Mexico, Canada and US in summit meeting
Obama is flying in today. The town of Toluca, just north of Mexico City, is in a state of total shutdown. It’s an unattractive city that is the capital of the State of Mexico and higher than here with filthy weather and a lot of commuters. It ain’t very nice. It’s the sort of place that if someone obliged me to live there I would pack a case and return to the UK… Anyway, it was deemed perfect for the leaders of the 3 countries that make up North America to meet, and has a big international airport to boot. Stephen Harper from Canada has been here for a day or so already, Obama flies in today with a massive retinue of bodyguards and The Beast as well of course our esteemed President who hopefully is polishing his crappy English, as I write.
My friend D who is a very active member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been hobnobbing with his PM prior to the arrival of Obama, who will be flying in and flying out fairly fast. While waiting for Obama Harper settled down in front of a screen to watch his ice hockey team, no doubt he has had to forego the finish as Obama has arrived now.
Apparently there isn’t much love lost between the three of them although the papers are saying that the summit is about economic partnership and progress. Immigration is always on the table but tempers run high on this subject, drugs going north from here and guns coming south from there is another one, Mexican oil goes to the US for refining and then we buy it back which seems crazy but that's another one; Canadian expertise in open mining and extracting oil and gas from Mexican soil is another, but we surely will not be hearing any good news on any of those subjects. We are hell bent on extracting anything that’s got value from the earth, at whatever cost and the Canadians are rather good at that; the US guns manufacturers find Mexico a very lucrative market; and who the hell cares about the environment, water tables, contamination and pollution of the air anyway? Political interest in making more and more money is what makes the world go around in these here parts.
In the El Economista newspaper today, in an article by Luis Miguel Gonzalez, this: Canadian mining companies hold 30% of the total of mining concessions in Mexico. They own 7 out of 10 of the gold mines. They pay little taxes, they contaminate the ground, the air and the water. They pay their workers (Mexicans) 8 times less than their Canadian counterparts. “Mexico has become a fiscal paradise for Canadian miners… who behave well in their own country but are corrupt when they invest in Mexico … with no labour or environmental restrictions…” says a report issued by the Commission for Dialogue with the Indigenous Communities of Mexico. These are all subjects that will not be on the table at this summit. A disgrace. In fact no doubt the opposite will be happening, more deals made, more contracts signed, more mines…
Feelings are running high about this summit because a few days ago Time Magazine put our esteemed President on the cover. Putting his photo on the cover is one thing, but the accompanying headline was what got everyone riled. The headline was “Saving Mexico”. On Twitter and Facebook loads of photoshopped alternative versions of this cover immediately began circulating with interesting and mostly very insulting variations in both the photo and the text. The reporter of the article on Twitter invited Mexican readers to read his article and not jump to conclusions but those 2 words on the cover were enough for most people. The word saving was reinterpreted with words like: destroying, killing, fucking, selling... Mexico. I think you get the idea. Ah and underneath those 2 offensive words is this description of the article inside: How Enrique Peña Nieto’s sweeping reforms have changed the narrative in his narco-stained nation.
So, all in all, not a very auspicious start for what will surely be deemed hugely successful with tons of economic progress and how much the three countries love each other. Well, let's not jump to conclusions but I can only see more bad news coming out of this...