Ramirez, Tania Molina, The Nation
"We have come to give flowers instead of missiles," a flower producer repeated, as he gave roses to the passers-by in the main square of Mexico City on Friday morning, hours after the US attacked Iraq. Seven hundred flower producers from several states had gathered that day with a double purpose: to protest the war and to continue with the campaign for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has adversely affected local producers.
This was just one of dozens of demonstrations, plays and performances that have taken place in all corners of Mexico since the start of the war. National issues--like widespread illegal electoral campaign funding and the proposal to militarize Ciudad Juarez following the murders of more than 300 women in that northern city since 1995--were set aside as TV sets throughout the country showed repeated images of bombs falling. Crossings along the 3,000-kilometer US-Mexico frontier, the busiest border in the world, were down to 10-15 percent of the normal rate. Also, the northern and southern borders and oil facilities are now heavily guarded by 20,000 Mexican soldiers, and five missile launchers have recently been installed at oil platform zones.
This country is binational--more than 20 million residents of Mexican origin live in the United States, and they send $10 billion a year to Mexico, so war against Iraq is an issue that directly affects Mexicans, especially in the form of relatives sent to war.
A national survey revealed that 80 percent of Mexicans were against the war on March 21, up from 68 percent a month before. "If Bush loves humanity so much, he should begin by bombarding himself," a schoolteacher living in a small village in the southern Oaxaca mountains said to me a couple of days before the United States went to war. …