By Doug Porter
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán appeared at inside the glass-walled Shiley Special Events Suite at the Central Library for ceremony this morning to announce plans for greater collaboration between their cities.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first agreement of its sort since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented. Local governments are pledging collaboration in the areas of economic development, border infrastructure, environmental stewardship and public safety.
Their commitment to collaboration on public safety may be tested sooner than they think. Unrest in Mexico, triggered by the disappearance and probable execution of 43 students in the state of Guerrero is reaching a fevered pitch. Nationwide demonstrations in Mexico on November 20th are prompting activists north of the border to hold protests that day. Here in San Diego, a protest is scheduled for Thursday at the Mexican Consulate (1549 India St) in Little Italy.
(I’m still waiting on details, like the time.) UPDATE: 6:30 pm, Facebook event page.
Two weeks ago students protested at a speech on the “success” of NAFTA given by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S., at UCSD’s Great Hall. They held up pictures of the 43 kidnapped students from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college and walked out, saying finding the missing students and stopping the violence should have been the topics discussed.
Several hundred students at UCSD held a vigil this week, placing flowers and candles by photos of the 43 students as a sign of solidarity.
From NBC 7 News:
“This is something that spans time and space, students being persecuted for their beliefs, for their politics,” said Mariko Kuga, a fourth-year UCSD student.
“It’s something that can happen in the U.S. anytime as well,” she added.
It’s my belief that the “cause” of the 43 students will increasingly resonate across borders. Civil unrest in Mexico could easily trigger yet another “border crisis” even as President Obama prepares executive actions on immigration affecting an estimated 5 million people already living in the US.
Here’s Reuben Martinez, in an op-ed from the Los Angeles Times:
The violent disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college in Guerrero state has caused a political earthquake the likes of which Mexico has not seen in generations — perhaps even since the revolution of 1910.
That makes it all the more baffling how little attention most people in the U.S. have paid to the unfolding tragedy. To understand the historical significance — and the moral and political gravity — of what is occurring, think of 9/11, of Sandy Hook, of the day JFK was assassinated. Mexico is a nation in shock — horrified, pained, bewildered.
From Al Jazeera:
Protests over the disappearance of 43 missing students raged across Mexico and the United States over the weekend. Activists blamed a government they say has ties to organized crime and called for people in Mexico and the U.S. to support a Mexico-wide strike on Thursday.
Coinciding with the Nov. 20 strike, protest marches will be held in Mexico City, as well as dozens of cities across the U.S. including New York City and Los Angeles.
“We want to warn that these acts of protest will not be silenced while the civil and human rights of our Mexican brothers continue to be violated and trampled on by a government that has colluded with organized crime and to those who blamed the crimes committed by the state on [cartels] — thereby evading their own responsibility in the state sponsored genocide that has been committed with total impunity,” #YoSoy123NY, the New York chapter of a Mexican social movement that opposes Mexico’s current government, said in a statement handed out at a protest in New York City on Sunday.
The protests over the missing students are symptomatic of much deeper frustrations in Mexico.
From Fox News Latino:
The protesters are outraged over the disappearance of the students, of course, but also frustrated by Guerrero’s broader problems. Spray-painted messages in Chilpancingo and Iguala announce, “We demand justice and security” but also attack the “Pinche businesses who poison the people.”
While Mexico’s wealthiest one percent, a group that includes billionaires such as Carlos Slim and Germán Larrea, has enjoyed income growth over the past few years, the bulk of Mexico’s population has seen its income stagnate or decline.
Nearly 60 percent of Mexicans work in the informal economy, and around half its population lives below the poverty line.
From Fault Lines (Al Jazeera’s news magazine program):
Human rights defenders are waiting to see if the mass disappearance of the students in Guerrero could force the government to address its judicial vacuum. But they also believe that purging the corruption that has wrought such a deep level of impunity will also require outside pressure, as was done in other countries. But that could be difficult to achieve.
“It’s pure economics. When the most powerful businesses in Germany, like Volkswagen; the most powerful mining companies in Canada; the most powerful car companies in the US are praising the Mexican system because they are obtaining rates of return that are three, four times the ones they obtain in their countries, the international pressure will never be exercised against Mexico,” Buscaglia said. “So there is a conflict of interest. there is an international complicity that explains why Mexico is not moving forward.”
And, finally, from the Washington Post:
The demand to find the students and punish those responsible for their disappearance has broadened into a more diverse fury about corrupt politicians and their drug-trafficking cronies, the economic and education reforms pushed by Peña Nieto, and the enrichment of the political class as poverty persists in states such as Guerrero. The outrage reflects deep distrust of the new government, which has emphasized that security is improving, even as large swaths of the country remain under the control of drug cartels and more than 20,000 people are officially counted as missing.
For more details and back ground on the story of the 43 students, go here.
On This Day: 1928 – The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon premiered in New York. It was Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse. 1956 – Fats Domino appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and performed his hit “Blueberry Hill.” 1985 – Quarterback Joe Theismann (Washington) broke his leg after being hit by Lawrence Taylor (New York). The injury ended Theismann’s 12 year NFL career. Unfortunately, he went on to become a broadcast analyst.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.