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Harper the least popular guy in Guadalajara

(Guadalajara) — Media accounts down here paint a grim picture of grimmer prospects for a cosy North American leaders summit. Actually, the biggest party pooper will be our own Prime Minister, whose new visa requirements for Mexican travellers, and his complete shafting of President Calderon’s alternatives, made front-page news in the Mexico City edition of La Jornada. And Obama and Harper won’t even meet one-on-one again until September 15. It’s enough to make you wonder what the point of this summit is anyway.

They’re still calling it a North American summit but it’s doubtful anything that could be called a North American agenda will emerge from Guadalajara. Leaders are flying in late Sunday for some quick one-on-ones with host President Felipe Calderon, followed by a musical act. A march and all-day public forum on Sunday won’t get anywhere close to the official meeting even if it wanted to because of a five-ring security perimeter around the Hilton, where Harpe and Obama will be staying the night.

Nonetheless, hundreds to thousands of people are expected to march tomorrow morning under the broad demand that the three leaders renegotiate NAFTA with full participation from all sectors of society. Obama has already promised Mexican journalists he won’t open up NAFTA with the economy looking as it does. But if rallies in February 2008, organized by campesino and migrant groups, are an indication of what to expect, it will be hard for leaders to ignore the calls.

Today, Greenpeace Mexico, USA and Canada jointly called on North American governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. They also criticized the energy integration model proposed in the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which focused on fossil fuel extraction, pipelines, carbon capture and sham biofuels instead of conservation and real renewable energy projects.

Updates on the rally tomorrow, with photos…