Zetas fill in CAFTA blanks
A wave of migrant children from Central America seeking asylum in the United States reflects fundamental flaws in the free trade agreement between Central America and the United States, and in the North American Free Trade Accord among the United States, Mexico and Canada.
On a positive note, the needs of the region’s migrants are motivating at least one Mexican crime cartel to provide services, which are based on sound business practices, instead of brute force.
As far as trade agreements are concerned, CAFTA does not includea right of labor mobility.
As such, it does little to reduce the pressure differences between the richest country in the world on one side, and on the other some of the poorest.
One of the intended effects of trade agreements is to encourage investment, by guaranteeing protection for investors from unfair state interference.
But despite this benefit, along with that of trade liberalization, American investment in the three poorest Central American countries has created few jobs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of migrants annually continue to enter the United States.
Meanwhile, we may be seeing a new maturity among Mexico’s criminal organizations, which seek to benefit from the flood of migrants.
Instead of extorting Central American economic refugees, members of the Zeta cartel now provide advisory services to migrants.
For $9000, Central American refugees get premium service, including flights to Mexican border cities.
From there, the advisors use their contacts to get clients into the United States.
For $3,000, the lowest price, migrants spend up to a week crossing Mexico by bus or van, and in some cases must cross the border by raft or tunnel.
From their origins in Northeastern Mexico, the Zetas are influential in a corridor, which runs from Guatemala to Texas.