‘A Kind of Internal Lobby for the Mexican Border Industrialization Program’: Binational Industrial Parks, the AFL-CIO, and the Demise of the Commission for Border Development and Friendship, 1966-1972
This essay examines how a bilateral planning commission precipitated a rearrangement in national political coalitions in the early 1970s. In 1966 the presidents of the United States and Mexico created a joint commission to develop plans for bilateral development along the U.S. –Mexico border. Dubbed the Commission for Border Development and Friendship (CODAF), this organization attracted bipartisan support across the borderlands. But in 1972, CODAF fell prey to an unlikely coalition of Republican legislators and labor leaders. This episode sheds light on the the importance of the U.S.-Mexico border and its impact on national political coalitions by narrating how labor unions turned away from the Democratic Party and sought support from Republican legislators to prevent the so-called exportation of American jobs.
Respondent: Mauricio Tenorio, University of Chicago