The Passport for November 2019

This is an online version of the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). You may click here to see other online issues or click here to reach the archive of recent issues in PDF format. 

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Welcome to Our New Members

The World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay is pleased to welcome our new members:

  • Karina Dmitri
  • Colette Erreca-Norris
  • Mary Fisk
  • Lori Sanders
  • Roger Smith

Program Report: Alex Zaragoza

For our September luncheon, the World Affairs Council was honored to have Professor Alex M. Saragoza from UC Berkeley speak on “Relations Between the US and Mexico.” Dr. Saragoza focused on three key issues: trade, immigration, and drugs, noting that for each issue, domestic politics on both sides of the border are really consequential.

Regarding trade, the recently negotiated US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement has not yet been ratified by Congress due to reservations over worker rights and environmental protections. It is another example of the triumph of domestic politics: the Trump administration made a big show over what are only “cosmetic changes” to NAFTA, while the current House of Representatives has no interest in giving Trump a political win.

Immigration of Mexicans to the US has declined overall since the recession of 2008. Today, most people crossing the southern border are from Central America, not Mexico. There are different drivers of this migration; for example, 65 percent of Hondurans live below the poverty line. However, it is important to note that 60 percent of illegal immigrants in the US are people who have overstayed their legal visas, and the lion’s share of those overstays are Canadians. The immigration issue will likely remain a hot button issue as automation increases. It is expected that by 2030, about 73 million US jobs will have been automated.

The problem of illicit drugs coming into the US from Mexico has gotten worse as more countries get a piece of the action. Before, both Mexican and Colombian drugs would enter the US from Mexico. Now, countries around the world ship illegal drugs to Mexico, and those drugs then find their way to the US market. For example, much of the banned drug E phedra that enters the US from Mexico is produced in China.

Calling All World Travelers!

As a member of the World Affairs Councils of America (our umbrella organization), you are eligible to participate in Travel the World, an international travel program that has been run by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia for more than 35 years. The 2019-2020 program is already underway, and quite a number of trips in the spring and summer of 2020 still have space available. The following examples are just a taste:

  • 12/29/19 to 1/7/20
    Ring in the New Year under Antarctica’s midnight sun aboard the MV Hondius, the world’s first Polar Class 6 ice-strengthened ship.
  • 1/27/20 to 2/9/20
    Explore New Zealand’s spectacular North and South Islands, from Auckland in the north to Stewart Island in the far south, on this trip led by Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund Hillary.
  • 4/28/20 to 5/12/20
    Experience the glory of the mighty Himalayan range on this journey to Nepal and Bhutan. You’ll visit temples and monasteries, dine with local families, and go rafting on Bhutan’s Mo Chu River.
  • 6/2/20 to 6/10/20
    Explore the history, culture, and cuisine of southwest France. From your base in Albi, with its Gothic cathedral and Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, visit the Carcassonne Fortress, cruise the historic Canal du Midi, and sample the region’s wines and cheeses.

Intrigued? Go to for the full list of trips and further details!

This is the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). Founded in 1951, the council is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization established to promote the presentation, discussion, and study of international affairs. WACMB is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization, EIN-770301206. Contributions are tax deductible as permitted by law. WACMB sponsors monthly luncheons, discussion groups, and student scholarships.

Corporate and institutional support for the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area is provided by:

  • California State University Monterey Bay
  • Defense Language Institute
  • Monterey Peninsula College
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Rancho Canada
  • Horan & Lloyd Law Firm