From NAFTA to Narcotics

From NAFTA to Narcotics

“Stand by, there will be the giant sucking sound, if we are dumb enough to have this jammed down our throats!" – Ross Perot in 1992

While Ross Perot’s prophecy of doom didn’t come true, NAFTA did change the economic terrain of North America. After decades of economic protectionism, Mexico opened its doors to American business and investment. Now when America’s booming, Mexico cashes in. But when the US is in the red, Mexico is passing the hat – and that puts the brakes on America’s recovery. And the economic ties that bind the US and Mexico are not all above board. The escalating drug violence in Mexican cities is fueled by the steady stream of narcotics, guns and money that crisscross the US-Mexican border everyday. We travel from New York to Puebla, to examine the economic ties that bind the two nations, from trade to trafficking. 

Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producers: Monica Bushman, Sean Carberry, Matt Ozug, Monica Villavicencio and Chris Williams / Interns: Colleen Castle, Isabella Schwiermann and Annika Witzel / Web Producer: Javier Barrera / Photo Credit: Nathan Gibbs/ Host: Deborah Amos

Puebla Mexico and New York City

Deborah Amos examines the ties that bind the Mexican and US economies by exploring the connection between two cities—Puebla, Mexico and New York City.

The History of US-Mexico Economic Relations

America Abroad traces the history of US-Mexico economic relations.


Deborah Amos looks back at the passage of the historic trade agreement between Mexico, the US and Canada—NAFTA.

Story Transcript: 
Field Report from the Juarez-El Paso Border

Monica Villavicencio travels to the Juarez-El Paso border to shed light on the circle of drugs and money flowing back and forth across the border.