Mexico

NAFTA Turns Twenty

Dec 3, 2013
Chandu Sadasivan / Flickr Creative Commons

President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in December 1993, eliminating all tariffs and trade restrictions among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  The treaty, though, has always been controversial in all three nations.  Two decades later, we examine its impacts, and which predictions about it have come true.

GUESTS:

Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa is home to one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels and the heart of darkness in the nation’s drug war.  El Velador, The Night Watchman, is a deceptively quiet documentary film about a country devolving into chaos and violence and makes its debut on PBS POV series Thursday September 27th. Filmmaker Natalia Almada joins us from WCBE studios in Columbus, Ohio to talk about the film.

A series of fatal riots inside Mexican prisons last week and a deadly blaze at a penitentiary in Honduras are prompting calls for major penal reform in Central America.

Violence at three different penitentiaries in Mexico last week left 48 inmates dead, while the inferno in Honduras earlier this month killed 360 prisoners.

These deadly events underscore the problems of corruption, overcrowding, prison gangs and crumbling infrastructure that prisons face throughout the region.

Officials in Mexico are offering a reward of nearly $1 million for the capture of 30 inmates who broke out of a prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon on Sunday.

The governor says the inmates staged a riot, during which 44 people died, to create a diversion for their escape.

It was a jail break that epitomized the Mexican drug war: Rival gang members brutally killed each other, corrupt public officials looked the other way, and dangerous criminals went free.