Now that Bush has finished his trip around Latin and South America, it’s time for my own South/Latin America round-up!
Harvest of Shame – a report from the National Labor Committee about the Legumex factory in Guatemala where 11-19 year olds process the broccoli, melon, pineapple that often ends up on the cafeteria plates of kids in the US. Ironic, no? The conditions at the plant are horrific, kids standing in cold water with cracked and bleeding feet, cutting broccoli (I knew there was a reason I hate that stuff!) with knives really quickly and cutting themselves in the process, they are underpaid (never mind that younger ones aren’t supposed to be employed at all), and overworked- working for 12-14 hours. Needless to say – no union. Only one-tenth of one percent of apparel workers in Guatemala are unionized. And the US companies that receive the ‘goods’ produced in these places? They know all about it. Ah, the joys of CAFTA… (Via Democracy Now)
Banco del Sur – Venezuela and Argentina are creating a regional bank – Banco del Sur – that would replace (the US – corporation influenced) IMF. Hopefully, the premise of Banco del Sur would be different than that of the IMF- we’ll give you $$$ if you implement policies friendly to us. In any case, I cannot help but root for Chavez, in his endeavor to get the US out of being the biggest thug in Latin and South America (Via Free Speech Radio News)
Chiquita admits to paying paramilitary group in Colombia Why am I not surprised at all? They were just trying to protect their employees…and their product. Of course, the paramilitary group, United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, were designated terrorists in 2001. But groups like these are only really terrorists if they are on the other side from corporations. (Via NPR and Democracy Now)
President of Mexico has family members working in the US. Now, I do NOT support Bush and his guest worker program, nor do I support Calderon. But it just goes to show, this immigration ‘problem’ is vastly misunderstood by many people in the US, not to mention our politicians. I swear, if I hear one more politician say that we have to secure the border, I’m going to throw the radio out the window. (cos that will help the problem). Last week when I was in Arizona, near the border – which is where I was born – the migra (aka border police) presence was unbelievably high. And when we walked from Nogales, Sonora, Mx into Nogales, Arizona, US the border patrol waved anyone looking stereotypically American (read: white) right through, while examining the ID cards or passports of the brown Americans. Made me want to punch the guy when it was our turn. Fortunately, I restrained myself. I hold individual border patrol agents (and the pinche Minutemen) and all the way up the ladder until you reach the President and Society itself responsible for every instance of injustice at or across the border, every case of a dead immigrant, every case where a mother is separated from her child.