The Free Trade Agreement signed between Mexico, the US and Canada has been in force since 1994. In these 12 years the negative impacts on the Mexican agriculture and the peasant communities have increased, but according to peasant leader Alberto Gómez, nowadays “the amendment of laws to favor transnational corporations has become evident”. The government gives more and more opportunities to transnational corporations with public monies.
It has been estimated that by 2008 agriculture trade within NAFTA will lack protection measures for the Mexican agriculture.
Alberto Gómez is the National Coordinator of the National Union of Autonomous Peasant Organizations (UNORCA), an indigenous and peasant organization that has been resisting and struggling since 1985. He was in charge of submitting the agreements reached in the work group on international trade and agriculture before the plenary of the Forum on
The leader told the plenary “Food sovereignty is the great alternative to this world, and it will be achieved through the strengthening of social movements, massive demonstrations, building alliances, raising awareness”.
Gómez told Real World Radio “the struggles for resistance have to become stronger at all levels, global, regional and national. Food sovereignty implies the development of local markets, the pursuit of a direct relation between consumers and producers, in conclusion, raising public awareness on how and who controls what we eat”.
The Mexican leader said there is currently “a war against peasant farming”. In México “the power granted to transnational corporations over important and strategic products is growing every day. The food Mexicans eat is controlled by companies”.
“Peasant farming is an issue of food for Mexicans and it is also an issue of national security. Mexico is a dependent country exposed to transnational pressure”.
To face this, Mexican social movements have been carrying out massive demonstrations and want to intensify them throughout the year. During the first weeks of February thousands of peasants and members of the poorest sectors demonstrated against the absurd raise in the price of corn tortilla, which is an essential element of the Basic Food Basket of low-income Mexicans.
Besides “in 2008 will be the opening of agriculture markets, the last item of the Free Trade Agreement. We have no choice but to mobilize by including not only people who are members of an organization but the whole population. We’ve build alliances with farmers’ organizations from the US and Canada so the fight against NAFTA will not be only of Mexicans but of all the affected small-scale producers from the three countries”.