20 Years After NAFTA, Many Worlds Are Possible
20 Years After NAFTA, Many Worlds Are Possible
By EDELO / creativetimereports.org

Caleb Duarte and Mia Eve Rollow from EDELO (En Donde Era La UNO / Where the United Nations Used to Be) explore the effects of NAFTA in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state and the site of the Zapatista revolution sparked by the agreement.

Mexico was said to be one step away from entering the “First World.” It was December 1992, and Mexico’s then-president, Carlos Salinas, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The global treaty came with major promises of economic development, driven by increased farm production and foreign investment, that would end emigration and eliminate poverty. But, as the environmentalist Gustavo Castro attests in our video, the results have been the complete opposite—increased emigration, hunger and poverty.

While the world was entertaining the idea of the end of times supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, over 40,000 Mayan Zapatistas took to the streets to make their presence known in a March of Silence. The indigenous communities of Chiapas—Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques and Mames—began their mobilization from their five centers of government, which are calledCaracoles. In silence they entered the fog of a December winter and occupied the same squares, in the same cities, that they had descended upon as ill-equipped rebels on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into effect.

In light of the 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation and the Zapatista uprising, we set out to explore both the positive and negative effects of the international treaty. The poverty caused by NAFTA, and the waves of violence, forced migration and environmental disasters it has precipitated, should not be understated. The republic of Mexico is under threat from multinational corporations like the Canadian mining company Blackfire Explorations, which is threatening to sue the state of Chiapas for $800 million under NAFTA Chapter 11 because its government closed a Blackfire barite mine after pressure from local environmental activists like Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was murdered in 2009.

Still, one result of the corporate extraction of Mexico’s natural resources and displacement of its people that has followed the treaty has been the organization and strengthening of initiatives by indigenous communities to construct autonomy from the bottom up. Seeing that their own governments cannot respond to popular demands without retribution from corporations, the people of Mexico are asking about alternatives: “What is it that we do want?” The Zapatista revolution reminds us that not only another world, but many other worlds, are possible.


Performances and community collaborations documented in the video at the top of the page:

THE PROMISE Burial in El Ambo Bajo, Chiapas, Mexico
El Ambo Bajo is an autonomous community adherent to The Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona (a national extension of Zapatismo). The men and children of El Ambo Bajo break the land to symbolically bury the past in a post-colonial act embracing the harsh histories of slavery and genocide. They create a “living memory” to enter into a new century with assurance, self-determination and autonomy.

MIGRATION El Pital, Honduras
Casitas Voladoras (“Little Flying Houses”) is a two-week project we initiated in Honduras to investigate the migration caused by low wages and poor working conditions attributed to the Caribbean Basin Initiative. This 1983 agreement between the United States, Honduras and other Central American countries can be seen as a significant precursor to NAFTA. In the performance, children carry houses made of fabric and sticks in an attempt to cross the Cangrejo River. El Pital, Honduras is a community of less than 300 inhabitants of mostly women and children, due to the migration of its men, mostly to the United States.

MANY WORLDS Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico
An important aspect of creating “other worlds” through Zapatismo is the belief that each culture, each language and each individual creates its own understanding of beauty, normality, happiness and autonomy. The cultures of capitalism and consumerism introduced by NAFTA persuade large populations that there is only one way toward progress and prosperity. Here, Bartolo Martinez shapes his own image of beauty outside of the commercialization of the body.

RAIN CATCHERS El Ambo Bajo, Chiapas, Mexico
Having declared its autonomy from communities divided by political parties, El Ambo Bajo has no access to water provided by the government. Here, we create symbolic rain catchers to parade through the village in a demonstration of the possibilities of a completely sustainable autonomy.

To view the full performances, visit www.edelo.org.

For more information:



Via Campesina 

Enlace Zapatista
Citizens Trade Campaign
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
National Food First

This piece was made possible, in part, by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

3.5 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah Talks With Conservative Host Tomi Lahren
14 min · 10,563 views today · "Tomi" host Tomi Lahren gives her take on the Black Lives Matter movement and explains why she lashed out against Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest.
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 7,954 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 3,789 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Bernie Sanders: Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders · 3,727 views today · We need a president who can stand up to big corporations, not fold to their demands.
Who's Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the Mirror, America.
Neal Gabler · 3,251 views today · Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation —...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 3,170 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,541 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
South Koreans Are Really Good at Protesting
2 min · 2,535 views today · South Koreans organize some of the largest and most peaceful protests in the world. Here's what makes them so good at protesting.
Corporate Giants' "Sustainable" Palm Oil Revealed as Sham
Nika Knight · 1,799 views today · Nestlé, Kellogg's, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and others are linked to child labor and forced labor in Indonesia
A Tribe Called Red and Saul Williams Offer a Powerful Prayer for Standing Rock and Beyond
5 min · 1,202 views today · Music video for "The Virus" by A Tribe Called Red, featuring Saul Williams and Chippewa Travellers.
The Most Mind-Altering Photograph of All Time
4 min · 1,115 views today · Carl Sagan narrates the story of the Pale Blue Dot, the one place we all call home. 
The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved
Sigmund Fraud · 927 views today · For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 916 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 867 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How a Land High in the Western Himalayas Can Help Us Understand The Crisis of The Modern World
9 min · 842 views today · This is a clip from The Economics of Happiness. Watch it here. It's a brilliant film that was easy to put at the top of our list of the top 100 documentaries we can use to...
Why We Need Big Picture Activism
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 764 views today · Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of...
The Truth About the Alt-Right
11 min · 729 views today · Our comprehensive investigation into the Alt-Right movement, including its origins, its relation to the Trump campaign and broader implications for the future. Read more: What...
The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy
3 min · 724 views today · What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic...
EU Energy Targets Will 'Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions'
Nafeez Ahmed · 677 views today · New renewable energy plan undercuts itself by boosting dangerous wood-burning industries
Answering the Call: The American Struggle for the Right to Vote
75 min · 590 views today · Watch an exclusive and limited time online screening of Answering the Call, presented by Films For Action. If you enjoy watching, consider purchasing a DVD copy for a friend at...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
20 Years After NAFTA, Many Worlds Are Possible