I have translated sections of an editorial today in La Jornada written by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia. He is the head of Mexico's union of mine workers. After you read the editorial, you will find a bit of information about Gómez Urrutia. He is indeed an interesting person.
México y EU, Grandes desafíos
Napoleón Gómez Urrutia
24 enero 2013
....Mexico and the government of Enriue Peña Nieto should maintain a "healthy distance" in collaborating [with the US and Canada] in
some matters and in strengthening national sovereignty in others in order protect the natural riches and to provide justice, respect and dignity for Mexicans. Peña Nieto has to prove himself to be what Mexico needs
and expects of him. He can´t improvise or commit serious errors which put into play the destiny of the nation. Sufficient accumulated problems exist because they were neglected for more than a decade....-
Regarding the issue of migration, both Obama and Peña Nieto should move toward a true agreement which respects the dignity and the rights of the Mexican workers in the United States. This should be one of both presidents ’major reforms, and it has already been proposed by Obama. The president of the US ought to push to regularize the legal status of more than 11 million people who still find themselves in ambiguous circumstances. But it is also a grave responsibility for the government of Mexico. The government has the responsibility of creating worthwhile jobs to stem the flow of Mexicans toward the neighboring countries of North America. In fact, there already exist voices, especially in the unions of the US which are demanding that their government find a solution to this phenomenon....
We can't ignore the fact that Mexico has become more vulnerable. A natural catastrophe or some social or political conflict could put at grave risk the ...system of peace, security and tranquility
which is [in any case] superficial. One ought not to be falsely optimistic. The risks are there and they derive from carelessness and complete neglect during the years of the previous administrations which further drags Mexico towards a potential crisis. The insecurity of
unemployment, the world financial crisis, poverty and marginalization along with climate changes and unexpected meteorological phenomena, continue to simmer under the surface and time does not permit improvisation or the application of wrong policies which only serve to aggravate the situation.
Mexico can no longer wait, nor can the anxiety and incertainty of Mexicans continue [without consequences].
For this reason, Mexico's government, as a signatory along with the
US and Canada of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ought to
stop neglecting the subject of labor and instead meet the obligations of
the Complementary Labor Agreement is included in NAFTA.
Canada and the US have sufficient power to revise NAFTA in this regard and to ensure that the government of Mexico ceases its repression and constant violation of labor and human rights of the working classes and of unions.
Today Peña Nieto has before him the responsibility of achieving national reconciliation and finding the new opportunities which the population wants and hopes for. Mexico's present model of development cannot continue to operate only for the benefit of the few.
This is the reality of a country like Mexico which has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in very vew hands. Mexico ought to have a social conscience which changes the high levels of exploitation of and injustice to the enormous majority of the population it exploits....
Obama said very clearly: "A country with extreme inequality has no future." We could add that a nation without freedom and justice neither can advance to greater levels of development. If a true state of law
does not exist and the government is only used to benefit a small minority, then Mexico will be at permanent risk.
History will be the witness.
Napoleon Gómez Urrutia is the head of the miner's union in Mexico. He has been, according to El Proeceso, "self-exiled" in Canada since 2006 when ten (or eleven) accusations and warrants for his apprehension were issued against him for charges of fraud.. Ten (or eleven) have been resolved in his favor and there is apparently no current warrant for hi apprehension. However, not all miners support him, and yesterday some ordered that he be apprehended for the embezzlement of 55 milllion dollars.
He was re-elected to the union presidency in 2008 and actively leads it from his Canadian home.
In future posts I will address the issue of labor and social rights that
indeed was included in NAFTA but which have sort of faded into the mist in the
US as well as Mexico.
Trade, agricultural and labor issues are very complex and fluid and important. Things are not always what they seem. The same issues of inequality which exist in the US and which seem to be perpetuated by current systems exist in Mexico with greater consequences for more people.