The Winter 2017 Michael Baptista Lecture: Violence in Mexico and Canadian Refugee Policy

March 8, 2017 @ 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theater – Accolade East – York University



The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) Presents:

The Winter 2017 Michael Baptista Lecture: 
Violence in Mexico and Canadian Refugee Policy

For its Winter 2017 Baptista Lecture, CERLAC is delighted to host Dr. Sergio Aguayo along with a panel of Canadian immigration experts.

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Time: 5:00pm to 8:30pm


Place: Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theater – Accolade East – York University

Professor Sergio Aguayo, scholar, journalist, public intellectual and, above all, human rights advocate will speak on what he refers to as the humanitarian crisis in Mexico. This is a political and social catastrophe characterized by the absence of rule of law coupled with a total lack of public trust in government institutions that are now even more corrupt than in the old days of one-party rule. The cost of this crisis can be measured in assassination of journalists, the murder of the 43 students in Azotzinapa, Guerrero, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of other Mexicans at the hands of ever more powerful drug cartels abetted by the flow of assault rifles illegally exported from the United States.

Thus millions of Mexicans along with Central Americans have fled both grinding poverty and criminal violence in their homelands, finding refuge in Canada and a life as undocumented migrants in the United States. The role of the two North American countries as a haven for these people will inevitably change as Donald Trump puts into effect the draconian measures that he has long threatened to carry out.  On his immediate agenda is the elimination of NAFTA, the imposition of crippling tariffs on Mexican imports into the United States, and the tightening of border “security” with massive spending on a reinforced border wall. In addition, Trump has promised the pursuit, criminalization, detention, and deportation of undocumented immigrants long resident in the U.S. along with other measures calculated to turn the screws on Mexico in order to “recover” the billions of U.S. taxpayers’ money Trump plans to spend on the construction of his famous wall.

How will these policies impact on the flow of Mexicans into the United States and Canada?  Should we expect a sharp rise in the number of Mexicans seeking refugee status in our country?  What have been the past policies of Canada vis a vis Mexican refugee claimants?  How will our policies change in response not only to Trudeau’s decision to revoke the Harper government’s visa requirements for Mexicans entering Canada, but also Trump’s unceasing and untempered hostility toward Mexicans both in their own country and in the United States?

This colloquium will feature Sergio Aguayo as keynote speaker and Judy Hellman, Loly Rico, and Kathy Price as commentators on the humanitarian challenges now facing policy makers and civil society in Canada.

Sergio Aguayo’s Bio:

Sergio Aguayo was born in the State of Jalisco, Mexico. In 1971, he transferred to Mexico City to study a Bachelor's degree in International Relations at El Colegio de Mexico. He studied his Masters (1971), Doctorate and Post-Doctorate degrees (1977-1984) at Johns Hopkins University.

He is a research professor at the Centro de Estudios Internacionales (Center for International Studies) at El Colegio de Mexico since 1977, and holds a Level III -the highest possible- in Mexico's Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (National Researcher System). He currently coordinates the Seminar on Violence and Peace in that Institution.

He has taught at various universities in Mexico, the United States and throughout Europe. In March 2015, he was appointed Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

He writes a weekly column in Reforma, as well as 14 other newspapers. Since March 2001, he is a member of Primer Plano, Canal 11's weekly TV show, and from 2009 to 2015 he participated in Carmen Aristegui's Mesa Política radio program broadcasted by MVS.

He has written dozens of books and scholarly articles. In 2015 his latest book appeared De Tlatelolco a Ayotzinapa. Las Violencias del Estado, both digital and printed. Remolino. El México de la sociedad organizada, los poderes fácticos y Enrique Peña Nieto, digital version, appeared in 2014, in 2015 printed version and digital English The Mexican Enigma, came out.
The discussion will be followed by a reception, with refreshments.

Thanks to our co-sponsors: Common Frontiers, Casa Maiz, Amnesty International, Centre for Refugee Studies.