How the Nafta Flu Exploded


root - Posted on 24 October 2009

by Al Giordano/Special to The Narco News Bulletin

US and Mexico authorities claim that neither knew about the "swine flu" outbreak until April 24. But after hundreds of residents of a town in Veracruz, Mexico, came down with its symptoms, the story had already hit the Mexican national press by April 5. The daily La Jornada reported:

"Clouds of flies emanate from the rusty lagoons where the Carroll Ranches business tosses the fecal wastes of its pig farms, and the open-air contamination is already generating an epidemic of
respiratory infections in the town of La Gloria, in the Perote Valley, according to Town Administrator Bertha Crisostomo Lopez."

The town has 3,000 inhabitants, hundreds of whom reported severe flu symptoms in March. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting from Mexico, has identified a La Gloria child who contracted the first case of identified "swine flu" in February as "patient zero," five-year-old Edgar Hernandez, now a survivor of the disease.

By April 15 - nine days before Mexican federal authorities of the regime of President Felipe Calderon acknowledged any problem at all -the local daily newspaper, Marcha, reported that a company called Carroll Ranches was "the cause of the epidemic."

La Jornada columnist Julio Hernandez Lopez connects the corporate dots to explain how the Virginia-based Smithfield Farms came to Mexico: In 1985, Smithfield Farms received what was, at the time, the most expensive fine in history - $12.6 million - for violating the US Clean Water Act at its pig facilities near the Pagan River in Smithfield, Virginia, a tributary that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The company, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dumped hog waste into the river.

It was a case in which US environmental law succeeded in forcing a polluter, Smithfield Farms, to construct a sewage treatment plant at that facility after decades of using the river as a mega-toilet. But "free trade" opened a path for Smithfield Farms to simply move its harmful practices next door into Mexico so that it could evade the tougher US regulators.

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