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MEXICO: Globalization

The Mexican town of Ciudad Reynosa on the Rio Grande (Bravo), facing the United States, is in the strip of Mexican territory enjoying free commercial access to the United States in which the maquiladoras are located. It has closer ties with the United States than any other region of Mexico. Its attitude toward globalization is thus of peculiar interest. Jaqui White, who lives in Puerto Isabel, just across the river, has sent me an issue the Reynosa newspaper El Mañana which has three articles on globalization. Illustrated with a picture of Cuahtémoc Cárdenas, they are strongly pro-PRD, suggesting that the workers in the maquiladoras look to him to improve their lot, which may be good by Mexican standards but not by those of the US. At the same time, they strongly oppose globalization, presumably because it would subject them to competition from other low-cost countries. Because of NAFTA, they already have competition from other areas of Mexico.

The same issue has an article on the visit of Vicente Fox to Paris entitled "Fox among wolves," the wolves being the voracious OECD, with whose Secretary general Donald Johnston he had a conversation "full of contradictions". Fox wanted investment in Mexico, while Johnston stressed the corruption and poverty of Mexico and called for the privatization of the energy sector, including PEMEX (a sacred cow in Mexico which Fox would hesitate to sacrifice), and a fairer distribution of wealth. The article admitted that the criticisms were fair, since in a list of 60 countries only three are judged more corrupt than Mexico, while Forbes pointed out the Mexico is the fourth country in the world in dollar millionaires, while 75 million live in poverty. The newspaper thought the criticisms justified, while Fox, who went simply to get investments, showed himself to be "an inexperienced novice who was caught in the fangs of the OECD wolves".

Ronald Hilton - 11/24/00