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Mexico really should have joined Mercosur, not NAFTA

30 June 2010

What the hell was Carlos Salinas thinking?  Canada and the United States may have some geographic ties (and, yeah, there is that trade thingy), but NAFTA is the wrong group for Mexico to have joined.  It had a chance to join Mercosur, under the Fox Administration but passed, becoming only a “observer nation” in the Pan-Latin Common Market.  Which was a huge mistake.

After all, it’s Mercosur that really shares the penultimate goal of all Latin Americans — winning the World Cup.  The founding members of Mercosur — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay (my fave, just because*) prove  in union, there is strength:

As an economic grouping, MERCOSUR has underperformed. But as nations on the soccer pitch, watch out. MERCOSUR nations are outperforming those from NAFTA, APEC, and even the EU in the tournament this year. Perhaps the next generation of trade agreements should begin to include the free movement of labor, especially for those who play soccer. No doubt that’s one of MERCOSUR’s comparative advantages.

* Nothing to do with futbol, but any country whose history included mandatory polygamy (after a 19th century war killed off nearly every Paraguayan male) and an Mennonite Nazi movement (for real… they were mostly immigrants from German-speaking parts of the Soviet Union and feared Stalin more than Hitler — and I guess were ready to kill anyone who interfered with their rights to be pacifists — oh, and thanks, Jason, for the correction)  is too bizarro not to take some interest in.

That the country was a setting for parts of two great novels — by Voltaire (Candide) and Graham Greene (Travels With My Aunt) — is not enough.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 June 2010 3:19 pm

    Those were Mennonites that played around with Nazis in Paraguay. John D. Theisen has a book on it. Unless there is some hidden Amish Paraguayan Nazi movement I am unaware of (which is always possible).

  2. 1 July 2010 7:41 pm

    J, FYI the Amish ARE Mennonites, just one of the many different Mennonite sects, so those Paraguayan Mennonites could easily have been Amish Mennonites.

    • 2 July 2010 12:02 am

      But the Paraguayan Nazis were Mennonite, but not Amish.

      The Amish are to the Mennonites, as Methodists are to Anglicans… later reforms of earlier reformation church. The Mennonites are Anabaptists, tracing their roots back to 16th century Dutch theologian Menno Simmons.

      “In 1693, a young Mennonite leader, from the Alsace region of modern-day France, named Jacob Amman formed his own Christian fellowship because he felt that the Mennonite Church did not exercise enough church discipline or maintain a strong enough spiritual life. Jacob Amman’s followers began to be nicknamed – you guessed it – the Amish.”
      (Amish History: Welcome to Lancaster County)

      TMI, maybe, J has forgotten more about Latin American religious history than most of us ever knew.

  3. 3 July 2010 6:37 pm

    Thanks, Rich, but I think I only KNOW the people that forget more than most people know about religion in Latin America. Anywho… the Paraguay Mennos are Sommerfelders… out of Manitoba. Your standard Low Country, Prussia, Russia, Canada strain later joined by other Old World folks in Paraguay. So, yeah, not the Amish. Close kin to the Altkolonier that settled a few years earlier in Mexico… also not Amish. Though many of the Altkolonier have in the last 30 years moved south to Belize and Bolivia… and maybe even Paraguay. I just don’t know.

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