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02 May, 2009

Understanding H1N1, the new global threat

In the current worldwide “swine flu” (H1N1) outbreak, two sources are shouldering most of the blame: pigs and Mexico. Interestingly, there seems to be a louder, broader public defense of pigs than of Mexico, says NAM contributor Gebe Martinez, a veteran Washington journalist, a regular contributing columnist for Politico and a frequent lecturer and commentator on the policy and politics of Capitol Hill.

Introducing Martinez’s article, NAM editor says: “It seems like swine flu is increasingly becoming a political football, with the right wing using the crisis to whip up opposition to immigration from south of the US border”.

In a NAM commentary, Laura Carlsen, who directs the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy and runs the website, discusses how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with its misplaced priority on profits over human health in the context of a globalized world, may have led to the global spread of the swine flu.

Mexico has long been considered the laboratory of globalization. Now a potentially deadly virus has germinated in that laboratory, finding ideal conditions to move quickly along a path toward global pandemic, writes Carlsen.

Links to articles:

As Swine Flu Spreads, So Does Backlash Against Mexico by Gebe Martinez

How NAFTA Helped Spread Swine Flu by Laura Carlsen

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