By Renata Bessi
In the last six months an agenda of work and meetings between the seven governors of south-southeast Mexico, federal government agencies, representatives of the governments of the United States and Canada, as well as companies from these countries, has been set with the aim of promoting “conservation and sustainable development” in the region that will be enhanced “through private investment,” as reported by the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, in his social networks.
In the context of the fifth meeting, headed by Salazar, held in Mexico City in mid-May, the diplomat announced that “the government of Mexico has a plan, a very good security agenda for the Isthmus [of Tehuantepec],” a place where the construction of the Interoceanic Corridor and 10 industrial parks are planned.
Showing enthusiasm for the Mexican government’s plans, Salazar maintained, in a press conference held after the meeting with the governors, that it is there, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, that the key to solving the migratory flow to the United States and drug trafficking lies. “It is easier to monitor the 180 miles that make up the Isthmus of Tehuantepec than the 2,000 miles of desert on Mexico’s northern border (..),” said the diplomat.
The region is a “priority” for the United States and the idea is that the megaprojects function as retaining walls. “Our focus has been the Transoceanic [Corridor],” he explained.
He announced an increase in investments by the U.S. government in the region, whose initiative was named PromoSur – From the people of the United States for conservation and sustainable development in southern Mexico.
Intervention in the territories
A promotional video for the program, posted on the U.S. embassy’s social networks, states that the U.S. government, through the efforts of USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development], will increase its international assistance to southeastern Mexico.
“Promosur is the name we have given to our increased investment in southeastern Mexico. With PromoSur, the U.S. government will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting nature-based solutions (…). It will also seek to leverage investments in emerging markets (…),” the video announces.
The Deputy Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mileydi Guilarte, present at the meeting with the governors of the Southeast, announced an investment of US$30 million earmarked for the region, beginning in late summer 2022. It will also include agreements between governments and private industry in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatan.
The founder and coordinator of the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics, Ana Esther Ceceña, warns about the historical role played by USAID in Latin America. “The idea of international development aid on the part of the United States is the mode of intervening in the territories and social dynamics of the countries,” she points out.
To illustrate this, the expert in Latin American geopolitics recalls that throughout the 20th century all military dictatorships in Latin America were preceded by moments of intense USAID activity and budgetary support for the countries. “In Brazil, two years before the military coup took place (1964), a barbaric amount of resources were received from USAID, which provided the material conditions for the coup to take place,” she explains.
The researcher also underscores with concern the “proactive” role played by the US ambassador in the promotion of the “development” of the Mexican southeast, taking on a role as “quasi -governor of the southeast zone.”
“Now it is the U.S. ambassador who delivers the news before even the Mexican government. Now we are in the category of ‘Banana Republic,’ as has happened in other Latin American countries throughout the 20th century, when in order to know what policy a country was going to have, you would have to ask the U.S. embassy,” said the researcher.
Promoting the South
In addition to the direct investments already announced by the U.S. government, it is on PromoSur’s agenda to promote southeastern Mexico so that private companies can invest in the region.
Salazar, in his press conference, announced that in this last meeting with the governors were companies such as Amazon, AT&T, Cisco, Google, Mercado Libre, Microsoft, Uber, Ibiza and Visa. “All committed to helping,” he said.
The governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat, who was at the meeting, said that “we were able to have a broader conversation to be able to provide feedback to different companies and to be able to build an agenda for the Summit of the Americas and later a meeting with CEOs of companies in Washington, surely, in the coming months.”
According to the governor, an agenda is being built that seeks to land concrete investments. “I can say that important investments are coming in the Interoceanic Corridor, we already have more than 200 million dollars firm (…). The Corridor is destined to be Mexico’s great engine of growth.”
During the meeting there were also round table discussions. Among the topics addressed were: ‘Helping Rural Communities with Business Opportunities and Conservation Priorities in the Seven States of the South-Southeast’, ‘Identifying a Sustainability and Conservation Fund’ and ‘Reducing Emissions through Accelerated Forestry Financing’.
This article was published by Avispa Midia on June 2, 2022. https://avispa.org/sureste-de-mexico-a-la-venta-bajo-promocion-de-la-embajada-de-los-eeuu/ English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas.