On The Monitor this week:
- Congo Peace Can Only Begin When U.S. Ally Rwanda “Ceases Interventions” An interview with Maurice Carney
Daily Telegraph report of Oct, 31: “Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo are close to defeat after the foreign ministers of both America and Britain called the president of neighboring Rwanda and urged him not to intervene to support them, The Daily Telegraph has learned. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, and William Hague, the foreign secretary, telephoned Paul Kagame separately last Friday and told him to stay out of the conflict.”
- Missing from Immigration Debate: What Causes Migration? An interview with Manuel Pérez-Rocha
The New York Times reports: “On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO announced it would spend more than $1 million in five districts over the next two weeks on television ads that sharply blame Republicans for the lack of immigration action in the House.”
Earlier this week, USA Today reported “Obama Renews Push for an Immigration Overhaul,” noting: “The business executives who attended Tuesday’s meeting with Obama included Roger Altman, founder and chairman of Evercore Partners; Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solution; Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte; Marillyn Hewson, CEO and president of Lockheed Martin; Edward Rust, chairman and CEO of State Farm; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone; and Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonalds.”
More about this week’s guests:
Maurice Carney is the Executive Director of Friends of the Congo. He is an independent entrepreneur and human rights activist who has fought with Congolese for fifteen years in their struggle for human dignity and control of their country. He has worked as a research analyst at the nation’s leading Black think tank the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. While at the Joint Center, Mr. Carney worked with civic associations in West Africa providing training on research methodology and survey. He served as the interim Africa working group coordinator for Reverend Jesse Jackson while he was Special Envoy to Africa. Mr. Carney also worked as a research consultant to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation addressing issues such as the socio-politcal condition of African American communities.
Quote: “Contrary to many media reports, the M23 announcement that they are laying down their arms does not end the conflict in Congo. The story is really whether this is the end of Rwanda’s intervention. Ultimately a political solution is needed between DRC and U.S. ally Rwanda whereby Rwanda ceases its interventions in DRC. A sign that we are on this path will be when Rwanda turns over the many war criminals who are in Rwanda and wanted in Congo for the mass crimes that they have committed.The long overdue pressure placed on Rwanda by the U.S. and UK was critical to bringing an end to Rwanda’s latest proxy, M23, in the DRC since 1996. A second structural obstacle must be tackled to advance peace in the Congo — a legitimate government that can act in and protect the interests of the Congolese people. It is vital that we keep the pressure on the U.S. government to cease its support of strongmen in the heart of Africa. … The Congo has seen the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II, with an estimated 6 million killed.”
Manuel Pérez-Rocha helps to coordinate the Networking for Justice on Global Investment project, as part of the IPS Global Economy Project. In this role, he works together with allies at the Democracy Center in Bolivia and organizations in several countries. Prior to that, he directed “The NAFTA Plus and the SPP Advocacy Project,” as part of the Global Economy Project. He is a Mexican national who has led tri-national efforts to promote just and sustainable alternative approaches to North American economic integration for more than a decade.
Prior to moving to Washington, DC in 2006, he worked for many years with the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) and continues to be a member of that coalition’s executive committee. For the past several years, he has also contributed to the Alternative Regionalisms project of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, and worked as a consultant to Oxfam International on trade issues in the Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean region.
Manuel studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a M.A. on Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague, Netherlands.
Quote: “The big question ‘What causes migration?’ is constantly missing in the immigration debate in the United States. That is, the push factors — or what is it that pushes millions of Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate? An important push factor is U.S. policy. The destruction of local economies and rural livelihoods by IMF and World Bank structural adjustment policies since the 80s and more recently by U.S.-led free trade agreements like NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], as well as DR-CAFTA [Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement], is what forces so many workers to look for jobs, and get money to send back home to their impoverished families — not the search for the ever more elusive ‘American dream.’ In Mexico the myth of a growing ‘middle class’ has been busted by official figures that indicate that most Mexicans are poor and belong to the working class. And while some applaud the recovery of Mexico’s manufacturing sector, this is due to the fact that Mexico’s wages are even lower than China’s. This may be beneficial for investors but it is detrimental to the Mexican worker, and ultimately migration to the U.S. may resume. One of the reasons why it has slowed down is the downturn of the U.S. economy, but if it picks up, the push for migration will resume.”
Note: NAFTA reaches its 20th anniversary on January 1, 2014.