By Javier Rodriguez  Los Ángeles  24 May 2

Throughout campaign 2016 seeking the Democratic nomination to win the White House and place our country in the hands of the insurgent political revolution movement, Bernie Sanders has railed for real change against the Organized Wealth, the new American Mafia, against NAFTA, the TPP and all past corporate trade agreements, for they only benefit the super-rich

On the other end, Donald Trump, was recently in the middle of a TIME Magazine interview when he was informed Gov. Kasich had dropped out of the race, making him the presumptive Republican candidate. The first reaction of the new ultra-right wing strong man was: “I will review Bernie Sanders’ campaign positions, including NAFTA and the Iraq War, and use them on Hillary.”

If you recall or should know, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was the coveted and aggressive pact that liberalized trade between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, by gradually lowering trade tariffs and to zero. It also incorporated an international court to interpret and arbitrate trade conflicts which superseded the laws and courts in the three countries involved.

The agreement essentially allowed global capital to continue the dismantling of industrial America and shipped the factories to Mexico for cheaper wages and thereafter to other emerging countries, China included, along with millions of jobs lost. Ironically, in all three countries the NAFTA snake oil was sold by their hired guns and through the corporate media and Congress, as a panacea for jobs and wealth for the working masses. It would also end they said, the pestering problem of Mexican immigration and the brightest of the promised stars: “Mexico would become the first emerging country to enter the first world in contemporary history.” These were the major NAFTA talking points.  

The Origin of NAFTA

NAFTA was originally the brainchild of Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and he proposed it to former President George Bush Senior and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. However, Bush lost his reelection bid to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, so the “first ever black U.S. president,” graciously moved the ball and on fast track, Congress ratified it on November 17 and 23, 1993 and it was pompously inaugurated on January 1, 1994.

Unfortunately for the victors, the celebration didn’t last long. On that same date, the clandestine EZNL-Zapatista Army of National Liberation, with approximately 40,000 armed indigenous soldiers in the State of Chiapas, waged a spectacular 12 day armed insurrection against the Salinas government and its armed forces, and denounced to the world that Neo Liberalism and NAFTA would destroy Mexico’s provinces, end collective farming and further erode the strength of the country itself, giving away the nation to the rich and Empire was not the solution. *On January 21, I was there with a Los Angeles-Tijuana human rights delegation and we traveled inside the jungle to meet with the Zapatistas.

However, for the ruling classes, now popularly known as the super wealthy 1% percent, NAFTA was another major victory as it moved their greed agenda and their quest forward to brutally accumulate the world’s wealth in their hands.  As well, it was also a victory for the political forces and the armies of conservative and liberal organizations, who carried the water in all three northern countries. The  Latino political establishment of ’88-‘94, who despite the grim predictions by Mexican-Latino progressives, proudly endorsed NAFTA, unified behind Clinton and Salinas de Gortari and passionately built a Latino national movement in the U.S. to actively promote the onerous trade bill.

Javier Rodriguez founded the March 25 Coalition and is a media and political strategist in L.A.