Mexico

United States: Don’t drink Ohio’s water

“The aquapocalypse in Toledo, Ohio is now entering its third day after citizens in the greater Toledo area woke up to a stark reality on Saturday morning when city officials had issued an unprecedented, region wide water advisory warning people not to drink or boil local tap water due to toxic contamination,” said an August 4 Counterpunch article.

As images of children huddled in masses on immigrant detention centre floors along the US-Mexico border make headlines worldwide, the US government is responding with more of the same failed policies that have generated economic and social devastation in Central America spurring migration in the first place.

More than 52,000 children have been apprehended at the US border since October 2last year, most of them from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and many of them unaccompanied. At least 60,000 minors are expected to cross into the country this year.

Workers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico united in an Inter-Continental Day of Action on January 31 to stop a massive new trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership — commonly referred to as “NAFTA on steroids.”

In the U.S., the immediate fight is to block a bill that would grant the president “fast track” authority to sign off on the TPP. Defeating fast track would likely stop the TPP.

Fast track is designed to swiftly pass trade deals, circumventing the standard Congressional procedures of hearings, debates, and resolutions.

The tide of history sometimes surges out of the most unexpected places. Twenty years ago, the Zapatista indigenous uprising broke out in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

Zapatismo, limiting itself to operating in Chiapas, may be an incomplete solution to the national rule of the capitalist class, but the Zapatista rising in 1994 was a big advance in Latin America’s liberation struggle.

Over the past few months, plazas, airports and roads in Mexico City and several other cities across the country have been paralysed by teachers and their supporters.

They have been protesting against neoliberal reforms to the public education system proposed by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and recently approved by Congress.

These so-called structural reforms to education coincide with other neoliberal attacks pushing the privatisation of education, oil and electricity industries.

Striking Mexican teachers from a dissident union leading popular resistance to the government’s neoliberal reform agenda in recent weeks.

Despite enduring relentless media hostility, the teachers' strike is now starting to broadened out to merge with protests against plans to hand over key national assets, such as Mexico’s state-owned oil industry, to the profit-hungry multinationals.

Thousands of striking teachers seized two of Mexico City's central thoroughfares on a march to the president's residence on September 11 after losing their battle to block new educational reforms less than 24 hours earlier.

The teachers disrupted the centre of the city for at least the 14th time in two months, decrying a plan designed to break union control of Mexico's education system and, they say, damage education in Mexico's poor south in the process.

One has to hark back to 1968 in Mexico City, when thousands of students and workers marched against the Olympics, to find a sports-related demonstration that compares to the size and militancy of the mass anti-World Cup/Olympic protests taking place in Brazil.

As in Mexico City, thousands of people in Brazil took to the streets — and outside of stadiums hosting Confederations Cup matches — raising slogans that connect the spending and austerity that surround these mega-events to a much deeper rot in the nation’s democratic institutions.

Everywhere you look these days, things are turning green. In Chiapas, Mexico, indigenous farmers are being paid to protect the last vast stretch of rainforest in Mesoamerica. In the Brazilian Amazon, peasant families are given a monthly “green basket” of basic food staples to allow them to get by without cutting down trees. In Kenya, small farmers who plant climate-hardy trees and protect green zones are promised payment for their part in the fight to reduce global warming.

The final official results in Mexico's July 1 presidential election were published in the early hours of July 4, claiming Enrique Pena Nieto had won. However, his victory had been proclaimed within just a few hours of the voting centres being closed and 1% of the ballots counted.

Pena Nieto, the candidate from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was declared the winner with a 6.5% margin over progressive candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

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