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January 2004   Bruce Barton
A 'European Union' Model For The Americas Or A New Homeland Called Aztlan? By Bruce Barton

BRUCE BARTON The Arizona Conservative

A 'European Union' Model for the Americas or a New Homeland Called Aztlan?

"The effort to unite the economies of the Americas into a single free-trade area began at the Summit of the Americas, which was held in December 1994 in Miami. The heads of state and government of the 34 democracies in the region agreed to construct the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. They agreed to complete negotiations towards this agreement by the year 2005 and to achieve substantial progress toward building the FTAA by 2000."

So begins the history of what President George W. Bush called "The Century of the Americas" (Summit of the Americas, 1994). Last month, the representatives of these nations met in Miami to continue their construction of the globalization of the American Hemisphere. Oddly enough, few citizens of the United States knew anything about this meeting, as national media attention centered on Michael Jackson.

Beginning in Brownsville, Texas and extending 2,000 miles to San Ysidro, California on the Pacific Ocean (a direct distance equal to that from Washington, D.C., to Phoenix), the U.S./Mexican border is a political creation which divides two cultures, languages and vastly different economies. Perhaps the best way to think of this 124,000 square-mile region is to think of a weather front where an area of economic high pressure collides with an area of extreme economic low pressure -- a storm front generating economic, political and cultural thunderstorms and tornados. This previously stationary storm front is now extending its influence deep into the United States while politicians are seemingly impotent to prevent the resulting chaos and disorder. Perhaps this is intentional? Let's consider some of the following goals and objectives of the FTAA:

"Share best practices and technologies with respect to increasing citizen participation in electoral processes, including voter education, the modernization and simplification of voter registration ..."

"Support initiatives designed to strengthen linkages among migrant communities abroad and their places of origin and promote cooperative mechanisms that simplify and speed up the transfer of migrant remittances [to their country of origin] ..."

"Support programs of cooperation in immigration procedures for cross-border labor markets and the migration of workers, both in countries of origin and destination, as a means to enhance economic growth in full cognizance of the role that cooperation in education and training can play in mitigating any adverse consequences of the movement of human capital from smaller and less developed states ..."

"Strive to ensure that migrants have access to basic social services, consistent with each country's internal legal framework ..."

"Create and harmonize statistical information systems and foster the sharing of information and best practices through the use of new information and communications technologies, with the aim of promoting the modernization of migration management ..."

This is by no means a complete citation of the framework and goals of the FTAA, but as they say, the devil's in the details' While seven out of every 10 citizens of the United States support putting the brakes on immigration -- especially illegal immigration -- all Americans are scratching their collective heads wondering why Washington is doing nothing. To date, the only actions yet taken are devising means of making illegal immigrants into legal immigrants. To fully understand this point, please review the major provisions of the three amnesty proposals now before Congress.

Less than two weeks ago, Arizona's ranking senator, John McCain, along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, visited the Arizona border with Mexico. The outcome? While McCain discovered we had a major problem, Mr. Ridge mused about the need to quickly change the status of those entering the country from illegal to legal! Imagine that. Perhaps FTAA has something to do with it? In 2000, President Bush stated, "... while the 20th Century is known as the American Century, the 21st will be the Century of the Americas."

Another Agenda Perhaps?

In Mexico's official "National Plan of Development 2001-2006," specific strategies for expanding the nation's political reach far beyond the U.S./Mexico border are outlined. Through out the lengthy document, globalization is frequently referenced, however again, the devil's in the details. To achieve their national plan, the government of Mexico relies on those of its peoples migrating into the United States who in 2002 sent home over $14 billion dollars in hard currency. These remittances are now Mexico's No. 1 source of foreign capital, replacing tourism and oil (second and third respectively).

Additionally, Mexico counts on its growing political influence within the United States as well. Presently, the two major Mexican political parties (the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, which has controlled Mexico since 1929, and the National Action Party, PAN, of which Presidente Vincente Fox is a member) have already established offices in as many as 11 U.S. states for the purpose of assisting Mexican nationals residing in the United States. This is particularly important because in 2001 the Mexican National Congress established dual citizenship for all Mexican nationals living abroad, legal or otherwise.

Consider the numbers at present represent something over 24 million residents of the United States, (including those of legal and illegal status) are Hispanic -- and more than half of those are from Mexico. The government of Fox estimates that upwards of 18 million reside within the U.S. with dual citizenship, with another estimated nine-plus million Hispanics of Mexican descent living here illegally. In the words of Mexican congressman Manuel de la Cruz, an American citizen elected to the Mexican Congress this year residing in California —: “There are 23 million Mexicans in the U.S. that need a voice in Mexico.”(Washington Times, Ken Bensinger). Remember, that election thing works both ways. (Note the citation from the FTAA following the third paragraph above).

Another disturbing trend is the effort of Fox and the Mexican government to set up benefits, special identification cards (allowing them to open bank accounts) and acquire driver’s licenses. This past August, about a dozen major U.S. banks worked out the framework for Mexican nationals to obtain mortgages and homeownership (for more on homeownership for illegals).

Returning to the National Plan of Development 2001 - 2006, in a subsection titled, "Defense of Mexicans Abroad": It is important to note that even if Mexico has achieved a number of agreements and mechanisms to ensure better treatment of our countrymen abroad, the issue of migration, especially in the United States, needs a new focus over the long term to permit the movement and residence of Mexican nationals to be safe, comfortable, legal and orderly, and the attitude of police persecution of this phenomenon must be abandoned and it must be perceived as a labor and social phenomenon."

And in a 2000 television interview, Fox made Mexico's intentions crystal clear: "I'm talking about a community of North America, an integrated agreement of Canada, the United States, and Mexico in the long term, 20, 30, 40 years from now. And this means that some of the steps we can take are, for instance, to agree that in five years we will make this convergence on economic variables. That may mean in 10 years we can open up that border when we have reduced the gap in salaries and income."

And Then the Question of Aztlan

I alluded in my opening headline to a place called Aztlan. In light of the previous discussion, it would be beneficial to look at the population map of territories at risk to Balkanization. The map clearly indicates those geographical regions of the United States that are now feeling the effects of the economic and cultural storm front I spoke of earlier. This week (Dec. 12, 2003), Hispanic separatists in (what they call) Alta, California have called for the economic shutdown of California where 45% of the labor force is Hispanic or Latino. Exactly how unified the Hispanic population is on the Left Coast will be known shortly. One thing however is certain: this isn't the last call for a work-out based on racial lines.

But how serious is the problem of a Hispanic homeland? Consider the preamble to the MEChA Constitution (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan): "Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlán must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán." With their motto, “ˇPor La Raza Todo, Fuera de La Raza Nada!”

In all fairness, I'll use the explanation of Ernesto Cienfuegos (La Voz de Aztlan) regarding the meaning of the motto of MEChA: "... a great scandal of an old MEChA motto that says "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada (For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing)," which in fact she has misinterpreted. The phrase was coined by the poet Alberto Baltazar Urista, better know as "Alurista", in 1969 when the "Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" was drafted at the Denver Youth Conference sponsored by the Crusade for Justice. The Plan Espiritual de Aztlan (Spiritual Plan of Aztlan) comprised the resolutions adopted by the conference participants. The phrase merely calls for brotherly unity among MEChA members and discourages "selling out" the interests of "our community" to other groups, nothing more and nothing less. This old motto is similar to the official motto of MEChA that says, "La union hace la fuerza (Unity is our strength)." I'll leave the truth to you the reader to decide, however, the preamble as quoted was taken this day from the national website of MEChA.

Against this backdrop again is the question, 'How secure is the U.S. Southwest?" The American Heritage Dictionary defines "balkanization": "To divide (a region or territory) into small, often hostile units." As long ago as 1982, the Raza Unity Party met with PLO, and as recently as five days following September 11, 2001, a conference was held at the University of New Mexico on the issue of a Hispanic homeland. One of the keynote speakers was the finance minister of the Palestine Liberation Organization. For many years, the unique relationship between Hispanic separatists and the PLO has been the dirty little secret not spoken about in polite political circles. In the era of the War on Terror, is this wise?

I invite the reader to use the links provided in the text as they will aid in understanding how, over a century and a half after the first Civil War, the storm clouds are gathering for the second.

Bruce Barton's background includes experience in economic development, energy policy, politics and higher education. He previously served as the Business Department chair of the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago. A resident of Safford, Bruce and his wife Brenda, (a fifth-generation Arizonan) hold a passion for the land and the heritage which is America. He can be contacted at: