October 12-15, 2006 CD Juárez, Chihuahua, México

Ciudad Juárez to Host Border Social Forum

NOTE: This Press Advisory to be followed in coming days/weeks by updates featuring voices of participant organizations and representatives of the Planning and Host Committees for the Forum.

For Press info & Accreditation

•Louis Head ( Albuquerque , NM ): (505) 344-5049 or
•Che López ( San Antonio , TX ): (210) 378-5132 or
•Cipriana Jurado (CD Juárez, Chih.) 52-656-624-4993/cel 52-656-199-8413 or
•Gero Fong (CD Juárez, Chih.)
•Karlos Schmieder ( San Francisco, CA ) (505) 363-4962
What: Border Social Forum, Mobilizations Against NAFTA, “Wall of Death?
Where: Universidad Autónoma de Cuidad Juárez, Juárez, Chihuahua , México
When: October 12–15, 2006
Mobilization Against NAFTA – 10 am Thursday October 12
Opening Press Conference & Border Reality Tour – 12 pm Thursday October 12
Mobilization Against Wall of Death – 5:00 pm Saturday October 14

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – With millions of immigrant workers and their families mobilizing for human rights in the streets of major cities and small towns all over the United States, grassroots organizations and activists along the US/Mexico border are organizing the Border Social Forum to draft a set of agreements for a border plan of action and offer solutions to the growing humanitarian crisis of the heavily militarized border region.

The Border Social Forum , which bills itself as “open space that allows for pluralistic integration of social movement organizations,? is scheduled for October 12-15 in Juarez , Mexico . The Forum was proposed by U.S. and Mexican-based social movement organizations participating in the World Social Forum held in Caracas , Venezuela in January of this year.

Against the backdrop of the undecided Mexican elections, the Border Social Forum takes place in Juárez, a crucible of maquiladora development and a laboratory for neo-liberal policies since the 1970s.

According to Rubén Solís of the San Antonio, Texas-based Southwest Workers Union, the Forum organizers view Juárez as an optimal location “where the north meets the south, where neoliberal policies create wealth for a few, and where people and the environment have been devastated by the free-trade agenda.?

Referring to the proposed 700 mile fence being constructed by the U.S. to shut out potential immigrants – a focal point of the Forum – Solís adds that “The stakes are high. One has to ask whether we face the prospect of a situation not unlike that of the Middle East , where a wall imposed by the Israelis imprisons Palestinians in their own homeland. The U.S. espouses a racist immigration program characterized by the Sensenbrenner bill in the House of Representatives, and such a climate will only lead to increased violence against immigrant people.?

Along with three days of panels, workshops and “free spaces? for participants, two mobilizations are planned during the Forum.

• On Thursday, October 12, 2006 representatives of Juárez and El Paso-based social justice organizations will march to challenge the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which organizers say has displaced families, lowered wages, and increased violence on both sides of the border.

• On Saturday, October 14, 2006 Forum participants will march against the “Wall of Death,? the term applied to the militarized fence along the US/Mexico border.

Organizers have also planned a “Border Reality Tour? of the Juárez area immediately following the March on Thursday, October 12, 2006 for journalists and early arriving Forum participants.

The Border Social Forum will play a dual role of preparatory gathering for both the next World Social Forum in Kenya in early 2007, as well as the U.S. Social Forum taking place in Atlanta , Georgia in late June 2007. The Border Forum has been endorsed by over 75 grassroots organizations, alliances and networks from all over the United States and Mexico , as well as the World Social Forum and U.S. Social Forum. Over 500 participants are expected at the Forum, including representatives from all of the Mexican and U.S. states on both sides of the border, as well additional organizations in the U.S. , Canada , Mexico and other countries of the Global South. The Hemispheric Council of the World Social Forum will be represented at the Forum, as well as the National Planning Committee of the upcoming U.S. Social Forum, which will be meeting in Juárez immediately following the Border Forum.

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