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Border sees U.S. corn go south and Mexicans head north

The agricultural elements of NAFTA were brutal on Mexico's corn farmers. A flood of U.S. corn imports, combined with subsidies that favor agribusiness, are blamed for the loss of 2 million farm jobs in Mexico. NAFTA has worsened illegal migration, some experts say, particularly in areas where small farmers barely eke out a living.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Look around the corn farms in Oaxaca state, and in vast areas of Mexico, and one sees few young men, just elderly people and single mothers.

"The men have gone to the United States," explained Abel Santiago Duran, 56, a municipal agent, as he surveyed the empty village of San Jeronimo Solola.

The countryside wasn't supposed to hollow out in this way when the North American Free Trade Agreement linked Mexico, Canada and the U.S. in 1994. Mexico, hoping its factories would absorb displaced farmers, said it would "export goods, not people."

But in hindsight, the agricultural elements of the pact were brutal on Mexico's corn farmers. A flood of U.S. corn imports, combined with subsidies that favor agribusiness, are blamed for the loss of 2 million farm jobs in Mexico. The trade pact worsened illegal migration, some experts say, particularly in areas where small farmers barely eke out a living.

Free trade: U.S. corn heads south, Mexican men head north

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