130,000 farmers protest in Mexico against NAFTA

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thousands of farmers marched through the streets of Mexico City to express their opposition to the agricultural section of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Witnesses have reported that long rows of tractors moving at slow speed were observed in several of the access roads to Mexico City. Authorities have reported that over 120,000 people took part in the protest.

The march was headed by the National Peasant Confederation (NPC), an organization which claims to represent five million workers in Mexico.

Since last Wednesday, thousands of farmers came to the Federal District with two demands: "renegotiating NAFTA and the reallocation of public resources to the countryside." Farmers who shouted slogans against the Mexican government, argued that they could not compete with prices products that are harvested in the United States because US farmers receive a strong subsidy here and that they have good conditions to improve production. The demands of the protesters are supported by the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral of the Conference of Mexican Episcopate (EMF), who this month asked the federal government to re-negotiate the agricultural section of the treaty. Bishops argue that this chapter violates the fundamental rights of the poorest people which they believe could lead to more people taking part in criminal activities . Protesters also burned a tractor in front of the Monument to the Revolution, and also demanded the dismissal of Alberto Cardenas, the head of Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico.