Mexican campaigner protests at US dominance: 'first trade, now football'

 Mexican campaigner Sergio Cobo reacted with dismay to his country's 2-0 defeat at by the United States in the World Cup, drawing comparisons with years of unfair trade between the two countries. Sergio Cobo works for Fomento, a CAFOD partner organisation in Mexico. He is currently in London to attend a mass lobby of Parliament this Wednesday 19 June organised by the Trade Justice Movement, an alliance of over 40 development and environment agencies. Cobo said: yesterday: "This morning's defeat is like NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) all over again. Mexico is losing out massively to the United States because of this free trade agreement. The price of locally produced goods plummeted massively because of cheap US imports. Our agricultural produce just couldn't compete with the heavily subsidised US goods. Farmers are going bust, families can no longer afford school or hospital fees, and children are going hungry. On top of all this, Mexico loses to the US side in the World Cup. I want to cry." "At least football is on a level playing field. Eleven players against eleven players. Not with trade. A US farmer receives $20,000 per year in subsidies, while a Mexican one only receives $500, which is 40 times less. That is like 40 football players taking on just one. How can we win?" "Football is just a game, trade is real life. The consequences of unfair trade are deadly, not just in Mexico but around the world. The unfair international trade system contributes to the fact 800 million people go hungry today. At least 24,000 people die of hunger every day. That is a scandal that can no longer be allowed to continue." Over 10,000 people are expected to come to Westminster under the auspices of the Trade Justice Movement to ask their MPs to press for a reform of the rules that govern international trade. A line of people stretching from the Houses of Parliament, down Millbank, across the Thames, and down the Southbank are expected to have gathered by 3.30pm when there will be a Mexican wave of sound down the length of the queue. MPs will then be taken by rickshaw from the Houses of Parliament to meet their individual constituencies. Rock band Radiohead will be among the celebrities offering their support. A video news release which focuses on trade injustice in Mexico and Sri Lanka is available free of charge from CAFOD. The video news release shows the plight of Mexican maize farmers and the damage done to Sri Lanka's economy by unfair trade laws. Cobo said: "People often feel helpless in the face of unjust trade. But what is happening in the UK with this mass lobby shows that ordinary people can make a difference. There is real momentum growing behind the Trade Justice Movement. Politicians not just in the UK, but everywhere must listen to the mounting calls for fairer trade. This is not a competition. North and South are playing on the same side, for the same goal - a fairer, freer and safer world."

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