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Memo From Mexico | What Is ASPAN And Why Do Mexicans Oppose It?
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August 21, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Why do a growing number of Americans oppose the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership), the three-country framework drawing the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a closer union?

They oppose it because the kind of continental integration it envisions threatens U.S. sovereignty and the primacy of our Constitution.

But if merging with Mexico and Canada would destroy American sovereignty, what would it do to the sovereignties of Canada and Mexico?

The interesting reality is that in both Canada and Mexico, there is also opposition to the SPP and related integration. Canadians and Mexicans also see it as a threat to their sovereignty! [For example, see Will Canada become the 51st state? The Security and Prosperity Partnership: what it`s all about and what it could mean for Canadians Kelly Patterson, Vancouver Sun, August 18, 2007]

The vast body of American cyber-literature on the topic almost completely ignores Mexican opposition to the SPP. In fact, I have seen some writers confidently state that there is no opposition to the SPP in Mexico.

But there is.

Of course, we shouldn`t imagine that anti-SPP Mexicans and Canadians have exactly the same perspective as an anti-SPP American. They don`t. But each one—for different reasons —sees the SPP as a threat to their country.

Americans may rarely think about Mexico. But Mexicans see the U.S. as a powerful country that can do anything it wants and constantly threatens Mexican sovereignty. The U.S. is seen as always on the verge of taking over Mexico.

It`s in that context that many Mexicans view NAFTA: as a way for U.S. business/government to exercise hegemony over Mexico. And that`s how some view the SPP (or as it`s called in Spanish, the Alianza Para la Seguridad y la Prosperidad de América del Norte—ASPAN).

Generally, the opposition to SPP is found on the right in the U.S. and on the left in Mexico.

For example, let`s look at this article in the left-wing Mexican newspaper Jornada, by Jose Antonio Almazan, bluntly entitled "ASPAN: Riesgo para Mexico" (SPP—A Risk for Mexico) [March 22nd, 2007].

Almazan warns his readers that

"Created the 23rd of March of 2005, by an accord of the presidents of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, in Waco, Texas… ASPAN (SPP) constitutes a grave threat to [Mexican] national sovereignty, and… constitutes an informal process leading to a new international treaty at the margin of the legislative power. In both senses, ASPAN (SPP) does violence to the [Mexican] constitutional order."

Almazan continues, explaining the organization of the SPP

"Under the rubric of ASPAN (SPP) and through working groups led by the [Mexican] secretaries of the interior, economy and foreign relations, and their counterparts in Canada and the U.S., along with representatives of private corporations of the three countries, it has continued advancing in various regulations, that later will assume the form of public policies, harming the sovereignty of Canada and Mexico, and in the exclusive benefit of the United States, and of course, of the private corporations regardless of nationality."

So Almazan believes that SPP will hurt Canada and Mexico and will only help private corporations and the U.S. That`s a common complaint among anti-SPP folks in Mexico. They don`t see it as a threat to our constitutional order, because they think we`re too powerful to be threatened.

Another Jornada article is entitled "SPP and NAFTA: Pretexts for U.S. Militarism" [ASPAN y TLCAN, Pretextos Para El Militarismo de Estados Unidoes: Ceceña, Jornada, April 18th, 2007]

The Bush administration is now negotiating a "Plan Mexico" to involve the U.S. military in Mexico`s cartel wars. So in the future we can expect to hear a lot more about this too.

One of the most articulate Mexican critics of the SPP is Miguel Pickard, Mexican activist and co-founder of the  Centre for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (CIEPAC) in Chiapas. (See photo here.)

Pickard is against free trade and other neoliberal policies, which he believes have hurt Mexico. Pickard sees the SPP as a way for the U.S. to dominate Mexico. (But ironically, and significantly, Pickard was one of the sources for the research of American anti-SPP author Jerome Corsi.)

Pickard`s classic exposé of the SPP is entitled Se Avanza Hacia el "TLCAN Plus" It`s available in English as Trinational Elites Map North American Future in "`NAFTA Plus".

 Pickard`s article is definitely worth reading. Here are some highlights:

"The elites of the three NAFTA countries (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) have been aggressively moving forward to build a new political and economic entity. A `trinational merger` is underway that leaps beyond the single market that NAFTA envisioned and, in many ways, would constitute a single state, called simply, `North America.`  Contrary to NAFTA, whose tenets were laid out in a single negotiated treaty subjected to at least cursory review by the legislatures of the participating countries, NAFTA Plus is more the elites` shared vision of what a merged future will look like. Their ideas are being implemented through the signing of `regulations,` not subject to citizens` review. This vision may initially have been labeled NAFTA Plus, but the name gives a mistaken impression of what is at hand, since there will be no single treaty text, no unique label to facilitate keeping tabs. Perhaps for this reason, some civil society groups are calling the phenomenon by another name, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA), an official sobriquet for the summits held by the three chief executives to agree on the future of `North America.` The building of a new North American space is rapidly progressing, yet lacking civil society consultation and legislative oversight. By doing away with treaties or accords, the three chief executives are achieving deeper integration through NAFTA Plus by signing "regulations," thus foregoing the bother of seeing their plans bogged down in one of the legislatures."

Pickard sees SPP and its likely future not just as a threat to Mexico`s sovereignty, but also as a severance of its historic ties with Latin America:

"Deep integration would mean foregoing an independent future. For Mexico it would forever cancel the Bolivarist dream of a united Latin America, with Mexico spurning its historic relationship with the rest of Latin America. The North American identity to be forged would be spurious and forced. The right of Mexicans to decide the future of the Mexican nation is at stake….Mexico and Canada are rapidly integrating with a country that is in practice opposed to negotiating fundamental differences, particularly with weaker countries. "

Yet, Pickard still has hope - and his prescription acknowledges that there are Americans who oppose the SPP as well:

"The task before civil society in all three countries is enormous. Citizen organizations must begin a concerted effort to understand the regulations signed to date and their implications, in order to fight for their suspension. Still, motives for optimism exist. Actions implemented under the guise of NAFTA Plus by means of regulations have proceeded unchallenged thus far, but their validity lacks treaty status. As such, modifying or canceling these undemocratic regulations would seem to be within reach of an informed, organized, and mobilized civil society and, hopefully, a united trinational civil society."

An interesting proposal – Pickard envisages a "united trinational civil society" formed to prevent a trinational political union!

How ironic that the SPP`s architects might inadvertently encourage cooperation among Mexicans, Americans and Canadians precisely to oppose continental integration!

Similarly, the recent statement by a Mexican congressman, Cuauhtemoc Sandoval of the left-wing PRD, expresses the resistance to continental integration:

"We [Mexicans] are taking steps toward the integration of our economy, military, energy and security with the United States. And [the Mexican] Congress isn`t being invited to participate."[Opposition lawmakers grill foreign relations secretary, By Jonathan Roeder/The Herald Mexico—El Universal February 22, 2007]

Mexicans oppose the SPP because they think it poses a threat to Mexican sovereignty and the Mexican Constitution. Meanwhile, American opponents of the SPP believe it poses a threat to American sovereignty and our Constitution.

Both groups are right, as are concerned Canadians fighting the SPP.

From the point of view of Mexicans (and Canadians), SPP is a threat to their sovereignty, because the United States would be the overwhelming partner in the alliance.

But American constitutionalists also understand that the SPP is a threat to American constitutional government. It could take power away from the U.S. constitution, granting it to an unaccountable group of elite globalists of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

As publicity continues to grow about the SPP, we can expect more grassroots opposition in all 3 countries. Anti-SPP Americans and anti-SPP Mexicans disagree on many issues. But they have a common enemy.

A real patriot loves his country—and understands that a foreigner loves his country also. Not everybody in the world wants to become an American.

It reminds me of C.S. Lewis, who wrote in The Four Loves

"How can I love my home without coming to realize that other men, no less rightly, love theirs? Once you have realized that Frenchmen like café complet just as we like bacon and eggs—why good luck to them and let them have it. The last thing we want is to make everywhere else just like our own home. It would not be home unless it were different."

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his "Dispatches from Iraq" are archived here his website is here.