Oct 052006
Authors: Clare Buttry

Give the Monfort Lecture series a hand. And I don’t mean applause. I mean help.

The students, staff and faculty at CSU, along with members of the Fort Collins community, should be helping to choose key lecturers and speakers who incite a level of pride in the community and university.

We are a part of a higher-education institution that should be lauded for intellectual speakers and applauded for student demonstrations.

The general coverage, by the Collegian and other area news sources, of the Monfort Lecture of former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo failed to recognize the controversial policies and detrimental actions that took place during his time in office.

It took a group of a few dozen students with signs and armbands to raise awareness of the other side of the story, and three of those students were found handcuffed by the end of the night.

I applaud the Collegian for providing an article on the so-called “protesters” (what we were really doing was trying to raise awareness and educate the public) on Friday’s issue. However, I stand firm that CSU’s distinguished lecture series should be bringing in lecturers and speakers that do not have accounts involving human rights violations.

Ex-president Zedillo was largely responsible for the massacre of 45 women and children in Chiapas, Mexico, in response to the indigenous uprising of the Zapatistas. The Zapatistas (formed while Zedillo was in power and still around today) were and are fighting against the very policies that Zedillo so nonchalantly promoted in his speech Thursday night at Moby Arena.

One of his major points was that poverty and conflict in countries such as Mexico arise when plans like globalization don’t reach to the lower stratum of society. He argued that programs like the North American Free Trade Agreement actually aid the poverty-stricken areas of the country and only fail when they haven’t gotten there yet.

I think the Zapatistas would disagree. NAFTA has gotten there. It creates U.S.-funded subsidies for outside farmers (think of corn farmers from Indiana moving their crops to the Mexican countryside) to create inordinate amounts of competition for the peasant farmers in Latin America.

These peasants then have no way to support themselves, and lo and behold! They move al norte to see if there are more possibilities here.

Zedillo’s complete disregard of this issue and the injurious effects NAFTA and other globalization policies have on the peasants of his and other Latin American nations was frustrating, to say the least.

In closing, I simply wish to thank all those people that came up to us after the speech to ask us about the other side of the story. It was encouraging that so many people weren’t just going to swallow everything Zedillo said.

Oh, and to the Monfort lecture series? Let’s do better next time, OK?

Clare Buttry is a senior liberal arts major at CSU.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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