Proponents of the SOA claim this training is necessary because of Mexico’s increased involvement in the “war on drugs.” The truth is that in 1997, only 10% of Mexican students took counter-narcotics courses. No Mexican soldiers were slated for the counter-drug operations course in 1999. Soldiers trained at the SOA are trained to silence the voices that demand justice. At least 18 top military officials who played a key role in the civilian-targeted warfare in Chiapas and other southern states, particularly Guerrero and Oaxaca, are SOA graduates. One of them, Juan Lopez Ortiz, commanded the troops that committed a 1994 massacre of Zapatistas in Ocosingo in which soldiers tied prisoners’ hands behind their backs before shooting them in the back of the head.
But there is hope! Mexican communities are developing new forms of resistance! Come on November 15th and learn more. La lucha sigue!