miércoles, junio 09, 2004

The Plan Puebla-Panama Revived: Looking Back To See What’s Ahead

By Miguel Pickard

During a tour of three Central American countries last March 24-26, Mexican President Vicente Fox formally relaunched the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP). Originally launched in Mexico with great fanfare in March 2001, the Plan had since languished for a year and a half—dying according to some, dead according to others. The announcement of the ambitious plan for the economic integration of the region immediately sparked controversy but remained pegged to the drawing board as the government stalled on implementation and government offices maintained silence regarding its true intent and probable future.

At its simplest, deep integration means the creation of a new space, the “North American continent,” where Mexico, Canada, and the United States would be integrated, obviously under the tutelage of the latter. Apart from a single North American military force, there would be a common border, a single currency, homogeneity in economic, security, migration and refugee policies, a single identification card, i.e., the fusion in almost all respects of the three countries. The Mexican economist Alejandro Alvarez says that “the Community of North America is the single greatest challenge for Mexico in the 21st century.”28 Canadian, Mexican and Latin American citizens must recognize and respond to the threat to sovereignty and liberty inherent in “deep integration”. The PPP provides a case study for educating and alerting civil society to the negative impact of top-down economic integration on our lives in the short term. But most importantly, it shows the urgent need to link these plans to the future that awaits us all under neoliberalism if these plans are not perhaps the most urgent task at hand.


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