On Dec. 7, Mexican organizations in defense of migrants’ rights held a press conference announcing their opposition to an agreement with the Trump administration, such as “Third Safe Country” or “Remain in Mexico” being negotiated between the two governments, in an Open Letter to the Mexican government. On Dec. 20, Donald Trump announced a plan to deport asylum-seekers who entered the United States through Mexico to await decisions in their cases on Mexican soil. The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador accepted the plan, which is essentially the “Remain in Mexico” agreement referred to in this Letter.
There’s no doubt that after the blue skies and sunshine of December 1st, there are already clouds on the horizon. But the role of an engaged citizen cannot be to simply cross your arms and watch the storm roll in while saying “I told you so”. Giving President López Obrador the benefit of the doubt is to replicate the old styles of rulers who demanded unconditional support for their actions and cloaked themselves in authoritarian power and self-praise. Seeing treachery before it happens ignores the need for facts-based judgement and closes doors.
In the middle of October, the Juicio Popular y Comunitario Contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (People’s Trail against the State and the Mining Companies) was carried out in Oaxaca City, Mexico. The participating organizations denounce that in the Central Valleys, the most populated region in the state, 80% of the territory is awarded to mining companies from Canada and the United States.
This year the Caravan of Central American Mothers arrived in Mexico City to participate in the first World Summit of Mothers of the Disappeared with mothers, other relatives of the missing and allies from Mexico, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, Mauritania, Spain, Italy and the United States to compare notes and gain a deeper understanding of the problem, across borders.
The battle to stop the spread of extractive industries pits indigenous and peasant communities against powerful business interests, backed up by politicians who encourage the foreign investments that convert millennial ways of life into cash for them.