"Our neighborhood." That’s how President Bush described countries in the region during a March 23 joint press conference with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. They were announcing the creation of their Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America (SPP), which is nothing less than an instrument for merging nations of the Western Hemisphere through trade agreements.
Amnesty for trade cheats
, by Congressman Charles Norwood, June 17, 2005
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by Lou Dobbs, CNN, June 30, 2005
CAFTA: Ideology vs. national interests
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by Phyllis Spivey, NewsWithViews.com, July 22, 2005
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by Rob Sanchez, July 11, 2005
Will CAFTA Affect Immigration to the United States from Central America?
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by William Norman Grigg, The New American, published on StopTheFTAA.org, April 18, 2005
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by William Norman Grigg, The New American, published on StopCAFTA.org, April 18, 2005
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by Assosiated Press, June 29, 2005
CAFTA undermines immigration laws
, by Tom Tancredo, NCTimes.com, July 17, 2005
The SPP is intended to set an example for other hemispheric countries, the three leaders explained, and to advance the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), followed by the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Since that Dallas summit, in his press conferences and weekly radio addresses, the President has repeatedly referred to the CAFTA countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic as the neighborhood. "CAFTA will make our neighborhood more secure," he promises in his drive to get the trade agreement ratified.
And ratification is close. Approved by the Senate July 1, the pact’s fate in the House of Representatives seems less certain, but President Bush has virtually demanded CAFTA’s okay and is expected to press for a vote within days. If Congress delivers its blessing, America’s traditional concept of neighborhood will soon be altered forever.
For most Americans, the ideal neighborhood represents home and hearth, welcome and refuge. It’s inhabited by people of similar circumstances and amambitions who live by the same rules. Thus, "neighborhood" is a perplexing metaphor for a group of nations with drastically different cultures, economies, forms of government, and national goals....
Even before NAFTA, Mexico was a captive of drug cartels. In testimony before the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs in September 1993, (the House of Representatives passed NAFTA November 17, 1993) trade and international business expert Christopher Whalen cited estimates from law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico. Total revenues from marijuana and heroin production in Mexico and transhipment of cocaine from Columbia, he reported, had reached an astronomical $100 billion in 1992, producing profits of $16 billion– twice the amount of Mexico’s (then) total oil exports....
Under NAFTA, the drug trade has flourished. According to the 2005 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, as reported in the Dallas Morning News July 5, Mexico is "the leading transit country for cocaine and a major producer of heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana destined for U.S. markets."...
In June, the Mexican government targeted 14 cities overwhelmed by drug traffickers and their paramilitary armies. In the border town of Nuevo Laredo, where narco gangs have been fighting for control, the government was forced in June to send in the military....
Throughout Mexico, drug gangs have corrupted politicians and police and targeted investigative editors and reporters. In the past 10-1/2 years – NAFTA years – 29 Mexican journalists have been killed, according to the Inter American Press Association. At least 16 journalists have been killed or vanished since 2000 and last year eight journalists were attacked; four were killed. Not one case has been solved. The NAFTA years have also seen the mostly unsolved murders of more than 350 women in Ciudad Juarez, another border city.
The Mexican government’s response to this out-of-control murder and mayhem? Restrict the death penalty to victims...
Instead of discouraging illegal crossers, the Mexican government has published safety guides for them, defends "migration" as an economic and historical necessity, and incessantly demands that America change its laws to accommodate illegals.
And no wonder. Mexicans living in the U.S. send money home. In 2004, Mexico’s remittances totaled $16.6 billion, constituting one of that country’s largest sources of income. It’s quite a deal. Mexico exports its people for the U.S. to educate, medicate, and incarcerate while importing U.S. dollars generated by the same people. "Human capital," Vincente Fox calls them....
But what would the CAFTA countries bring to the neighborhood? A study done by the pro-CAFTA Heritage Foundation and cited in testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere April 20, indicates we can expect poverty, drugs, crime, and more illegal immigration....
Who cannot see that the "neighborhood" of today – pre-CAFTA – is in danger of becoming a Third World slum?
Just ten days before the Heritage Foundation presented its study, the New York Times reported on U.S. illegals: "Nationally, 80,000 to 100,000 undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes walk freely on the streets, federal officials said. But the problem appears most acute in Los Angeles County, where 30,000 of the nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants are criminals."
A word of advice to President Bush: When discussing the bankrupt, crime-ridden, gang-controlled countries of the hemisphere, drop the "neighborhood" metaphor; just call it "the hood."