Skip to comments.NORTH AMERICAN UNION "CONSPIRACY" EXPOSED
Posted on 02/21/2007 9:29:43 AM PST by Calpernia
A top Democratic Party foreign policy specialist said on Friday that a "very small group" of conservatives is unfairly accusing him of being at the center of a "vast conspiracy" to implement the idea of a "North American Union" by "stealth." He called the charges "absurd."
But Robert Pastor, a former official of the Carter Administration and director of the Center for North American Studies at American University (CNAS), made the remarks at an all-day February 16 conference devoted to the development of a North American legal system. The holding of the conference was itself evidence that a comprehensive process is underway to merge the economies, and perhaps the social and political systems, of the three countries.
Pastor said that he favors a "North American Community," not a formal union of the three countries, and several speakers at the conference ridiculed the idea of protecting America's borders and suggested that American citizenship was an outmoded concept.
Wearing a lapel pin featuring the flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Pastor told AIM that he favors a $200-billion North American Investment Fund to pull Mexico out of poverty and a national biometric identity card for the purpose of controlling the movement of people in and out of the U.S.
So the "conspiracy" is now very much out in the open, if only the media would pay some attention to it.
Accuracy in Media attended the conference in order to produce this report and shed light on a process that is being conducted largely beyond the scrutiny of the public or the Congress.
AIM has previously documented that Pastor's campaign for a North American Community has received precious little attention from the major media, except for the notable case of CNN's Lou Dobbs, who has called it "utterly mad." In fact, a survey of news coverage discloses that several high-profile mentions of the concept of a North American economic, social or political entity have come from Pastor himself, such as a Newsweek International article that he wrote.
The conference, conducted in cooperation with the American Society of International Law, an organization affiliated with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, was held at the American University Washington College of Law. A large number of speakers came from American University.
Overruling the U.S. Supreme Court
Academic literature distributed in advance to conference participants about a common legal framework for the U.S., Canada and Mexico included proposals for a North American Court of Justice (with the authority to overrule a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court), a North American Trade Tribunal, a North American Court of Justice, and a Charter of Fundamental Human Rights for North America, also dubbed the North American Social Charter.
Under the latter concept, according to Laura Spitz of the University of Colorado Law School, North Americans might be able to enjoy "new rights" essential to "human flourishing" such as gay marriage. She argues in one paper that U.S. economic integration with Canada will make it nearly impossible for the United States not to recognize same-sex marriage so long as it is lawful in Canada.
Pastor himself talked about new institutions, such as a "permanent tribunal" on trade issues, but emphasized that such ideas "take time" and have to "take root." He advised conference participants to "think about the horizon," in terms of what is possible, over the course of 5, 10 or even 20 years from now.
Conservative concerns about Pastor's agenda were not assuaged by conference literature disclosing that the CNAS is sponsoring an event in May in which students participate in a model "North American Parliament." The concept suggests creation of a regional body to supersede the U.S. Government itself.
Such talk does indeed raise the specter of a North American Union similar to the currently functioning European Union, a political and economic entity of 27 European states that includes a European Parliament and a European Court of Justice. The EU has been charged with usurping the sovereignty of member states and moving European nations in a left-wing direction on matters such as acceptance of abortion and gay rights and abolition of the death penalty.
Indeed, the academic literature distributed to conference participants alluded to how the three countries of North America are "polarized" on "sensitive" cultural issues such as the death penalty, abortion and gay marriage and that it might take a long time to "harmonize" their legal systems on such matters.
While Pastor, a foreign policy advisor to each of the Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, tried to dismiss talk of a North American Union, he did emphasize in his remarks to the conference that North America is "more than a geographical entity" and is in fact a "community." His 2001 book, Toward a North American Community, begins by emphasizing his status as a resident of North America, rather than just a U.S. citizen, and outlines a vision of the three countries taking their relationship "to a new level."
Rather than use the phrase "union," he described the creation of an "emerging entity called North America" growing out of the fact that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), passed in 1993, had brought about a "remarkable degree of economic integration" among the three countries. One panel was devoted to analyzing how NAFTA could be expanded into the areas of intellectual property and taxation and regulations.
One speaker, Stephen Zamora of the University of Houston Law School, denounced the idea of a wall separating Mexico and the U.S., in order to control illegal immigration, asking, "What does citizenship mean anymore?" He expressed pleasant surprise when a Mexican in the audience said she had dual citizenship in Mexico and the U.S. Later, he said he was just as concerned about people living in Mexico as people living in the U.S.
Another speaker, Tom Farer, Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver, made a point of saying that his representative in Congress, Tom Tancredo (R-Col.), a staunch advocate of U.S. border security, was a backward thinker. Tancredo could be seen "dragging his knuckles along the ground," Farer said, trying to crack a joke.
No Border Control
Pastor acknowledged that the U.S. Government doesn't want to enforce its immigration laws. He said, however, that the solution is not a fence, except in some isolated high-crime areas along the border, and it's not to punish companies for hiring illegal aliens, since identity documents can be too easily forged. He said the solution is a national biometric and fraud-proof identification card that identifies national origin and legal status.
Another part of his solution, a $200-billion North American Investment Fund, is for the purpose of narrowing the income disparity between Mexico , on the one hand, and the U.S. and Canada, on the other. "You need a lot of money to do it and do it effectively," he said. He said Mexico would be required to put up half of the money, with the U.S. contributing 40 percent and Canada 10 percent. It would be done over 10 years.
The fund, he said, would focus on economic development in the southern and middle parts of Mexico, which haven't been touched to any significant degree by NAFTA. This, he indicated, would go a long way toward stemming illegal immigration to the U.S.
So the failures of NAFTA are now being used not to repeal the measure but to expand it and increase foreign aid to Mexico.
Pastor said Senator John Cornyn, known as a conservative Republican, had introduced his North American Investment Fund as a bill in Congress but had backed away from it under conservative fire.
The Nature of NAFTA
An important moment in the conference occurred when Alan Tarr, director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University, was challenged about glossing over President Clinton's submission of NAFTA as an agreement, requiring only a majority of votes in both Houses of Congress for passage, and not a treaty, requiring a two-thirds vote in favor in the Senate. NAFTA passed by votes of 234-200 in the House and 61-38 in the Senate. Tarr said he had not intended to be uncritical of what Clinton did. Pastor quickly interjected that there was nothing improper in submitting NAFTA as an agreement rather than a treaty.
But Clinton's move was seen at the time as an effort to bypass constitutional processes, and the United Steelworkers challenged NAFTA's constitutionality in court. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001, after lower courts had thrown the case out, saying it was a political matter between the president and Congress. The Bush Administration sided with Clinton and the Supreme Court declined to get involved.
The history of NAFTA is one reason why so many conservatives are concerned that a North American Community could be transformed into a North American Union that runs roughshod over U.S. constitutional processes and guarantees.
One of the main concerns of conservatives, who have formed a "Coalition to Block the North American Union," has been the lack of congressional interest and oversight. They are backing a bill introduced by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) to put Congress on record against a North American Union.
The Secretive SPP
Another major concern is that the Bush Administration has facilitated the creation of this new North American "entity" through an initiative known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), based on a memorandum signed by President Bush and the leaders of Canada and Mexico in March 2005. It is described as "a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing," but its "working groups" have been operating in secret and many of the members are not even known.
Judicial Watch, a conservative public-interest law firm, had to go through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents naming the members of some of the mysterious working groups.
Officially, on the U.S. side, the SPP is coordinated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.
The Clinton Connection
Pastor's luncheon speaker, Eric Farnsworth, the Vice-President of the Council of the Americas, provided some valuable insight into this process. Saying NAFTA is "no longer enough," he described the SPP as designed to help North America meet the economic challenges posed by such countries as China and India.
Farnsworth said that the Council of the Americas , which advises the SPP, would shortly issue 300 recommendations designed to improve business conditions in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He was unclear as to whether the U.S. Government would try to implement these initiatives on its own, through the administrative or regulatory process, or whether they would be submitted to Congress for approval.
The Council's honorary chairman is David Rockefeller and its board members come from such major corporations as Merck, PepsiCo, McDonald's, Ford, Citibank, IBM, Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, GE (which owns NBC News and MSNBC) and Time Warner (which owns CNN and Time Inc.).
One of the key board members is Thomas F. McLarty III, President of Kissinger McLarty Associates, who served as Clinton's White House counselor and chief of staff during the time that NAFTA was signed and passed by Congress. McLarty, who also functioned as Special Envoy to the Americas under Clinton, is an adviser to the Carlyle Group, focusing on "buyout investment opportunities in Mexico."
Farnsworth mentioned the possible creation of a "super-national Supreme Court" governing business and trade issues in North America, but was ambiguous about whether it would ever come to pass.
A self-described Democrat who served as policy director in the Clinton White House Office of the Special Envoy for the Americas from 1995-98, he also said that he was optimistic that Bush would strike a deal with the new Democratic-controlled Congress on immigration. He said Bush was "at odds with his own party" on immigration and that legislation to create a so-called "guest worker" program could pass now that Republicans have lost control of Congress.
The Panama Canal Giveaway
For his part, Pastor, a friendly and engaging fellow who talks about his ideas at length with critics, has a history that goes far beyond deep personal involvement in the Democratic Party.
Pastor is associated by conservatives with President Jimmy Carter's treaty, opposed by then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, which transferred control of the Panama Canal away from the U.S. to the Panamanian government. Pastor was National Security Advisor for Latin America under Carter. His nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Panama was withdrawn in 1995 after conservative Senator Jesse Helms, then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, threatened to block a vote on his nomination. Helms accused Pastor of aiding radical forces and undermining U.S. interests in the region.
The founding director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program of the [Jimmy] Carter Center, Pastor became Vice President of International Affairs and Professor of International Relations at American University on September 1, 2002, when he created his Center for North American Studies. Pastor also served as vice chair of a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on the Future of North America, which issued a report in May 2005. Lately, Pastor's Center for North American Studies has received funding from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to address "regulatory convergence" issues.
A sour note about the prospect of further integration with Mexico was provided at the conference by Alberto Szekely, a career ambassador and advisor to the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, who said that the rule of law simply does not exist in Mexico and that corruption permeates governmental institutions. He said reforms under the presidency of Vicente Fox went nowhere and that Mexico is one of the most corrupt countries in the world today.
Ironically, however, he said that the development of a North American legal system might in some way assist in cleaning up the Mexican legal system.
Pastor, an optimist about the prospect of developing the North American Community, told me that he didn't think the situation in Mexico was as bleak as Szekely made it out to be. He continues to be a proponent of "continental thinking."
Wait - didn't we rescue Mexico with a $50 billion gift a few years ago? Did they ever pay it back?
See? He doesn't want anything other than to take all your hard-earned money away from you and then track all your movements. What's wrong with that?
And the frog said . . .
Wow, that takes the chill off this water.
. . .
Ahhh, now this water is getting nice and warm and comfy.
I just love hot-tubs. Takes the edge off the rhumetism.
Hey, miss froggy, uhhh, could you turn it down a bit . . .
Uhhhh, miss froggy, wake up! wake up! Oh, miss froggy, I'm feeling faint, too . . .
blub . . .
. . .
Clinton's Mexican narco-pals
The untold story behind February's Yucatán summit redefines the enemy in the war on drugs
Drug Politics by Al Giordano
If the facts of the story were made of cocaine powder, the entire White House press corps would have sneezed; the news was right under their noses. Any one of them could have written:
MÉRIDA, MEXICO, FEBRUARY 15, 1999: US president William Clinton met today with Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo to negotiate better cooperation between their nations in the fight against drugs. Incredibly, the anti-narcotics summit was hosted by powerful Mexican banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez, a man publicly accused of trafficking cocaine and laundering illicit drug money. . . .
But that story wasn't reported in the States, despite a controversy over Hernández's alleged involvement in the drug trade that's raged on the Yucatán peninsula for two years.
The heart-shaped box appeared on Air Force One. It was Valentine's Day 1999, and the Comeback Kid was getting out of Dodge. Bill Clinton had, just two days prior, escaped vanquishment by the US Senate in Washington, DC. The presidential jet roared out of the February chill toward the tropical city of Mérida.
Clinton, in a video image broadcast across the globe that evening, stepped into the press cabin of the plane wielding a big pink heart-shaped box and doled out valentine chocolates to the reporters and photographers covering this trip. And to underscore with levity that the subject would now be changed -- from impeachment and Monica to "drugs" -- the White House press handlers regaled the journalists with bottles of hemp beer. The marijuana in the brew's recipe was reportedly non-intoxicating. Still, they were high, on laughter if not impunity, on Air Force One.
Awaiting the presidential entourage in Mérida was the US ambassador to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow. In the weeks before, while most of the White House staff was busy steering the president through domestic political crisis, Davidow had been in Mexico, laying the groundwork for the presidential visit. Davidow is no novice. He cut his diplomatic teeth at the US embassy in Santiago, Chile, from 1971 to '73, the period when the US and General Augusto Pinochet were plotting to destabilize the elected government of president Salvador Allende. By the time Air Force One landed in Mérida, everything on the ground was under control.
The city's central streets were deserted. Nine square blocks had been sealed by Mexican state and federal police. Hundreds of US Secret Service agents had blanketed the region days in advance. They peered through their sunglasses from rooftops. Their network of cell phones fell like a web over the ancient Mayan capital. The city's annual Carnaval -- with its wild nightly parades, when seemingly every one of Mérida's 750,000 residents emerges onto the streets and dances in plumed costumes to Caribbean rhythms -- had been disappeared for the evening. The Dry Law was imposed.
Mérida on a normal day or night is an unusually tranquil city. Not even the police are armed. The response of the citizenry to the evening's invasion-of-state was to ignore the presidential summit almost completely. In the previous night's parades, throughout the city not a single banner was hung; nothing to welcome or to protest the arrival of Clinton and Zedillo. About 300 people did show up in City Square to cheer the gringos' arrival. They were supporters of Mexico's ruling political party who had received tickets to pass through the police lines, or they were folk dancers hired to provide a festive view from the second-floor dining hall where the dignitaries would nosh.
Davidow was in the first mini-bus to arrive at Mérida's City Square from the airport. Behind him came the presidents and their wives, cabinet members, congressional supporters, and the international working press. A few pool photographers and reporters would be escorted inside a historic building to snap some photos of the dignitaries and scribble reports over dinner. The rest of the journalists were herded by bus to five-star hotels to enjoy an early exemption from the Dry Law. The luxury-hotel district, too, was sealed off by police and the Secret Service.
Upstairs in the Hotel Fiesta Americana, the suites were equipped with phone and computer jacks for the visiting press. Pool reports of the diplomatic dinner and schedules of tomorrow's itinerary were ready and waiting. The two presidents would be flown by helicopter the next morning, February 15, a short distance to the Temozon Sur plantation -- the luxurious refurbished ranch owned by Roberto Hernández Ramírez, president-owner of BANAMEX (the National Bank of Mexico before Hernández bought it from the government a decade ago). Forbes magazine lists Hernández as number 289 among the wealthiest men on earth.
President Zedillo had been staying at the Hernández estate since February 12, though Hernández himself was not present at the summit meeting. That two presidents would enjoy the hospitality of a powerful businessman would not, by itself, raise many eyebrows.
But had just one of the White House correspondents holed up in the Fiesta Americana, the Hyatt, or the Holiday Inn wandered downtown or even downstairs to a newsstand, the official history of the summit might have been very different. Even a reporter who did not read Spanish might have comprehended the banner headline in the Mérida daily Por Esto!: ROBERTO HERNÁNDEZ RAMÎREZ: NARCOTRAFICANTE. (Part I, Part II, Part III.)
That same Valentine's Day, Por Esto! published the first installment of a three-part series about the banker, his rise to wealth and power, his political clout, and his alleged involvement with drugs and drug money. The series -- including 350 column-inches of text documented by 45 photographs (31 in color), plus three maps tracing the route of Colombian cocaine through the banker's properties -- ran over three consecutive days.
According to the newspaper and its sources, coastal marshlands purchased by Hernández in the late '80s and early '90s were the port of entry for massive volumes of cocaine delivered in small Colombian speedboats. From there, tons of the drug were loaded onto small planes and flown north from Hernández's private airfield. Hernández, the newspaper charged, was hiding behind empty "eco-tourism" resorts to wash drug profits.
The series was a journalistic tour de force, the culmination of a 26-month investigation into the 43 kilometers of beachfront property owned by Hernández -- a region known by the locals as the "Coca Triangle."
The newspaper went even further: it filed federal criminal complaints against Hernández for drug trafficking, for the robbery of national archeological treasures (his properties include the ancient Mayan ruins of Chac Mool and others), and for the environmental destruction caused by the cocaine-trafficking operations to the Sian Ka'an nature preserve.
Not a word about this controversy would appear in the US news media before or after the Clinton-Zedillo summit. One could search the Internet, Lexis-Nexis, the major dailies, the wire services, the entire English-speaking world; the story was neither published, promoted, criticized, nor rebutted.
And yet the story has raged in Yucatán and the eastern Yucatán coastal state of Quintana Roo, where the property in question is located, since December 16, 1996, when a fishermen's cooperative blew the whistle on Hernández's cocaine port and airfield to Por Esto! and pointed the newspaper to the evidence. Por Esto! published the fishermen's accounts of threats and harassment by Hernández, who, they said, wanted to drive them off their lands to eliminate witnesses to his drug-smuggling operation. Hernández returned fire in 1997, filing charges of trespassing and defamation against reporter Renán Castro Madera, regional editor Santos Gabriel Us Aké, and editor and publisher Mario Menéndez Rodríguez. Public opinion has not favored Hernández's complaints. Since 1996, more than 100 town councils, unions, and civic organizations throughout the Yucatán Peninsula have passed resolutions supporting the newspaper in its fight to expose the man they call a narco-banker.
The story got new legs on March 28, when the powerful governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva Madrid, disappeared during his last week of office, fleeing from drug-trafficking charges. An often crude but always media-savvy politician, Villanueva has issued videotaped communiqués and even bought newspaper ads from his hidden locations claiming that the prosecution against him is an act of political vengeance. The now ex-governor of the Caribbean state that's home to the world-class Cancún tourist resorts is not going down quietly. He may drag others down with him, including Clinton's pal Roberto Hernández Ramírez.
"I have a lot of information," Villanueva told the Mexican national daily Reforma on March 23, a few days before his disappearance. "A lot. It can involve more people. In the event that this is not resolved I will make it known."
The story is migrating north, and there's not a border patrol that can stop it.
Until now, international media accounts of rampant drug-war corruption on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula have for the most part been managed and controlled by official US and Mexican sources. The investigation and prosecution of Villanueva -- a joint venture of the US and Mexican governments and, now, the 176 nations of the international police agency Interpol that have joined the manhunt -- was supposed to reinforce the party line that narco-corruption at the highest levels will no longer be tolerated.
But the takedown of Villanueva -- surely a crook, deeply involved in protecting the illicit drug trade and in other criminal and anti-democratic ventures -- merely diverts attention from the wheel of institutionalized corruption in which he was a cog. By profiting from drug traffic, Villanueva was simply enjoying the fruits that all governors of the ruling party have been granted for decades. The same institutions that chase him today protected him for almost six years in office. Villanueva's mysterious escape, and his promise to spill the secrets of the Mexican narco-state, have already begun to shake the comfy worlds of powerful people -- among them BANAMEX owner Hernández and his presidential houseguests.
Hernández blamed Villanueva, at the time Quintana Roo's governor, for Por Esto!'s 1996 reports about his alleged drug crimes. The banker addressed the problem the way most public-relations disasters are managed in Mexico. "Hernández complained to President Zedillo," reported the Mexico City daily El Universal on April 5, "who at his turn had spoken with Villanueva, but the attacks did not cease."
This was the first time El Universal or any national newspaper had mentioned Hernández in connection with narco-news. And even then, it was included almost as an aside in a colorful profile, by writer Mario Lara Klahr, on governor-turned-fugitive Villanueva. The spin of the profile was that the governor and Hernández were at war because Villanueva was "interested" in the bank owner's coastal properties.
That same day, El Universal, one of Mexico's two major establishment broadsheets, published an almost full-page interview with Hernández about the banking industry -- a puff piece complete with flattering photo portraits. The daily did not ask Hernández about the drug charges or, even generically, about the Mexican banking industry's current drug-money-laundering crisis -- even though, just five days before, three major Mexican banks (including BANAMEX's top competitor, Bancomer) had pled guilty in US federal court to hiding hundreds of millions of dollars for the giant cocaine cartels.
Lara's piece, meanwhile, also included the unsubstantiated supposition that Villanueva was an owner of Por Esto! In fact, Villanueva's government had harassed and threatened Por Esto! repeatedly -- withholding payment for government advertising, failing to provide police response to a payroll robbery at the newspaper's Cancún offices, and excluding the paper's reporters and photographers from official functions.
Por Esto! is published by Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, a well-known and combative veteran journalist whose political activism dates back to Mexico City's 1968 student movement. Menéndez publishes dailies in both Mérida and Cancún and has been imprisoned several times for his anti-government reports.
"The governor of Quintana Roo is not an owner of Por Esto! That's ridiculous," says Menéndez. "Look at the printing machinery we use. It's always breaking. The people of this region know how I live and how this newspaper works. If El Universal has some documentation or proof that he has anything to do with this newspaper, I challenge them to show it. Of course, I am preparing a response."
(A week after the El Universal story, the national magazine Proceso reported that Hernández himself had orchestrated the leak of documents upon which Mexico's national press had based the report.)
On April 12, Por Esto! resumed publishing the results of its investigations into Hernández's affairs, vowing: "Loyal to the truth, Por Esto! will not fold in the fight. . . . The federal executive branch is the major accomplice of the drug barons in Mexico."
The accompanying story linked a BANAMEX legal-department director -- the Republic's former first assistant attorney general, who was fired, according to Por Esto!, for his illegal activities related to drug trafficking -- to three known drug traffickers, one a witness under the protection of US anti-drug prosecutors, and charged that the US government has "wide and deep knowledge" of Hernández's drug-trafficking activities. The newspaper also identified the state delegate of the Mexican federal prosecutor's office as a former BANAMEX employee and reported that the Mexican armed forces responsible for drug enforcement on the peninsula have received orders not to enter Hernández's coastal properties, which, according to Por Esto!, are still being used as a major cocaine-trafficking port.
That Menéndez continues with the investigation is no surprise. What is new is that, for the first time, other journalists are taking on the story.
Carlos Ramírez, editor of the feisty national political magazine La Crisis, publishes a daily column in both El Universal and Por Esto! In an April 6 column analyzing the Villanueva case, he blamed the ex-governor's fall from grace on his antagonism with Hernández, "the all-powerful owner of BANAMEX," over tourist-development sites in and around Cancún.
"Villanueva lost due to the weight of the power relations of BANAMEX," Ramírez wrote, going on to describe a strong personal and social relationship between BANAMEX's Hernández and Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, who, Ramírez reported, has vacationed at the banker's Cancún haciendas and at a Hernández-owned Caribbean island that's been linked to the late Colombian narco-trafficker Pablo Escobar Gaviria.
The April 11 edition of Proceso, the most respected newsweekly in Mexico, ended the Mexican national media's long reluctance to repeat Por Esto!'s drug-trafficking charges against Hernández. Under the headline WITH THE FLIGHT OF VILLANUEVA, ROBERTO HERNANDEZ ESCAPES AN ENEMY, Proceso recounted a private September 1998 meeting between then-governor Villanueva and journalists during which Villanueva confided, "Behind this smear campaign that has been unleashed against me I see the hand of Roberto Hernández." The piece went on to describe Por Esto!'s campaign to portray Hernández as a drug trafficker, relaying the paper's reports that almost 30 percent of the nearly 30 tons of cocaine intercepted by the Mexican prosecutor general's agents had been seized on property owned by the BANAMEX chief. It noted Hernández's 1997 suits against the paper and reported that, the previous week, Quintana Roo judge Marco Antonio Traconis Varguez had issued arrest warrants against three of the paper's journalists.
The gamble taken by the White House and the US Embassy in Mexico -- that the drug story on Clinton's host would never get out -- has already been lost.
Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar, Prosecutor General of the Republic -- Mexico's equivalent of the attorney general -- is understandably nervous about Villanueva's escape and its mounting consequences for his own job. Opposition leaders have already called Madrazo before the federal House of Deputies to answer charges that he intentionally let Villanueva slip away. (At that meeting, Madrazo divulged that many of his former prosecutors and officers have gone to work as cocaine traffickers -- an admission by the chief federal prosecutor that his office has functioned as a narco-school.)
The defendant ex-governor remains at large -- and looms large -- buying full-page ads in national dailies and issuing video communiqués that may soon begin to implicate his nemesis Hernández directly in the narco-trade.
And so in a bizarre act of prosecution-by-publicity, the prosecutor general is defending his behavior by taking out ads of his own.
The opening advertisement for the prosecution, published on April 9 in all of Mexico's major national newspapers, enumerated five major denials that were surreal in their capacity to suggest the opposite of their intent. The ad stated:
# that the drug charges against Villanueva were not politically motivated;
# that no United States agency had pressured Mexican prosecutors to jail Villanueva;
# that the Villanueva prosecution was unrelated to the fifth anniversary of the homicide of 1994 presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio and was not an attempt to divert public attention from that case;
# that the Villanueva prosecution was not motivated by "personal obsession by the Prosecutor General of the Republic";
# that the Villanueva investigation had nothing to do with Roberto Hernández Ramírez's legal action against Por Esto!
All of the above are plausible in their inverse; the case could be motivated by a confluence of political factors. If we heed the journalistic principle "follow the money," the weightiest of them -- reaching to the White House in Washington -- involves presidential pal Hernández and his vast power as the BANAMEX owner.
Por Esto! reported the story, and the result was that three of its journalists are today being persecuted with live arrest warrants. But the escape of Governor Villanueva has forced Mexico's national press to accept that there is indeed a story here. Whether US media organizations that cover Mexico will do their job remains to be seen. But when Bill Clinton agreed to hold his anti-drug summit with the Mexican president on Hernández's plantation, he inadvertently invited their scrutiny. The invitation came with the heart-shaped box.
Al Giordano is a former political reporter for the Boston Phoenix. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1999 by Al Giordano.
This would be advantageous to Canadians and Mexicans in that our Second Amendment rights would be extended to those two countries.
I guess it isn't Bush after all behind the scenes pulling strings on this meaningless exercise.
Why, yes. They sent us 20 million illegal immigrants to do the jobs we don't want to do for a much lower wage. It has been an absolute boon to the economy. Not to mention the "extra" business they have given to the justice and medical fields.
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Order Code RL32735
Mexico-United States Dialogue on
Migration and Border Issues, 2001-2005
Background on Pre-2001 Policies
Presidents Bush and Fox began the bilateral discussions in the context of the immigration and border security policies of the past, particularly the U.S. immigration reforms of 1986 and 1996, the initiatives of the administrations of
President William Clinton and President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, and the enactment of the Legal Immigrant Family Equity (LIFE) Act of 2000 that will be summarized briefly.
Immigration Reform Act of 1986.
In 1986, during the Reagan presidency, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-603).
Main provisions of the act include civil and criminal penalties for U.S. employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers; increased border control and enforcement measures; anti-discrimination safeguards; provision for legalization of illegal aliens who resided continuously in the United States before 1982; and a special legalization for farm workers previouslyemployed on American farms. The act sought to combine the sanctions for employers who knowingly hire
undocumented workers and tougher border control and enforcement measures to discourage future immigration, with the provision of amnesty or legalization for undocumented migrants who already had long-established ties to the United States.
The latter provision is often characterized as an amnesty because it permitted aliens living in the United States illegally to adjust their status to legal permanent residents (LPRs) under certain procedures and with rights to obtain citizenship in the future.
Immigration Reform and Welfare Reform Acts of 1996. In 1996,
during the Clinton presidency, Congress passed two major immigration reform measuresto control illegal immigration and to limit theeligibilityof aliens for federal
programs. One was the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Division C of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY1997 (P.L. 104-208). The other was the 1996 welfare law entitled the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193).
The first measure sought to control illegal immigration by adding 1,000 Border Patrol agents per year for five years (FY1997-FY2001), along with additional personnel,
equipment, and procedures. The second measure and to some extent the first sought to reduce the attractiveness of immigration by restricting the eligibility of aliens for
In the context of the U.S. legislation outlined above, the Administration of President William Clinton (1993-2001) pursued a number of initiatives on its own and with the Administration of President Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) in the migration, border security, and drug control areas. The
countries formalized regular bilateral consultations between consulates and border agencies through the Border Liaison Mechanisms, and theyissued a Binational Study on Migration in 1997 that found that unauthorized migration carries costs for both countries. They also pursued a Border Safety Campaign to reduce violence and deaths on the border through public information campaigns, and search and rescue programs. In mid-May 2000, following expressions of concern over private ranchers detaining Mexican migrants in Arizona, the governments announced that they would prosecute any unlawful behavior by private citizens, combat migrant smugglers, and expand regular consultation mechanisms. In the counter-narcotics area, the countries established the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) for cabinet-level anti-drug
coordination twice a year. Acting through this and other mechanisms, the countries developed a joint anti-drug strategy in early February 1998, adopted extensive anti-
moneylaundering measures in 2000, and facilitated the vastlyexpanded U.S. training of law enforcement and military units involved in counter-narcotics activities.
Legal Immigration Family
Equity(LIFE)Act of 2000.
Beginning around the year 2000, the U.S. Congress began to shift the direction of policy from the 1996 immigration legislation. In February 2000, the AFL-CIO called for amnesty for established illegal immigrants in the United States, a more lenient immigration policy,and universal enforcement of workers rights, and this approach was generally supported by the Clinton Administration. While some Members attempted to pass variations of the Latino and Immigrant Fairness Act (LIFA), embodied in S. 3095
(sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy), in the end it was the Legal Immigrant Family Equity (LIFE) Act, incorporated in H.R. 4942, supported by Representatives Henry Bonilla and Lamar Smith and bySenator Hatch that prevailed and was signed into law (P.L. 106-553). As modified, this legislation created and expanded visa categories for persons with pending family unification applications, and allowed certain aliens involved in class action court cases to adjust to LPR status. It also reinstated until April 30, 2001, Section 245(i)of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which permitted unauthorized aliens to adjust to LPR status upon a payment of a fee if they were otherwise eligible for visas, without being forced to return to their native countries. Congress also increased the number of temporary H-1B professional workers, and it considered, but did not approve, measures toincrease the number of H-2A agricultural workers.
More at the PDF
See excerpt at post 10
ping for later
That tells me nothing about Bush wanting to create a superstate. In fact he doesn't. And even if he did, he couldn't.
hate to say it Cal, but this stuff is not worth worrying about.
What is FR without a good conspiracy? lol
April 4, 1992 Signing in Mexico by Canada and Mexico of a protocol agreement on cooperation projects regarding labour.
August 12, 1992: Signing of an agreement in principle on NAFTA.
September 17, 1992: Creation of a trilateral commission responsible for examining cooperation in the area of the environment.
October 7, 1992: Official signing of NAFTA by Michael Wilson of Canada (minister), American ambassador Carla Hills and Mexican secretary Jaime Serra Puche, in San Antonio (Texas).
December 17, 1992: Official signing of NAFTA by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, US president George Bush, and Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, subject to its final approval by the federal Parliaments of the three countries.
March 17 and 18, 1993: Start of tripartite discussions in Washington aimed at reaching subsidiary agreements covering labor and the environment.
September 14, 1993: Official signing of parallel agreements covering labor and the environment in the capitals of the three countries.
1993: The Liberal Party under Jean Chretien promises to renegotiate NAFTA in its campaign platform, titled "Creating Opportunity: the Liberal Plan for Canada" and also known as The Red Book.
December 1993: Newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien signs NAFTA without changes, breaking his promise to renegotiate NAFTA. U.S. President Bill Clinton signs NAFTA for the U.S.
November 1993: The North American Development Bank (NADB) and its sister institution, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), are created under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to address environmental issues in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The two institutions initiate operations under the November 1993 Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Mexican States Concerning the Establishment of a Border Environment Cooperation Commission and a North American Development Bank (the Charter). See: About Us (The North American Development Bank)
January 1, 1994: NAFTA and the two agreements on labour and the environment go into effect, replacing CUSFTA.
November 16, 1994: Canada and Mexico sign a cooperation agreement regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
December 1994: The Summit of the Americas is held in Miami. The three signatories of NAFTA officially invite Chile to become a contractual party of the agreement. The Free Trade Area of the Americas or FTAA is initiated. According to the offical FTAA website, "the Heads of State and Government of the 34 democracies in the region agreed to construct a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. They agreed to complete negotiations towards this agreement by the year 2005 and to achieve substantial progress toward building the FTAA by 2000."
December 22, 1994: Mexican monetary authorities decide to let the Peso float. The US and Canada open a US$6 billion line of credit for Mexico.
January 3, 1995: Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo presents an emergency plan.
January 1995: President Clinton announces an aid plan for Mexico.
February 9, 1995: Mickey Kantor, the US Foreign Trade representative, announces Washingtons intention to include the provisions of NAFTA regarding labor and the environment in negotiations with Chile.
February 21, 1995: Signing in Washington of an agreement regarding the financial assistance given to Mexico. Mexico in turn promises to pay Mexican oil export revenue as a guarantee into an account at the Federal Reserve in New York.
February 28, 1995: Mexico announces the increase of its customs duties on a number of imports from countries with which it does not have a free trade agreement.
March 9, 1995: President Zedillo presents austerity measures. The plan envisages a 50% increase in value added taxes, a 10% reduction of government expenditure, a 35% increase in gas prices, a 20% increase in electricity prices and a 100% increase in transportation prices. The minimum wage is increased by 10%. The private sector can benefit from government assistance. The inter-bank rate that is reduced to 74% will be increased to 109% on March 15.
March 29, 1995: Statistical data on US foreign trade confirms the sharp increase in Mexican exports to the US.
April 10, 1995: The US dollar reaches its lowest level in history on the international market. It depreciated by 50% relative to the Japanese yen in only four years.
June 7, 1995: First meeting of the ministers of Foreign Trade of Canada (Roy MacLaren), the US (Mickey Kantor), Mexico (Herminio Blanco) and Chile (Eduardo Aninat) to start negotiations.
December 29, 1995: Chile and Canada commit to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement.
June 3, 1996: Chile and Canada start negotiating the reciprocal opening of markets in Santiago.
November 18, 1996: Signing in Ottawa of the Canada-Chile free trade agreement by Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada and Eduardo Frei, President of Chile. The agreement frees 80% of trade between the two countries. It is the first free trade agreement signed between Chile and a member of the G 7.
July 4, 1997: The Canada-Chile free trade agreement comes into effect.
1997: The US presidency proposes applying NAFTA parity to Caribbean countries.
April 17, 1998: Signing in Santiago, Chile of the free trade agreement between Chile and Mexico by President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León of Mexico, and President Eduardo Frei of Chile.
August 1, 1999: The Chile-Mexico free trade agreement comes into effect.
September, 1999: The Canadian right-wing think tank the Fraser Institute publishes a paper by Herbert G. Grubel titled "The Case for the Amero: The Economics and Politics of a North American Monetary Union." In the paper Grubel argues that a common currency is not inevitable but it is desirable. See: The Case for the Amero
July 2, 2000: Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN), is elected president of Mexico, thus ending the reign of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (RIP) that had held power for 71 years. Mr. Fox is sworn in on 1 December 2000.
July 4, 2000: Mexican president Vicente Fox proposes a 20 to 30 year timeline for the creation of a common North American market. President Foxs 20/20 vision as it is commonly called, includes the following: a customs union, a common external tariff, greater coordination of policies, common monetary policies, free flow of labor, and fiscal transfers for the development of poor Mexican regions. With the model of the European Fund in mind, President Fox suggests that US $10 to 30 billion be invested in NAFTA to support underdeveloped regions. The fund could be administered by an international financial institution such as the Inter-American Development Bank.
November 27, 2000: Trade negotiations resume between the US and Chile for Chiles possible entry into NAFTA.
2001: Robert Pastor's 2001 book "Toward a North American Community" is published. The book calls for the creation of a North American Union (NAU).
April 2001: Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and US President George W. Bush sign the Declaration of Quebec City at the third Summit of the Americas: This is a commitment to hemispheric integration."
August 30, 2001: The Institute for International Economics issues a press release advocating that the United States and Mexico should use the occasion of the visit of President Vicente Fox of Mexico on September 4-7 to develop a North American Community as advocated by Robert Pastor in his book "Toward a North American Community."
September 11, 2001: A series of coordinated suicide terrorist attacks upon the United States, predominantly targeting civilians, are carried out on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Two planes (United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11) crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane into each tower (One and Two). Both towers collapsed within two hours. The pilot of the third team crashed a plane into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Passengers and members of the flight crew on the fourth aircraft attempted to retake control of their plane from the hijackers; that plane crashed into a field near the town of Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Excluding the 19 hijackers, a confirmed 2,973 people died and another 24 remain listed as missing as a result of these attacks. In response, the Bush administration launches the "war on terror" and becomes very concerned with security.
December 2001: New U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci publicly advocates "NAFTA-plus". See: The Emergence of a North American Community
The landscape is littered with "conspiracies" that were eventually found to be true pissant.
This ain't one.
I hope you are right.
This is just left-wingnuts getting together and working for causes they believe in. I think it's called freedom of speech.
These guys are professors and NGO types.What do you expect from them?
Why some on FR are terrified of Mr. Pastor is beyond me.
Aren't you tired of squeezing your eyes shut? Life must be miserable when you refuse to see the truth.
It's called the "If I refuse to see it, it can't be there" school of denial. The deniers have never met an unpleasant fact they couldn't explain away. Or ignore. Much better that way, and a magnificent rationalization for doing what they do best--nothing.
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