Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 25, 2005
NAFTA is failing Mexico - Church reps
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The North American Free Trade Agreement is "failing the people of Mexico," by facilitating low pay and poor working conditions, says Anglican Bishop Sue Moxley.
Workers, often women, are employed by Fortune 500 companies, yet still live in cardboard houses, Moxley told an April 13 news conference.
She noted that indigenous group rights are not being respected, and NAFTA is bringing about massive migration to the cities or to the United States.
Moxley, Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Raymond Schultz and Regina Archbishop-elect Daniel Bohan were part of a group of Canadian church leaders that travelled to Mexico March 11-19 on behalf of Kairos, the ecumenical justice initiative.
Bohan was not present at the news conference.
The church leaders highlighted the social and economic impacts of free trade on the poor and on indigenous peoples in Mexico, including human rights abuses and criticized the Canadian government for de-linking trade and human rights.
The delegation provided a statement by Ana Maria Alvarado Garcia, a resident of the historic Mexican town of San Pedro, which is threatened by Canadian owned Metallica Resources' efforts to create an open pit gold and silver mine there.
Alvarado described how the company wants to employ a cyanide leaching process that would destroy the ecology and water system. The company also proposes leveling the town's historic core and moving the residents to a new town.
Schultz spoke about the impact of NAFTA Chapter 11, which allows companies to sue foreign governments for laws infringing on trade on the basis of their projected lost profits. He noted that these lawsuits cost the Mexican government millions and often force officials to capitulate.
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