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Fri Jun 13, 2014, 05:05 AM

NAFTA, Insecurity, Power Vacuums and Violence in Rural Mexico

NAFTA, Insecurity, Power Vacuums and Violence in Rural Mexico
Escrito por Victor M. Quintana | 31 / May / 2014

If the fields are burning, it is not only due to the “bad guys”–the drug cartels, hit men and thugs and much less to the self-defense forces, community police groups or farmers defending their territories. Rural Mexico is experiencing a crisis in human security and criminal violence is not the only factor present or even the main cause. The drastic transformation of public policies towards the agricultural sector, induced by structural adjustment programs and trade liberalization, of which the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the cornerstone, created the conditions for the emergence of multiple forms of violence in Mexican countryside.

The adjustment policies and NAFTA have contributed to deterioration of the diverse forms of security that constitute human security. They have generated power vacuums in government and society and have given rise to the many forms of violence seen today in the countryside.[1]

1.NAFTA has eroded human security in the countryside

The United Nations Development Program defines human security as constituted by seven components: economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, community security and political security.[2]

Economic insecurity

At a macro level, NAFTA made the economy of the country’s agrifood sector more vulnerable. From NAFTA’s first year, 1994 until 2000, the primary sector grew only 1.8% and the agrifood sector 2.6% , while the general national economy had an average growth rate of 3.4%.[3]

During the PAN administrations from 2000 through 2012, the GDP of the primary sector saw an average growth of 1.4% (agriculture 1.4%, animal husbandry 1.8% and fishing 0%) while the national economy grew at a rate of 2.1%. The role of agriculture in the national GDP has been decreasing: in 1994 it comprised 6% of the total GDP, and in 2012 it had dropped to 3.57%.


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