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Mexico: A view from south of the border

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to DailyMonday evening's Active Minds presentation in Eagle will focus on Mexico.
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EAGLE ” Monday evening’s Active Minds presentation will focus on Mexico’s political make-up, history, international relations and current events.

“Mexico is so close to home, it’s hard to not be interested!” said program instructor Sasha Breger.

The program begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Eagle Community Center in Eagle.



“The 19th century history between the United States and Mexico is amazing,” Breger said. “Especially when you consider that places like Texas and Colorado used to be a part of Mexico, the Mexican-American War is fascinating.”

Breger will use historical context to bring participants up to speed on current events in Mexico.



As for international relations, Mexico has also spawned some interesting ties with its neighbors to the South. Calderon’s politics have allied Mexico more with Brazil and Colombia than with Venezuela, like his competitor, Andres Obrador, might have done. What about Mexico’s relationship with the United States? The U.S. and Mexico are cooperative on several issues, including trade, drug interdiction and security, though immigration remains sticky.

For this talk, Breger will examine why outward migration is attractive for Mexicans. One reason is poverty.

“Forty percent of Mexicans live in poverty,” Breger said. “In part, this can be attributed to an unequal distribution of wealth and power in government, some of which is left over from colonial times.”



Another cause for outward migration is unemployment and underemployment. Also, the impact from NAFTA has been significant on Mexican agriculture. As small farmers deal with the effects of NAFTA, rural towns continue to lose their population.

“With food prices rising, so are concerns that it may be time for a NAFTA review,” Breger said.

Another major national concern in Mexico is drug interdiction efforts.

“Already in 2008, 1,400 people have died in violence related to drug cartels,” Breger said. “Over 30,000 troops are now going after drug cartels, and that army involvement speaks to the magnitude of this issue for Mexico.”

Also a big deal in the United States, the governors of several border states are helping Mexico with this effort by increasing border patrol for drug traffic. Additionally, the U.S. has been lending intelligence to Mexico to help the war on drugs.

“The final current topic I hope to get to relates to proposed reforms on Mexican oil,” Breger said. The politics of oil highlight the division between Mexico’s conservatives and liberals. “Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a conservative, wants to introduce private oil into the Mexican oil sector,” Breger said. “Tremendous controversy and opposition face this situation.”

Directions to the Golden Eagle Community Center: From I-70, take exit 147 (Eagle). Proceed south and turn left onto Eby Creek Road. Turn right onto Grand Ave. / US 6 at the roundabout. Turn left at Capitol and right at East 6th Street. Turn left on Broadway. The Center is at the dead end.

Monday: Mexico: A View from South of the Border

Location: Golden Eagle Community Center

Instructor: Sasha Breger

Sept. 17: Lebanon

Location: Singletree Community Center Edwards

Oct. 15: Nigeria

Location: Golden Eagle Community Center

All programs begin at 5:30 p.m. and are free. For more information, call the Vail Symposium at 970-476-0954 or visit http://www.vailsymposium.org.


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