Home > Mexican Consumers Plan ‘Great American Boycott’

Mexican Consumers Plan ‘Great American Boycott’

by Open-Publishing - Thursday 20 April 2006

Conso-Adv Demos-Actions The "without" - Migrants USA South/Latin America

Published on Thursday, April 20, 2006 by the Financial Times
Mexican Consumers Plan ‘Great American Boycott’
by Adam Thomson

Millions of people throughout Mexico are threatening to turn their backs on US products and businesses on May 1 as part of a protest that is being dubbed “the great American boycott”.

Teachers, telephone operators, housewives and farmers are just a handful of the groups that have decided on the boycott as a way to support Latin Americans living in the US who have vowed not to turn up to work on May 1.

The protest in the US, called “a day without immigrants”, aims to put pressure on Congress to legalise the status of millions of undocumented migrant workers who have become a vital source of cheap labour for the US economy. Senators have been debating several proposals to reform immigration laws but have failed to reach a compromise.

The delay has led to increasing frustration among the Hispanic community in the US, and now it is starting to spread across the border.

In Mexico, by far the biggest source of cheap labour for companies in the US, the boycott is threatening to turn into a nationwide movement. Fernando Amezcua, a high-ranking official at the Mexican Union of Electricians (SME), says his organisation will raise the issue at its general assembly on Monday with the idea of urging its 60,000 members to participate in the protest.

He also says the SME is calling on a wider coalition to support the boycott, which he claims brings together about 10m members of unions, social groups and non-governmental organisations.

On the streets of Mexico City, the word is spreading. Cristina Robles, an elegantly dressed business woman who has just done the family shopping at Superama, a supermarket chain owned by US retailer Wal-Mart, says she will support the ban. “I am not going to buy anything American,” she says. “I know it is not easy because there are a lot of illegal immigrants but the US has to treat them the same as any other worker.”

Joaquín García Nava, owner of a corner cafe in La Condesa, a swanky neighbourhood in central Mexico City, agrees. “For me, the protest serves a double purpose: I get to support the immigrants and I also get to express my slightly anti-Yankee sentiments.”

In other regions, too, what started out as a grassroots initiative spread through e-mails is catching on. In Jerez, a town of about 60,000 in Zacatecas, a largely agricultural state to the north of the capital, residents have staged a number of demonstrations in parallel with those that have taken place in recent weeks throughout the US.

Antonio Pereyra, a local government official, says people feel strongly about the need for immigration reform in large part because of their increasing dependence on remittances - money sent home by immigrants in the US. “Every single family has at least one member working in the US and without the money they send back home every month many would not be able to survive,” he says.

According to Mexico’s central bank, the estimated 7m Mexicans living and working illegally in the US send their families back home more than $20bn (€16.28bn) a year, making remittances Mexico’s second-biggest source of foreign currency after oil.

Larry Rubin, who heads the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City, a body that represents US companies in Mexico, is sympathetic to those who are pushing for progressive immigration reform. But he argues that boycotting US products and businesses in Mexico is misguided. “It is totally the wrong approach because the US business community has been one of the most adamant supporters and lobbyists of a comprehensive immigration bill.”

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2006.


Forum posts

  • Mr. Rubin says that a boycott of American goods and services by Mexicans is misguided because ’the US business community has been lobbying for a comprehensive immigration bill’.
    I find this very hard to believe since the US business lobby is one of the most powerful in all of Congress and without their support NAFTA, a total failure as far as the common working Latin American is concerned, would never have happened. His misgivings seem to parallel those of the American business community’s concerns over 35 years ago when the migrant worker movement in the western US coalesced and staged a highly effective boycott of agricultural products.
    Mr. Rubin knows that this upcoming boycott will be successful in sending out a message to the public, and it is far from being ’misguided’. So many of our business leaders sing the same song and dance the same tune as our ’elected’ officials, that is they obfuscate the facts, distort the truth and ply the media with misinformation about the real causes of the immigration problem. We should be just as wary with their pronouncements as we should be wary of the opinions of any spokesman who lives off the gravy train of the American Establishment.

  • Boycott Illegals with a FENCE!!!!

    • Americans should do the same and turn in any employer they know of that employs illegals and boycott their businesses and products....spread the word that the day of the boycotts we Americans should all go shopping, making sure to spend more than usual and send a message that we can do quite nicely without them and will be happy to do so.

      We need to organize and spread the word to every American who can see that this corporate/business exploitation of the illegals is hurting our own citizens and driving our wages down.....anyone who can not or does not choose to live under the bridge and cook beans over an open fire because their wages are driven down so low that you can not afford to live needs to get off of their behinds and hit the streets in a counter demonstration....we still outnumber them (maybe not for long) and we can all still vote....America for Americans....Mexicans go home.

    • Yeah, lets boycott your holly madre fucker!!!! jajajajajaja gracias for making my day.

    • Happy pink slip you law breaking loser!

    • AMEN!! WE feel the same way SEND THEM BACK!!!!

    • Thank you a fence is a start. I think we should go one further and a fence with machine gun turrets and guard posts every 200 feet. Our country has been invaded by millions of people and our government has done nothing about it. It doesn’t matter We could be taken over by another country by them coming over our borders and our government would do nothing about it. I think what were going to have to do is to have a civil war. Just don’t think many would do it. I think we are doomed.



  • I think the Great American Boycott will backfire. The escalating demonstations, waving of the Mexican Flag, and now the singing of the American National Anthem in Spanish is going to alienate non-hispanics. Empathy will turn to contempt.

    I think most Americans believe it is not reasonable or feasable to send the millions of illegals home. What most Americans want is some assurance that the border is secured from millions more coming across illegally. If that can be acheived, most reasonable people will be open to some kind of legalization of the people already here.

    The rath of Mexican consumers I believe is misdirected. If conditions in Mexico are so bad that millions are willing to risk their lives to leave, it would seem that perhaps the Mexican Government is where their scorn should be directed.

  • I think they should all swim back across the river they came, with a sinder block on they’re foot.
    We lasted this long with out them, we can still do it. They will not hurt us ,they are the ones that need OUR money and jobs. Long live the USA!!

  • i believe in what happen on may 1 we are all humans and we have rights too. And for people to try and take that away from us is wrong

    • Only if you are here LEGALLY! If you break into our country Illegally , then you are a criminal.. PERIOD!!!!