(a26) The final official activities of this weekend's anti-FTAA border mobilization brought nearly one hundred Americans across the border to participate in daylong meetings and events in the Maclovio Rojas poblado community. Located forty minutes from the fence, this area is the site of this border region’s newest foreign-owned maquila factories. The American visitors were greeted at the Aguascalientes cultural center in the center of town by community members and people representing committees from across Baja California. The Aguascalientes center was a symbolic meeting place, as it was built in 1995 in response to the Zapatistas’ call to build public spaces representing the values and traditions of disenfranchised cultures across the country. It is the only one of its kind in Baja California.
The day's formal events began with speakers from both sides addressing the crowd of about 200, who sat in a courtyard surrounded by murals depicting this community’s sufferings under the forces of repressive globalization. At noon, a hovering police helicopter provided a poignant counterpoint to the speech given by Hortensia Fernandez, Maclovio's charismatic leader. Hortensia recounted Maclovio’s 13 year-old fight against local PANista government officials and their powerful Caciques associates, who are trying to force out the townspeople in order to turn Maclovio into an extension of the Hyundai maquila located next door.
During the working session that followed, almost forty binational organizations quickly reached consensus, agreeing to draft a resolution in defense of Maclovio Rojas and the communities of Valle de San Quintin and Mahuadero, by providing an "emergency response network." The Americans promised to provide immediate support in the form of: computers and money for Internet access, coordination of tours of the region, and a plan to return to Maclovio Rojas for a second formal binational encounter--in order to extend the global network of peoples’ resistance and support. A bilingual bulletin/newsletter will also be developed. Organizers from the FTAA border mobilization and other activists solidified plans for the immediate implementation of this new peoples’ network by scheduling an organizing meeting for May 26th at the Frente Zapatista, Tijuana,
The visitors ended their day with a tour of the poblado, home to about 10,000 people. The human cost of NAFTA was evident as they walked through the town. The daily tragedy that the people of Maclovio Rojas have endured since 1988 was sobering, but spirits were raised when community member Juan Regalado commented, "the only place we'll move to is the new cemetery we're building."