Standing Up to NAFTA
By Laura Carlsen

As the final phase of implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) approaches in January, the debate remains disappointingly stuck in ideologically defined terms. Proponents of the free trade model point, not surprisingly, to increased trade as proof of its success. Opponents cite negative impacts from the point of view of their respective sectors, issues, and interests.

A new policy is badly needed. One that will assure predictability and stable markets for U.S. producers, guarantees—not privileges—for U.S. investors, and basic rights for workers everywhere. If there is one thing we’ve learned from the growth of inequality under NAFTA, it’s that trickle down doesn’t work unless you squeeze from the top.

Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(a) is Director of the Americas Policy Program ( of the Center for International Policy. This text is based on a congressional briefing on NAFTA presented Dec. 6, 2007.

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Planning the War on Immigrants
By Tom Barry

Ed. Note: This article is part of a new series that examines the evolving ideological frameworks
shaping the immigration debate.

The war against immigrants and immigration is being fought on three main fronts: in Congress, in local and state government, and on the campaign trail. While the anti-immigration movement that is coursing through American politics is beyond the control of any individual or organization, the leading restrictionist policy institutes in Washington are setting the policy agenda of the anti-immigration forces at all levels of U.S. politics.

Following their success in stopping a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate that included legalization provisions, immigration restrictionists have rallied around a common strategy: “Attrition through Enforcement.” As this war against the country’s most vulnerable population deepens, the American people will need to ask themselves if they feel any safer or more secure, if they have more hope to find better-paying jobs, if their neighborhoods and town economies are more or less vibrant as immigrants leave, and if they are proud of themselves and their country.

Tom Barry is a senior analyst with the Americas Policy Program ( of the Center for International Policy.

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Cuba Changes, U.S. Policy Stagnates
By Wayne Smith and Jennifer Schuett

Cuba is on the cusp of change. By contrast, there has been little change in Washington. U.S. policy
toward Cuba remains as ill-conceived and counterproductive as ever.

There is hope, however, that the changing political equation in Miami, pressure from economic interest
groups interested in trade and investment, and support by the majority of Americans for normalization
of relations with Cuba will lead to long overdue policy change after the 2008 elections.

Wayne Smith, a former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, is a CIP senior analyst and Jennifer
Schuett is a program associate with CIP’s Cuba Program, providing analysis for the Americas Program at This article draws on comments by participants at the Imperatives for a New Cuba
Policy conference sponsored by the Center for International Policy in October 2007.

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Climate Change Cause and Effect, An Americas Perspective
By Tony Phillips

In the recent Bali consensus the U.S. government agreed to overall cutbacks and China, formerly exempt
as a developing country, agreed to voluntary cut-backs. But how will Latin America affect climate change
and be affected by it? Take a look at the major contributors in the region and the effects it is already

Tony Phillips is a researcher and journalist on trade and multinational finance with an emphasis on
dictatorships and the WTO, and a translator and analyst for the Americas Policy Program at Much of Tony’s work is published at

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Mexico’s Street Brigade: Sex, Revolution, and Social Change
By Raúl Zibechi

The alliance between Zapatistas, sex workers, and transvestites shows the power of social change in a key cultural way—when it’s anchored to daily life. In Mexico, one of the strongest and most overbearing enclaves of patriarchy and machismo, Subcomandante Marcos has opened the doors to debate about discrimination in a controversial area.

Subcomandante Marcos has been committed to this kind of meeting since January of last year under the auspices of The Other Campaign (La Otra Campaña), with the understanding that it means looking for new ways of doing politics. It passes through places that are far from the madding crowd and takes place with actors who, like indigenous people, understand social change as an affirmation of difference.

Raúl Zibechi is an international analyst for Brecha, a weekly journal in Montevideo, Uruguay, professor and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina, and adviser to social groups. He is a monthly contributor to the CIP Americas Program (

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Salsipuedes: Challenges for Ecotourism in Mexico’s Baja California
By Miguel Ángel Torres and Micheline Cariño

Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is a true laboratory providing multiple examples of the mosaic of challenges and the richness of the cutting edge proposals to resolve them. In the central part of this exceptional region, the Reserva de la Biosfera del Vizcaíno (Rebivi) constitutes a true microcosm, unique in the world, like other areas in the Mar de Cortés region of which it forms part.

This article provides us with a tour of the region highlighting positive and negative examples of local tourism development, along with some beautiful views!

Miguel Angel Torres is cofounder and co-director of Periodismo para Elevar la Conciencia Ecológica (Journalism to Raise Ecological Consciousness), responsible for this series of investigative articles on sustainable development in the Gulf of California. The series was produced thanks to the support of people from all over the region and sponsored at the request of the Fondo Educación Ambiental (Environmental Education Fund), el Centro Internacional para Periodistas (the International Center for Journalists), and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Micheline Cariño has been an investigative professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (Autonomous University of Baja California Sur) since 1989, and is the author of six books and more than 80 articles.

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Letters from our Readers

Re: Wall Street and Immigration

Excellent article, very well documented. It explains in dramatic detail the reasons for the general
and unprecedented indebtedness of most people and the increasing and extravagant wealth of few. It is
not due to an enlightened acumen at business of some and stupidity of most, but through manipulation
of interest rates in a captive market and government complicity. I would like to have a copy of this
article in Spanish. Is it available? Thank you.

Umberto Mazzei

Editor’s Note: It will be available later this week.


Re: Latin America: The Downside of the GM Revolution

All across the United States the bees are disappearing. They are pollinators. Another detrimental
effect of GM? What happens to the world when we are told that "Enough seed could not be produced
to satisfy demand"?

Nick Nichols


Re: NAFTA Free Trade Myths Lead to Farm Failure in

This article is an extraordinarily readable summary of NAFTA’s impact on Mexican agriculture. And
it is also an expose of the lie of "efficiency" as the reason for U.S. transnational corporate
(TNC) dominance in food exports. Carlson’s explanation of the credit benefits provided to TNCs is a model
of clarity.

Julia Willebrand