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Mex/CA Cotton workers & cancer

by sustanence farming cycle broken by WTO/NAFTA Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2005 at 6:21 PM

Corporate cotton, rio agua theft, pesticide exposure and worker cancer, loss of indigenous culture in maquiladoras, Chiapas/Oaxaca impacts of NAFTA/WTO/PPP/etc..

Cotton is grown in CA's Imperial Valley with the requirement of large amounts of imported water, mostly diverted from the Rio Colorado via dams and irrigation canals. The Colorado Delta forms the estuary with the Gulf separating Baja from the mainland. Decades of drought from the monolith dams on the Rio Colorado resulted in a steady decline of fish and edible native plants that were staple foods 4 the Cocupa peoples. This tribe lived in the bounty of nutrients provided by a free flowing rio pre-damming. Even today dedicated people rise early before the sky becomes lit, wishing some fish will still survive the increased salinity, agribusiness chemicals, decreased mineral sediment and other hardships caused by the lack of fresh rio agua..

info on Cocopa y Rio Colorado;

Mexican workers (M & F, ninos, ninas) are exposed to pesticides and herbicides in the process, exposing their bodies to known carcinogens, cholinesterase inhibitors, endocrine disrupters like Malathion (70,000 + acres treated in Imperial Valley), etc., breathing in free floating pesticide molecules trapped in the irrigation spray haze..

Info on Malathion exposure, cancer, insect resistance (GE continues pesticide treadmill);

Neoliberalism, WTO/NAFTA globalization encourages maquiladora sweatshops to appear on the borderlands, another group of industrial rio agua consuming corporations. The water table of the Sonoran desierto emerged in springs that supported endemic species like the desierto pupfish. Indigenous peoples revered these springs as givers of life. The combined thirst of mono-agricultura y maquiladoras resulted in the drop of the groundwatertable and disappearence of the desierto tidepools. Every plant and animal is sacred in the indigenous worldview..

Maquiladoras on the border are the sweatshops of Norte America, importing indigenous women 4 labor. Chemical exposures are frequent as the OSHA standards are disregarded, cancer is also a result of exposure to these chemicals. Maquiladora corporate owners enjoy the protection of the WTO/NAFTA when dealing with lawsuits and complaints of illness..

Personal story of women and cancer;

Over 400 women and children were murdered in and around the maquiladora border towns. The usual suspects have already lined up in front of the police and politicians of norte Mexico. Drug dealers and mentally ill psychotics are usually the easiest to blame. Add some ritual symbolism and the hyper-Chrisitian Catholic patriarchs are prepared for the anti-pagan witchhunt soon to come. Politicians, police and Christian partriarchs share the common belief that women are inferior, any union organizing on the part of las indigenous must be a slap in the face to patriarchal elites determined to hold their power..

Is it easier for the political patriarchy profiting from the border maquiladoras to murder and dispose of sick women before cancer becomes apparent? When investigating a homocide, cancer is usually not detected during an autopsy..

There is always a motivation on the part of the patriarchy to oppress women. Norte Mexico is not very different in suppression of indigenous peoples by Spanish Christian monoculture than cross border oppression of both mestizos and indigenous peoples by Anglo Christian monoculture. In either case, indigenous peoples are forced to assimilate and adopt the majority culture, in both cases at sacrifice of losing their own Earth-centered beliefs, ridiculed as "pagan" by dominant Spanglish Christian culture..

Indigenous culture is not only suppressed by the Christian Catholic patriarchal heirarchy, on the other side of the imperialist coin are the statist nationalist socialists who view worker/state industrialism as the answer to problems caused by industrial corporations currently under capitalist heirarchy. Statist socialism struggling with capitalism equates a damaged ecosystem and loss of indigenous culture regardless of who holds the reigns to maquiladora production. What many indigenous people express as their desire is to continue their cycle of sustenance farming and living with the bosque (forest) or desierto ecosystem without interference from colonialist US worldview, whether capitalist or socialist, neo-conservative or neoliberal, Anglo or Spanish Christianity..

Another facet of the struggle of maquiladora women is the statist monolith PRI Union, Mexico's government sponsored labor union. Similar to the labor unions in USA, Mexican PRI officials are rubbing elbows with management at San Diego country clubs on a regular basis. The myth of PRI effectiveness can easily be demonstrated when maquiladora women organize workers collectives outside the PRI confines and are targeted by maquiladora management as a result..

info on sustenance farming & WTO/NAFTA GE corporation's biotheft of indigenous medicinal plants;

It is my belief that the murders of maquiladora workers is another facet of a larger genocide/slavery campaign waged against los indigenous de Mexico by US corporate interests and their patriarchal puppet politicians in Mexico..

Info below about NAFTA/WTO impact on Mexican maquiladora workers, femicide of las indigenas and CAFTA/Plan Puebla Pananma on Chiapas/Oaxaca indigenous sovereignty..

"Murders in Chihuahua and Juarez: For more than a decade, the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez, near the US-Mexico border, have been killing fields for young women, the site of over 4000 unsolved femicides. Despite the horrific nature of these crimes, authorities at all levels exhibit indifference, and there is strong evidence that some officials may be involved. Impunity and corruption has permitted the criminals, whoever they are, to continue committing these acts, knowing there will be no consequences.

A significant number of victims work in the maquiladora sector - sweatshops that produce for export with 90% destined for the United States. The maquiladoras employ mainly young women at poverty level wages. In combination with lax environmental regulations and low tariffs under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the maquiladoras are amassing tremendous wealth. Yet despite the crime wave, they offer almost no protection for their workers. High profile government campaigns such as Ponte Vista (Be Aware), a self defense program, and supplying women with whistles have been ineffective and are carried out mainly for public relations purposes.

Small advances in the struggle for justice are due to the perseverance of victims' families who cannot be silenced despite the efforts of state and federal authorities to keep them quiet. Campaigns by local, national and international non-governmental organizations are also important. Often these grassroots groups work in a climate of threats and defamation by government officials for making one simple demand: STOP THE FEMICIDE.

PROGRAM: Femicide on the US-Mexico Border, a tour sponsored by the Mexico Solidarity Network in the spring of 2005, will feature a mother of one of the murdered young women from the group Justicia para Nuestras Hijas and will:

- Educate about the femicides and the Mexican governments failure to protect women

- Educate about how US policies like free trade and the drug war compound the problem.

- Educate about the impact of corporate-centered globalization on women in border towns.

- Create strategies that strengthen solidarity between people working for social and economic justice on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

The March speaking tour will include a mother of a woman murdered in Ciudad Juarez who will share the story of her struggle for justice. A representative of Mexico Solidarity Network will discuss the economic and social context in which the femicides of Juarez and Chihuahua occur.


Women Constructing a Fair Global Economy

Fair Trade, Globalization and Human Rights Tour

April 10-23, 2005

Contact: or

(202)544-9355: NE (ME/NH/VT/MA/CD/RI) and SE (GA/FL) tours

(773)583-7728: Midwest (MN/WI/IA/IL/IN/MI) tour

(415)621-8100: Western (NM/CO/KS/OK) tours

Since the Zapatista uprising began on January 1, 1994, (the first day that NAFTA went into effect) the Mexican military and paramilitaries have waged a counter insurgency war against Zapatista and sympathizer communities. Eleven years after the uprising, human rights abuses are rampant. But these communities are developing new forms of resistance. Women are playing leading roles on all fronts in the struggle to build alternatives.

During the past decade, over a million Mexican campesinos lost their lands. US subsidies for corporate agriculture, free trade agreements (read NAFTA), and monopoly control of international markets are destroying the livelihoods of one-fifth of the Mexican population. Corporate subsidies and free trade allow US corporations to dump corn on the Mexican market at below the cost of production. Monopoly control of international markets forces campesinos to sell their coffee, corn and other agricultural products at below the cost of production. Nearly 20 million Mexican campesinos depend on small plots of corn and/or coffee for survival. With rapidly declining family incomes, many have no alternative but to migrate to large cities, the northern border or the US in search of work.

Ultimately, dramatic changes in government policies and economic priorities offer the only long-term solution. While we are working to change those policies, fair trade programs offer an important survival alternative for many campesino families. In Chiapas, artisan production by women constitutes one of the main sources of income for indigenous families. This is especially true since the collapse of the international corn and coffee markets, which provided many small farmers with their only sources of income. Artisan production is particularly important for families where the father has died or cannot leave the community to work because of political unrest, such as Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

Fair Trade Cooperatives allow women to play a central role in the control and development of local economies. Fair Trade allows community cooperatives to raise money to improve living conditions for their communities, control the production and marketing of products, construct a just economy in which women can be central participants, maintain ancestral knowledge, support sustainable agriculture, and provide much needed funds for community development projects.

PROGRAM: The Mexico Solidarity Network Women Constructing a Fair Global Economy: Fair Trade, Globalization and Human Rights Tour in the spring of 2005 will feature young women activists from Chiapas, Mexico and will:

- Discuss threats to indigenous communities, especially women, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas, NAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama, and the corn and coffee crisis in Mexico.

- Discuss human rights abuses in Mexico, their relationship to globalization and how indigenous communities are working to end the abuses and impunity.

-Promote a sustainable model of international trade based on economic justice

- Discuss the leadership of women in fair trade cooperatives

- Offer weavings and traditional handicrafts made in women's cooperatives for sale to raise money to improve the living conditions in communities.

The April speaking tours will each include a young female activist from Chiapas to discuss the political, economic and social context in which indigenous people of Chiapas live and projects that young women are developing to confront these problems. A representative of Mexico Solidarity Network will discuss the impact of US foreign policy on this context and how US communities can get involved in making positive changes.

The presentations will include a video message from Mujeres por la Dignidad Rebelde (Women for Dignity in Rebellion), a cooperative of several hundred Zapatista indigenous weavers in Chiapas, Mexico. The objective of the cooperative is not just to sell artesania (crafts) but also to organize women to participate fully in the Zapatista struggle for self-determination and the preservation of indigenous culture. For security reasons, the Zapatistas are not currently permitting any members to travel outside of Chiapas, but the cooperative has prepared a video message for the tour. We will have beautiful hand-made textiles for sale. Profits from these sales go directly to the cooperative to support the struggle of indigenous women in Chiapas."

Contact the MSN at

or at one of our offices. 4834 N. Springfield

Chicago, IL 60625


2017 Mission St., Suite 303

San Francisco, CA 94110


1247 E St., SE

Washington, DC 20003


above info from this site;

love, peace and justice,

luna moth

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