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This is the end, my friend. This is the end…

1 January 2008

Burrohall said it succinctly:

NAFTA…once certain provisions finally kick in on Jan 1, is going to ream Mexican farmers like a freight train full of proctologists,

As of today, U.S. and Canadian corporate farmers — and their genetically modified seed — will be entering the motherland of corn and beans. Outside of a few internet sites that preach to the converted (maybe including this one), no one seems to have taken much notice. What’s frustrating is that we all knew this was coming, and now that it’s here, we’ll be shocked, shocked to discover that Mexican farmers are fucked.

I haven’t heard anything from any of the U.S. presidential candidates on what’s probably our biggest foreign export issue (and import — you think some of those Mexican farmers aren’t going to turn to “alternative agriculture” — specifically to the few products the U.S. does not grow competitively? Like, oh… marijuana?”), even though they’re all running around an agricultural state right now.

Oh, a few warning signs appeared just before Christmas. An Associated Press article out of El Paso talked about the rise in tamale prices — which it blamed on the U.S. press’ favorite culprit, ethanol.

Once and for all, ethanol is made from yellow corn (used for animal feed), and what people eat is white corn. The jump in tortilla prices had more to do with speculation by U.S. producers than a shortage of white corn (Mexican white corn producers were doing well as late as last May).

With U.S. and Canadian subsidized agriculture competing against the “un-subsidized” Mexican farmer, who do you think is going to “win?”

We’ve known for a while what the results will be… more immigration to the United States. And, unlike what we’ve seen so far, this is not going to only affect the subsistence farmers. Even the large and middle-sized farmers can’t compete against cheap, export credited corn. By not negotiating a revision to NAFTA (as the “alternative president” had suggested), the Mexican government is creating a whole new class of underemployed, bankrupted — and potentially rebellious — campesinos. And these are the better educated ones. Some will emigrate to the U.S., some to the cities, but they are all going to be very, very pissed off.

I’ve been contemplating a return to D.F. — “inside the periferico” seems to be the place to be… though maybe the REAL story about U.S./Mexican relations is going to be written in Talyfulanotlan over the next year.

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