Saturday, June 24, 2006

part 2- the brave new americas?

i thought that what i would do for this segment is give a little history- no groaning aloud- because i, for one, am ignorant of what goes on in this hemisphere. we hear about the european union but only recently have started to hear about a possible north american union with canada, america and mexico. this opened up many questions to me so i went on a quest to find answers and just found more questions. what struck me is- we never hear about greenland, iceland or most of central america in on the negotiations- why is that? how is all of this going to effect the illegal immigration issue- and the bruhaha going on here in america about the mexicans and central americans? should we even bother to build a fence?

so- here we go:

in 1826, the "Treaty of Union, League, and Perpetual Confederation" was proposed in south america by simon bolivar- who proposed creating a league of American republics, with a common military, a mutual defense pact, and a supranational parliamentary assembly. the next time anything like it was proposed was in 1890- the First International Conference of American States- and it was held in washington dc. at that time, 18 nations resolved to found the International Union of American Republics, served by a permanent secretariat called the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics. this group met several times before and after world war 2- and the Organization of American States (OAS) was the final incarnation as of 1951.

i will print the goals/mission of this entity from wikipedia:

during the cold war:

In the words of Article 1 of the Charter, the goal of the member nations in creating the OAS was "to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence." Article 2 then defines eight essential purposes:

  • To strengthen the peace and security of the continent.
  • To promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention.
  • To prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure the pacific settlement of disputes that may arise among the member states.
  • To provide for common action on the part of those states in the event of aggression.
  • To seek the solution of political, judical, and economic problems that may arise among them
  • To promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social, and cultural development.
  • To eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere.
  • To achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that will make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the member states.
later additions in the 1990's:

  • Strengthening democracy: Between 1962 and 2002, the Organization sent multinational observation missions to oversee free and fair elections in the member states on more than 100 occasions. The OAS also works to strengthen national and local government and electoral agencies, to promote democratic practices and values, and to help countries detect and defuse official corruption.
  • Working for peace: Special OAS missions have supported peace processes in Nicaragua, Suriname, Haiti, and Guatemala. The Organization has played a leading part in the removal of landmines deployed in the Americas and it has led negotiations to resolve the continent's remaining border disputes (Guatemala/Belize; Peru/Ecuador). Work is also underway on the construction of a common inter-American front to counter the scourge of terrorism.
  • Defending human rights: The agencies of the inter-American human rights system provide a venue for the denunciation and resolution of human rights violations in individual cases. They also monitor and report on the general human rights situation in the member states.
  • Fostering free trade: The OAS is one of the three agencies currently engaged in drafting a treaty that will establish a hemispheric free trade area from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
  • Fighting the drugs trade: The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission was established in 1986 to coordinate efforts and crossborder cooperation in this area.
  • Promoting sustainable development: The goal of the OAS's Inter-American Council for Integral Development is to promote economic development and combating poverty. OAS technical cooperation programs address such areas as river basin management, the conservation of biodiversity, planning for global climate change, and natural disaster mitigation.
also, in the 1990's- another entity came into existence: North American Free Trade Agreement.

according to wikipedia, NAFTA called for immediately eliminating duties on half of all U.S. goods shipped to Mexico and Canada, and gradually phasing out other tariffs over a period of about 14 years. Restrictions were to be removed from many categories, including motor vehicles and automotive parts, computers, textiles, and agriculture. The treaty also protected intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, and trademarks) and outlined the removal of restrictions on investment among the three countries. Provisions regarding worker and environmental protection were added later as a result of supplemental agreements signed in 1993.

The agreement was initially pursued by free-trade conservative governments in the United States and Canada, led by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and U.S. President George H. W. Bush. There was considerable opposition on both sides of the border, but in the United States it was able to secure passage after President Bill Clinton made its passage a major legislative initiative in 1993. Vice President Al Gore attempted to build support for the bill by debating the issue with H. Ross Perot on the Larry King Live talk show. Perot was an outspoken critic of NAFTA during his 1992 presidential campaign, claiming that passage would cause a "giant sucking sound" of jobs leaving the United States for Mexico.

After intense political debate and the negotiation of several side agreements, the U.S. House passed NAFTA by 234-200 (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor) and the U.S. Senate passed it by 61-38. Some opposition persists to the present day, primarily directed towards specific clauses within the agreement.

recent developements: "nafta superhighway."

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what is nasco? At a Glance

Our Vision: To be the premiere North American trade corridor coalition and the primary organization in developing the International Mid-Continent Trade Corridor as the highest profile, tri-nationally supported Corridor in North America.

Our Mission: NASCO’s mission is to develop the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system, along the International Mid-Continent Trade Corridor, to improve both trade competitiveness and the quality of life in North America through:
  • Strategic Planning
  • Advocacy
  • Infrastructure and Non-Infrastructure Improvements
  • Trade Facilitation
  • Technology Applications and Solutions
  • North American Inland Ports Network (NAIPN)
  • Education

Our Purpose: To maximize economic activity and improve the quality of life of the jurisdictions along the Corridor.

Our Goals:

To be a strong advocacy and lobby group for transportation and related issues and interests of the jurisdictions along the corridor.

To gain federal, provincial/state, and municipal government support in all three NAFTA countries.

To gain and maintain tri-lateral private sector membership support for NASCO’s vision and goals.

To push for, facilitate and support any Corridor related projects or initiatives that focus on enhancing the security, safety and efficiency of transportation, trade processing and logistics systems along the corridor

why hasn't the main stream media picked this up- given the impact it will have on the current bruhaha over illegal immigration as well as a heck of a lot of american truckers, longshoremen, taxpayers, etc?

ok- my questions are many.

what is going on within the systems and the processes of the OAS and NAFTA?- are we not working on this at all?- because we all can see the extreme poverty and lack of development going on in central and south america.

where are the focus points today and why are we not working with these countries to eradicate the extreme poverty and other conditions such as civil war, illegal drugs, corruption, etc? it leads to the obvious point of illegal immigration to america. we are supposed to be a major player- as is canada and mexico- and hey, haven't we all dropped the ball?

why aren't we reaching out to our neighbors through these organizations with technology that would help them promote democracy, develop jobs- perhaps here instead of india? are there no well educated folks in this hemisphere?- i highly doubt that. at least in the bigger cities in central and south america there are institutions of higher learning. not all of the governments are socialist either.

i know that this is simplistic- but it is really the tip of the iceberg as far as research and understanding. i know practically nothing about any of this- and it is my home hemisphere of the planet. just reading thorough the list of goals and objectives- it appears that we- cananda and america- have forgotten about our neighbors to the south. it isn't enough to just open up trade- why aren't we forging a relationship like we have with the european or asian folks? there are resources that are there in south america where they could develop jobs and technology.
i realize that i have not done this topic justice- but i wanted to open up the discussions.


Unknown said...

Excellant posts on an important topic. I know less about this than you, so thanks for the thumb nail explinations. I can only see what you see, the stated missions of these groups is not working.

The jobs have left America, but not for Mexico. India seems to be one destination, along with Asia.

India has a well educated society and high unemployment. American companies can hire Indians as cheap as Mexicans, but the Indians have much better education.

It seems the priority has been on free trade and not other important parts of the equation like poverty, drugs, wages, and raising the lifestyles around the Americas.

Profit is the main motivation for companies to engage. The governments must become more engaged to help change some of the other problems. That does not seem to be happening.

Leadership and priorities are the key, and that must come from the top of these governments, including the United States.

Please keep going with this topic, I'm learning a lot, thanks.

billie said...

my fear is that america is going to be left behind- you hit the nail on the head when you said that indians are highly educated- as are asians. guess who else? russians. boeing has moved it's designing functions to eastern europe to take advantage of former military engineers expertise. why? a shortage in america of aeronautical engineers. my fear is that we are not encouraging our young people to learn math and sciences- for a variety of reasons that would take up another post- and we are going to miss out on the global job market. what people here don't realize is- we are now competing with several million other people for jobs. we don't have the luxury of thinking that jobs will be made for us or the jobs that we have had for 50 years will still be around. it will be interesting to see whether the american public will wake up in time.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

betmo, I think you did a wonderful job, and you certainly do know what you are talking about. I think one reason why we have not looked South for more partnerships is because of the developing economies in several countries. The EU is still having problems absorbing some of the Eastern European Contries and that may have made people here a little hesitant.

With all of the anti-immigrant sentiment running rampant now, I do not see either party lifting any major barriers anytime soon.

I agree that many job seem to be going to India, and as a union member, I usually hang up when I get someone over there. I know this is not very polite, but with the ID theft problem running rampant, I am stunned that I have to give my consent to be recorded but not to have my SSN and other personal info sent to India using my phone number without my knowledge. I digress. Sorry.

The main reason I think jobs go to India is that many of them speak English, although many do not do it well.

I agree with betmo that we need to do a better job of education. On that front, I wish the GOP would stop arguing about diverting money into private schools, and concentrate on the public schools in need. The farther behind we fall, the harder it will be to catch up.

billie said...

i can't help but comment on the dichotomy of rampant anti hispanic rhetoric that it making the rounds- disguised thinly as anti illegal immigration rhetoric- coupled with the very quiet negotiations by bushco to develop an american union like the eu. how are we going to resolve this one- bomb the crap out of tiajuana?

Dardin Soto said...

Betmo: You think you gave us enough to munch on?...
Outstanding investigative reporting. Seriously, I got to give you hot Elmira props Girlfriend! This type of stuff takes a real vestige of caring for the here and the now of America.
I had to read it twice just to wrap myself around the general topic much less the details. Superb,... just the right stylistic prose, a good pace so as not to dwell on the minutia, connect-the-dots logic so a pin-head like moi can get it :)
You keep doing this kind of stuff you will overtake 5th estate as king (or Queen) of posting real estate!
Consider (in the future) doing a re-post of parts 1 and 2 back to back for a re-fresh and continuity.
I can say that I was aware of roughtly 25% of what you wrote,... and for this man, that is a good day. Thanks for the education.Kudos

The Future Was Yesterday said...

First - one hell of a job here!!
Ross Perot was exactly right - and was soundly rediculed at the time. Think of President Gore now, and his global warming efforts.

As a member of the auto industry for some time, I saw some of this first hand. GM would come to us and say "you have to make this part at this price or the jobs go to Mexico." Well of course we couldn't make the parts because Mexicans made them at two dollars a day or less. So the jobs went south, which was the intention all along anyway. "Competing" was just a dust cloud for the media and the ever-apathetic American voter.

This happened many times over as you well know now. It was a collusion of not just Corporations, Governments, or Unions, but all parties at once. The Mexican government threw health and safety to the wind: The American Government blandly told the unions "you have to compete, or else you'll lose your jobs", and the unions were reactive instead of proactive. They bitched and screamed about the cost of hay after the horse was out of the barn, instead of while the horse was being fed.

GM even took jobs away from Mexico and sent them to other countries that could make them even cheaper!! We watched the location of one part's creation moved three times in ten years.

There is no coming back from this now, nor does it matter who is in the white house. They all answer to the mega-corporations or they don't get in the white house. It's that simply. Eventually, I believe, you will see the creation of a world union - and it too, will be controlled by the companies, just as unions now are.

Meanwhile, the "myth" of borders, of political parties, of "the voter matters", will be preserved for that choicest of all voters....they who think a hard hour of political news is Jay Leno.

Once again I congratulate you on an excellent piece!!

T.L. Stanley said...

Great article. It appears that many countries south of the borders have been using the dream of coming to America as a relief valve. Without the dream of coming to America, many countries south of the border would explode into revolutionary chaos.
Take care.

No said...

My goodness, you have been busy.

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Anonymous said...

This is fascinating - I had no idea about NASCO.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I second the reposting suggestion. (And dump the spam real estate comments...)