Hidden Costs of NAFTA in Mexico

January 2, 2004
Dear Friends:
Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. We invite you to learn about the hidden costs of NAFTA in Mexico at a presentation by E-LAW advocate Raquel Gutierrez Najera:
“Hidden Costs of NAFTA in Mexico: Case Study of the Lake Chapala Basin”
Friday, January 9, 12 noon
Knight Law Center, room 282
1515 Agate Street
University of Oregon
Raquel is a Mexican attorney who has been working to clean up and protect Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. Lake Chapala provides drinking water for Guadalajara’s five million residents.
Industries began polluting Lake Chapala in the 1950`s when there were no environmental or water quality regulations. Mexican citizens welcomed NAFTA and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a tri-national body established as part of an environmental side agreement.
Although the side agreement gave Mexican citizens hope the environment would be protected, it has proven ineffective in protecting Lake Chapala.
For many years, Raquel has been educating and mobilizing communities to support clean up efforts. Now she is working with E-LAW U.S. to file a claim to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to force the Mexican government to abide by its environmental laws and clean up Lake Chapala.
Raquel has been a member of the E-LAW network since 1995. She founded the Instituto de Derecho Ambiental (IDEA -- the Institute for Environmental Law) in 1997. She is a professor of law at the University of Guadalajara and the 2001 winner of the Ecological Merit Award, presented by Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources.
Raquel’s presentation is co-sponsored by E-LAW U.S., the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Program of the University of Oregon School of Law, and the Savage Visiting Scholar Human Rights for ALL Program.
I hope you can join us next Friday.
Carolyn Sykora
Education Coordinator