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Hearing Before the Employment, Housing, and Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations House Representatives

Hearing Before the Employment, Housing, and Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations House Representatives

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Excerpt from Hearing Before the Employment, Housing, and Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations House Representatives: One Hundred Third Congress First Session; October 28, 1993

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2247, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Collin C. Peterson (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Collin C. Peterson, Floyd H. Flake, Karen L. Thurman, and William H. Zeliff, Jr.

Also present: Representative Bernard Sanders.

Staff present: Edith A. Holleman, staff director; June Livingston, clerk; Jane 0. Cobb and Michael D. Nannini, minority professional staff, Committee on Government Operations.

Opening Statement Of Chairman Peterson

Mr. Peterson. The subcommittee will come to order.

The hearing this morning will be shorter than usual. You may like to hear that, Mr. Zelifi. Two of our expected witnesses, Raphael Carral, a dairy farmer and leader of farmers in Chihuahua, and Aristarco Quines Solis, a leader of farmers in Oaxaca, are not able to appear. Both are involved in major farm demonstrations against the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico's agricultural policy, and the current high interest rates that have resulted in foreclosures and deny absolutely critical loans to farmers, at a time when the government is making land available for sale for the first time in a long time.

When I was in Chihuahua earlier this month, I saw first hand the demonstrations that farmers have ongoing in many state capitals. They have moved thousands of tractors into government squares and have set up farmer camps. Two days ago, the farmers from Chihuahua began blocking a bridge used by the maquiladoras between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to publicize their discontent. Yesterday, hundreds began a tractor drive from Oaxaca to Mexico City, almost 200 miles away.

These Mexican farmers represent the equivalent of our small- to medium-size family farmers in America. They are protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement becoming Mexico's sole farm policy.

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