Support Americas, NAFTA, Uribe’s Impatience, Wall St. & Immigration, Argentina’s Elected Family, Indian Borderlands, Brazilians Want Mine Back

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the latest Americas Updater.

Take a moment to check out our latest articles. Adam Isacson writes on the end of talks to free Colombian
hostages—complete with a balanced critique of both Uribe and Chávez, as well as recommendations
for moving forward. There’s also analysis of the impact of free trade on the Mexican countryside that
Laura Carlsen is presenting to congressional representatives in Washington today. Consider the hard facts
about the role of the U.S. banking system’s role in ruining Mexican businesses and feeding immigration.

Where else can you find this kind of analysis of Latin America affairs? Probably nowhere. In the age
of media mogul control and press self-censorship, mainstream sources are missing the story or showing
a one-sided view of events.

If we can no longer publish, you won’t find the kind of stories mentioned above—because they won’t

We depend on your help to keep our writers writing and our readers reading.

Help us keep alive the voices of some of North and South America’s most insightful writers and continue
to provide a citizen’s-eye view of the Americas.

Your donation to the Center for International Policy goes directly into the work of the Americas Policy

A donation of $50 allows us to publish, translate, and distribute an article across language and geographic

A $100 annual membership pays for a series of in-depth reports on a theme from various regions and

A $200 sponsoring membership allows us to pay a South American analyst for on-the-ground reporting.

Please help us keep this work going by donating online at CIP), noting in the comment section that you are supporting the Americas Policy Program. If you would prefer to send a check, you can make it out to the Center for International Policy, putting Americas Program in the memo line (or filling out the printable form at, and mailing it to 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 801, Washington DC 20036.

Tom Barry, Laura Carlsen, and Katie Kohlstedt


This Week in the Americas

NAFTA Free Trade Myths Lead to Farm Failure in Mexico
By Laura Carlsen

On Jan. 1, 2008 the last remaining tariff barriers permitted under the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) are slated to fall. Corn and beans were given the longest (15 years) liberalization schedule
because they are at the core of Mexican culture and subsistence.

However, since the start of this unequal partnership the failure to resolve the Mexican agricultural
crisis in large part caused by NAFTA has increased migration and complicated relations between the United
States and Mexico and between our people. Both countries should rethink trade policies and begin to base
new ones on reality, not myths, as dispelled in this article.

Laura Carlsen is director of the Americas Policy Program ( in Mexico City, where she has been a writer and political analyst for two decades. Feedback can be directed to lcarlsen(@) This article was part of a presentation to the U.S. Congress on Dec. 6, 2007.

See full article online at:


New from the Americas Policy Program

Negotiations for Colombian Hostage Release Deserved More Time
By Adam Isacson

With President Alvaro Uribe’s decision to cut off a negotiations process led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez,
hope that the FARC guerrillas will release long-held kidnapping victims has faded once again. Meanwhile,
relations between Venezuela and Colombia have sharply deteriorated.

All sides are guilty of errors in this negotiation attempt. However, President Chávez and Senator
Córdoba deserve our profound and heartfelt thanks. Although they committed some unfortunate mistakes,
both facilitators did their jobs with energy, perseverance, patience, and creativity. If only they had
been given more time.

Adam Isacson is director of the Demilitarization of Latin America program at the Center for International Policy (CIP,, and has coordinated CIP’s demilitarization efforts since 1995. He works in conjunction with the Americas Policy Program at and other organizations on related Colombia issues.

See full article online at:


Wall Street and Immigration: Financial Services Giants Have Profited from the Beginning
By Peter Cervantes-Gautschi

While it is popular among U.S. presidential candidates these days to blame Mexican corruption for
our huge undocumented immigrant population, corruption in the United States played a far larger role
in compelling millions of Mexicans to cross our southern border with or without legal authorization.
U.S. corruption came in the form of politicians implementing and enforcing foreign policies that yielded
unprecedented profits for their well-heeled campaign contributors in the financial services industry.
The same financial institutions created and profited from much of the family debt in both countries.

The single largest financial source of the campaigns for five of the six frontrunners for president
in the two major parties is the financial services industry. This is a fact that the U.S. major media
has missed or ignored, much in the same way it has ignored the role that the financial services industry
is and has been playing in the issues surrounding immigration.

Peter Cervantes-Gautschi is co-executive director of Enlace, an alliance of low wage worker organizations in the United States and Mexico, and analyst for the Americas Policy Program at

See full article online at:


Latin America: The Downside of the GM Revolution
By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

As genetically modified soybeans take over vast tracts in South America and reports flow in of genetic
contamination of local corn in Mesoamerica, grassroots resistance to biotech crops has also grown. The
protests form part of people’s movements across the hemisphere that tie together a rejection of neoliberalism
and agribusiness, and call for land reform, food sovereignty, and sustainable agriculture.

This is an overall look at genetically modified crops in Latin America that takes us on a tour of
the current situation in several countries, and what the GM industry and people’s movements are doing
to deal with these advances.

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is an independent Puerto Rican environmental journalist and analyst for the Americas Policy Program ( He is also founder and director of the Puerto Rico Project on Biosafety ( His bilingual web page ( is devoted to global environment and development issues.

See full article online at:


Passing the Baton: Argentina’s Political Future
By Lucía Álvarez and Diego González

Without fanfare and with the apathy emblematic of the campaign, what everyone expected came to be.
The first lady, senator, and presidential candidate for the currently ruling Front for Victory Party
(FPV), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, won a comfortable victory in the first round. Thus,
with 44.92% of the vote, on Dec. 10 she becomes the first woman in Argentine history to accede to the
presidency by popular vote. This report delves a bit deeper into national politics and how they will
play out based on election results.

Diego González and Lucia Álvarez are independent journalists in Buenos Aires and analysts for the CIP Americas Policy Program

See full article online at:


Indigenous Peoples Vow to Bring Down Apartheid Border Wall
By Brenda Norrell

The Indigenous Peoples’ Border Summit of the Americas 2007 began with a human rights delegation visit
to the border, and after four days of activities concluded with a vow to "bring down the wall." Indigenous
delegates to the border land on Tohono O’odham Nation land took a tour of the conditions and returned
in outrage.

The Border Summit ended by declaring an end to discrimination against migrants and the need for a
new era of human rights. Participants renewed their determination to halt the border wall and hold the
Tohono O’odham Nation responsible for the deaths of men, women, children, and unborn children who have
died on O’odham lands "for want of a drink of water."

Brenda Norrell is a freelance writer and Americas Policy Program border analyst, Her blog can be found at

See full article online at:


Brazilians Say No to Private Mining
By Eugenio Fernández Vázquez

In a plebiscite organized by 200 social organizations, almost four million people demanded that the
CVRD, the second largest mining company in the world, be put back in the hands of the Brazilian government.

The Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), the Unique Workers’ Center (CUT), and about 200 other
organizations celebrated the first week of September (the week of Brazilian national holidays), with
a plebiscite that would rebuild the sovereignty of the country almost two centuries after its independence.
The result was a resounding victory for those opposed to privatization.

Eugenio Fernández Vázquez is a freelance journalist and Americas Policy Program contributor (

See full article online at:




Crossing the Medicine Line

About 21 million people become climate refugees annually, from the big storms and droughts, and by 2050, 1.2 billion people


Latin America will be all feminist!

March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), serves as a barometer of the strength of feminist and women’s movements, especially in