News Release

Clinton’s “Crocodile Tears” for Latin American Immigrants

hillarycroctears_590ALEXANDER MAIN, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net
Main is senior associate on international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He wrote the piece “Hillary Clinton’s Emails and the Honduras Coup.” See also: “Do Feminists Support Coups? Honduran Women on Hillary Clinton,” from Telesur.

MELEIZA FIGUEROA, [currently in Brazil] melfig at berkeley.edu
Figueroa is a Ph.D. candidate in geography at the University of California at Berkeley and a producer at KPFK in Los Angeles. She recently wrote the piece “Hillary Clinton Cries Crocodile Tears for Latin American Immigrants,” which states that Clinton’s “embrace of Henry Kissinger as a ‘friend’ and ‘mentor’ on foreign policy and her personal involvement in the 2009 coup in Honduras that forcibly removed President Manuel Zelaya, a left populist, from power — reveal her commitment to maintaining a legacy of political terror in Latin America that has caused millions of people to flee their homelands. …

“Bloody coups aside, perhaps the biggest single action that transformed immigration into the ‘problem’ we face today was President Bill Clinton’s implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. NAFTA opened the floodgates to transnational corporate profitmaking by removing the barriers that the U.S.-Mexico border posed to the free flow of investment. But instead of being a magic wand that, as Bill Clinton contended, would bring economic prosperity for all and ‘fix’ undocumented immigration to the United States, the impacts of the free-trade agreement on the Mexican economy actually increased the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States by 185 percent.

“How did NAFTA and CAFTA (the Central America Free Trade Agreement) propel undocumented immigration? In academia, we can spend years counting all the ways. But in large part, it was because of the absolute devastation ‘free trade’ brought to these countries’ family-based agricultural economies. Peasants who had supplied themselves and their communities with staple foods for centuries could not compete when thrust into a global market against a flood of cheap corn and wheat produced by the U.S. government-subsidized agricultural industry. This, and the opening of collectively held lands for sale on the private market, left millions of peasant families broke and landless, with no choice but to go north. …

“The vicious drug war that has raged throughout Mexico and spread to parts of Central America over the last decade — claiming a staggering 164,000 lives in Mexico alone — is a direct product of the economic devastation caused by NAFTA and is also a major cause of immigration to the U.S. without legal permission.”

Figueroa was head researcher on the 2005 film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” and has been a longtime social justice activist and organizer in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.