Mexico After NAFTA & Chiapas
For most North Americans and Europeans, Mexico is a vacation spot. It is Acapulco, Cancun, mariachi bands and Aztec and Mayan pyramids. These tourist poster images were shattered by the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas. It was a particularly rude jolt to Presidents Clinton and Salinas, who during the NAFTA debate promoted Mexico as a picture of stability and a great place to do business. Events in Chiapas and the assassination of presidential candidate Colosio are symptoms of the country’s acute political, social and racial problems. The gap in income distribution has sharply increased. Average wages for workers have been steadily declining. NAFTA will probably make things worse by severely undermining the crucial agricultural sector.
Adolfo Aguilar was a senior researcher in the Center for the Study of the United States at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He lectured and wrote extensively on U.S./Mexico relations. He was a regular columnist for the newspaper Reforma. He served as Mexico’s ambassador to the UN. He was ousted from his position in 2003 when he said the U.S. treated Mexico as “a backyard.” He died in 2005.