Delegation to Mexico
Wrapup and Action Planning
Topics: NAFTA -- Immigration -- Corn
Mexico trip home page
After lunch in Nochixtlan, we take a bus to Mexico City. By the time we collect our luggage and arrive at the hostel it is late. We stay at a different hostel, the Mexico City Hostal, which is huge. There is a problem with the water, so there is none for showers. The water is sporadic the next day also, but eventually everyone gets to clean up from the countryside.
As we meet together on Saturday morning, outside people are making their way to a mass demonstration at the Zocolo. The protest was organized by supporters of presidential candidate, López Obrador, who is contesting the election results, apparently won by the other candidate, Felipe Calderon, by a margin of less than 1% of the vote. Obredor is asking for a full recount of the votes, "vote-by-vote", alleging irregularities allege irregularities in over 30% of the country's polling stations. From the roof of the hostel we can just see the Zocolo and the people converging towards it. We will only watch from a distance because Mexican law is strict about not allowing foreigners to participate in Mexican politics.
We meet in a lounge area of the hostal. Nicki asks us to think over the sights and sounds of Mexico and write one line each of something we saw, something we heard, and something we felt. (Read our impressions of Mexico)
We write up accounts of one of the people that we met in the countryside, using what we have found out about their life. (Read the stories)
Our mission here has been to be a witness to the effects of U.S. policy on Mexico. We have seen how the effects have been far reaching, and sometimes devastating. We've stayed with families in the countryside and seen how many family members have been forced to immigrate because of the increasing difficulty of making a living in the countryside. Some have immigrated internally to the urban areas such as Mexico City. Others go north to the U.S. although the trip is increasingly perilous due to increased border patrols which force them to make the crossing through the desert. Deaths have risen. In one of our host families a mother made the trip north with two young children. They traveled by truck, but when they encountered the border patrol, all the travelers fled the truck into the desert. They remained without water until sometime the next day, and longer without food.
"Why would people treat us this way," she asked us, and we didn't have an answer. The policies of our country do much to create conditions under which immigration is necessary for survival. Large parts of the U.S. economy depend upon the labor of immigrants, legal or illegal. Yet we punish the immigrants themselves, who are simply trying to survive, just as we would be under the same circumstances.
So, we spend some time brainstorming some things that we can do once we return. We identify our communities with whom we can share our experience, and practice quick summaries of what we have learned. Here are some of the ideas:
During these nine days we have shared a lot and become close to other members of the delegation. Witness for Peace is not only about creating peace and justice in the world, but about affirming our connection to all people and to each other. During the last part of our time together we share a little about our appreciation and support for each other as we continue on our "river of life".