Monday, December 14, 2009

The Wall

The journey of survival of Mexicans and other people from Latin American countries is part of the global migration of the world’s poor. According to the United Nation’s report, about world wealth and inequality, it is estimated that some 1.3 billion people in the world today live on less than $1.00 dollar per day; and 2.8 billion people, almost half of the world population, live on less than $2.00 dollars per day. Every day, more people are willing to risk their lives to escape poverty, often escaping death, war, or starvation by illegal migration to richer countries (Kerbo, 2007).
In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The NAFTA main goal was to eliminate barriers of trade and investment between the three countries. Its implementation brought the elimination of tariffs on more than one half of US imports from Mexico and more than one third of US exports to Mexico. This implementation has been extended to 15 years in relation to US agricultural exports to Mexico.
The NAFTA effects has awaken disagreements among economists, who some believe these effects had been positive to Mexican economy but others argue that this international agreement has been only beneficial business owners and elites of all three countries; the negative impact targeted farmers who saw food prices fall based on cheap imports from US agribusiness. Some critics believe that NAFTA has contributed to the rising inequality levels in both countries US and Mexico.
In the video, The Wall, Dr, Sterling Evans, Louse Welsh Chair Oklahoma, Southern Plains and Borderlands History, explains about the negative effects of NAFTA to the Mexican economy and the increasing immigration of farmers to the US on daily basis. His research and teaching interests is in the history of the trans-national Great Plains, US-Mexican and Canadian borderlands, agricultural and environmental history. His current project research: Damming Sonora Water, Agriculture and Environmental Change Northwest Mexico.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dueling Eaggles (local seminar)

photo by Sandra G. Trevino

Last Monday, November 2, 2009, the seminar “Dueling Eggless” was presented in the scholar room at the University of Oklahoma. The addressing theme was on U.S. –Mexico border issues. The seminar was sponsored by Dr. Alan Pc Pherson chair in Latin American Studies and Dr. Sterling Evans chair in Oklahoma, Southern Plains and Borderland History from the Department of History.
The exponents’ table was composed by Dr. Tony Payan, Department of Political Science from University of Texans-El Paso, speaking on his book “Migration and Homeland Security Issues, presenting “The U.S. Mexico Border misconceptions, contradictions and antiquated frameworks.”Other exponent, Dr. Eleine Carey, Department of History, St. John’s University, New York City speaking on “ The ice cometh,gender, drugs and the border from 1900 to the present.”
The feature speaker, the writer and poet, Margaret Randall from Albuquerque New Mexico, speaking and reading form her stories on her book “Stone Witness.” The last exponent was a multimedia presentation by Gleen Weyant, from Tucson Arizona, director of “The Anta project,” addressing: “Transforming the U.S. –Mexico Border Wall with a Cello Bow and implements of mass percussion.”
The first exponent, Dr. Tony Payan spoke about the little interactions between the U.S-Mexican Borders. He explains how open the interactions between Canada –US Borders are because both countries have a relationship of trust, which facilitates any kind of international collaboration of trade. On the other hand, the U.S.-Mexican Borders have little interactions in between. Payan explained that one of the reasons for these null interactions is because the deferent conceptions that both countries have about each other are opposites. The Mexicans perceive the U.S. as the land of opportunity and freedom and the U.S perceive the border as a threat, which as hardening the borders or international relations.
Payan suggests that there is a need to take a different approach to facilitate interactions between the countries. There is a need to create compressive way to deal with each other and it has to be done by treaty and agreements because when something crosses the border becomes and international issue and it has to be done by the federal system of both countries which creates a democratic deficit by not delegating to local or regional the authority to deal with each other.
“Where are we going?” He asked the audience, “We need to change and recapture the discourse; with the idea that we are not a threat to each other, we are an opportunity to each other.” We need to go back to negating table. There is a need to devolve political power to states and regions through new and existing agreements to deal with each other.
The author explains that the U.S. –Mexican border is the busiest border in the world, about 400 millions legal crossing every year and only a small percent are undocumented or illegal crossing s, about 40 thousand were illegal or undocumented which is only a small percent of the total crossings. However, there is to much focus only on the illegal crossings. He suggests that this issues of illegal migration can be discuss over the bridge through agreements between both countries and focus more on the legal crossings instead of the small percent of illegal migration.
On the other hand, he suggested that there a need to focus on the 400 billion dollars of legal trades every year between each country instead of only focus on the smallest percent (30 million)of illegal trades between the borders. He concludes suggesting the need to reconnect the relationship with each other by concentrating in the positive interactions between both countries.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tanuka & Shikivindavi (cosmic myth)

photo by Sandra G. Trevino
"Myths are sacred stories or narrations about the gods. They are a system of beliefs about events and facts about how things happen and the norms on social relations," according to Claude Levi-Straus,anthropologist.
A pair of twin brothers,(son and moon); they were born from a couple of eggs. Both would realize heroic actions and deliver the people from danger. But mainly they will kill the serpent shiquivindavi of seven heads to whom the sacrifice of young girls are offered; All these heroic actions are done with the help of animals.
After the danger pass, the younger brother (moon) has intimate relations with a woman with teeth inside her vagina. The younger brother (moon) using an instrument removes the teeth from her vagina and that's why the feminine genitals bleed, inaugurating the menstrual cycle and iniciated the woman's capability for procreation. The son and the moon are celestial gods, they act in duality and their actions establish the order of the cosmos and the earth. The moon is associated with the woman menstrual cicle and her procreation capability.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

agricultural rituals

Each year indigenous peasants celebrate agricultural ceremonies with petition of rain around a great geological fault at the Oztotempa’s hill, close to Zitlala in Guerrrero’s Mountain. These rituals mark the beginning of the agricultural cycle and serving as strategy for conservation of the natural resources in the area, because of the creation of norms that prohibit deforestation; the one who violates these norms is incarcerated. About 30 nahua communalities concentrate around the regional center of the geological fault (el pozo de Oztotempa) to participate in the ceremonies.
These massive nahua pilgrimages are part the agricultural ritual which consists in dances and offerings to the gods requesting for productive harvest. They gather around a small church which contains dozens of cruces representing different communities. They sing prayers asking for fain and for the wellbeing of the people. Their offerings consist in sacrificing live animals by throwing them inside the deep hole. These animals are covered with aromatic flowers (cemaxochiltl) which helps the gods to find their path. For the nahuas this great geological fault represents the center of the universe. Young girls dressing as brides representing the cult to fertility are part of the agricultural rituals.
These agricultural rituals are the result of religious syncretism after 500 years of colonization integrating pre Hispanic beliefs with the European religious intuitions creating a new form with its own cultural identity, according to the article “La ritualidad mesoamericana y los procesos de sincretismo y reelaboracion simbolica despues de la conquista” by Johana Brocha. These agricultural rituals are cyclical and go through along the solar year which is related the climate cycles and the natural environment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

peasants children

Many of the agricultural industries in Mexico, big producers of fruits and vegetables, located in Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipas, which have enormous territorial extensions and great volume of production, demands big agricultural work force; this labor comes from indigenous-migrant peasants. This corporations hire woman and children to work in the fields.
This landowners would not by machinery for the harvest, they rather give poor salaries to their workers. All the monetary benefits are only for the landowner who receives high gains exporting the product, according to Namensio & D. Lozano authors of "Infancia vulnerable: el caso de los ninos jornaleros agricolas migrantes de la montana de Guerrero, 2002.
This agricultural corporations respond to marketing demands by using new technologies like biotechnology, bio genetic which allow gain product variety and introduce them to the market when there is high demand. These systems make shorter the agricultural circles; the peasants are fired right after the harvest.
Harold R. Kerbo, author of "Social Stratification and Inequality" explains that thanks to export agriculture, capital -intensive farming methods, the food is now more expensive, poor peasnats are bieng pushed off the land so more land can be used to grow crops for the world market, and more machines are doing teh work, resulting in fewer jobs for the poor peasants. As a result, urbanization has increased as peasants lose jobs and land since they move to the cities hoping to find better oportunities. The profits of exporting agriculture always go to a small group of wealthy landowners and large multinational agrobusiness with peasants losing jobs, income and land.