Students to Protest NAFTA Trade Commissioner at Seattle University

Students from Seattle University and the University of Washington will protest against the Trade Commissioner of Mexico, Sergio Rios, who is a concrete representative of NAFTA in the Northwest. He will be speaking at SU’s campus this Thursday, February 21st on México-US Business Relations before and after NAFTA. He has worked for the Foreign Trade Bank of Mexico (Bancomext) and currently encourages a wide use of trade throughout North America, which has become increasingly easier due to NAFTA.

Many students involved are personally moved to action after attending an immigration panel discussion on January 23rd held at SU where the devastating effects of NAFTA and CAFTA on Mexican and Central American farmers were exposed through personal stories of individuals impacted. For example, through the major flow of cheap agricultural products (particularly US subsidized corn), small subsistence Mexican farmers continue to be in dire poverty and are forced to migrate. According to a 2004 report published by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, “At least 1.5 million Mexican farmers lost their livelihoods to NAFTA”. In addition, the weakening of environmental laws and labor laws has hurt millions throughout North America, and students from SU and the University of Washington feel that the falsification of this reality is intolerable.

“We feel it is unacceptable to allow the university community be manipulated by the fabricated language of Mr. Rios and we see it as a necessity to expose the fact that humans have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of NAFTA.”
–Sean O’Neill, Sophomore Sociology Major at Seattle University

“As students that strive for a just and humane world we have the responsibility to act out against the practices of Mr. Rios and to educate the community that NAFTA continues to oppress the people of North America, especially the working class and the indigenous population of southern Mexico”
–Sarah Dean, Junior Spanish and International Studies major at Seattle University

WHO: Coalition of individual members from the Seattle University NOSIR! (No to Oppression! Students For Immigrant Rights), SU MEChA, SU Coalition for Global Concern, University of Washington Student Labor Action Project, UW MEChA and concerned citizens.

WHERE: Seattle University

WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 2008

VISUALS: Political theatre, holding banners, symbolic representations of the Mexican farmers and workers