Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rufino Domínguez-Santos, "The challenges of current indigenous migration," CIP Americas Program, January 21, 2009.

[This message from NAFTA partner, Mexico, reminds us that for many the economic crisis began, not in July 2007, but in the 80s. Dominguez-Santos counsels that "We must keep our organizations independent and autonomous from the government, political parties, and religions, and reject the corporatism that holds back the development of indigenous peoples and communities." -jlt]

  To demand that the new U.S. government recognize, ratify, and sign all of the international conventions it has not yet recognized, such as the International Labor Organization's Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.

Millions of indigenous people have migrated from small towns and communities to the big cities of Mexico, and around half a million Mexican indigenous people now live in the United States. It began when people had to look for work to support their families during the severe economic crisis of the 1980s, which still has not ended.

The Mexican government has repeatedly said that Mexico is strong and will be able to resist the global economic crisis and especially the U.S. crisis, which began two years ago. However, Mexico has been in economic crisis for the last 28 years. No government has been able to resolve this, partly because we Mexicans are by now used to living in crisis.

The number of Mexican migrants to the United States in these 28 years now reaches 26 million, and it's not true that many are returning to their communities due to the recent critical situation in the United States. Migration has helped us to feel the crisis a little less, due to the large amounts of money we send to our families that also has supported regional, state, and national economies in Mexico.

Now, faced with the serious economic crisis in the United States, the Mexican government is more worried about shrinking remittances than about implementing true economic development across the country and particularly in regions of high out-migration. The government has even asked migrants not to stop sending money to our families, as though supporting families were the responsibility of migrants while the Mexican government washes its hands of its responsibility.

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